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Azerbaijani and Armenian military Clashes

a_majoor

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A very illuminating article from a European Perspective:

https://ecfr.eu/article/military-lessons-from-nagorno-karabakh-reason-for-europe-to-worry/

Military lessons from Nagorno-Karabakh: Reason for Europe to worry

The 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war holds important lessons for European defence. European governments should study it urgently.
@GresselGustav on Twitter
Senior Policy Fellow
Commentary 24 November 2020

In the last decade, it was no secret that Azerbaijan was steadily building up its armed forces. But, despite this, few experts predicted this month%u2019s clear-cut military victory by Azerbaijan over Armenia. Much of this victory is credited to the technical and financial side of the war: Azerbaijan was able to afford more and it had Turkish and Israeli technology that was simply better than what Armenia had to draw on. But the lessons of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war go deeper and are more complex than just questions of technology. And they hold distinct lessons for how well Europe can defend itself.

LESSON 1: STRATEGY AND POLITICS MATTER
The course of every war is influenced by the specific political circumstances that trigger it %u2013 and this war was no exception. Azerbaijan and Turkey were confident in the success of their offensive action, as Russia had from the onset of the war indicated that it had no intention of assisting the Armenians outside of their recognised borders. Russia also saw Azeri military pressure as a tool to weaken the Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, who headed the 2018 revolution that removed the old regime. Azeri action would, moreover, be likely to lead Armenia accept previously negotiated %u201Cpeace plans%u201D that would strengthen Moscow%u2019s geopolitical position. This adverse political situation directly translated into military disadvantages on the battlefield for the Armenians.

snip

LESSON 2: COMPUTERS AND NETWORKS MATTER
Like in Syria and Libya, Russian air-defence systems proved to be ineffective against small and slow drones. This has inspired a debate in the West about whether Russian air-defence systems are generally overrated. But this verdict would be premature.

snip

LESSON 3: FIGHT %u2018AROUND%u2019 THE ENEMY%u2019S STRENGTH
Before the war, on a tactical level the Armenian army was superior: it had better officers, more motivated soldiers, and a more agile leadership. In all previous wars with Azerbaijan, this proved to be decisive. But Azerbaijan found a way to work around it. This is where the drones came in: they allowed the Azeris to reconnoitre first the Armenian position and then the placement of reserves. Armenian positions then could be extensively shelled with conventional artillery, weakening their defences. Drones then guided the onslaught towards the Armenian reserves, bringing in artillery, multiple-rocket systems with cluster munitions, their own missiles, or using Israeli-made LORA ballistic missiles to destroy bridges or roads linking the reserves with the front. Once the Armenian side was incapable of sending reserves into battle, the Azeri army could move in any number it wished to overwhelm the isolated Armenian positions. This procedure was repeated day after day, chipping one Armenian position away each day and resupplying artillery during the night.

snip

Europe should look carefully at the military lessons of this conflict, and not dismiss it as a minor war between poor countries. Since the cold war, most European armies have phased out gun-based self-propelled air-defence systems. Man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS) like the Stinger and Igla %u2013 the primary short-range air-defence systems in Europe %u2013 have little chance of acquiring such small targets like loitering munitions or small drones invisible to the operator. In the recent Nagorno-Karabakh war more MANPADS were destroyed by drones than they could shoot down drones themselves. No European army has a high-resolution sensor-fusion- or plot-fusion-capable armoured air-defence system to protect its own armour. Only France and Germany have (short range) anti-drone jammers and base-protection assets. Most of the EU%u2019s armies %u2013 especially those of small and medium-sized member states %u2013 would do as miserably as the Armenian army in a modern kinetic war. That should make them think %u2013 and worry.

Full article at the link.

The final piece is extremely relevant for us as well -we have none of these things and have not really expressed any urgency in gaining these capabilities either. Like Armenia, our forces are professional and well trained, but not trained at all for this form of warfare, nor do we have the equipment to either fight or protect ourselves in that form of warfare. Considering we have troops in Latvia and other places where these capabilites exist, this is a very serious shortcoming.
 

FJAG

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Thucydides said:
The final piece is extremely relevant for us as well -we have none of these things and have not really expressed any urgency in gaining these capabilities either. Like Armenia, our forces are professional and well trained, but not trained at all for this for of warfare, nor do we have the equipment to either fight or protect ourselves in that for of warfare. Considering we have troops in Latvia and other places where these capabilites exist, this is a very serious shortcoming.

We first saw the genesis of some of these capabilities in 2014 in the Ukraine and are quite aware of the technologies yet six years have passed and ... crickets.

The longer that I've been away from the system the more cynical I become about just what the CAF's priorities really are.

There's a point where s 124 of the NDA becomes applicable to its senior leadership.

:clubinhand:
 

daftandbarmy

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FJAG said:
We first saw the genesis of some of these capabilities in 2014 in the Ukraine and are quite aware of the technologies yet six years have passed and ... crickets.

The longer that I've been away from the system the more cynical I become about just what the CAF's priorities really are.

There's a point where s 124 of the NDA becomes applicable to its senior leadership.

:clubinhand:

From what little I've read it would appear, as ever, our critical gap will be not technical, but intellectual.

When was the last time we practised, at a divisional or any level, 'infiltration' attacks?

Airborne and Commando formations used to practise that kind of stuff. Heavy units? Not so much.

Armoured formations seem to 'armour the mind' against innovation as much as against projectiles.
 

FJAG

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Weinie said:
That is an impressive amount of kit.

Annual defence budget of USD2.26 billion. In fairness a lot of it is Soviet Era kit acquired when the USSR broke up. But obviously with a better maintenance program then many Western nations.

:stirpot:
 

CBH99

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I've become quite fascinated by Azerbaijan recently.  I had never heard of it prior to this conflict, but it looks really pretty, and has one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the world.

I'm taking a trip in the next few months, and I'm seriously considering going for a trip here.  Not sure why, but it keeps drawing me in. 
 

daftandbarmy

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CBH99 said:
I've become quite fascinated by Azerbaijan recently.  I had never heard of it prior to this conflict, but it looks really pretty, and has one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the world.

I'm taking a trip in the next few months, and I'm seriously considering going for a trip here.  Not sure why, but it keeps drawing me in.

Here are some Lonely Planet articles to pique your interest. Don't miss the 'Flame Towers' :)

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/best-things-to-do-in-baku-azerbaijan
 

Colin Parkinson

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CBH99 said:
I've become quite fascinated by Azerbaijan recently.  I had never heard of it prior to this conflict, but it looks really pretty, and has one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the world.

I'm taking a trip in the next few months, and I'm seriously considering going for a trip here.  Not sure why, but it keeps drawing me in.

Our friend is from Azerbaijan, they have their fair share of beautiful women there. Funny enough her uncle was KGB at one time. I also have a Armenian friend, I will not be inviting them both to the same party for a bit. There is a lot of history in those areas. 
 

Cloud Cover

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FJAG said:
Azerbaijani victory parade. Erdogan and Turkey participate.

Note that audio is a bit flaky at the beginning but picks up afterward. Lots of interesting (some old Soviet) equipment towards end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCKg8vZCu0Q

:cheers:

Band is annoying, and the announcer has clearly been pulled from the travelling circus.

This thing has some sort of WW2 German look about it:
 

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CBH99

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daftandbarmy said:
Here are some Lonely Planet articles to pique your interest. Don't miss the 'Flame Towers' :)

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/best-things-to-do-in-baku-azerbaijan


I swear a James Bond movie was filmed in Baku at some point.  Looks like quite the interesting place to explore :)

Thanks for the link D&B, I think I'm sold.



ColinP, that entire region seems to be flush with exotic & beautiful women.  I've had some female Armenian friends over the years, and not one of them was remotely average looking  :nod:

I think I'm sold. 
 

daftandbarmy

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CBH99 said:
I swear a James Bond movie was filmed in Baku at some point.  Looks like quite the interesting place to explore :)

Thanks for the link D&B, I think I'm sold.



ColinP, that entire region seems to be flush with exotic & beautiful women.  I've had some female Armenian friends over the years, and not one of them was remotely average looking  :nod:

I think I'm sold.

Marco Polo was apparently pretty impressed by the continuous fires burning on the Caspian Sea, as well as on various mountains. No wonder the oil industry is such a big deal there:

https://www.livemint.com/mint-lounge/features/bubbling-mud-and-ever-burning-flames-in-baku-11575038532892.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDT2vxn3UYY

OTOH, I'd be careful about the women. Blood feuds are a centuries old hobby in that part of the world :)
 

FJAG

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An interesting issue arising out of Erdogan's visit to the Azerbaijani victory parade:

Why did President Erdogan’s poem infuriate Iranians?
Turkey’s president criticised for what Iranians say was a clear call for breaking up Iran.
By Maziar Motamedi 13 Dec 2020

Tehran, Iran – A few words of a poem recited by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Azerbaijan has created a political firestorm with Iran and united Iranians behind a message of national unity and territorial integrity.

But what did he say and why did it anger the Iranian people and politicians so much?

The Turkish leader was in the Azeri capital Baku on Thursday to participate in a military parade marking Azerbaijan’s victory over Armenia in a 44-day war over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave that left thousands dead.

Ending the war was a priority for Iran – the only country that has direct borders with both Azerbaijan and Armenia – especially since millions of Azeris and hundreds of thousands with Armenian origins live across the country.

The poem recited by Erdogan laments how the Aras River has separated Azeri-speaking people in Azerbaijan and Iran and is a symbol of the pan-Turkism doctrine that seeks the unification of all Turks, including those living in Iran.

“They separated the Aras River and filled it with rocks and rods. I will not be separated from you. They have separated us forcibly,” said the poem.
...

Read rest of article here.

:cheers:
 

MarkOttawa

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Check the 2019 F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku--interesting looking city:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMq9kwvVirI

Mark
Ottawa
 

Colin Parkinson

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A Russian view of the conflict, including force disposition, geography, logistical considerations and technology implications. 

https://d9mc3ts4czbpr.cloudfront.net/en/article/karabah-2020-voenno-analiticheskij-razbor/?fbclid=IwAR0nwMU7M9RWArjHBSYfVXI6RQVRIob49fD1_KfuyLukDRKkN9IasTncYdc
 

Retired AF Guy

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CloudCover said:
This thing has some sort of WW2 German look about it:

Russian MTLB chassis with what looks like a 37mm A/A mounted on top. Give the designer an A+ for ingenuity.
 

FJAG

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Colin P said:
A Russian view of the conflict, including force disposition, geography, logistical considerations and technology implications. 

https://d9mc3ts4czbpr.cloudfront.net/en/article/karabah-2020-voenno-analiticheskij-razbor/?fbclid=IwAR0nwMU7M9RWArjHBSYfVXI6RQVRIob49fD1_KfuyLukDRKkN9IasTncYdc

Colin

An absolutely brilliant find. This article should be mandatory study for everybody. It goes far beyond the UAV and loitering munitions issues to a dozen critical factors as to why the Armenians were outclassed. That does not bode well in that in many respects the Armenians were better prepared and equipped for actual combat than we are. By contrast the Azerbaijani planning, organizing, equipping and logistics processes were well thought out and executed.

(It also Google translated well from the original Russian)

:cheers:
 

a_majoor

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The United States reacts to joint Russian/Chinese patrols in the Pacific and Arctic. Of course this calls into question our ability to respond, especially in a meaningful way over a prolonged period of time:


Air Force shows off might in Arctic​

By Mike Glenn - The Washington Times - Thursday, December 24, 2020
The U.S. Air Force flexed its muscle in a dramatic show of force this month, amid heightened concern at the Pentagon over the prospect of expanding great power military competition with nations such as Russia and China.

In a World War II-style expression force, the Air Force‘s 354th Fighter Wing and the Alaska Air National Guard’s 168th Wing engaged more than 30 aircraft in a massive runway formation on December 18 at Eielson Air Force Base.
The formation — known in military parlance as an “elephant walk” — was meant to test the rapid readiness of every flying unit at the base about 25 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Air Force officials said.

“The elephant walk isn’t only to practice our abilities to respond quickly,” Col. David Skalicky, operations group commander for the 354th Fighter Wing, was quoted as saying on an Air Force website. “This is to show our airmen who work behind the scenes what Eielson (Air Force Base) is about. It’s about showing our strength in the Arctic arena.”

While an Air Force statement on the event made no mention of China or Russia, the exercise occurred just four days before Russian and Chinese military forces made global headlines by flying a joint patrol mission over the Western Pacific.

Remainder of story at link

 

daftandbarmy

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Colin

An absolutely brilliant find. This article should be mandatory study for everybody. It goes far beyond the UAV and loitering munitions issues to a dozen critical factors as to why the Armenians were outclassed. That does not bode well in that in many respects the Armenians were better prepared and equipped for actual combat than we are. By contrast the Azerbaijani planning, organizing, equipping and logistics processes were well thought out and executed.

(It also Google translated well from the original Russian)

:cheers:
Probably becasue they needed to be, of course.

Both armies are also conscript armies, which come with a variety of advantages that we will never really have access to like large numbers of trained troops available relatively quickly.
 
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