The war in Ukraine is becoming increasingly anachronistic in some aspects. With the advent of precision missiles and unmanned drones, one would expect armies to be fighting from a distance, using high tech to avoid casualties.
But, we’re also seeing soldiers fighting in trenches – and even using armed motorcyclists. So, what is causing this regression back to traditional warfare methods?
Top-notch weapons are not the rule in the Ukrainian forces
While the war in Ukraine has seen a significant deployment of state-of-the-art weapons such as drones or Javelin missiles, the truth is that there are limited supplies – and Ukrainian forces mostly employ outdated weapons. The troops are not necessarily as well stocked as we might think.
Ukraine simply doesn’t have the resources to fight a purely technological war. Their army is outmatched by Russia’s in terms of manpower, so they have to resort to whatever methods will give them an edge. This includes using trenches and armed motorcyclists to try and offset Russia’s advantages.
Moreover, they can not only count on the help of NATO and the USA (although it is a factor that makes a difference). That’s why the troops typically use the weapons they owned before the war for regular operations.
And Russia mostly employs outdated weapons too
Russia has deployed antiquated weapons like the T-62 tanks, a tank dating back to the middle of the 20th century.
This is because Russia hasn’t been able to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change. While other countries have been investing heavily in research and development, Russia has lagged behind, and its weapons systems are often based on outdated technology.
Although it is true that Russia currently owns quite a lot of modern weapons, such as Armata tanks or Su-57 aircraft, these weapons are manufactured in meager quantities. They are not enough to risk them on the battlefield.
That’s why they prefer to use their old stock, which is not as valuable and which they have in large quantities.
Another reason for the use of old Soviet weapons is the country’s economic problems. Due to years of mismanagement and endemic corruption in the Russian military system, the Russian Armed Forces are in a precarious state.
Consequently, a combination of technological backwardness, economic problems, and corruption has led to the current state of affairs, where Russian weapons are often woefully outdated.
Cutting-edge weapons are not massively available
While high-tech weapons garner much of the headlines in the modern world, sometimes low-tech solutions are the most cost-effective and easy to use.
The War in Ukraine has featured many more low-tech weapons, such as motorcycles with anti-tank weapons. This is unusual but highly effective.
The return of motorcycle forces in the Ukrainian army— Spriteer (@spriteer_774400) July 9, 2022
The Armed Forces of Ukraine reopened the Soviet motorcycles “Dnepr”. pic.twitter.com/EeQDcrx3Gv
The Ukrainian military has been forced to get creative in the face of a well-armed adversary, and the results have been impressive. These low-tech solutions are also relatively inexpensive to produce.
They have had massive trenches since the War in Donbas started
Ukrainian soldier in the trenches with a “drone catcher,” a modern EDM4S anti-drone electronic system of Lithuanian company NT-Servise. Use of drones (UAV) for recon & attacks is part of everyday warfare in #Ukraine. These guns disrupt the UAV radio signal https://t.co/jpvfF4ZMDo pic.twitter.com/YQnns2V5mF— Glasnost Gone (@GlasnostGone) July 1, 2022
Since 2014, both government forces and Russia-backed separatists have dug thousands of kilometers of trenches.
While the trenches may not be as deep or long as those used in World War I, they serve the same purpose: to protect soldiers from enemy fire. The trenches are often dug along roads and railways, making it difficult for opposing forces to move around the battlefield.
Ukrainian soldiers sleeping in the trenches between battles against the Russian Army.— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) June 14, 2022
Meanwhile, most European states haven’t started a re-armament process that would make it possible for them to send weapons to Ukraine.
More must be done, quickly! pic.twitter.com/TgOQ5Zm4nJ
As the war in Ukraine has dragged on, both sides have continued to reinforce their trench lines, turning parts of Ukraine into a veritable maze of dirt and concrete – and with no end to the conflict in sight, it seems likely that these trenches will continue to play a vital role in the war in Ukraine.
The War in Ukraine heavily relies on outdated strategies and weapons
Both sides are testing out new military hardware and tactics to gain an advantage over the other. But, we’re seeing a mix of both traditional and modern warfare methods being used in the conflict.
But, the War in Ukraine is mainly fought with outdated weapons on a day-to-day basis… Whatever the reasons for this anachronistic mix of warfare methods, one thing is clear: the conflict in Ukraine is far from over. As both sides continue testing new tactics and technologies, the war is likely to become even more complex and deadly.
Feature image credit: Airborne troops of Russia & SOF of Belarus by Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. Licensed under CC by 4.0