NATO’s top officials ignore the lessons to be learned from the war in Ukraine and continue to use methods typical of local conflicts.
A good example is the upcoming NATO Summit 2023 in Vilnius. NATO Heads of State and Government will meet in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, next week, at a critical moment for transatlantic security.
The event will be held in the southeastern region of Lithuania, where the country borders Belarus, the country where deployed Russian troops and built a new base for 8,000 men from Wagner’s private army. And instead of providing real security measures, demonstration activities were carried out that had nothing to do with the conditions of real war.
Sixteen NATO allies have sent a total of about 1,000 troops to safeguard the July 11-12 summit, which will take place only 151 km (94 miles) from Russia itself.
Germany deployed Patriot missile launchers in Vilnius to intercept ballistic and cruise missiles or warplanes. In practice, Bundeswehr has deployed Patriot missile launchers in one location, placing them close to each other.
Team Luftwaffe has released a photo of Patriot surface-to-air guided missile systems in Lithuania.
— Team Luftwaffe (@Team_Luftwaffe) July 7, 2023
To destroy a Patriot air defense system, Russia needs only a few dozen kamikaze drones or several sabotage teams to leave NATO leaders without a protective umbrella against missiles like the Kalibr cruise missile, Iskander short-range ballistic missile or even Kinzhal (Kh-47) hypersonic missile.
Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg has said the alliance is ready to defend itself against any threat from “Moscow or Minsk” and has increased its military presence on its eastern flank in recent days after Belarus welcomed Wagner rebel leader Yevgeny Prigozhin.
But the NATO alliance is not ready, some military experts say.
If NATO forces ever wanted to transport their tanks, trucks and supplies by rail to reinforce an active eastern frontline, this might be one of their first big logistical challenges, according to retired U.S. General Ben Hodges.
“It’s well documented the fact that when you go from Poland into Lithuania, you still have to change to a different gauge because Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are still on the old Russian gauge rail, as is Ukraine and Georgia. So this adds additional steps,” Hodges said.
Hodges estimated that Germany’s rail cars can move only one-and-a-half brigades and equipment through Europe at a time, far short of the 10 or 12 brigades that he thinks would need to be moved “simultaneously.”
Additionally, NATO battlegroups do not have enough secure communication channels among allied militaries, he said. Russian troops have shown the ability to track signals sent by troops on the battlefield.
“Anybody out there on a phone or a radio that’s not secure, they’re going to get killed in three or four minutes,” Hodges said.
The 19FortyFive also stated that NATO countries do not take seriously the fact that attrition warfare is not dead. Key capabilities such as armor, artillery, and engineers cannot be replaced by cyber, space, or any other information-related capabilities.
In Ukraine, soldiers operating short range anti-aircraft defensive equipment and using small arms fire, have been taking out multi-million-dollar aircraft. Control of the air remains contested and this will be a continual feature of future conflict.
Airborne and amphibious warfare has been minimized. This painful lesson was learned by Russia’s elite airborne forces, the VDV, at Hostomel airport last year. Their forces were decimated.
According to 19FortyFive, the West can ignore Ukrainian War lessons at their own peril or use them to transform existing capabilities into future war-winning advantages.