It seems that the Russian forces are indeed facing great difficulties in UkrainianA, after 36 days of the military operation it launched on the territory of the western neighbor, it was unable to control major cities in the country, according to what many observers as well as Western officials confirmed.
While the Russians quickly camouflaged their equipment using tree branches, straw, and even pieces of carpet, to conceal tanks and other armored vehicles, which several analysts considered a lack of technical sophistication and the unpreparedness of some military leaders for battle.
Especially since camouflage, whether for personnel or equipment, is an essential part of combat, even as advances in technology such as drones, satellite imagery and infrared ranges have made it difficult to hide on modern battlefields.
But for some observers who closely follow the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the Russian forces, despite their military superiority, have shown an astonishing degree of amateurish behavior, according to the Washington Post.
In this context, Mike Jason, a retired US Army armored officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, described the sight of a Russian soldier searching for cover from pine trees in the midst of battles, as “emitting despair.”
He also noted that the US military’s tactical measure in these cases is usually to cover entire vehicles with lightweight camouflage nets when they are not moving, even if only for short periods.
He pointed out that some Russian units showed a lack of basic competence in the use of camouflage or may simply not have the appropriate equipment, according to him.
As for the video clip that circulated on social media, showing Russian forces covering a vehicle with carpets or any other type of heavy clothing, Jason suggested that the reason might be reducing or distorting the thermal signatures, which are used by anti-armor weapons such as Javelin missiles manufactured in the United States, which It is supplied to Ukraine.
Ukrainian soldiers with a captured Russian tank (Washington Post)
Also, he noted, this could make it difficult for Ukrainian gunners to distinguish between a Russian armored vehicle and a civilian vehicle, even though they might use binoculars to detect enemy activity as well as thermal activity.
Nets and other fabrics can assist in camouflage, using leaves to cover the contours of vehicles as this can give crews vital seconds to respond to the engagement or attack themselves.
But Jason said its use is limited in the age of drones and satellite imagery, making camouflage an attempt mostly aimed at deceiving human eyes.
The Russians’ apparent lack of a modern camouflage net is the latest example of what analysts call a series of tactical errors since the offensive began late last month, confirming the belief in the United States and Europe that President Vladimir Putin and his top military commanders failed to anticipate the strong resistance their forces faced.
In addition, many Western observers expressed their astonishment, after Russian soldiers showed a tendency to talk on unsecured radios and mobile phones, allowing enemy intelligence to intercept their communications.
They also criticized the failure of the Russian forces to distribute enough fuel and food to the soldiers on the front lines, which prompted some of them to abandon the vehicles in place, and even surrender in some cases.
Rob Lee, a Russian military expert and senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, explained that the asymmetric use of camouflage in Ukraine may indicate leaders’ lack of preparation and direction for subordinates, or testify to their overconfidence from the start that this battle will be easy.
Russian Army (AP)
He also added that it had become clear that the commercial and small drones Turkey provided to the Ukrainians enabled them to identify Russian units, which could lead some to resort to solutions such as outfitting their vehicles with shrubs, or simply taking them off the road and hiding among the trees.
Lack of readiness and direction
In parallel, analysts said, what is confusing is that Russian units are actually well versed in camouflaging their vehicles, and there is evidence that they did so in previous military exercises.
As recently as 2018, Russian state media promoted advanced camouflage models for the military, which they said were surprisingly capable of mimicking the surrounding environment.
It is noteworthy that despite the passage of more than a month since the military operations between the two parties, the Russian forces have not been able to control a large city in Ukraine, with the exception of the remarkable progress in the Ukrainian attack.