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Video Above: Former Commander US Army Europe, Ben Hodges, Analyzes Russia-Ukraine War

By Kris Osborn - President & Editor-In-Chief, Warrior Maven

Former European Army Commander ret. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges is not surprised by the effective infantry tactics being used by the Ukrainian infantry, as he has watched them and seen them develop as a key US ally for many years now.

Ukrainian Infantry

As the Commander in charge of Army Europe, Hodges crafted, strengthened and maintained crucial US alliances with NATO allies and key countries such as Ukraine. He told Warrior that Ukraine has modernized its military in a substantial way and refined its training and combat tactics.

“I have watched them over the last 10 years. They have dramatically improved. They have grown and they have modernized. This is a much better land force than we’ve seen in 2014. I’m not surprised they are doing so well against the Russians. The question is, can they continue to do this despite the Russian advantage in artillery and rockets,” Hodges said.

Like many observers, Hodges credited Ukrainian tenacity, will to fight and successful hit and run ambush tactics as key reasons why, as he put it, “they are doing very well so far.”

“The Ukrainian infantry are out performing the Russian infantry to include the Russian paratroopers that were brought in to take airfields,” Hodges said.

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Ukrainian troops after a fierce battle with Russian forces in Kharkiv last week. The Ukrainians have done better than expected in repelling the invaders.Credit...

Ukrainian troops after a fierce battle with Russian forces in Kharkiv last week. The Ukrainians have done better than expected in repelling the invaders.Credit...

Russian Artillery 

As Hodges referred to, the Russians do have a significant advantage in numbers as well as an artillery advantage. Russian artillery operates with digital technology and reaches highly lethal ranges for artillery, according to GlobalFirepower.com

The Russian 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV self-propelled artillery system , for instance, entered service as recently as 2018. It uses digital controls and an autoloader to fire as many as 20 rounds a minute out to ranges as far as 70km, Global Firepower states. It is not clear how many of these systems the Russians may have, but it certainly might help explain part of the long-range, land-fire bombardment now underway against major Ukrainian cities.

2S35 Koalitsiya-SV 

2S35 Koalitsiya-SV 

This range of this Russian artillery is quite significant for artillery, as compared to most traditional artillery systems which tend to operate at much shorter ranges. One interesting fact included in Global Firepower’s write up on the system is that it is, not surprisingly, capable of firing precision rounds. The technological reality further illustrates that Russian forces do have the capability to avoid or massively reduce civilian casualties and are simply choosing to deliberately murder Ukrainians.

These kinds of long range artillery weapons are particularly difficult to defend against in urban or residential areas less fortified by defenses, unless of course fighter jets are able to locate and destroy launch points of origin from the air. The Russians may well be opting for these kinds of attacks because they have little to no success with direct combat engagements against the Ukrainian forces.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest and President of Warrior Maven - the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President, Center for Military Modernization