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#41 BansheeOne

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 0842 AM

Next, Latvia. They have an integrated force structure, but their capabilities are overall rather similar to Estonia's, with one regular infantry brigade and three National Guard defense districts. The main difference is no conscription, so what you see in the peacetime organization is what you get when the balloon goes up.

 

1129px-Structure_of_the_Latvian_National

Equipment-wise, they're rather lighter; the only "combat vehicles" currently in service, other than three old T-55s used for training, are again the Bv 206 and some armored HMMWVs. However, they just have bought a total of 120 CVR(T)s from the UK to be delivered until 2016, including Scimitar, Sultan, Spartan, Samson and Samaritarian; not sure how they are supposed to be employed. Their only real artillery listed are Czech 100 mm M53 (BS-3) field guns. Air defense is by Bofors 40 mm and again by Mistral. The navy is slightly stronger though with five ex-Dutch Tripartite minehunters and German-designed SWATH multirole patrol boats plus coast guard and support vessels; however, they retired their Norwegian Storm-class missile FACs in 2012/2013.

 

I have found no definite modernization plans; they would require a lot to stiffen against a major threat, possibly a German division per previously outlined plans, if for no other reason than that the G 36 is their standard rifle and HK also supplies a lot of their other infantry weapons.

 

Finally, Lithuania. Unsurprisingly they're not too different from the other two; again a regular infantry brigade backed up by a homeguard-type organization, though the latter is much smaller; no conscription either since 2008, though a new plan proposes to make all males between 18 and 24 undergo seven weeks of military training and place them in the reserves. I find no plans for a larger wartime structure though.

 

678px-Lithuanian_Land_Forces_2012.png

 

The Iron Wolf Brigade is probably the single most capable of its kind in the Baltic states as it is a fully formed mechanized formation, though without tanks. In contradiction to the above chart, the English Wiki article on it adds the separate Mindaugas Battalion as a mechanized and the Birute Battalion as a motorized unit, downgrades the Kestutis Battalion from mechanized to motorized, and turns the Vaidotas Battalion into a CSS unit; the Lithuanian Armed Forces website doesn't bear that out though and indicates the separate battalions will support home defense operations or foreign deployments as ordered, mostly by training in peacetime.

 

At any rate Lithuania received 361 M113A1/2G and 42 M1064 mortar carriers from Germany between 2000 and 2006, some as spares. Also again there are Bv 206 and armored HMMWVs. The artillery battalion currently uses M101 howitzers, 72 of which including spares were received from Denmark in 2002, but is supposed to get the M119 Light Gun. Air defense is again by Bofors 40 mm and Mistral, operated by an air force battalion. The air force actually has three Czech Albatros trainer/light attack jets (they crashed one in 2011) in addition to the usual light transports; the navy runs two ex-German Lindau-class minehunters to be replaced by British Hunt-class vessels, two of which are already in service, plus four Danish Stanflex and one Norwegian Storm-class patrol boat.

 

They have been looking for a replacement to the M113, but seem to not even have made their minds up yet whether it should be wheeled or tracked. I guess the Rosomak would be a good choice for them to achieve commonality with their immediate Polish neighbors, though there is a lot to be said for joint procurement of all three Baltic nations. Obviously they're co-operating a lot already, and in fact there has been a proposal to merge their national forces, but not much love for it; as of now there is only BALTBAT, a tri-national battalion based in Latvia.


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#42 bd1

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 1704 PM

for any real comparisons, you could check their budgets. after conscription ended, lithuania currently uses 80% of their budget on personnel...

 

besides lithuania seems to have rather big (for it´s size) SF,  latvian brigade is basicly military police unit , both suffer reportedly seriously from the end of conscription


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#43 rohala

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 0535 AM

How prepared are the baltics to fight a defensive war against Russia? I mean, all those reserve infantry battalions, how ready are they and how well are they equiped? What is the situation with AT weapons? Are there defences? The Baltic armies are obviously incapable of waging a maneuver war, without tanks or SP artillery, and dubious air defence.


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#44 BansheeOne

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 0947 AM

I have no idea about readiness of reserves or prepared defenses. As for AT weapons for the infantry, while there's older stuff including RCLs, Estonia has Milan and MAPAT (Israeli laser-guided TOW development), Latvia has Bill and Spike-LR (though apparently just twelve launchers of the latter) in addition to their BS-3, and Lithuania has Javelin (40 launchers listed). I agree that armor and mechanized artillery seem the most badly needed reinforcements.

 

However, before I get to full-blown REFORGER-type deployments of NATO forces or even permanent basing of same, I was looking for a more politically-minded intermediate step. After all the most immediate function of forward-based allied forces is as a practical token of solidarity, putting them in the way of possible harm so any possible attacker must realize he is not just invading the nation in question, but that there will be third-party troops in the line of fire which will mean hostilities with those other nations too. As a political deterrent, such a force would not need to be as big as it would for a fully prepared defense; of course if deterrence failed, it would at best be a tripwire until meaningful reinforcements arrived.

 

Another consideration is that NATO agreed to not permanently base major forces on the territory of the new Eastern European members in the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act. Of course since Russia changed the basic rules of business in post-1945 Europe with the annexation of Crimea, suspending the act seems like an appropriate reply, but would mean a further escalation that might be counter-productive for common security. I have thought about rotating deployments that would bring various NATO members into the Baltics on, say, three-month turns, technically not based permanently, but forming maybe a brigade-sized formation at any time. I heard similar thoughts from SACEUR this weekend, modeled on the Baltic Air Policing scheme.

 

My idea would be a multi-national brigade formed by different member nations at any time to drive home the point of "attack one, attack all". Moving multiple national battalions back and forth each year with all their gear would be a rather expensive exercise though, so I thought of major systems being left in place for the next contingent to fall in on; this strains the "non-permanent" principle further, and all sorts of cost-sharing issues will arise, including who gets to pay for broken stuff, but I believe this is a rather practicable way if the basic agreement is the Balts shouldn't be left hanging out to dry.

 

A major issue would of course be multiple national crews using the same equipment, considering the diversity in NATO. Even where a system is rather far-spread like the Leopard 2, different national standards abound - though this might be overcome with appropriate training as part of working up for deployments. Maybe you could even design the whole thing as a big cross-training scheme where the training is in the deployment, also making it sound less confrontational and more attractive for NATO members. Because I could see some cash-strapped southern nations being rather lukewarm about sending a battalion up north to stare down the Russians for three months at a time.

 

Outside tanks, commonality gets even worse; no more than three NATO members operate the same IFV, and that's counting all CV 90 variants including the Norwegian 9030 with the Dutch and Danish 9035s. I guess you could make it a PfP project to get the Finns and Swedes aboard (technically they have a EU defense obligation under the Lisbon Treaty anyway), but then all the Nordic countries might rather want their sparse forces to watch their own territory in any situation where this Baltic Brigade may find itself in harm's way. There is little sense in augmenting a purpose-designed mechanized force with light infantry, which is the one thing the Balts are not short of; the Piranha/Stryker might be the best compromise if any common ground can be found between both variants (would give the US a shot too).

 

Otherwise I was thinking of making this a pure tank brigade with appropriate artillery and support units. Again, it might be better to e.g. settle on M109 rather than PzH 2000, if cross-training between the vastly different versions of the former could be practically handled. Obviously burden-sharing and reliable rotation rosters would be crucial; I'm not yet done with looking at what nation could afford to deploy personnel for what category how often, including how much units of system shared with others they have, and if the commitments for members whose main orientation is towards NATO's southern flank should be lessened (or the Greek with their vast Leopard 2 fleet could find themselves deploying more than Germany), etc.


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#45 Simon Tan

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 1044 AM

Looks like......RusAm.


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#46 bd1

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 1444 PM

How prepared are the baltics to fight a defensive war against Russia? I mean, all those reserve infantry battalions, how ready are they and how well are they equiped? What is the situation with AT weapons? Are there defences? The Baltic armies are obviously incapable of waging a maneuver war, without tanks or SP artillery, and dubious air defence.

badly.

the most basic equipment came from sweden, when they disbanded one defence region and donated all it´s equipment to baltic states, a brigade set each. and that includes tents,trucks, webbing etc, large amount 120mm mortars too. plus swedish 90mm rcl, demolition equipment, etc..

the mapats estonia has, is little in numbers and old - currently 19 years. due to small numbers, will probably dropped soon. milan ought to be upgraded. and new atgm is in plans, latest by 2017 iirc.

 

i seriously doubt i will ever see a fighter plane in our colours, nasams is in the wishlist. but the problem is that while we´ve kept us percentagewise on not too bad level , the real gdp has shrunk during the crisis, so our def. budget took a huge loss 2008 and is struggling upwards. the cancellation of previous def. plans, incl. 4 defence regions (practically large inf. brigades+ spt) , and trying to raise the standing second inf. brigade is purely monetary issue

 

 

 the real problem is not only the atgms or manpads, which is problem that can be solved relatively quickly- 1-2 years, but the differences that make us not very compatible. if estonia trains 2500-3000 men yearly and has technically reserve that approaches 80-90000 (technically only!) and we here are largerly arguing about technicalities, how to clobber together quick-reaction units - second professional batallion? or volunteers of Defence League? , then latvia and lithuania are in deep confusion about their choices , have no internal consensus about the future or spending .


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#47 BansheeOne

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 1003 AM

I've been identifying reasonably far-spread common equipment within NATO members and trying to develop a rotational scheme for that multi-national Baltic Brigade of mine, based more upon how many active units in various armed forces use it rather than total system numbers since the basic idea is to have as many nations as possible contribute.

 

Obviously this makes the Leopard 2 the most commonly used MBT. As a bonus, there are still enough extra stocks around in various countries to store two battalion sets in the Baltic countries for crews to fall in on during their nation's rotation.

 

- Canada: Out of the various vehicles they acquired, apparently the plan is to have 40 A4M CAN and 19 A6M CAN deployable by three squadrons. Call it a battalion's worth for comparison purposes.

 

- Denmark: 57 A5 DK partially equipping two combined arms battalions; again, a battalion's worth for our purpose.

 

- Norway: 52 A4 NO being upgraded to A 5 standard, equipping another single battalion.

 

- Portugal: 37 A6, a rather weak additional battalion.

 

- Germany: 225 A6 will remain to eqip four active battalions (plus two reserve, but not counting those here).

 

- Poland: 128 A4 currently equipping two battalions with another 14 plus 105 A5 coming in, all to be brought to a common PL standard. I understand another brigade will be equipped with those for a total of four battalions.

 

- Spain: 108 A4 and 219 A6+ equipping four battalions, and partially equipping two cavalry regiments; make it five battalion's worth.

 

- Greece: 183 A4 and 170 A6 HEL equipping six battalions as far as I see.

 

- Turkey: 354 A4, so make it another six battalions.

 

We can thus assign the one-battalion nations a basic rotation factor of one deployment per cycle, the four-battalion forces of four, etc.; however, as mentioned other factors come into play. It makes little sense for the Norwegians to deploy all the crews of their only tank battalion to the Baltics with the expectation to deter possible Russian action when they're sharing a border with Russia themselves. The Greek and Turks have the largest tank fleets mostly because they're staring at each other, so they're probably not willing to take the largest share of deployments at the other end of Europe.

 

So I thought the Danes and Norwegians might get a joint factor of one while swapping some companies between them; i.e., if the Danes deploy, they get a Norwegian company attached, and in turn a Danish company is sent to Norway for some joint exercises. The same could be done between Spain and Portugal for a joint factor of six, bringing them on par with Greece and Turkey; then we roundly reduce all the southern members to a factor of two each, half that of the big northern members, since their traditional role is on NATO's southern flank anyway. We therefore get:

 

Germany - 4

Poland - 4

Greece - 2

Spain/Portugal - 2

Turkey - 2

Canada - 1

Denmark/Norway - 1

 

Total of 16 deployments, which with two battalions on three-month tours at any time makes for a nice round two-year cycle. This means Germany and Poland each send personnel twice a year, the southern members once, and Canada and the Scandinavians once every two years, which sounds doable.

 

Now for some mechanized infantry. After some deliberation I found that if you consider the Stryker a variant of the Piranha III, it becomes a rather common system, particularly since it gets the US involved in a big way. I would have preferred an actual IFV, but types are very insular, and this is a mostly political exercise anyway; so this will be rather basic APCs with .50/40 mm OWS plus mortar carriers etc., which should be familiar enough for the personnel of various nations to fall in on:

 

- Belgium: The Piranha IIIC will equip four mechanized infantry battalions.

 

- Canada: As far as I can see, the LAV III equips four active infantry battalions. Though it has a 25 mm turret, adaption should be little problem.

 

- Denmark: The Piranha IIIC and H is partially equipping another four mechanized infantry battalions; while those also use the CV 9035 and M113, internal cross-training of personnel in preparation of deployments should be doable.

 

- Romania: They are listed with about 30 Piranha IIIC, but my Romanian is not good enough to see what they're used for; the number is too low for even a battalion of APCs, and apparently they have a domestic 8x8 development program to replace their fleet of locally-built BTR variants - though that might in fact be Piranha-derived.

 

- Spain: 39 Piranha IIIC are partially equipping a mechanized amphibious battalion of their Marines.

 

- US: After the current drawdown, there will be eight Stryker BCTs with a total of 24 infantry battalions.

 

Obviously as soon as the US gets in, they blanket everybody else with unit numbers. Assigning the four-battalion forces a deployment factor of one, Spain and Romania don't even show up while the US gets a six. With a single infantry battalion in the brigade, that means a cycle of 9 x 3 = 27 months, but it might be better to conform to the two-year cycle of the armor units. That would mean:

 

US - 5

Belgium - 1

Canada - 1

Denmark - 1

 

There is the minor question if Canada and Denmark would deploy their armor and infantry contributions together for greater coherence and easier logistics, or if more importance is put on having as many different nations present as possible at any time. So far we have left out several major NATO members anyway due to lack of common equipment; of course artillery and various support troops are still missing, but it gets rather worse with commonality there. Contrary to my first thought, the M109 is not more widely-used than PzH 2000, it's just that the former has higher numbers in service - again with the US, but also Greece and to a lesser extent Spain and Italy, while many other nations have phased out their SPHs completely.

 

- Norway: 14 A3, a single battalion's worth.

 

- Portugal: 14 out of 18 upgraded to A5, another single battalion's worth.

 

- Italy: After 2016, 64 domestic L variants remain in two battalions.

 

- Spain: 96 A5 are equipping four army battalions, plus six A2 in the Marines.

 

- Greece: 84 A2, 273 A3 and 12 A5 are equipping at least ten, possibly twelve battalions.

 

- US: After downsizing, ten HBCTs with one battalion of A6 each remain; I also find two additional battalions in III Corps Artillery.

 

Variants are widely disparate; I'm not sure the US A6 could even be called the same system as the A3 anymore. It might be possible to agree on a battalion set of A5s to be stocked for the Baltic Brigade, but after discarding the idea of one battery each of either, overall I tend towards PzH 2000 not just because it's more capable, but because it would bring some additional nations in rather than taxing some of the small and southern members above even more:

 

- Croatia: Currently negotiating about 18 to be delivered starting this year, one battalion's worth.

 

- Netherlands: one active battalion of 18.

 

- Greece: 24, one battalion's worth.

 

- Italy: 70 equipping two battalions.

 

- Germany: four battalions by current plans; if we follow my earlier revised OOB, it would be six, though one might be inactive.

 

Fitting that into our two-year cycle might look like this:

 

Germany - 4

Italy/Croatia - 2

Greece - 1

Netherlands - 1

 

Again, the Greeks and Germans could rotate at the same time as their tank contributions, or not. Finally, a battery of MLRS is never amiss, fairly easily distributed and at last bringing in the British and French who hold the most after the US and, with some distance, Germany:

 

US - 5

UK - 1

Germany - 1

France - 1

 

We're still lacking some stuff like engineers, reconnaissance, air defense and logistics, but those are the major building blocks. I might look at the rest later.


Edited by BansheeOne, 03 June 2014 - 0618 AM.

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#48 sunday

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 1425 PM

Very interesting, please continue.


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#49 mnm

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 1547 PM


- Portugal: 37 A6, a rather weak additional battalion.

 

Why so dismissive? Good intentions, that's what counts!   portugal.gif


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#50 BansheeOne

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 1741 PM

Well, that's 37 tanks more than the Netherlands and Belgium combined have these days.


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#51 RETAC21

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 1420 PM

Well, that's 37 tanks more than the Netherlands and Belgium combined have these days.

 

Time to finish some pending business then:

 

Vel%C3%A1zquez_-_de_Breda_o_Las_Lanzas_(

 

:D


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#52 mnm

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Posted 01 June 2014 - 0852 AM

Here, let me hold your coat!

 

(every time they're looking that way, they won't be looking this way)

 

:lol:


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#53 swerve

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 0904 AM

 

Well, that's 37 tanks more than the Netherlands and Belgium combined have these days.

 

Time to finish some pending business then:

 

Vel%C3%A1zquez_-_de_Breda_o_Las_Lanzas_(

 

:D

 

Scrapping your aircraft carrier was very badly timed.  :P


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#54 sunday

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 0912 AM

Here, let me hold your coat!

 

(every time they're looking that way, they won't be looking this way)

 

:lol:

 

Tell me again how was that repelling of the Dutch invasion of Brazil...


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#55 BansheeOne

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 0536 AM

Nato to consider longer term response to Ukraine crisis

 

Members of 28 nation alliance disagree on stationing of troops in Eastern Europe

Nato defence ministers will consider today what longer term steps the alliance needs to take to bolster its eastern defences and improve its ability to respond to the unorthodox tactics used by Russia in Ukraine.

 

In the three months since the Ukraine crisis erupted, the US-dominated alliance has sent fighter planes and ships and stepped up military exercises to reassure eastern European allies alarmed by Russia’s actions, while making clear it has no intention of intervening militarily in Ukraine.

 

At a meeting in Brussels today, defence ministers from the 28 Nato members will look at longer term measures to strengthen alliance defences in eastern Europe and consider how to combat the tactics used by Russia in Ukraine, which one senior military officer described as “half insurgency, half deliberate destabilisation.”

 

“It is ... clear to the alliance that this is the most severe challenge to stability in Europe since the end of the Cold War,” the US ambassador to Nato, Douglas Lute, told reporters yesterday.

 

Poland has been calling loudly for Nato to permanently station forces on its territory in response to Russia’s actions, a move that Moscow says would violate a 1997 agreement between Russia and Nato.

 

Nato’s top military commander, US Air Force Gen Philip Breedlove, said last month that Nato would have to consider permanently stationing troops in Eastern Europe. But some Nato allies argue that permanent basing of large numbers of troops in the east is too expensive, not a military necessity and needlessly provocative to Moscow.

 

They argue that Nato can deter Russia by increasing its ability to react quickly to a crisis. This could be done by pre-positioning equipment in eastern Europe and being ready to send reinforcements there quickly.

 

Such measures could form part of a “readiness action plan” that Nato secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen wants Nato leaders to adopt at a summit in Wales in September.

 

The United States is also likely to drive home its case for Nato to reverse a slide in defence spending since the start of the 2008 financial crisis. Meanwhile, Russia has been sharply increasing its military spending.

 

“We need to reverse the trend of the last six years on defence spending,” Mr Lute said.

 

One part of Nato’s plans is likely to be an agreement to upgrade the readiness of a Nato headquarters in Poland, that of the Multinational Corps Northeast set up by Poland, Germany and Denmark in Szczecin.

 

The headquarters is likely to get more staff and equipment so it could take charge of any reinforcement effort needed in Eastern Europe.

 

[...]

 

http://www.irishtime...risis-1.1818609

 

NATO Defense Ministers Meeting on Russia Challenge

 
BRUSSELS June 3, 2014 (AP)
 
By JOHN-THOR DAHLBURG Associated Press

 

With the Kremlin watching carefully, NATO defense ministers gathered Tuesday for the first time since the Ukraine crisis, and top of the agenda is how to react long-term to Russia's new military capabilities and its willingness to use them.

 

The two-day meeting in Brussels is supposed to help set the stage for the U.S.-led alliance's summit meeting in Wales. NATO has already taken some immediate steps to react to Moscow's military occupation and annexation of Crimea.

 

"We need to make NATO fitter, faster and more flexible," the alliance's secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told reporters as the meeting opened.

 

Alliance officials said the ministers would consider longer-term responses, including an action readiness plan, a stepped-up schedule for military exercises and the possibility of additional deployments. In pre-meeting briefings, officials from NATO countries said a whole array of possibilities are on the table, including stocking military equipment in alliance member countries close to Russia and shuttling NATO troops in and out to take part in exercises.

 

On Monday, Russia's envoy to NATO met with Rasmussen and ambassadors from the alliance's 28 member countries, and according to news reports, later said Moscow may take military countermeasures if NATO decides on major deployments in Eastern or Central Europe.

 

"All this could cast Europe back to the days of the Cold War and launch an arms race," Russian Ambassador Alexander Grushko was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

 

"We shall wait and see what the ministers decide," he was quoted as saying.

 

NATO officials said actual decisions will likely have to wait for the alliance heads of state and government meeting in September. To prepare for the summit, the ministers are also scheduled to discuss defense spending and the future of Afghanistan following the end of NATO-led military operations this December. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is attending the meeting for the United States.

 

http://abcnews.go.co...llenge-23969470


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#56 mnm

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 0727 AM

 

Here, let me hold your coat!

 

(every time they're looking that way, they won't be looking this way)

 

:lol:

 

Tell me again how was that repelling of the Dutch invasion of Brazil...

 

 

That one was easy, we told them they had an entire island just for them 'oop North' with their name on it already and off they went. What clinched it was when we told them it had only a few injuns and gringos, so no Catholics pestering about at all :lol:


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#57 sunday

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 0920 AM

 

 

Here, let me hold your coat!

 

(every time they're looking that way, they won't be looking this way)

 

:lol:

 

Tell me again how was that repelling of the Dutch invasion of Brazil...

 

 

That one was easy, we told them they had an entire island just for them 'oop North' with their name on it already and off they went. What clinched it was when we told them it had only a few injuns and gringos, so no Catholics pestering about at all :lol:

 

 

Seems legit. :)


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#58 ink

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 0417 AM


 

For a small chunk of territory nobody, not even the Ukrainians, really wanted, this doesn't strike me as much of a success.

 

 

What that small chunk of territory that has the Russian navy's only viable warm-water port in the west, significant off-shore hydrocarbon reserves, the only vaguely reasonable summer tourist locations in Russia, is conveniently positioned close to the underwater path of South Stream and has a population that largely consider themselves to be Russian?

And all this without basically a shot being fired and a few sanctions the rest of the world is likely to relatively quickly forget about.

Looks alright to me.
 


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#59 swerve

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 0516 AM

The only vaguely reasonable summer tourist locations? Russia has a fair bit of Black Sea coast without Crimea, & effective control of more. The Russian part has resorts, & plenty of scope for developing more.


Edited by swerve, 06 June 2014 - 0516 AM.

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#60 BansheeOne

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 0603 AM

Okay. Expansive debates about the justice or injustice of either side's motivation: main Ukraine thread. This thread: possible consequences of the current conflict for military posture in Europe. Thank you.


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