Ukraine Intercepting Russian Soldiers’ Cell Phone Calls

They’re using commercial phones, which go through the Ukrainian telecom network:

“You still have a lot of soldiers bringing cellphones to the frontline who want to talk to their families and they are either being intercepted as they go through a Ukrainian telecommunications provider or intercepted over the air,” said Alperovitch. “That doesn’t pose too much difficulty for the Ukrainian security services.”


“Security has always been a mess, both in the army and among defence officials,” the source said. “For example, in 2013 they tried to get all the staff at the ministry of defence to replace our iPhones with Russian-made Yoto smartphones.

“But everyone just kept using the iPhone as a second mobile because it was much better. We would just keep the iPhone in the car’s glove compartment for when we got back from work. In the end, the ministry gave up and stopped caring. If the top doesn’t take security very seriously, how can you expect any discipline in the regular army?”

This isn’t a new problem and it isn’t a Russian problem. Here’s a more general article on the problem from 2020.

Posted on December 21, 2022 at 7:09 AM53 Comments


Clive Robinson December 21, 2022 9:30 AM

@ ALL,

As I said just a day or two ago[1] int the “How to surrender to a drone” thread,

“Heck if I were the Ukranians I’d be dropping pairs of clean socks and bread rolls on the Russians not handgrenades… Even mobile phones with free minutes to phone home.

Why because for most soldiers the two things they want to do most are,

1, Stay healthy.
2, Go home to their loved ones.”

The fact that such “free phones” would enable lots and lots of phone calls from those soldiers…

“Of course never crossed my mind;-)”

Like our host @Bruce, I’ve been in this game for quite some time, and actually was involved with the design of certain aspects of what we now call “Mobile Phones”, and back then in the 1980’s “Cellular phones” (from Racal). It was trying to get data communications across them. Which these days is now their primary.

I discussed what I did and the issues back when every one was getting “hyped” about “jackpair”[2] voice encryptor that I gather failed for exactly the reasons I predicted. Hey ho…

For those wanting to do “voice encryption” these days, learn the lesson and use the “data” not “voice” channel…

After all how hard would it be to design a hardware “USB” dongle these days?



Pell December 21, 2022 10:14 AM

US military, NSA and CIA have been collecting raw cellfone data for a year; no need for direct access to Ukraine cellfone exchanges.

Ukraine conflict is a vast bonanza for US Intelligence services; much is shared with Ukraine government.

Ted December 21, 2022 11:11 AM

From The Guardian:

The former Kremlin official said Putin was learning the hard way that his army was in dire need of modernisation and that the top-down Soviet style model was not fit for purpose.

The book Chip War has a chapter dedicated to Directorate T – a KGB division established in 1963 to “acquire” foreign technology. Unfortunately, or fortunately you could say, the USSR’s copy-it strategy of theft and replication only served to enforce a continued technological lag. Soviet military leaders were never assured of a steady supply of quality chips and “so they minimized the use of electronics and computers in military systems.” It appears you could argue their “teknologia” hasn’t gotten a whole lot better.

Winter December 21, 2022 11:50 AM

For example, in 2013 they tried to get all the staff at the ministry of defence to replace our iPhones with Russian-made Yoto smartphones

This is not about “failing security”. The root cause of this mess is the trueism that a countries army is not better than its economy.[1]

Russia is a Kleptocracy that has no big industrial sector and a miserable, corrupt administration. Basically, nothing works in Russia. The army of such a state will reflect the society. And it shows. Nothing actually works in the army as in it’s economy. Its army is little more than an uncoordinated horde with guns.

If nothing works, it’s phones won’t work either, nor it’s security in general.

[1] The Power of Nations: Measuring What Matters

Economic Development and Military Effectiveness

Canis familiaris December 21, 2022 12:12 PM

If Ukraine were to set up base-stations along the front-line that allowed free calls, even if the phone has no SIM inserted, to Russia (to talk to relatives and/or friends) and Ukraine (to access the surrender hotline) it could be advantageous for intelligence gathering.

I am wondering why Ukraine has not deployed GNSS jamming/misdirection in much the same way that Russia immediately deployed it after the cruise missile/drone attack on the Dyagilevo and Engels/Engels-2 airbases. If the Iranian Shahed 136/Geran-2 drones use GNSS, it seems like a cheap way to misdirect them away from critical infrastructure.

JonKnowsNothing December 21, 2022 1:16 PM


re: Basically, nothing works in Russia

Actually, things do work in Russia and the Russian people know how to work the system. They have done so for a long time. A historically long time.

In the West, we only consider our current memory-time, given our preference for western industrial technology and life style.

It is clear the West has never been able to work the Russian system, not now and not historically, even with help of various Russian based groups.

We don’t get it. They do.

fwiw: A historical reminder from the USA.

It is only in recent memory that 2 things happened, regarding Russia, to change our national view. Prior to these 2 events, Russia under the Tsars, was an ally of the USA and had some important impact on the early USA fight against the Monarchy of Great Britain and the American Civil War.

Event 1: The Start of WW1
Event 2: The End of WW2

After Event 2, nearly nothing was allowed inside the USA that contained information about Russia and the post-WW2 configuration. Not too many Americans could name even a few regions of Russia, any more than we can name the 6 counties of Northern Ireland for which 600 years of warfare have not “Settled the Irish Problem” for very long. The current BREXIT business looks to overturn the apple cart on the current configuration.

Since Event 2, the US is hampered by a particular way of thinking that is not compatible with reality or 12 timezones.

iAPX December 21, 2022 1:26 PM

There’s a total disregard for OpSec and it comes from the top.
A lot of country leaders and also military leaders keep their own smartphones, and a lot have been spied on through it. This is ubiquitous.

It’s the human factor: soldiers are humans, in this case in very harsh conditions, they absolutely need to get in touch with family and friend, to stay human, and their army doesn’t offer them the tools needed for that.

So they use their own BYOD smartphone, and it’s a total OpSec failure.

It all comes from disregard by commandment to their very human nature, their need to stay in touch with their beloved one, and also their disregard for cybersecurity OpSec.

Clive Robinson December 21, 2022 3:07 PM

@ iAPX,

Re : Brutality of command

“It’s the human factor: soldiers are humans, in this case in very harsh conditions, they absolutely need to get in touch with family and friend, to stay human, and their army doesn’t offer them the tools needed for that.”

It’s not a case of “offer” but “deny”.

It’s part of the “Mother Russia” nonsense. From the most junior levels of NCO’s and Officers the way to rise in the ranks is via inhuman brutality to those below and the facilitating of corruption.

Nobody can get a boot repaired without paying someone off. You want a hair cut that leaves you looking normalish, well that’s a status symbol for which you have to oay pay pay. You want the uniform you should be issued with, well you have to first bribe your way out of camp, then know who to bribe who might have what you want… And for which you will get beaten badly by NCO’s if you don’t.

This is normal, there is no way they want you to talk to home, untill they have either broken you or you have proved you are worse and more scary than they are…

It’s the way it’s been for atleast three hundred years, peobavly a kot more.

That is “The Russian Way” in many of their view points, what you take you own. You see similar in prisons.

Apparently in one Russian prison the way to eat was to cut off somebodies leg muscles and eat those… Cannibalism is the peasent way when times are hard…

iAPX December 21, 2022 3:21 PM


One thing I appreciated from US Army, for their soldiers, was the way they created communication channels, surveyed and curated if necessary, between troops and their beloved ones.

Wether it was for soldiers deployed abroad or in a vessel (Yes, Tor!) this is humanist and understanding that they are human, with human nature and human social needs.

As an ex-military, that witnessed weeks without access to phone to be able to communicates with my beloved ones, my friends, my business partners, anyone, what the US Army created was an incredible link, that made their soldiers stronger by keeping them rooted. Not weaker, stronger instead!

So this is a fail for Russian Army, Russian OpSec, because they mistreat their own soldiers.
It’s a very interesting lesson!

David in Toronto December 21, 2022 9:32 PM

Even having the pings off the towers would be extremely useful. Even if the phones aren’t on all the time, it is still useful. Suggests some tactics.

Clive Robinson December 21, 2022 9:35 PM

@ iAPX,

Re : Issolation and behaviour.

“what the US Army created was an incredible link, that made their soldiers stronger by keeping them rooted. Not weaker, stronger instead!”

You indirectly bring up a point that has been made by philosophers and later those reasoning about the functioning of the human mind.

It’s now a reasonably well established notion that closed groups form their own social norms, even when still within a larger social environment. We tend to call this “Group Think”.

We know that group think tends to polarise around the veiws of the dominant member(s) of a group.

Also the more issolated a group the faster group think develops.

What has not been muched talked about is the nature of group think. We know it can become “them v us” extrodinarily quickly, but less is said as to if it is “competitive v antagonistic”.

I’ve not been closely involved with the research for some time now, but when I was, it was as far as that I could see, that it depended on two things,

1, The personality types of the dominant members.
2, The level of contact with greater society.

The first pushed the group think away from greater society norms, the latter pulled it back towards greater society norms.

Therefor the question arises as to,

“How fast and far will social norms move when a group is nolonger in contact with a greater society?”

The answer from disasters tends to suggest both fast and extream.

Thus both murder and cannibalism and open selling of body parts for food is well established.

Likewise the idea of group hierarchical status.

Anthropological studies into prison gangs and child soldiers suggest that resource control such as food becomes the tool of control, but it is very much strengthand by issolation.

Further evidence suggests that the average human craves social contact. Issolation gives only the local group and it’s group think thus the strong desire to fit in.

From a military perspective if you want your forces to behave in line with the greater social group morals then the more contact they have with it the better.

If you however want your forces to behave in a different way to greater society than the less contact they have with it the better.

In essence it was the “Religious differences” that gave rise to the exodus of protestants from Europe to the North Americas.

We still see this today in what are called “cults” or “extreamist” religious views being regarded as “Domestic Terrorism”.

Almost always the common denominator is lack of social contact with the greater social group. This is irrespective of if by choice or forced exclusion.

Thus the social sciences were arguing that much of the violance we see could be removed or limited simply by preventing social segregation / isolationism.

Experiments carried out in the US showed that reducing segregation and isolationism had not just good social out comes it also significantly reduced criminal behaviour, to the point it saved society significantly by not requiring significant numbers of prisons and the monumetal costs involved.

As these experiments started showing positive results “hard line” politicians demanded that they be shut down and the resources diverted to towards increasing prison populations, and black-uniform para-military policing. Thus further increasing crime thus arguing for more spending diversions towards “tough on crime” and the decimation of the greater society into groups that then had differential spending on the likes of education and social support at the primary and junior levels.

I leave it to others to do their own more contemporary research and draw their own conclusions as to why Russia military doctrine is very much towards the issolation even in peace time of military personnel from greater society, and the Russian political doctrine of fragmentation of greater society into more issolated grouping forced by resource control and importantly reduced and heavily controled communications.

Clive Robinson December 21, 2022 10:19 PM

@ David in Toronto,

Re : Ping intel.

“Even if the phones aren’t on all the time, it is still useful.”

Actually more than usefull, it shows things like shift changes and similar, that are highly amenable to various forms of “traffic analysis”

Remember it’s not just the “pings” that happen when you turn on a phone it’s all that “push” of SMS, Missed Call and similar, as well as “pull” of applications starting up such as email, and news, weather, and similar, even RSS and social media meta-data gives vast amounts of actionable intel.

@ ALL,

As many are aware there is a trend towards “Dr-centralized Social Media” happening in recent times.

This gives like minded groups greater autonomy. The first indicators in the US MSM was with what some described as “alt-right” others called “extreamist” and others “Patriotic” etc.

The result a degree of “political affiliation” could be “seen by IP-address” which put “Internet Service Providers”(ISPs) back in the “Personal and Identifing data game”

Likewise hobbies and interests via links to blogs IP-addresses but also those newish kids on the block,

1, Discord
2, Mastadon
3, P2P message apps

The IP-addresses meta-data gives much finer grained “Traffic Analysis” intel than Face-crook or Twits etc.

Worse it is “easy meat” for Law Enforcment to get thus will no doubt over the coming months and year or two come up increasingly in “prosecution argument” towards criminal intent / background / personality etc.

Worse “small instance” providers can not aford the legal teams to rebuf the likes of the FBI and DoJ and similar that “large instance” providers can. To see this you might want to look up what happened to Lavabit’s Ladar Levison, and Apple’s Tim Cook respectively with their run-ins with the FBI/DoJ psycho/sociopaths.

Thor Challenger December 21, 2022 10:26 PM

Unfortunately foe the truth of this story, Russia banned all cell phone use on the battlefield by its soldiers from the get-go.

Any phones being intercepted might be from the Donbass militias, although now that they are integrated into the Russian military, they might be banned as well.

Nothing you read in the MSM about Ukraine is correct – especially if it comes from the Institute for the Study of War which is a neocon front run relative of Victoria Nuland, the State Department official who oversaw the overthrow of Victor Yanukovich back in 2014 which started the entire conflict.

If you want accurate information, follow The Duran and The New Atlas on Youtube, and the Moon of Alabama blog.

1&1~=2 December 21, 2022 11:53 PM

@Thor Challenger : ‘If you want accurate information, follow The Duran and The New Atlas on Youtube, and the Moon of Alabama blog.’

Are you for real or just Trolling?

Of Moon of Alabama, to quote from a report from a few days back (12/12 !1),

“In this update, we find that Moon of Alabama has become sympathetic toward Russia and the war in Ukraine, often citing misinformation. For example, in this article they claim a false flag Neo-Nazis In Ukraine Fake Incidents To Gain More ‘Western’ Support – Updated. Media credibility rater Newsguard has detailed an extensive list of false and misleading claims regarding Ukraine. Generally, Moon of Alabama is a pro-Russian conspiracy website.

If people want to know a little more about the phone calls home by Russian soldiers,


Winter December 22, 2022 3:31 AM


Nothing you read in the MSM about Ukraine is correct – especially if it comes from the Institute for the Study of War

I have two simple rules to evaluate news about the war in Ukraine:
1) Has the report or source been confirmed now and in the past

2) Does the report or source give agency to the people involved

So, anyone claiming the people of Ukraine were not party in political changes of their country is instantly disqualified (2). Anyone disclaiming a source that has always been accurate in reporting, like the ISW, is also immediately disqualified (1)

You do both, so you are utterly untrustworthy. Aka, a troll pedaling disinformation.

Winter December 22, 2022 5:16 AM


After Event 2, nearly nothing was allowed inside the USA that contained information about Russia and the post-WW2 configuration.

I live in Europe. We did get a lot of information about the USSR, as well as about changes after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

And the system did not “work”. Productivity was and is low. In the USSR, the value of industrial production was lower than the value of the resources used. That is, exporting the raw materials would have earned them more than the finished products were worth.

In the 1990s, the mob was preferred over the police as being more reliable and less greedy. That changed after the mob was incorporated in the power structures. Everything is corrupt in Russia. The Russian Orthodox church is one of the pillars of the Kleptocracy.[1]

Russians can work the system, but it eats their time and money, and the results are still sub-par.

[1] Beautifully described in the movie Leviathan

Clive Robinson December 22, 2022 8:25 PM

@ Winter, JonKnowsNothing,

Re : Religion and Power.

“Everything is corrupt in Russia. The Russian Orthodox church is one of the pillars of the Kleptocracy.”

It’s been noted a few times on this site that there is an equivalence to nominally representative politicians and churchmen such as Bishops.

In the UK for instance there is what many would consider an unhealthy relationship between the actual head of state via the executive (Prime Minister) and Church of England Bishops. Essentially the church gets to put a number of candidate bishops up for “life peer” seats in the House of Lords (so called “revising house”). In return the PM of the day gets to select the candidate who gets the seat.

Oddly in a “very British way” it normally actually works…

The excuse in the UK goes back as I mention from time to time to “The King Game” and the Estates of man. Under older style monarchies the monarch claimed to be the earthly end of a direct conduit to “god”. Obviously this pretty much enabled the monarch to say what they liked and evade any responsability via the old “He told me to do it” excuse (previously monarchs had claimed to be gods themselves, only they all to often ended up “getting removed from office” rather pointedly every time a natural disaster occurred).

Obviously as the end of the conduit was a mortal the words of god needed to be treated with caution and “wise council”. Which is where “the men in frocks” trot in… The words of the monarch could only be heard by a tiny number of people, so the message had to be got out to the people and the Bishops via the clergy provided that service to an otherwise illiterate populous, including often the monarch and the Barons. And of course “the words” got interpreted along the way, to more or less what a Bishop might deem appropriate…

Knowing this it’s not hard to see how politicians and the media replaced a function previously carried out by the Church that effectively got marginalized or “cast out into the desert” depending on your point of view.

Now with traditional main stream media actually on the wain due to significant technology advancments in communications. It’s created what is in effect a “power vacuum” which is filled by Social Media and the “echo chambers” it quite profitably creates, with a near endless supply of effectively biased or faked news to keep people as sources of profit and many encoraged into polarized views or worse extremism of one kind or another, as it keeps the money flowing in.

The thing is Social Media Corps only care about profit for their shareholders etc. They care not a jot about ethics, morals, social norms, or the harms Social Media under their stewardship creates (data suggests teenage girls depression and suicide can be causally linked to the data bandwidth they use on social media).

The thing is religion in it’s many guises sees this power vacuum as advantageous as a way to regain lost status and power thus control.

Whilst the large Silicon Valley Corps have to a certain extent played them against each other thus “kept religion off the grass” that to is changing. Social media under political direction has had to take a degree of responsability for faux news and worse, thus they have been forced into banning people and organisations. Unfortunately like most idiot ideas from politicians it’s not just badly thought out, it’s actually quite predictably backfired and made the problem worse, a lot worse. What it has done is cause social media to become “fragmented” and technology has made it easy to do.

So now any nut-bar religious or otherwise can set up their own social media hub to “preach to the choir” as it were, what ever message they want. Like a ring of toadstools it does not matter how much you cut back what you can see above ground, it’s what goes on underground that keeps it going, growing, spreading and capturing more territory.

However certain “evangelistic” organisations that so expertly manipulated Television last century to gain vast income, status, power and control have realised that being their own Social Media Barrons is even more profitable, and very very much less subject to any kind of oversight…

So it’s not hard to see with a little thought that various religious organisations see a golden renaissance, where they get money, status, power and control, unimaginable to people just a decade or so ago…

This should quite frankly scare people, as it’s going to bring amoungst other things the use of social control as not just a political weapon but a personal one as well… A new form of “Witch Trials” will inevitably follow as they almost always do with any cult society.

It’s not a pretty view of our future, but unless people wake up and “Stop sleepwalking into the trap” than I can not currently see any way to avoid it.

JonKnowsNothing December 22, 2022 9:38 PM

@Winter, @Clive, All

Re : Religion and Power.

“Everything is corrupt in Russia. The Russian Orthodox church is one of the pillars of the Kleptocracy.” </i>

The “church” or “religion” is far deeper than just the mouthpiece for the political views of the periods. It may echo the current views but the human need for such institutions extends beyond the rhetoric. Such institutions do not necessarily have a single deity or even a defined deity.

You can feel it, when all alone, with no light, no heat, no fire, far from a city, or other people. In the darkness with no moon; on the coldest of nights. Look up. Look up to see. Many no longer see because they live in cities full of human toil, sweat, & sorrow. If you see, you will know … A solstice night is a good night.

Beware of trodding on someone’s religion.

Clive Robinson December 23, 2022 1:49 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing, Winter,

Re : Religion and Power.

It’s interesting that you say,

“You can feel it, when all alone, with no light, no heat, no fire, far from a city, or other people. In the darkness with no moon; on the coldest of nights.”

We are close to the night of St Stephen[1], on the 26th. It is what we now call “Boxing day” when lords and masters traditionaly served their servents for a day.

Which is a carry over from a much earlier Pagan Festival, where by use of a bean, or silver thrupence or in France a small ceramic figure of a king, in a Solstice celebratory dish a person was selected to be “King for a day” because at the breaking of light the day after, they were sacrificed to the fields so that a bountiful spring might follow.

As you say,

“Beware of trodding on someone’s religion.”

You might win, what you don’t want.

[1] Though not a King untill promoted after his death it is now the feast day of Wenceslas who ruled half of Czechoslovakia known and loved for his good works until slain by his younger brother. We still remember him in spirit via song,

“Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight,
Gath’ring winter fuel.”

Such full moon’s are known as “Aefterra Geola” / “after Yule” or “second Yule”, and it would technicaly be the “New Year” first full moon. If a little earlier on the solstic then it was “the Long Night Moon”. But occasionally they are also Super Moons.

Tradition has it that such nights are that of evil deeds and madness. Interestingly “psychologists” say there is no connection, but ask any nurse, doctor or policeman and they will assure you of the opposit. I know from having “stood stag” on such nights, they were those oft chosen for attacks as moon shadows on such nights are the deepest and sharpest, which strangly means you can see less.

Winter December 23, 2022 4:08 AM


The “church” or “religion” is far deeper than just the mouthpiece for the political views of the periods.

The separation of politics and religion is a late development. In all empires or nations throughout history, the Capo dei Capi, king, or emperor was an incarnation or son/representative of the ruling deity.

It is more or less the central thesis of the work of Yuval Harari that humans organised around “religious” stories about the just order of the universe. Even if this universe was just the tribe or village you were living in.

All over Eurasia, the “church” owned 30+% of everything (the gentry owning ~40%).[1]

Yes, religion was and is powerful.

[1] ‘

JonKnowsNothing December 23, 2022 10:22 AM

@Clive, All

re: nights [of] madness. Interestingly “psychologists” say there is no connection

In California, where we have a modicum of better health care than other states, and a modicum of better mental health care for the public, our Mental Health systems go on High Alert during this period. Everyone is pulling extra shifts and on-call, is right-now.

It is thought that a variety of factors make this time one of the worst for crisis situations.

  • Cold
  • Short Days
  • Long Nights
  • Isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Despair
  • Health Issues
  • Hunger
  • Grief

The list goes on.

JonKnowsNothing December 23, 2022 10:56 AM

@Winter, Clive, All

re: Religious Hierarchies and Religion of the Spirit

Do not confuse the difference between Religious Hierarchies, which are as you describe, and the innate inner workings of “spirit or cosmos” on the human psyche. These are no where near close to each other. Although the former claims inheritance and control from the latter.

It is a human characteristic, no matter where you are or how you grew up or what your education is. This is far deeper than trivial externals.

Animals are well aware of time. They know the turning of Times Cycle and sometimes Times Arrow. They know the long nights lead to warm days. They learn and teach each other the paths to lush pastures and calving grounds. They fly tirelessly over the ocean to reach distant nesting sites where they were hatched. They arrive at spawning grounds At The Right Time. Some animals are aware of Times Arrow; they sense when they are going to die. Some animals have clear emotional memories of other’s death and carry them forward.

Animals do not Look Up.

Looking Up is not looking through a telescope. Being surrounded by family, friends and relatives, in warm rooms, having feast days. Working through puzzles and ciphers. Or any other aspect of modern life that exercises our brains.

Looking Up, the same way as you came into the world, and the same way you will go out, with nothing, is a uniquely human experience.

It has been described through eons in stories and myths. The stories are feeble memories. The myths describe the vague pathways of the mind.

Looking up does not always mean you See What’s There. Because it isn’t about What is There, it is about What is Inside. Humans are cruel, nasty creatures. We try not to Look Up. We know what’s inside and it frightens us. Looking Up is a human experience. Not a humane one. A mind shattering one.

Only Humans Look Up.

Clive Robinson December 23, 2022 11:08 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing, Winter,

Re : lunitic times.

“The list goes on.”

I look down your list, and see all the things that have assulted man, since man existed.

But in our Western world we were supposed to have banished all but grief into the dark ages…

The reality is there are now more suffering them than at any previous point in history. So it raises the simple question of,


The answer to which I suspect is bound up with,

1, Self entitlement.
2, Greed.
3, No moral or ethical restraint.

By just a tiny few.

JonKnowsNothing December 23, 2022 11:44 AM

@Clive, Winter, All


The reality is there are now more suffering them than at any previous point in history.

The answer to which I suspect is bound up with,

1, Self entitlement.
2, Greed.
3, No moral or ethical restraint.

There was a recent MSM article in California about the number of homeless people in our state. We are currently experiencing a severe winter weather event across the country. Over the last 3 years of COVID, there have been a number of attempts to house the homeless but none have succeeded.

There are 3 reasons (at least)

1) Restrictions
2) Access
3) Funds

In that article it detailed how a huge building had been renovated specifically to provide housing in Los Angeles (the city of angels) to the homeless or houseless. Yet most of the building was unoccupied. There were a number of issues preventing people from having their own apartment.

a) Some rooms were barely bed-sits
b) Some rooms had no private toilets
c) Some rooms had no private showers
d) Some rooms had no kitchen or room for a microwave

Even so, it wasn’t until the end of the article that the nitty-gritty was revealed.

To get a room:

1) The person had to have a referral from Social Services
2) The referral was Means Tested (eg poor enough)
3) If you passed the Means Test, a second referral was made
4) The second referral was sent to a Social Housing Authority for evaluation

The problem was:

The Housing Authority dispensed the monthly rent to the building developer. The developer, even though philanthropic, required payment for the apartment. Since many of the apartments where unsuitable and the Housing Authority took months to approve the rent payment for the apartments that were suitable, the upshot was: The building remains vacant.

If you consider this going backwards:

  • If we require the poorest of people, those with no housing at all, to pay Rent, when they have no money to begin with, they will remain homeless.
  • If we require the redirection of meager support funds to pay for Rent, leaving the person with no funds to buy food, clothing and pay for their cell phones (1) they will remain homeless
  • What is the point of a Philanthropic Organization requiring Rent so high, that it must be approved by the Housing Authority?

I think @Clive’s 3 Points of Suffering are well summed up here.


1) There is a US government program to help pay for internet-cellphone connections for low income families. They get @ $30USD/month off their bill (internet or cellphone pick one). The person still has to pay the balance of the bill.

Recently it was reported that some people who did qualify for the program, were wrongly turned away by their service provider.

Denton Scratch December 23, 2022 12:27 PM


ISW is obviously connected with the US military establishment. Having said that, they cite their sources extensively, and their reports rely on publicly-available information. The information they provide is much more specific and accurate than the low-grade tripe that we get from the MSM. It’s also well set-about with caveats. If they make a mistake (they sometimes do), they retract.

Can you please substantiate your allegation of inaccuracy against ISW?

Winter December 23, 2022 1:23 PM

@Denton Scratch

Can you please substantiate your allegation of inaccuracy against ISW?

All the “substance” is in the axiom that everyone only says what their Master wants.

Those spreading propaganda believe everything is propaganda, those who are hired thugs think everyone is a hired thug.

In Russia you repeat what Putin says, if you do not, you are a hired American spy and you repeat what Biden says.

There is nothing else.

MarkH December 24, 2022 7:02 PM

From a 2017 piece on

This mirrors reports from Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have apparently begun to use data gathered from cyber attacks to threaten individual Ukrainian troops, their significant others, and their children. “Tactics such as this can have a tremendously negative psychological impact on young soldiers that are out of direct contact with their loved ones,” the Asymmetric Warfare Group noted in their December 2016 handbook.

Of course, this blade can cut in more than one direction.

MarkH January 4, 2023 6:08 AM

From the BBC, an official Russian government statement — about the New Year’s Day missile attack which killed a large number of Russian soldiers in Ukraine — says that a commission will investigate the calamity.

But the statement added

it is “already obvious” that the main cause of the attack was the presence and “mass use” of mobile phones by troops in range of Ukrainian weapons, despite this being banned

For those not familiar with regional culture, New Year’s Day has for generations been a bigger holiday than Christmas (a relic of Soviet times).

It’s predictable that soldiers would be more likely to phone home on such an occasion.

Clive Robinson January 4, 2023 8:00 AM

@ MarkH,

Of course the fact that Russia fired twenty odd missiles into civilian areas on New Years Day does not get the same sort of news…

Nor apparently that the site the “Ukranians allegedly single missile hit” was also used to store munitions in large quantaties, which might account for the level of devistation seen (that is it could have been a Russian doing the equivalant of “smoking where they should”).

Note the publication date of the first article,

I get the feeling the Russian leadership will blaim anyone but themselves for their own failings that are now both many and grevious…

MarkH January 4, 2023 3:21 PM


Excellent catch, of that pre-attack story of munitions storage!

Reportedly, there are numerous expressions of anger by Russians toward their own leadership for this disaster.

How convenient for the Kremlin to blame the dead.

Clive Robinson January 4, 2023 4:49 PM

@ MarkH, ALL,

There is more to the story comming through…

Apparently the Russians had heavy military vehicles and other equipment parked up and camouflaged, and the tracks of their repeated movments are clearly visable by drone…

So the chances are the Ukranians hit the target they were aiming for, ie the ammunition dump and vehicles.

And it was thevresulting explosion that leveled other buildings being used to house Russian soldiers.

Other reports from observers in the area suggest that the Russian conscripts were “tightly packed in” and potentially “under guard” to stop them deserting. So there could have been upto 700 military personnel on site at the time. With absolutly no air-raid or other precautions…

It’s interesting to note just how quickly Russians moved in to clear up the site before Western and other Jouranlists could get there.

As you note,

“How convenient for the Kremlin to blame the dead.”

There is an oldish saying of,

“Only history advocates for the dead, and then only if the winners see benifit to it.”

Thus probably the biggest casualty of this tragic but inevitable event may be “the truth” if Russia has it’s way.

I guess we will have to wait and see what comes out.

I guess the real question on the ground will be how will Russia change it’s strategy with regards the conscripts being held in no safety and with out much in the way of food, clothing, equipment, or training.

Another event like this will be hard for the regime to pass the blaim onto others, but if they let up on guarding the conscripts the very real possibility that they will desert will happen that close to the front.

Reducing the size of Russian encampments will make them not just harder to defend but give the Ukranians more potential targets to select and attack using smaller numbers of troops etc.

I would not like to be in the room with those conversations and decisions, as it’s “Damned if you do, bedeviled if you don’t”, either way chances are you will not see salvation, or die peacefully of old age.

JonKnowsNothing January 4, 2023 5:43 PM

@Clive, @MarkH, All

re: cellphones as targeting devices

Not so many years past, US General Michael Hayden, head of CIA, NSA, DNI and CNN commentator, famously informed the public that:

Cellphones are
* Warheads On Foreheads

That every app available on the planet
* is an opportunity to (fill in the blank)

The USA has been using this tech for prolly 20 years or more. We are famous or infamous about our use of cell data as targeting mechanisms for our drone warfare strikes. We aren’t overly worried about it when we target the wrong wedding party.

The French have the same ability iirc. Not sure the UKR has it home grown, because they didn’t have too large a drone fleet until recently. Germany remains the center of ops for USA targeting and tracking, while drone pilots and navigators hang out in California, USA.

Back in the early days, the General complained that the one thing they did not have is a way to verify the person holding the phone was the one being targeted. They could get the coords of the phone ezpz, but not the confirmed ID.

We now have
* Face ID, Fingerprint ID, Passcode ID, Heart Beat ID, Health Status ID.

There’s less confusion about where and who the drone targets.

So, it should be of no surprise, that a drone targeted a bunch of conscripts.

It didn’t happen by accident. It wasn’t a lucky strike or fluke. The telemetry revealed every single person in or near the area. They didn’t even need to be holding the phone.

It might also be a reminder to all of us who carry a cellphone or have any tech stuff near us, around us, used by family members, neighbors, people walking past our homes, hi-tech homes around where we live or work, all provide the info needed for targeting us too.

And don’t forget our Integrated Police Network of street lights and traffic signals documenting our movements, charting our courses as we use our GPS Maps to get to the corner grocery.

What goes around, comes around.


Michael Vincent Hayden (born March 17, 1945) is a retired United States Air Force four-star general and former Director of the National Security Agency, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Hayden currently co-chairs the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Electric Grid Cyber Security Initiative.

ht tps://en.wikipedia.o rg/wiki/Michael_Hayden_(general)

(url fractured)

Clive Robinson January 4, 2023 6:53 PM


I left “not” out of,

“parked up and camouflaged”

Should be,

“parked up and NOT camouflaged”

@ JonKnowsNothing,

“The USA has been using this tech for prolly 20 years or more.”

Longer, remember why Osama bin Ladan gave up his hi-tech sat phones etc and went with stenography in gay porn hidden on USB drives up couriers back passages? It was a missile taking out a Chechen general commander.

But the point I was making is “high tech” is not necessary when the Russian’s are not even taking basic precautions to hide their positions or cover their activities…

Remember they are alledged to be a Super-Power with a higher than average level of technical sophistication in their capabilities.

Yet they are not showing

“even the sense god gave a goose”.

Either their basic training at all levels is totally deficient, or they simply are not teaching those who are currently being sent forward, those that directly command them, or their more distant commanders.

Maybe they should try bright orange jump suits as uniform they might be less obvious…

JonKnowsNothing January 4, 2023 9:15 PM

@Clive, All

re: not even taking basic precautions

It may very well be that like CHOVNADO, that there are no means, methods or techniques to provide “basic precautions”. Especially if you consider all the data warehouses up for sale and all the historical data traffic. It’s all pretty much known-knowns.

iirc(badly) not too long back a secret CIA outpost was discovered because the troops or agents assigned there like to go running. They ran inside and outside the compound. It was discovered by the heat-map data uploaded from their sports watches tracking their “running prowess and stats”.

No one dropped a bomb on them, and the CIA commander did a good job of placating the local village which had no idea (?) that there was a CIA compound on the outskirts of their village.

It was a good thing no one dropped a bomb on the village too, afaik.

MarkH January 4, 2023 10:07 PM

I certainly don’t assume the mobile phone explanation to be true. As we have seen, it’s politically convenient to Russian leadership.

Ukraine is full of Ukrainians (who knew?), most of whom are loyal to their state. A big concentration of soldiers would be detected and reported to Ukraine’s military without any need for signals intelligence.

An occupation force is inevitably vulnerable.

It’s possible that Ukraine’s military has been using mobile phone signals for targeting, though my guess would be that this is tricky and not very reliable.

I know from published reports that Ukraine has been using intercepted mobile phone conversations for general intelligence (not specifically targeting). These are a rich source of information about troop morale, physical health, personnel shortages, supply and equipment problems etc.

Clive Robinson January 4, 2023 11:20 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, MarkH,

“It may very well be that like CHOVNADO, that there are no means, methods or techniques to provide “basic precautions”.”

There are always some “basic precautions” that not only can be taken but should be taken, such as basic camouflage, and keeping troop “biliting” and amunition “storage” sufficiently far appart. Likewise basic hygiene of keeping food storage and preperation away from latrines and washing areas. Likewise keeping “messing” of food consumption away from other areas for work and sleep to keep rodents and other vermin down. From what I’ve been reading none of these basics are happening. In fact there are reports of some of the troops having to wash their foot cloths in their own urine due to water supply issues…

On the technology front, use the Ukranians could be using mobile phone information, and they could be picking up on the Russian very poor radio discipline (that can be heard as far away as the UK…). Likewise they could be using IR technology on military drones. There are many possabilities to consider.

But like @MarkH

“I certainly don’t assume the mobile phone explanation to be true.”

The way it’s being reported is almost certainly untrue as it would involve an “active” attack carried out in known locations. Which is not a good idea for the Ukranian forces.

Especially as it’s actually totally unnecessary unless you are going after specific human targets like senior field commanders.

But lets just say it is “mobile phone” related. The question is what do you need to actually do as a minimum?

Do you need to get into the phone network somehow?


Do you need to have sophisticated equipment at specific locations?


A little thought about the fact, mobile phones even when you are not talking on them or sending messages or data are “pinging” off of one or more cell towers so the network knows where the mobile phone is. Also that such pings have a recognisable low level format which makes good meta-data.

If you have an appropriate communications test set or spectrum analyser (or even $50 nano-vna) you can point an antenna at a cell site and see it respond to the mobile pings. As the cell site antennas are usually up high and well in the clear you can see this ping activity from many miles away with a little technical knowledge.

Now the number of ping responses in a given time is approximately proportional to the number of on mobile phones in the area…. Opps clear meta-data for basic “traffic analysis”.

So if you put a hundred on mobile phones in a tight group in a building in a rural area the two or three closest cell sites are going to “light up like Xmas trees” with all that extra activity. It takes a little maths a map and a ruler to work out where the tight group is probably located and thus the likely building to go take a look at with a quick “pop-up” drone visit, or just a local riding by on a bike etc. As there is only likely to be one road in or out, then watching that from afar might be sufficient.

All of this is a “passive surveillance” activity, the Ukranians might or might not be doing. Thus there is no way for the Russian’s to know where the “listening post” is or if there even is one.

Oh and as I’ve mentioned before in this modern world of thumb-drive SDR receivers, Gum-Stick SBC’s, multi-gigabyte SD cards and cheap hobbyist drones. It’s not at all dificult to make a “grass-hopper” listening post that flies to a set-down point effectively turns the drone off, but records via the SBC and SDR for an hour or two to the SD card. Then powers the drone back up and hops back to deliver the data recorded.

The use of cheap consumer and low end commercial drones is going to be a very very serious battlefield “game changer”. As the Russian infantry have already found out traditional trenches and shell scrapes don’t protect you from a handgrenade dropped right in your hole…

As for the “intelligence” side you can be sure there are some very intetested eyes watching, and maybe even funding, supplying equipment, training, etc.

The funny side is though, much of the gear probably comes direct from AliBaba or some other Chinese market place. It would be interesting to hear the conversation over the Beijing-Moscow hot-line on that front…

JonKnowsNothing January 5, 2023 3:25 AM

@MarkH, @Clive, All

re: I know from published reports that Ukraine has been using intercepted mobile phone conversations

Exactly. If you have access to any of that by sniffer, stingray, Central Office taps, police splitters, or even a photo share with geo-map coords, you already have everything you need. All you need is coordinates: XYZ.

Homicides in the USA, have been solved just using the “pings” and traced by triangulation with the cell towers, as @Clive described.

I don’t think any of this is beyond anyone with tech skills. The UKR has excellent tech skills, by many tech article reports.

What they didn’t have were the warheads. Now they do.

Unless it wasn’t UKR that fired off the warhead?

There is of course, no reason why such warheads, have to target conscripts. They can easily target anything, anywhere. The ones UKR have received have pretty decent range and EU is a rather cramped landscape.

MarkH January 5, 2023 5:05 AM


It’s worth pondering that the kind of intelligence I enumerated is of enormous military value even if not used (or useful) for targeting.

For your reference, the land area of Ukraine is about 1.4 times that of California.

In general, invading troops are a vital and lawful target.

Clive Robinson January 5, 2023 9:06 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

Re : What target.

“There is of course, no reason why such warheads, have to target conscripts.”

My gut feeling is that the UKR would not target conscripts like that, because short or long term it’s counter productive.

I suspect they were primarily going after the ammunition dump, it makes more stratigic and tactical sense. And that it was the dump going up that did the near total pancaking of the local area and the hundreds of people that were effectively “right on top of it”.

I know some military commanders like using “human shields” to protect assets, but using your own troops, now that ain’t exactly bright…

I guess we will just have to wait and see what the fall out of it is.

Winter January 5, 2023 9:52 AM


My gut feeling is that the UKR would not target conscripts like that, because short or long term it’s counter productive.

Could be, but conscripts are what are killing Ukrainians directly or indirectly. Less conscripts, less war.

Also, today’s conscript is tomorrows occupier.

MarkH January 5, 2023 7:14 PM


I don’t see why Ukraine killing newly arrived Russian soldiers would be counterproductive — either sooner or later.

In WW II, almost all soldiers were conscripts: killing the other side’s was what armies did in great numbers.

This war will only stop when either (a) Ukraine surrenders, or (b) the Kremlin decides to stop.

The tragedy of war is that enormous loss and suffering is often necessary, to shift the perspective of political leadership enough for them to say “enough.”

Clive Robinson January 5, 2023 10:59 PM

@ MarkH,

Re : In marketing image is all.

“I don’t see why Ukraine killing newly arrived Russian soldiers would be counterproductive”

There are not many ways to win a war. WWII was unfortunately as much about destroying the civilian moral as it was about destroying opposition forces.

So we ended up creating fire storms and nuclear holocausts, but nobody ever broke the oppositions civilian moral all the attacks on them just made their determination stronger.

After WWII the UK decided to investigate further “hearts and minds” as a way to prosecute wars.

Ukraine is in an awkward position in that it’s been painted as some WWII legacy that will reap the organs and blood of children[1] etc etc.

It’s a war of propaganda, killing conscripts in their beds or equivalent is not good for the image the Ukraine needs to keep with it’s supporters in the West.

Also it needs the Russian troops to desert, having a good reputation of looking after POW’s is part and parcel of this.

But there is the future, what the criminals incharge in Moscow are doing is not a new tactic, they’ve been doing it for centuries. The only way the Ukraine is going to be able to keep the peace in future is if Russian’s do not see them as enemies etc.

So the Ukranians have to walk a moral tightrope to maintain the support they need from the West, and dispell the propaganda nonsense originating in Russia from the criminals there. As well as fight a blood and guts war for survival.

Much depends on them staying on that moral tightrope.

[1] See down this long list of what the Ukraine has been falsely accused of,

Search for children.

Winter January 6, 2023 3:49 AM


It’s a war of propaganda, killing conscripts in their beds or equivalent is not good for the image the Ukraine needs to keep with it’s supporters in the West.

It is pretty easy to shift the blame to the Russians in this case. The Russians had a party on top of an ammunition store. The Ukrainians can simply say they targeted the munition and were not aware there were conscripts having a party on top. Because, who would do such a stupid thing?

Even the Russian milbloggers blame their own officers. They do not believe it was the mobile phones either as there should not have been any mobiles in the hands of the recruits anyway.

Not that the Russian have any standing. They have bombed every hospital and school in Ukraine they could find on the pretext that there were troops/arms hidden.

It is not that the West will blame the Ukrainians. That propaganda is purely for the Russian home front.

Clive Robinson January 6, 2023 8:06 AM

@ Winter, MarkH,

Re : Blaim v. Belief

“It is pretty easy to shift the blame to the Russians in this case.”

The blaim does not need to be shifted, as it’s fair and square down to Russian politicians and the military they lead and has clearly been so for over a decade.

The problem is,

“What people believe witout question.”

As I suspect you know, some people for what ever reason believe in many things there is no proof for and in fact the opposite. Why they do it on the surface appears to be without any kind of reason, however usually if you dig into it, you can find they have abnormal moral, ethical and reasoning functioning.

I could give a very long list of such false and thoroughly discreditedditrd beliefs such as “C19 casused by 5G” but as people “believe” without reason for personal gain then there is little point, as neither you or I are going to change them.

The problem with such people is two fold,

1, They latch on to anything to prove their belief is valid, even if it’s provably untrue they just keep repeating it all the more loudly.

2, People unless they have reason to, accept what they get told, especially if it’s loud enough and often enough, and don’t usually take time or effort to seek out facts.

Which gives rise to the issue now half jokingly called,

“Brandolini’s Law[1] or BS asymmetry principle”

Which basically says the amount of effort you have to put in to correct these false views building up is atleast an order of magnitude more than those pushing the falsehoods.

The current conflict at the eastern edge of Europe, is a war of invasion by almost any real measure you care to chose, but for the past decade nearly two it has actually been an information war about perception.

We only half jokingly talk about Russian “Troll Farms” outside of St Petersburg stuffed full of hard up students doing what ever it takes “to make ends meet”, but we are actually giving them excuses to exist.

The people working in those places have to know full well what it is they are doing, otherwise they would be incapable of doing the job effectively (so would not get paid).

Therefore they are very aware of the harms they are causing and are fully complicit and happy to carry on being so. They are for wan’t of a better description modern day “mercenaries”.

The problem is that others with their own political agendas, that were not so long ago “Trumpeting the Strong Man” nonsense are going to jump on any chance they can to save face and blaim others.

I’ve found in the past the best thing to do is not just deny them the excuses, but throw it back at them loud and hard, such that it starts to be felt inside their thick skulls. Otherwise they get emboldened and keep stating their falsehoods.


Winter January 6, 2023 9:10 AM


some people for what ever reason believe in many things there is no proof for and in fact the opposite.

Qanon showed that there is no need for actual victims. So the Russians do not need actual Russian conscripts to die to blame Ukraine for the death of Russians.

The point of this event was that actual Russian conscripts died and this could not be kept secret, so the Ukrainians must be blamed, one way or another.

Anyone who still believes Putin’s fire hose of falsehoods is actively looking away from reality.

JonKnowsNothing January 6, 2023 11:51 AM

@Winter, @Clive, All

re: It is pretty easy to shift the blame … [Authorities housed troops] on top of an ammunition store.

The USA knows this one pretty well too. A fairly long time ago, the USA sent some Marines to Beirut. They were housed in a multistory building.

Any bomb will do, it doesn’t have to be a computer guided one, the effects are the same.


Search Terms

1983 Beirut barracks bombings

  • The attack killed 307 people: 241 U.S. and 58 French military personnel, six civilians, and two attackers.
  • killing 220 marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers, making this incident the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II and the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Armed Forces since the first day of the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War

Winter January 6, 2023 1:12 PM


I’ve found in the past the best thing to do is not just deny them the excuses, but throw it back at them loud and hard,

My strategy too.

When someone starts about cell phone radiation, I call them out on their false promises. I was promised brain cancer already in the 1990s. 30 years on, nothing! No, but now really, 5G is the thing, or else 6G, or 7G.

The same with vaxxing. Promises promises! Everybody I know got their jab, multiple times, but still no one dead. Two years on.

Pizza gate? If you seriously believe that, why do you eat there? Eating there would mean you are supporting them.

And Putin is just a loser who is too afraid to even share a table with anyone. Cannot even feed his own army.

MarkH January 6, 2023 5:15 PM


Disinformation is a very economical weapon. As the world now sees with greater clarity, most Russian enterprises are so hip-deep in corruption and incompetence as to render them ineffectual.

This isn’t new, it’s been going on for generations (if not centuries). Because Russia is so weak by conventional measures, it has focused on low-cost asymmetric warfare.

As the proverb goes, a lie travels half way round the world while truth is still lacing up its boots.

Although the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is no longer attributed to Russia’s government, Russian disinformation experts must have noticed and appreciated the almost incredible effectiveness of that home-grown fabrication.

MarkH January 6, 2023 5:20 PM


A perceptive observation, that Qanon proves no actual victims are needed for accusations of atrocity.

This is not new … invented claims of German atrocities in the war of 1914-18 contributed to skepticism toward Germany’s real atrocities a generation later.


I recall a novel with a green lieutenant who was constantly yelling at his platoon to spread out, the importance of which he’d learned in his very brief training.

But the natural tendency of the scared infantrymen was to bunch up for a sense of security. Applying the principles in the real world is hard, and takes a lot of discipline.

Clive Robinson January 6, 2023 7:09 PM

@ Winter,

“Cannot even feed his own army.”

Despite stealing thousands of tonnes of grain from the Ukrain and shipping it off to Syria in exchange for foreign currancy to get “parts” that were made from Chinese parts…

Something so ludicrous I don’t think even Kafka could have come up with it…

The problem I see for the peoples who are also suffering from not just food shortages but healthcare etc as well, is what to do? Even if they get rid of the current leadership &Co what will they get as a replacment?

As @MarkH, notes,

“… most Russian enterprises are so hip-deep in corruption and incompetence as to render them ineffectual.

This isn’t new, it’s been going on for generations (if not centuries).”

Yes as far as we can tell a millennia or even two is quite possible. The problem for historians is the lack of records… For most of Russian history, reading, writing and record keeping was not as such carried out. It thus fell to those of religion and from outside of Russia, both of whom we can safely say were very probably biased if not revisionary in what few records were kept.

As people might remember, my big concern is that Russia does not change and sticks with a maudlin view of a faux history of grandure how they were once a “Strong Empire” that was actually worse than slavery.

Something people have to remember is mankind has moved on, such Empires as there were have no realistic future in the world as mostly they are an evolutionary cul-de-sac.

The only “Empires” that have any kind of future, are realy empires in name only and they are “trading empires” that are in reality “commonwealths” that survive by trading equitably, thus wealth but more importantly education and science gets traded to the benifit of all.

Yes some will be loosers of things like status, power and control, that few people actually want. Whilst many others prefering to have an open society, will be winners with the benifits of education and science giving moderate comfortable life styles of good health and longevity.

Going back to the reality of how Russian Empires have worked in the past, can only mean that the majority loose and become the lowest form of serfs and die out by the hundreds of millions with those surviving few living short, brutish, diseased and malnutritioned lives of pain, suffering and ignorance.

Even the brighter Russian Criminals realise that going back has no future for them either. But for some unaccountable reason it appears that going back is what many Russians want. I guess because they believe in some romanticized idiotic fiction about past glories, that actually never were.

Something unsurprisingly most people living in the Ukraine want no part of, neither do I suspect those living in Belarus and other old “soviet” states.

JonKnowsNothing January 6, 2023 7:35 PM

@MarkH, All

re: Group Up v Spread Out

While not MilSpec grade, a foray into PVP games will quickly demonstrate that both tendencies are common.

Most PVP games have a combination of combat abilities: Damage Giver, Damage Taker, Medic

The main scenarios are:

  • Group Up: Medics have limited range for healing. Get out of range and your character dies from lack of heal support.
  • Spread Out: When the opposition had too many Damage Takers and your side does not have enough Damage Givers, spreading out means you have a chance to avoid the frontal onslaught.

There isn’t really any combat training involved. People sort of get With The Program pretty quickly. The main difference is:

  • In a Game, when you are defeated, you return to the battlefield and keep playing
  • In Real Life, when you are defeated, you never return

iirc(badly) An old Sci-Fi story about combat deaths, where the war medics could resurrect soldier for N-Deaths and push them back out into the battle again. After N-Deaths they were supposed to let you die permanently. The hero discovered the rules had changed when they reached N-deaths, only to discover that they had to endure another Large-N-deaths in battle.

There are some marvelous movie treatments of Frontal Attack against a Shield Wall. Shield Walls require you to Stand And Not Flee. The famous “Firing Square” is a form of Shield Wall. Shield Walls worked better than Melee until Gatling Guns made them a very unsuccessful tactic. Millions died because … well… because.

When the end time comes, sometimes you have a choice of who you die with, and sometimes you do not.

Winter January 7, 2023 4:42 AM


Despite stealing thousands of tonnes of grain from the Ukrain and shipping it off to Syria in exchange for foreign currancy to get “parts” that were made from Chinese parts…

That is only surprising if you forget that the road from grain to soldiers rations is a long one with a lot of leakage along the way. It is unlikely that much of it ever could reach the soldiers in Ukraine again.

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