With the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 by the Russian Federation, the Western world has had a massive wake-up call on the nature of mechanised and modern industrial warfare being demonstrated in Ukraine during its conflict with Russia from 2014 until the present day.
What has been demonstrated by the Ukraine War is that Western nations do not have the industrial capacity nor the population levels to wage conflicts typical in the mid-to early 20th century and in previous centuries during mass armies and campaigns in Europe and abroad.
To fight modern wars, nations need industry and a robust supply chain where a nation can access the raw materials of warfare and turn those materials into weaponry.
What happened since 1945 and the end of World War II, which lasted from 1939 until 1945, and in the post-Cold War and post-World War II period, nations in Europe started to deindustrialise due to the end of the perceived Russian threat after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990 and the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Without the threat of a land war in Europe and conflicts in the Pacific with communist China, nations in the West started to deindustrialise and closedown military manufacturing.
This process began much earlier due to the development of industrial capacities in East Asia, particularly China; during the 1980s and 1990s, Japan, South Korea and other industrialising nations were re-industrialisation in the 1950s and 1960s after the devastation of world war two.
The industrialisation of the global South and other developing nations saw nations that had industrialised in the 18th and 19th centuries, like the United Kingdom and its steel industries, being closed due to cheaper manufacturing capacity in industrialising countries.
This process repeated, particularly in the American working class and continental Europe, where steel and traditional working-class jobs moved to foreign nations.
This meant the deindustrialisation of the Western world and that jobs moved into finance, customer service and positions that required high-end thinking and design, with the lower-skilled jobs being moved abroad.
Population and Manufacturing
Throughout history, the nation usually possesses the largest population and the most significant resources that win mass conflicts between nation-states.
This can be shown in the Napoleonic wars and the French Revolutionary Wars lasting from 1793 to the defeat of Napoleon in 1815 by Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, at the Battle of Waterloo.
After seizing power in 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte embarked on a campaign of conquest and subjugation of central Europe.
He subdued the powers of the Austrian Empire’s control of the contemporary territories of Austria, Hungary and several modern states in the region.
In the North, there was the Kingdom of Prussia and several independent German states, for example, kingdoms such as Saxony and Bavaria, as well as the elector ship of Hanover controlled by King George III of England, being a descendant of the Hanoverian dynasty.
The House of Hanover inherited the crown of England in the early 18th century after the extinction of the Stuart line, which previously ruled England from 1603 until the death of Queen Anne in 1714.
Throughout the 18th century, the population of England exploded from around 6 million towards the end of the 17th century to 14 ½ million towards the end of the Napoleonic wars in the early 19th century and during the American Revolutionary War in 1775 until 1783, the population of England was over 8 million.
In contrast, France had a population of over 27 million by the time of the French Revolution in 1789, which overthrew the Bourbon monarchy that had ruled France from 1689 until 1789, and the executions of Louis XVI of France in 1793.
During the long conflict between England and France that lasted from 1793 until 1815, both nations engaged in economic warfare to limit the industrial and finances of both countries.
Throughout the conflicts known as the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars, the British Empire subsidised the other great powers on the continent to fight France.
The British mainly where fighting in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, India and the high seas never directly engaged the French on the battlefield apart from coalition forces led by Arthur Wellesley, known to history as the Duke of Wellington, during the battle of Waterloo which finally brought an end to the first French Empire which lasted from 1804 until 1815.
This shows that despite having a superior population, the French were defeated through the strategy of exhaustion; this is where the nation loses the ability to fight, not due to attrition but to no longer have the means to fight a war.
The strategy of exhaustion was used by the commander-in-chief of the American military, Winfield Scott, who created the Anaconda Plan, which aimed to blockade the Confederate States of America, which was in rebellion against the United States of America over the issue of slavery, state rights and whether or not it was constitutional for a state to leave the union.
The Anaconda plan, in layperson’s terms, was the goal of defeating the Confederacy by removing their abilities to wage war which requires equipment, food and not just manpower to wage a modern war, with the American Civil War lasting from 1861 until 1865 being viewed as the first modern war by historians.
The strategy of exhaustion was also used by the commander-in-chief of all American armies Ulysses S Grant and the commander of all American forces in the western theatre of the conflict, General William Tecumseh Sherman, who is seen as the world’s first modern general.
What General Grant aimed to do was not to defeat the enemy but defeat their ability to fight; for this, he had two goals destroy the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Confederate General Robert E Lee.
This was his objective because if he defeated the Army of Northern Virginia, the Confederacy would no longer have the means to continue the civil war, and the Confederacy didn’t have the numbers or the industrial capacity to keep fighting.
It’s essential to be aware that the British Empire provided the Confederacy with 60,000 modern contemporary rivals and that some divisions of the Confederacy used technology from the American Revolutionary War in the late 18th century.
The Confederate States of America also, throughout the war, did not even possess the capacity to create blankets for its armies when fighting the industrial might of the Union Army.
Furthermore, the population of the northern states was over 22 million; in comparison, the Confederacy was only around 5 million and 6 million souls, with nearly half of that number being enslaved African Americans.
This pattern of nations being defeated due to lack of supplies, lack of industrialisation and lack of manpower is repeated over and over again throughout history.
World War I from 1914 to 1918 and World War II from 1939 until 1945, Germany was defeated twice due to the British Navy’s success in preventing Germany from keeping its population and army well-fed and having the necessary supplies of steel and rubber and other resources required for war.
The Ukrainian conflict has made France prepare for war as part of the reforms that will take place over the next two decades. The war in Ukraine has shown that Western nations, including France, are unprepared to fight an industrial war.
The Russians are using 20,000 rounds of artillery per day during the Ukraine war, with a monthly average of 600,000 rounds of artillery.
With so many artillery shells, it has been found that nations like the United States would only manage 2 to 3 months of sustained combat due to burning through its ammunition stockpiles.
After the Cold War in 1989, throughout the 1990s, France and other Western nations started to sell off their stockpiles of ammunition and other industrial capacities due to the hope of peace after the cold war, which left countries no longer prepared to fight an industrialised war.
Industrial warfare requires the ability to repair and resupply equipment quickly. The Russian Federation has lost over a thousand tanks whilst fighting in Ukraine, and Russia still has over 70 years worth of military supplies they can burn through.
It is estimated that the Russians are losing ten tanks per day. This further demonstrates the need for robust populations with the industrial capacity to ensure that fighting men and women on the front lines have the equipment to wage modern war.
During this conflict, Ukrainians are losing tanks daily, and five out of ten Russian tanks, on average, are being abandoned by the Russian soldiers, with the wreckage being repurposed for the use of Ukrainian divisions.
As long as the Russians keep supplying Ukrainians with equipment, they will be able to continue to wage war in defence of their nation with the backed logistical support and intelligence of the Western world.
When looking at France preparing for war, it currently has just over 500 tanks in its stockpile, and this will not be able to maintain the loss of tanks which is being experienced in the slugging match happening in eastern Ukraine.
With the losses happening in Ukrainian, the French will be losing 20% of their tank forces per month, which would be unsustainable for any current French war effort because it takes years to build up the industrial capacity to replace the loss of equipment.
Ukrainians in the current war should be okay because they’re getting half of their tanks from the Russian Federation, making this war in terms of raw materials sustainably. After all, the Russians are keeping in Ukrainian army well-supplied.
The French preparations for war are part of the 20-year plan called Scorpion should be ending in 2040; though this may change due to the changing nature of warfare in the 21st century, nations trying to plan for the future are looking at present-day developments.
The French adopted from the American military the all-domain command and control, which has all levels of the military on and off the battlefield, and communications sharing information will provide greater coordination and victory for the French military.
American superiority in waging warfare was demonstrated in the first Gulf War from 1990 to 1991, and the second Gulf War during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 showed the superiority of American military doctrine and its use of data which crushed the Iraqi army twice.
An example of American success was its Marine divisions were advancing towards the Iraqi capital Baghdad, but the Marines were engaged with the enemy tank divisions and were pinned down.
The American Marine divisions only had armoured Humvees, but through superior data and communications, they could coordinate an airstrike which destroyed the Iraqi armour and saved American Marines.
This use of intelligence has previously and continues to be seen throughout the war in Ukraine. One of the modernisations of the French military is its mechanised arsenal, and the new tank division is the new BRC Jaguar which is a replacement for the 40 years old AMX 10 RC.
The new tank has a superior gun, and armour is also simpler and meant for mass production, which is perfect for modern industrialised nations and high attrition wars due to losses of materials.
The cost for the new tank, the EBRC Jaguar, is under €1 million, which is an attempt to lower the costs placed upon the French Republic and its taxpayers.
The parts to the tank also are available in commercial markets; therefore, when fighting on the battlefield looking for supplies and replacements for the new French tank, replacement parts will quickly be available.
The overall benefit for the EBRC Jaguar is its cost for one tank being €1 million or below, depending on the financial requirements; it ways 25 tons and has three crew one commander, one driver and one gunner.
The armour is rated to withstand ballistic weapons and mines and able to withstand improvised explosive devices, more commonly known as IEDs which most likely is heavily influenced by America and its ally’s experience during the 20 years Afghanistan war from 2001 until the American withdrawal in 2021with the leadership of USA president Joe Biden.
In contrast to the BRC Jaguar, which costs €1 million and has commercial parts already in use by the public, the Americans have the Striker tank, which costs $5 million per tank.
The French infantry is also upgrading with the new VBMR Griffon, which will have interchangeable parts that are available commercially, and its components can be interchangeable with the EBRC Jaguar.
The new armoured personnel carrier will replace the old French VAB troop carrier transport, which has been used since 1976.
Sources and Bibliography
National Defence Magazine France Plots Long-Term Army Modernization Plans link
Army Recognition JAGUAR EBRC 6X6 Reconnaissance and combat 6×6 armoured vehicle – France link
The Infographics Show Why France Is Preparing for a Large Scale War link
Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee link
Britannica Industrial Revolution link
Donate To Ukraine Links
Come Back Alive link
Nova Ukraine link
The $1K Project for Ukraine link
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