April 28, 2023

Open Thread 129

It's time once again for our regular open thread. Talk about whatever you want, so long as it isn't culture war.

I'm going to designate this the occasional "tell bean what you'd like to read about" thread. As always, no promises, but I will take what is suggested under advisement.

Also, this is your reminder that signups for the LA meetup in June are still open.

Overhauls are Continuous At Sea Deterrent, Falklands Part 21, A Brief Overview of the Chinese Fleet and for 2022 Heligoland Bight and Nuclear Winter.


  1. April 28, 2023Tarpitz said...

    In response to a series of FOI requests, the Danish Defence Command have confirmed that one of their patrol boats took a bunch of photos of a Russian submarine rescue ship equipped with a DSRV (and various accompanying vessels) in area of the Nordstream pipeline explosions four days before they took place. This to me is a lot more credible than the supposed German police theory about Ukrainian freelancers in a rented yacht, let alone the Seymour Hersch nonsense.

  2. April 29, 2023Alexander said...

    Any thoughts on why they'd have wanted to blow it up? It's probably no more counter-productive than their attacks on apartment blocks, or indeed starting the war in the first place, but it comes across as particularly odd. Like watching Edward Norton punch himself in the face in Fight Club.

    By the way, did you have any thoughts on whether we might see a favourable outcome from the anticipated Ukrainian offensive? The front has been fairly static for some months, but I have become less optimistic about the chances of breaking Russian morale this year, between stories of the effort required to hold Bakhmut, and the extensive fortifications they will have to advance through. How are you expecting things to play out?

  3. April 29, 2023Tarpitz said...

    The sanest sounding motive I've heard mooted is that Russia wanted to blame its cessation of gas deliveries on [i]force majeure[/i] to stave off suits for breach of contract. But honestly, Russia does so much stuff that looks baffling from the outside (or at least to me) that I don't tend to put much weight on not understanding the why.

    As for the offensive, I think it's very hard indeed to predict the outcome, and the range of possibilities includes everything from near-zero progress and massive Ukrainian losses to total rout of the Russian army all the way back to Sevastopol. If pushed, I would say the likeliest outcome is moderate territorial gains (pushing the Russians back perhaps a few dozen miles in the areas in question) with heavy casualties and equipment losses on both sides. I'm a little sceptical that Ukrainian logistics are good enough to support a drive to the Sea of Azov even if a breakthrough is achieved.

    The prediction I'm more confident in is that the offensive will come later than most people expect. The April rains were unusually heavy, and the ground in northern Luhansk probably won't be fit for manoeuvre warfare until some time in June. The South will dry out sooner, but even assuming that's the real or primary target I expect the Ukrainians to wait long enough for misdirection to be plausible.

  4. April 29, 2023Dennis said...

    The theory I favor for Russia doing the sabotage is that it's a way to ensure that anyone that overthrows Putin would have no way to turn gas back on, and, hence, less support from the West for a hypothetical coup.

  5. April 29, 2023Alexander said...

    Thanks. I guess that gives some more time to send them some cash for drones or tourniquets or whatever they need.

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