Thomas Wictor

Russia is learning that some people don’t scare easily

Russia is learning that some people don’t scare easily

When Russia decided to intervene on behalf of Bashar al-Assad, those who don’t know anything about military matters thought that they were seeing a level of competence that nobody else had shown in the conflict. They were wrong. My experience with Russians had prepared me for what inevitably happened.

One of the best films ever made is Key Largo. Edward G. Robinson plays mafioso Johnny Rocco, who’s holding several people hostage in an empty hotel as a hurricane hits. The elderly James Temple can’t understand men like Rocco.

“What is it you want?” he asks plaintively.

Rocco can’t think of a reply.

Humphrey Bogart as Frank McCloud knows the answer.

“He wants more,” McCloud says.

Rocco’s face lights up. “THAT’S IT!” he shouts. “I want more!

Johnny_Rocco

Vladimir Putin always wants more. He went back on his word, and now he’s paying the price.

Russia will always be Russia

I’m positive that Israel, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, and the Kurds worked out an arrangement that would satisfy all. But Russia is a traditional foe of Turkey, so Putin couldn’t resist trying to humiliate people he sees as his inferiors. Russia violated Turkish airspace again and again, until on November 24, 2015, the Turks shot down a Russian bomber, killing one crew member.

Putin lost his mind. According to Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL Brett McGurk, the Russians are bombing the routes that are used to bring aid to Syrian civilians. Russia is “weaponizing” refugees in order to destabilize Europe and Turkey. Putin is also trying to turn Sunni Arabs against Kurds by saying that the latter are working with Assad.

In response, the most lethal soldiers on earth have undertaken the mission of showing Russia that actions have consequences.

When word came out that dozens of Russian generals were killed by a car bomb on a base in Lakatia, I knew that Islamist rebels hadn’t done it. Well, Ahrar al-Sham and the Bayan movement released a video of the attack, and it’s a total fake.

We go from this…

Lakatia.1

To this.

Lakatia.2

It’s two random pieces of film spliced together. The real attack was carried out by Arab special operators. I’m sure they fired missiles.

Speaking of missiles, this next video is entirely real.

Russia can’t compete

The most modern Russian main battle tank (MBT) is the T-90. It’s often fitted with the Shtora electro-optical jammer that disrupts semiautomatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) antitank guided missiles (ATGMs).

The American BGM-71 TOW antitank guided missile uses SACLOS. Russia said that Shtora would protect tanks from the TOW. To bolster Assad, Russia sent a number of T-90s to Syria. One of them sits behind the fat, drunk. middle-aged Russian soldiers below.

T-90_Syria

Here’s the first-ever destruction of a T-90 by an American TOW.

The video is fake in the sense that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) Mountain Hawks Brigade didn’t fire the missile. You can tell by the fact that the TOW operators and the missile strike were filmed at two different times of day, and the voices don’t match. When you see the missile hit, what sounds like a hillbilly hoarsely yodels, “Allahu Ak-BARRRR?

Arab special operators fired the missile, which is a new weapon. It has a thermobaric or fuel-air warhead that overcame all of the T-90’s defenses.

First, we need to orient ourselves. Here’s the T-90.

T-90.1

The hull or body is in exactly this position relative to the camera.

T-90_hull

And the turret is in this position.

T-90-S

In the above photo, the Shtora defense system is the two boxes with red rings, one on either side of the main gun.

Russia needs this defeat

Now let’s watch a video of actual Syrian rebels firing an everyday BGM-71 TOW missile at a T-72 tank.

A normal TOW has a high-explosive antitank (HEAT) warhead, a shaped charge that uses the force of the detonation to create a jet of molten metal that penetrates armor. Below is a typical HEAT warhead explosion. The red arrow shows the TOW missile right before it hits.

HEAT.1

HEAT.2

HEAT.3

HEAT.4

HEAT.5

A HEAT warhead will make a fireball that dissipates into a cloud of dirty-gray smoke. If the warhead doesn’t set off the tank’s ammunition, the only damage is what you see in the photo below.

HEAT_damage

The exploding warhead made the fragmentation marks, and the molten metal punched the hole. The men inside the tank turret did not survive.

Below are tanks “cooking off,” which is what happens when the ammunition goes up due to the hull being penetrated by a HEAT round. There were no people in the tanks.

The T-90 video shows neither penetration nor cooking off.

Russia is very vulnerable

Although I wouldn’t have thought this possible, the T-90 in Syria was disabled with a shock wave that allowed the crew to survive. Remember, here’s the orientation of the tank.

T-90-S

Note that the missile warhead splits in two (red arrow).

T-90.4

I’ll explain why in a moment.

The cloud of vapor spreads and ignites; the munition did not actually hit the tank. A proximity fuse detonated the warhead when the missile got close enough.

T-90.5

Those starfish arms in the screen grab above are characteristic of a liquid-fuel munition, not a HEAT warhead. You can also see that the explosion is gigantic.

T-90.6

T-90.7

T-90.8

T-90.9

T-90.10

T-90.11

T-90.12

Modern tanks have “reactive armor”—boxes of explosives bolted to the hull and turret. They detonate the warhead of an antitank munition. The T-90 has a bracket on the bow (red arrow) that holds the plates of reactive armor.

T-90_reactive_armor.2

As the perfectly alive gunner jumps out of the tank, you can see that the bracket is now pointing into the air.

T-90.14

This means that the missile set off all the reactive armor. The shock wave that the missile produces is beyond anything ever seen in previous wars. And there’s something else.

Russia should leave Syria

Tonight I asked myself why Israel and the Arab League would have invested so much in thermobaric weapons. We can all see the effectiveness and precision, but I wondered if…

Well, I was right.

thermobaric_EMP

thermobaric_EMP_round

The thermobaric-electromagnetic pulse (EMP) warhead was invented by a guy who works for Saab, which has partnered with Israeli defense contractors multiple times.

This patent explains why Jaysh al-Thuwar—professional Arab strategic special operators—had an unidentified launcher.

launcher

Thermobaric-EMP munitions destroy electronics. All of the enemy’s cell phones, radios, computers, and tablets are rendered useless. The Shtora defense system on the T-90 tank was knocked out before the thermobaric warhead exploded. Because of the EMPs, that tank is now a piece of junk. Thermobaric-EMP munitions can destroy the electronics of trucks, cars, drones, and armored vehicles.

As I figured, these weapons have various settings, depending on the target. That’s why an Iranian soldier walked away after taking a direct hit from an antitank guided missile.

Iranian_soldier_survivor

The people killing Russian officers in Syria could spare them. There’s an Iranian soldier who can testify to that. But the only thing that Valdimir Putin understands is brute force.

However, when it comes to brute force, Russia is completely outclassed. The undisputed masters of violence are now Israel and the Arab League.

I have no doubt whatsoever that they’ll use their power more responsibly than anyone in history.


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