Doctrine and Command Losses

Nadin Brzezinski
4 min readMar 21, 2022
Yes, those are Nagant rifles

In case you missed it, the Russian military has lost anywhere from five to six generals, in the field. It really depends whether you count a Chechen general or not. They have seen another eight fired. And there is a smattering of colonels, light colonels, and majors killed as well.

We also know losses from troops are high. The Russians have started shooting their own troops if they refuse to advance. Reportedly they are killing their severely wounded. They are also refusing to take their dead back.

Yes, to the western ears this sounds inconceivable because we do not leave people behind. We do not shoot troops in the back. As abusive as Boot Camp is, we do not starve the troops. Or for that matter, use money meant for maintaining gear, for vodka. The latter was reported in Belarus before the war.

That already pointed to an issue of discipline, and perhaps morale.

Troops did not Know they Were Going to War

We have seen multiple reports of Russian troops not knowing they were in Ukraine. Many in the west were shocked because even those who don’t serve, know that troops were told where they were going before deployment. We have even seen how troops all the way to privates, were briefed on D-Day during The Longest Day.

It was not blustering from the movie makers. Western troops are trusted with general plans and know what their objectives are. They also know that generally speaking there is a plan B, even a plan C.

This is not the way it works under Russian doctrine. This is why Generals are so close to the front lines. Chiefly, why removing them will further degrade the force.

In western armies, sergeants are professional, committed, extremely well trained, and are considered the backbone of the force. In Russia, these are better paid, not trusted, not well trained, and used to terrorize a conscript force.

There is another critical difference. In western militaries, by doctrine, people are trained in leadership, to take over senior people if they should fall in battle. They are also briefed on the plan. Presumably, a colonel could fill in the role of a general, and a corporal could take over from his sergeant.



Nadin Brzezinski

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game. You can find me at CounterSocial, Mastodon and rarely FB