fort irwin : In the dusty California desert, US military instructors are already using lessons learned from Russia’s war against Ukraine as they prepare troops for future battles against a major adversary like Russia or China.


The players who played a part in this month’s practice at the National Training Center speak Russian. Enemy forces controlling the fictional city of Ujen are using a steady stream of social media posts to level false allegations against a US brigade preparing to attack.


In the coming weeks, the planned training scenario for the upcoming next brigade will focus on how to defeat an enemy that is ready to destroy a city with rocket and missile fire to conquer it.


If the images sound familiar, they’re doing the rounds on TV and websites around the world right now, as Russian forces surround Ukrainian cities with airstrikes, killing several civilians. The information war on social media has mirrored the nightly speeches of Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as Russian attempts to accuse Ukraine’s military of mass killings in cities such as Bucha – the massacre that West blames on Moscow’s soldiers. Is.

“I think right now the whole army is really watching what’s happening in Ukraine and trying to learn a lesson,” Army Secretary Christine Wermuth said. Those lessons, she said, range from Russia’s equipment and logistics problems to communications and Internet use.

“The Russia-Ukraine experience is a very powerful example for our military of how important the information sector is going to be,” said Vermuth, who spent two days at the training center in the Mojave desert, imagining an army brigade pay war. looking against. “Denovian” force.

“We have been talking about this for almost five years. But really looking at it and seeing the way Zelensky has been incredibly powerful. …It is a world war that the real world can see and see in real time. ,

In the center, the commander, brig. General Kurt Taylor and his staff have torn the pages of the Russian playbook to ensure that American troops are prepared to fight and win against a sophisticated near-fellow enemy.

This is a common tool. For example, both his base and the Joint Preparedness Training Center in Louisiana shifted to counter-terrorism training during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. And the military services have focused other training on how to fight in cold weather – mimicking conditions in Russia or North Korea. But these latest changes have come swiftly in the early months after Russia invaded Ukraine.

About 4,500 soldiers of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas, are in the vast desert training area of ​​Fort Irwin, where they will spend two weeks fighting the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the resident of the NTC, which serves as the enemy. . military. Soldiers from the regiment – known as blackhorses – are kept in and around Ujen, including players acting as locals.

As the sun was rising early last week, Army Colonel Ian Palmer, the brigade commander, stood on Crash Hill on the outskirts of the city, preparing his troops to launch an attack. Rows of tanks spread far and wide. The night before, strong winds hindered his progress, so the attack was held back a bit.

He said the exercise is seeing more drones being used by Allied and Enemy forces for both surveillance and strikes. So his army is trying to use camouflage and tuck into the area to stay out of sight. “You know if you can be seen, you can be shot, wherever you are,” he said.

In the makeshift city, opposition forces are confident that they can stop Palmer’s brigade despite the difference in size. The Denovians only have about 1,350 forces, but they are throwing everything they own at the brigade, from jams and other electronic warfare to insurgency attacks and propaganda.

The role-players have their phones ready to film and post on social media immediately.

The Danovian forces, Taylor said, want to portray the unit in the worst possible light, and constantly twist the narrative on social media so that Palmer’s soldiers realize they are in a fight for the truth.

It’s a challenge, he said, because “when I’ve got a bunch of casualties and I’m moving on my left bank and my supply trains aren’t where they should be and I can’t find bulldozers, it’s someone It’s hard to think of anything he said about me on Twitter.”

The training goal, Taylor said, is teaching the brigades that arrive to fuse all elements of their combat power into a coordinated attack.

“Everyone can play an instrument, but it is about making music – it is about bringing it all together in a synchronized fashion. And what you saw today was the artillery doing the artillery work, the aviation doing the aviation work and the manoeuvreers doing the manoeuvre. But part of the delay in their attack on the city was that they could not synchronize the three of them,” he said.

Again, they may look to Ukraine to see how Russia failed to do so in the early weeks of the war. US leaders noted repeatedly that in Russia’s initial multilateral offensive in Ukraine, commanders failed to provide the continued air strikes and support their ground troops needed to move into major cities such as Kyiv.

That failure caused Russian troops to bomb cities from the outskirts, targeting hospitals, apartment buildings and other structures, and killing civilians.

So when the next brigade arrives as a training center, Taylor said doing so would result in an enemy on board.

“We will be very focused on how to fight against an adversary who is willing to destroy infrastructure because we think that’s how our adversaries will fight,” Taylor said. “We have to be prepared for an urban battle where we have an adversary who is firing indiscriminately.”

The Army Secretary, Wermuth, said the training underscores other lessons the US is taking from the war in Ukraine.

“As we see what is happening to the Russians now, it is informative for us to think about what is right from a modernization point of view,” she said, noting that some American tanks are too heavy and Europe The terrain in the U.S. is muddy, not like the hard sand of the desert.

That said, the military has to determine “what is the right balance between tank maneuverability, tank survivability and tank lethality? If you want to make it more mobile, you make it lighter, but that makes it less livable. And so you have to decide where you are going to take the risk.”