Having in my previous article outlined the political and ethnic shenanigans leading up to the Ukraine conflict, this article examines in some granular detail the current progress of the war in light of what appears to be previously recognized limitations in the Russian logistics chain and the development of their war doctrine, including the use of nuclear weapons.
Another tactic the Russians would be tempted to use, which would be consistent with publicly announced Soviet military doctrine pre-1982 (see V.D. Sokolovskii, Soviet Military Strategy; translated by RAND Corporation for the U.S. Air Force, 1963, at 411), would be the much easier task of dropping tactical nuclear weapons on railways near to border, as well as highways. This would accomplish two objectives: First, due to the greater power of the nukes, a handful of not very accurate bombing runs or missile hits would take out the entire surrounding railroad. Second, the bombing would create a radioactive radius around all border rail facilities which would impede border crossings by rail (or road). This tactic was discussed in Soviet Military Strategy, at 414, where it was noted that a likely strategy in a war involving tactical nuclear weapons would be the laying down of an entire radioactive belt, which would prevent troop passage until the radioactivity died down. This (plus a no-fly zone) would effectively cut off supply to the Ukraine from the west.
If, in response, NATO ground troops massed to attack Ukraine, Russia would then presumably lay down a nuclear “field of fire” to create a radioactive band stretching from the Baltic to the Belarus border consistent with old Soviet nuclear war doctrine (Ibid.). This might prompt NATO to invade through pleasantly radiation-free Belarus, thus bringing Belarus (and undoubtedly Russia) directly into the war. At that point, even Putin’s restrained 2020 doctrine of nuclear weapon use would permit any and all use of nuclear weapons, as a defense of the homeland. The result probably would be strategic-level nuclear strikes on any concentrated NATO ground formations, plus supply depots.
Since much of the supply to the NATO troops would presumably also go by rail, the best way to disrupt NATO troop movements and re-supply would be the nuclear destruction of European cities such as Warsaw and Berlin, since such cities are the principal railroad hubs, the destruction of which would cripple movement of supply by rail.
Needless to say, the nuclear bombing of Warsaw, Berlin, Munich, Prague, etc. with 500 kiloton warheads, wiping out, in addition to the railways, a good part of the civilian population of those historic cities, including, let it be said, a lot of newspaper editors and “talking heads,” would further escalate the war, perhaps uncontrollably.
In addition, to the extent any supplies were coming directly from the US to mainland Europe, the use of missiles and submarines to interdict and sink sea freighters and air-to-air missiles to destroy air transport in flight would further escalate matters. The consternation inside Western capitals might trigger unpredictable responses.