Former NATO commander urges Ukraine to study past wars for effective counteroffensive

American soldiers after landing on Okinawa, Japan, May 1945
American soldiers after landing on Okinawa, Japan, May 1945

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Wesley Clark, emphasized the importance of Ukraine not solely depending on Western aid but also learning from historical military strategies to enhance their counteroffensive capabilities in an interview with NV on April 28.

"Ukraine needs to go through a process of training its armed forces to develop the ability to fight with combined forces in a more synchronized fashion to mount a truly effective counteroffensive," Clark said, suggesting that attention be paid to past experience as American military aid alone is not enough to win the war.

Read also: Ukraine can launch limited counteroffensive in late 2024 or early 2025 - ISW report

"For example, one has to look at the airborne operations conducted by the United States during World War II and then apply those examples to modern technologies, where the range of weapons is greater, the visibility is greater, the tonnage of air weapons is greater, the area of the battlefield is greater, and so on. But historically, such operations still demonstrate the basics of planning and synchronizing combat capabilities. This includes the landing in Normandy in 1944 and the invasion of Okinawa in the Pacific in 1945."

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have to provide the frontline units with regular rotations.

Read also: Ukraine eyes potential counteroffensive in 2025 — Le Figaro

"Troops that have been fighting for many months need to be rotated and retrained, because training is lost in combat. This is important. You can't imagine how much. Soldiers and units have to constantly retrain and re-engage mentally and emotionally," Clark said.

"They go into combat, they come out, and they get new ideas, new concepts, new equipment. They clean their weapons, but they also work on themselves morally and psychologically for the next phase of the fight."

On April 27, Institute for the Study of War (ISW) stated that Ukrainian Armed Forces were likely to stabilize front line in the coming months despite Russian mass assault storms and launch a limited counteroffensive in late 2024 or early 2025.

Ukraine’s new counteroffensive

If the situation on the battlefield is stabilized, Ukraine will be able to arm and train new brigades in the rear to launch a new counteroffensive this year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said earlier in an interview with The Washington Post.

Zelenskyy said later in an interview with German newspaper Bild that Ukraine has a plan for a counteroffensive, but that it needs weapons, including from the United States. He admitted that Russia has more manpower and weapons, but expressed optimism that Ukraine could gain an advantage due to the quality of its weapons.

The Ukrainian military currently has only enough artillery munitions for defensive actions, he added.

Ground Forces Commander Oleksandr Pavliuk also spoke about plans for a counteroffensive after the situation at the front stabilizes.

On April 9, Zelenskyy said that Ukraine’s next counteroffensive against Russian invasion forces would be more successful than its previous attempt, as the previous one was “sabotaged from within.”

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