Reported By Elizabeth Stauffer | March 21, 2022
Over the course of his long career with the Department of Defense, Trent Telenko spent 10 years as an Army vehicle auditor.
Based in Sealy, Texas, he received and inspected the steady stream of military vehicles damaged in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. This experience has given Telenko an eye for details that others could easily miss as well as a unique perspective on Russia’s progress in Ukraine.
In early March, Telenko saw on social media a photograph of a Russian Pantsir-S1 missile system located near the Ukrainian city of Kherson. His eyes went immediately to the system’s tires. Rather than using high-quality, more expensive tires that could support the tremendous weight of the Pantsir-S1, the Russian army had opted for cheaper, low-quality, Chinese-made tires. He also noticed they were in terrible shape because they had not been properly maintained.
In a widely read Twitter thread, Telenko identified the problems caused by the Russian army’s failure to properly maintain not only this specific Pantsir, but neglect of the entire fleet.
Telenko’s analysis captured the attention of media outlets from The Economist to ABC News.
In the clip below, Telenko explained to ABC anchors how the Russian military’s inattention to critical safety measures is bogging its forces down and undermining its progress in the war. He noted that he “could tell at a glance” what was wrong with the tires on Russian trucks: Neglected maintenance that would destroy the usefulness of the army’s vehicles.
Check out the whole interview. It’s worth watching.
Telenko published a new thread on Saturday in which he discussed “Operational Attrition,” a concept he defines as the “loss of vehicles without a shot being fired.”
“That is, just by operating vehicles, you lose some of them because they break,” he wrote. “This gets a lot worse in combat. Each mile traveled by a military truck in war is between 10 and 20 miles wear. This is simple. Truck drivers abuse trucks because they don’t want to die.”
Telenko participated in three U.S. Army “Reset” programs from 2003 to 2008. The goal was to repair damaged FMTV trucks (family of medium tactical vehicles). And he was tasked with performing “induction inspections of IED blast damaged trucks.”
Describing their condition, he wrote, “None of those vehicles ran, but mainly because they had been picked over for parts. There were not that many miles on them, but goodness was there oil leaks, sludge, leaky radiators, carbon build ups & the suspensions were beat to h–l. Cab glass was noticeable by its absence.”
“This was in an Army that has professional NCO’s that lived, breathed and ate preventive maintenance as a religious catechism. And the US Army enforced rest periods for its truck drivers because it cared enough about having men & equipment future operations,” he explained.
The Russian Army doesn’t do any of these things, he wrote. And for the past 10 years, they were barely maintained. Now, these same trucks are being overloaded with artillery and ammunition and sent into the war zone.
Here’s what can and has gone wrong for the Russians.
Telenko concludes that the lack of professional maintenance and wear, unprofessional use by undertrained troops and soldier exhaustion has already and will continue to cause high levels of “operational attrition” in their truck fleets. The “details” that are being ignored will lead to massive issues.
He predicts in six to eight weeks, the entire Russian Army military truck fleet will be “deadlined.”
“Between the end of April and Mid-May 2022, the Ukrainian Army will be able to counter-attack EVERYWHERE. Because there will be NOWHERE more than 20 miles/30 km inside Ukraine where Russian troops won’t be out of food and low on ammunition.”
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Let’s hope Telenko is right and pray that the Ukrainians can continue to hang on.
In February, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told lawmakers a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine could take Kyiv in 72 hours. Nearly four weeks after the Russian invasion began Feb. 24, the Russian military has managed to reduce some cities to rubble and resorted to indiscriminate bombing and brutal tactics, yet the Ukrainian people are still standing.
The formidable Russian Army which greatly outnumbers the Ukrainian military in men, artillery and equipment isn’t quite as mighty as the world had thought.
Although the government of Russian President Vladimir Vladimir Putin had unlimited time to prepare for this invasion, Putin apparently grossly underestimated his opponent. His military commanders might have failed to plan the logistics of a protracted war, without which, even the strongest army will falter.
Elizabeth Stauffer, Contributor,
Elizabeth is a contract writer at The Western Journal. Her articles have appeared on many conservative websites including RedState, Newsmax, The Federalist, Bongino.com, HotAir, MSN and RealClearPolitics. Please follow Elizabeth on Twitter.