It was here that a recent outburst of emotions about the very “exacerbation of tension” on the borders of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic followed on “VO”, someone even tried to read the slogans. Terrible predictions sounded, emotions overflowed ... And meanwhile, nothing happened again (yes, such a cynical look). And it could not happen. The reasons for this are the Azerbaijani army and features of the theater of operations. Exactly. Let's start with a less controversial point: from the theater of operations (as is known, the theater begins with a hanger, so, the analysis of war is best and start with an analysis of the theater of military operations).
Just look at the physical map of the area, and we will understand a lot: there is a mountainous area. Exactly. Most of the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is quite a mountain landscape. The so-called Karabakh Plateau. Yes, of course, the heights gradually decrease towards the Kura River, but in any case, it will not be necessary to fight on the plain. That is why this moment is missed and missed. And in vain. Attempting to play the Armenia-Azerbaijan clash, as if everything happens at an altitude of 200 meters above sea level, is fundamentally wrong. “The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is located in the south-eastern part of the Lesser Caucasus. The republic’s relief is typically mountainous, encompassing the eastern segment of the Karabakh Plateau and sloping down to the east from the west, merging with the Artsakh Valley, which constitutes most of the Kuro-Arak lowland. The eastern parts of Martakert and Martuni districts are relatively low ... "
In essence: Karabakh is a natural fortress occupied by Armenians. The thing is that on the plain Tanks can come from anywhere (usually). From the rear, from the flank. All the stunning actions of Guderian and others were based on this (especially Rommel was lucky). Free movement of tanks with the support of infantry and artillery (on trucks and tractors), on the "plane". But already such a "mountainous terrain" as the Valdai Upland created enormous problems for the mechanized parts of the Wehrmacht.
In general, historically, a war in the mountains is a hard, bloody, protracted war. Scottish Highlanders - classics of the genre (about them it is written Nemer). It is the highlands of Scotland that restrained the British conquerors. And if we remember the Napoleonic generals in Spain? The same infection! They write a lot about guerrilla (small war), but forget to start with the fact that most of Spain is a mountain (of different heights). Otherwise, the Spaniards would be powdered simultaneously. But the mountains, gentlemen, gentlemen and monsieur. The mountains. Mountains change everything. The mountains make absolutely impossible the simultaneous advance of large masses of infantry (where are they going to follow goat paths?).
It’s not so much the heroism of those Spaniards (although he, of course, was the place to be), as in the categorical unpreparedness of the French for a “small mountain war”. Those tactics that allowed them to beat on the plain all, in the mountains led to defeat. And here it is impossible not to recall the Montenegrins, who for a very long time fought with anyone, including the invincible Janissaries, sitting on their Black Mountain. It's all about the features of the terrain, mountainous terrain. The war in the mountains and the war on the plain have little in common. In Russia, which fought in the Caucasus for an infinitely long time, this is not at all news. More Leo Tolstoy wrote about it.
In Afghanistan, tried to fight "before victory" three great empire. And every time the war was very hard. The mountains that you take from them. For a while the remnants of the Incas lasted in the Andes against the invincible conquistadors — it was hard for the Europeans to breathe there ... where to fight. I think the examples can be continued endlessly, the bottom line is that the modern one or another era of the army, as a rule, is sharpened by a plain war. And with this it is very difficult to do something: large masses of infantry, cavalry and artillery in the mountains are very, very difficult to move. With the development of the “war of engines” the situation has only worsened. All this heavy equipment in the mountains serves only as a burden.
No, there are certainly examples of successful use ... But these are rather exceptions. Therefore, for me personally, counting the number of Azerbaijani tanks and armored personnel carriers is not entirely clear. What does it matter? in this theater of war? We are sort of playing the operation on the Russian Plain by default ... But this is not at all the case. In this case, armored vehicles can attack on small, previously known areas of the terrain, which can be mined in advance and cover with artillery and anti-tank systems. There can be no "sudden strike of a tank division in the rear / flank", it cannot by definition.
Artillery, in which Azerbaijan also has an advantage? That's the way it is, but in case of a serious war, artillery will have to literally “gnaw” passages for attacking troops, this is not a quick matter, and the Armenians, in principle, have something to say, and the infantry they are not in an open field - according to According to eyewitnesses, the Armenian fortifications are amazing in quantity and quality. Yes, the Azerbaijanis attacked, yes, they achieved something, then they were rejected.
Aviation? Against a well-entrenched, and in this case literally "gnawing into the rocks" enemy equipped with anti-aircraft defense, it is not very effective, in any case, the Azerbaijani Air Force is not the Russian Air Force. The last conflict proved this, in general. Azerbaijani aviation did not show itself particularly. Drones? Well, like yes. Even one such bus was gouging with Armenian conscripts, but it wasn’t possible to win in the war. No, it’s impressive, of course, but there’s no way to win the war and not influence its course.
Helicopters and special forces? Something was in the last conflict. Badly ended for Azerbaijan, alas. What do we have, fleet? But seriously, the Azerbaijani army somehow faded. Unconvincing. So much prepared, so much money spent, and the result is not pleasing to the eye. Did Armenians have to retreat? But a retreat is considered a shame, betrayal and cowardice only in the eyes of political ideologues, they say, you should never retreat, you should always attack and that is the guarantee of our victories! From a purely military point of view, there is no fundamental difference between defense, attack and retreat (exactly). Depends on the situation. Some wars are won / reduced in a draw just by competent digressions (Count Kutuzov shone with this not only in Russia).
By the way, competently organize a retreat, far from it, is not as easy as many think. This is also necessary to learn. Armenians, for example, own this art — not a single prisoner of war. This moment somehow falls out of sight. The sudden massive attack of Azerbaijanis and not a single prisoner of war. Imagine how difficult it is to take everyone away in the dark under the fire of an attacking enemy. In addition to the dead, of course. Armenians coped with it. They have, sorry, a decent army.
How would the American army behave in a similar situation? Russian? Chinese? You see, a sudden, massive attack by the enemy with the support of artillery is a totally unpleasant situation for any army in the world. Another question is why this attack was so sudden, but this is already a question for intelligence. The loss of the first line of defense is, of course, unpleasant, but it is for them that they make several. Therefore, all those emotions that were splashed onto the pages of Internet publications are not entirely clear: unfortunately, it was not possible to surround anyone, defeat, or capture anybody.
By the way, yes, Azerbaijan has also shown itself quite well. To carry out such a sudden massive operation with tanks, artillery and UAVs is by no means easy. Azerbaijan’s training has obviously grown, but the mountains and the Armenians. Armenians and mountains. Now, if all this was happening on the plain, then it would be possible to break through the line of defense with artillery and enter tanks and motorized infantry there and make a wide area ... But the mountains. The mountains that make such operations impossible in principle. The domination of the air among the Azerbaijanis was somehow not revealed ... There were no large landing forces (an interesting option, by the way). A breakthrough on previously known directions in the highlands is unpromising.
Admittedly, the Armenian army is much better prepared and trained. And most importantly: you can agree or disagree, but Azerbaijan is lowland, third world oil producing country. Something like this. But Armenia cannot be called a third-world country with all the desire. Armenian writing a half thousand years. Azerbaijan - a quarter of a century. In the third world, there is nothing terrible - Ukraine won there and “descended” there, but the Third World Army is not exactly what the doctor prescribed during a major offensive operation on a well-established enemy.
A typical third world country with petrodollars and a bloated military budget. Well, here and fought. That's nice ... In general, everything became clear with the "offensive potential of the Azerbaijani army." Not bad, but not enough in this case. Not enough. So the hysteria of some Armenian bloggers is completely incomprehensible to me. Russia is not responsible for Karabakh and can not bear - it would be strange. Moreover, the Karabakh defense forces alone coped with the problems that had arisen. In general, when Armenians brewed all this porridge, they should have been ready for such a development of events. Russia is responsible only for the Republic of Armenia itself. And the existence of an agreement with Russia makes Turkey’s attack impossible. But Azerbaijan alone cannot cope with Armenia. Such are our layouts.
Panicked calls for Russia: a) to help Armenia defend Karabakh; b) help Azerbaijan return it; c) do anything; - sound rather strange. That, damn it, is not our problem. And as a person who is absolutely not interested in anything in this case, I can say that it makes sense for Azerbaijan to go to the exchange of territories: he will not be able to return Karabakh by force. And Karabakh was never Azerbaijani. Armenians live there. So - the exchange of territories. Yes, and Armenians sit in a constant blockade, it makes no sense. It’s just that both sides must come to terms with the inevitable: Armenians will not be able to keep all of Karabakh, Azerbaijanis will not be able to restore the territory of the AzSSR (only within the framework of the USSR-2!).
The simplest and most logical solution is trading, as in a bad eastern bazaar. In general, divide the territory. To everyone who in Baku will shout about “united and indivisible Azerbaijan,” I want to note that I can’t find the map of Azerbaijan to the USSR in any way. Guys - do not carry the brain, and then as with Ukraine, by God. People who happily escaped from the "hell of the USSR" are now fighting for its borders ... No one needs to kill a couple of camps in Magadan? (joke). Today’s positions of Baku and Yerevan are absolutely unrealistic.
Azerbaijanis do not live in today's Armenia and Armenians do not live in Azerbaijan. So the solution can be only one: two separate national states, the borders, of course, need to be discussed. Before the events in Karabakh, it was not only the Armenians who lived. So on the territory of the debate are inevitable. It is hardly interesting for Armenians to remain in constant blockade and keep gunpowder dry all the time. Dead end it. But the Azerbaijani idea of a “territorially integral state within the borders of the AzSSR” is pure utopia. There will never be this. The most diverse nationalities could live side by side in Soviet Azerbaijan, but then in Soviet Azerbaijan. Repeat now this model is unrealistic. All the arguments of Azerbaijanis on the subject of some kind of "guarantees" to the Armenian population of Karabakh are ridiculous.
From the end of 80, we see only one model of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations: mutual slaughter. Therefore, everything is simple: Armenians in the Armenian part of Karabakh, Azerbaijanis in the Azerbaijani part. Something like this. The fact that Karabakh was part of the Azerbaijan SSR should be perceived by Azerbaijanis as a fact stories The USSR, when Azerbaijan itself was only an administrative unit. Attempts to retroactively rewrite history and put an equal sign between the Azerbaijan SSR and Azerbaijan are quite naive. The Russian Empire included the territories of Persia and Turkey, and Azerbaijan left Azerbaijan without Karabakh from the USSR. So it goes. Whether someone likes it in Baku or not, the train has left, and returning “everything backwards” will not work.
Likewise, the idea of Yerevan to keep all of Karabakh is absurd - no one will support this idea, neither Russia, nor France, no one at all. But to sit in a blockade for all the time is also not an option. By the way, Yerevan has received just invaluable experience of military operations, and I think now the Armenian military with big stars are flying over the ground, not touching it, around the clock, trying to urgently plug all the holes in the defense that have been identified. And, I think, according to the results of the “heroic operation” in the office of Serge Azatovich, an analysis of the flights and the distribution of elephants took place (And there were loud words! And they hit the table with their fists!). And the sheet A4 lay on the table with real losses of the Armenian side. What conclusions will Azerbaijan make from this operation? It is hard to say. Will Baku be able to qualitatively strengthen the army, bring it to a new level? I do not know, I doubt, to be honest. For this, Azerbaijan must stop being a typical third world oil producing country.