The US spent so much time fighting insurgents that it forgot ‘what it means to actually fight a war,’ a US vet in Ukraine says
Sinéad Baker
02 May 2024

一名在烏克蘭參戰的美國退伍軍人表示,美國在打擊反叛武裝的戰爭中耗費了過多時間,以至于忘記了“打一場真正的戰爭意味著什么”
作者:西妮德·貝克
2024年5月2日


Ukrainian servicemen fire an artillery in the direction of Siversk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on April 01, 2024. Foto: Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu via Getty Images

2024 年 4 月 1 日,烏克蘭士兵正在操作火炮向烏克蘭頓涅茨克州西維爾斯克方向射擊。
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.An American veteran who fought in Ukraine said the US "kind of forgot what it means to actually fight a war."
.He said US training has long been heavily focused on fighting insurgents in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
.He said his own training wouldn't have prepared him for a war like Ukraine.

.一位曾前往烏克蘭參戰的美國退伍軍人表示,美國已經“有點忘記了打一場真正的戰爭意味著什么”。
.他說,美軍的訓練長期以來主要集中在打擊伊拉克和阿富汗等地的反叛武裝。
.他還表示,自己過去受到的訓練沒有讓他為烏克蘭這樣的戰爭做好準備。

An American veteran who fought in Ukraine said the US military spent so long focused on fighting insurgents that it forgot "what it means to actually fight a war."
"We have neglected a lot of the training" on "how to fight and survive in a peer-on-peer adversary war," the veteran, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Business Insider.
He said that "in the US military, we mostly have been focusing on a guerilla war" and battling insurgents, with places with Iraq and Afghanistan in mind. The US military invested decades, billions of dollars, and thousands of lives into fights in these places.
The former soldier spoke about how his training with the US military a number of years ago compared to what he saw in Ukraine, where he started fighting when Russia's full-scale invasion began in February 2022 and left last December.
He said he fought in Iraq as a contractor after leaving the US military, and in Ukraine, he fought in hotspots like Kharkiv and Bakhmut. He served as his unit's combat medic, treating comrades when they were injured in the fight.

一名曾在烏克蘭作戰的美國退伍軍人表示,美軍長期以來專注于打擊反叛武裝,以至于已經“有點忘記了打一場真正的戰爭意味著什么”。
這位不愿意透露姓名的退伍軍人告訴《商業內幕》:“我們忽視了很多關于如何在同等水平對手的戰爭中戰斗和生存的訓練”。
他說,“在美軍中,我們以往主要的關注點是反游擊作戰以及打擊反叛武裝”,其中包括伊拉克和阿富汗。美軍在這些地方幾十年的戰斗中投入了數十億美元和數千人的生命。
這位退伍士兵談到了他多年前在美軍接受的訓練,并與他在烏克蘭看到的情況進行了對比。2022年 2 月俄羅斯開始全面入侵,他開始進入烏克蘭參戰,并已于去年 12月離開。
他說,從美軍退役后,他曾作為國防承包商在伊拉克作戰。在烏克蘭時,他在哈爾科夫和巴赫穆特等熱點地區參戰。他擔任部隊的戰地軍醫,為在戰斗中受傷的友軍提供治療服務。

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An aerial view of the city of Bakhmut totally destroyed from heavy battles in September 2023. Foto: Libkos/Getty Images

2023 年 9 月,巴赫穆特市在激烈戰斗中被完全摧毀,這是該城戰后的鳥瞰圖。
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"We've gotten so used to the idea of just fighting guerilla wars and fucking fighting terrorists and everything else that we kind of forgot what it means to actually fight a war," he said.
The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were real wars that came at a severe cost in human lives, but the war in Ukraine is industrial warfare at levels of destruction like the world has not seen in a long time.
With the focus on the wars in the Middle East during much of this century, the US and some of its NATO allies in Europe allowed the skills needed for this kind of conflict to atrophy.
The veteran said that when he went through training, he never got any real training for peer-on-peer conflict. "A little bit of talking about it and just a little bit of training, but nothing to the point that would have prepared me for the war in Ukraine," he recalled.
He said that he has seen a lot of Western soldiers struggle in Ukraine as "they already have a set idea about how things should be and everything, and it's just not that way out in Ukraine."
He said that US soldiers are used to fighting at an equipment and manpower advantage, but against Russia in Ukraine, "a lot of time I've fought at a disadvantage compared to the enemy."
In the US military, he explained, "I believe that a lot of the training that we have is tailored more to fighting in a guerilla warfare nowadays than it is to actually fighting a near-peer adversary like it would be with Russia or China." He said that it is an issue that many NATO members face.
Another American veteran in Ukraine told BI this month that he had similar concerns. He said that his friends still in the US Army ask him for tips on how to fight with drones or in trenches, as they aren't getting training that fully reflects what is happening in Ukraine.

“我們已經習慣了只進行反游擊、他媽的打擊恐怖分子以及其他一切諸如此類的戰斗,以至于我們忘記了打一場真正的戰爭意味著什么,”他說。
伊拉克和阿富汗的沖突同樣也是真正的戰爭,造成了嚴重的人員傷亡,但烏克蘭的戰爭是工業國之間的戰爭,其破壞程度是全世界在很長一段時間沒有見過的。
由于本世紀大部分時間人們的注意力都集中在中東戰爭上,美國及其在歐洲的一些北約盟國參與此類沖突所需的技能萎縮了。
這位退伍軍人說,當他接受訓練時,他從未真正接受過任何關于與同等水平對手沖突的訓練?!拔覀冎皇菫榇擞懻撨^一點皮毛,也對此接受了一些訓練,但沒有任何東西讓我為烏克蘭戰爭做好了準備,”他回憶道。
他說,他看到很多來自西方國家的士兵在烏克蘭掙扎, 因為“他們已經對事情應該如何進行以及一切事務都有了一套固定的想法,但在烏克蘭,情況完全不一樣?!?br /> 他說,美軍士兵已經習慣于在裝備和兵力優勢下作戰,但在烏克蘭對陣俄羅斯,“很多時候我們都是在與敵軍相比處于劣勢的情況下作戰”。
他解釋說,在美國軍隊中,“我相信我們的大部分訓練內容更多的是針對當今的反游擊戰爭,而不是像與俄羅斯或中國那樣勢均力敵的對手實際對抗。 ” 他說,而這是許多北約成員國都面臨的問題。
另一位在烏克蘭的美國退伍軍人本月也曾告訴《商業內幕》雜志,他同樣有類似的擔憂。他說,仍在美國陸軍現役的朋友向他詢問如何使用無人機或在戰壕中作戰,因為他們沒有接受能夠充分反映烏克蘭正在發生的情況的訓練。

Questions about Western training
Multiple NATO countries have trained Ukrainian soldiers, but the veteran said that some of the Ukrainians he fights with described some of that training as irrelevant or inadequate.
The veteran said that some Ukrainian soldiers who were trained in the UK told him that when they asked how to get through Russia's vast minefields, they were told to just go around them.
But the problem is that Ukraine says that some of Russia's minefields stretch for miles, making such a strategy all but impossible. Furthermore, open areas that are not mined may already be targeted by artillery or other battlefield threats.
He described some of the training that Ukrainians have gotten as making sense on paper, but it "doesn't work [in Ukraine] because it's not the same type of warfare."

關于西方國家培訓暴露的問題
已經有多個北約國家都參與過對烏克蘭軍隊的培訓,但這位老兵說,與他并肩作戰的一些烏克蘭人稱,其中相當部分的訓練是無關緊要或不充分的。
這位老兵說,一些在英國接受訓練的烏克蘭士兵告訴他,當他們(向北約教官)詢問應該如何通過俄羅斯廣闊的雷區時,他們被告知從雷區繞過去即可。
但烏克蘭人表示,問題是俄羅斯的一些雷區綿延長達數英里,使得這一戰術幾乎不可能實現。此外,沒有埋設地雷的開放區域可能已經成為俄軍炮兵或其他威脅瞄準的目標。
他描述了烏克蘭人接受的一些訓練僅在紙面上是有意義的,但“在烏克蘭不起作用,因為這不是同一類型的戰爭”。


A sapper of the State Emergency Service carries an anti-tank mine in Ukraine's Kharkiv region in March 2023. Foto: REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi

2023 年 3 月,在烏克蘭哈爾科夫地區,烏克蘭國家緊急事務部的一名工兵攜帶著一枚反坦克地雷。照片來自路透社

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has repeatedly led to questions about Western training. Some Ukrainian soldiers trained abroad said the training they received was not suited to the kind of fighting needed for this war.
A Ukrainian commander who was trained by US, British, and Polish soldiers said last year that if he had followed those countries' advice exactly, he would have been killed.
Many Ukrainian units used NATO training and tactics when Ukraine launched its counteroffensive last summer, but some of the approaches, such as an overemphasis on maneuver warfare without air support in the face of dense minefields and other daunting barriers, ultimately failed. The Ukrainians then changed their tactics after experiencing serious losses in a switch praised by some war analysts, but it wasn't enough.
Another US Army veteran who has been fighting and training soldiers in Ukraine told BI last year that Ukraine's forces would have been worse off if they had followed US battlefield doctrine.
He said the Ukrainians were actually better at understanding some aspects of modern fighting than the US, though they have also made costly mistakes at times in their execution, but such can be the nature of any war.

俄羅斯入侵烏克蘭一再引發人們對西方國家訓練的質疑。一些在國外接受了訓練的烏克蘭士兵表示,他們接受的訓練并不適合這場戰爭所需的戰斗類型。
一名接受過美國、英國和波蘭軍方培訓過的烏克蘭指揮官去年表示,如果他完全聽從這些國家的建議,他早就沒命了。
去年夏天烏克蘭發動反攻時,許多烏克蘭部隊使用了北約的訓練和戰術,但其中一些方法,例如面對密集的雷區和其他令人畏懼的障礙,過分強調沒有空中支援的機動作戰,最終都失敗了。烏克蘭軍隊在遭受了嚴重損失后改變了戰術,這一轉變得到了一些戰爭分析家的贊賞,但這還遠遠不夠。
另一位曾在烏克蘭參戰并訓練了烏克蘭士兵的美國陸軍退伍軍人去年也曾向《商業內幕》雜志表示,如果烏克蘭軍隊完全遵循了美軍的戰場條令,情況可能會更糟。
他說,烏克蘭人在某些方面實際上比美國更了解現代戰爭,盡管他們在執行過程中有時也會犯下代價高昂的錯誤,但這可能就是任何一場戰爭的本質。

A different type of war

一場不同類型的戰爭

The veteran said that a lot of foreign fighters have come to Ukraine expecting the same advantages they have had in previous conflicts and that many have been killed as a result of having the "wrong mindset."
Other US veterans who have fought in Ukraine said they found the fighting there far worse than in Afghanistan and Iraq, describing Ukraine as being at a disadvantage the US never was and recalling ceaseless attacks by Russia.
One previously told Business Insider that the relentless fighting in Ukraine often means that, unlike in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is no break or chance to relax. It's a kind of fighting that takes a severe toll, both mentally and physically, on a soldier.
He said that in many places where he fought in Ukraine, "there is nowhere that is safe," while when he was in Afghanistan and Iraq, if you were half a mile behind the front line, "you could stand outside and have a barbecue, a sandwich, and drink."
Ukraine is fighting in conditions very different from what the US and its NATO allies have fought through in recent decades. And while there is renewed interest in readying for a near-peer or even peer-level fight against an adversary like China or Russia, rebuilding the skills for great power conflict isn't something that happens overnight.
Lessons from the Cold War and World Wars have to be relearned, and some modern developments demand learning new ways of war from scratch.

這位退伍軍人表示,許多外國武裝人員來到烏克蘭,希望獲得他們以往參加過的戰斗中所獲得的同樣的優勢,但由于“錯誤的心態”,許多人丟掉了性命。
其他曾在烏克蘭參戰過的美國退伍軍人表示,他們發現那里的戰斗環境比阿富汗和伊拉克要糟糕得多,他們形容烏克蘭處于美國從來沒處過的劣勢地位,并回憶起俄羅斯無休止的攻擊。
一名退伍軍人曾告訴《商業內幕》,在烏克蘭的無休止戰斗常常意味著,與阿富汗和伊拉克不同,那里沒有休息或放松的機會。這種戰斗會對士兵的精神和身體造成嚴重傷害。
他說,在烏克蘭戰場上的許多地點,“沒有任何地方是安全的”,而當他在阿富汗和伊拉克時,如果你處于前線后方半英里,“你可以站在燒烤、吃個三明治、喝杯飲料什么的。"”
烏克蘭的戰斗條件與美國及其北約盟國近幾十年來所經歷過的戰場環境截然不同。盡管人們已經開始重新關注如何為與中國或俄羅斯這樣的對手進行近似甚至同級別水平的戰斗做好準備,但重建大國之間戰斗的技能并非一朝一夕之事。
我們必須重新汲取冷戰和世界大戰的教訓,某些現代事態的發展則要求我們從頭開始學習新的戰爭方式。


Ukrainian soldiers fire a M101 howitzer towards Russian positions at the frontline, near Avdiivka, in Ukraine's Donetsk region in March 2024AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

2024 年 3 月,烏克蘭士兵在烏克蘭頓涅茨克地區阿夫迪夫卡附近的前線使用 美制M101 榴彈炮炮擊俄羅斯陣地。照片來源:美聯社
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The war has often devolved into a grinding fight that features trench warfare and both sides relying on decades-old equipment.
Many soldiers have described the war in Ukraine as resembling World War I and II more than any modern conflict, though there are also modern elements like drones and missiles.
It's a comparison the veteran made, too. He said that fighting to clear Russian trenches made him feel like he was "fighting World War I." The overwhelming role of artillery speaks to that as well.
Ukraine has largely been praised for its ability to fight back against Russia, which has a much larger military, and many experts say Ukraine has a lot it can teach the West about fighting Russia.
The veteran said that "I believe that the Ukrainians could teach some things to the Western militaries, to NATO, just because we haven't fought a conventional war in fucking forever."

戰爭常常演變成一場艱苦的戰斗,其特點是塹壕戰,雙方都依賴于幾十年前的裝備。
許多士兵將烏克蘭戰爭描述為比任何現代沖突都更類似第一次世界大戰和第二次世界大戰,盡管其中也有無人機和導彈等現代元素。
這位老兵也是這么比喻的。他說,清除俄羅斯戰壕的戰斗讓他感覺自己正在“參加第一次世界大戰”。炮兵的壓倒性作用也說明了這一點。
烏克蘭在很大程度上因其展示出得抵抗俄軍的能力而備受贊譽,而俄羅斯的軍隊規模要大得多,許多專家說,烏克蘭在與俄羅斯作戰方面有許多值得西方借鑒的地方。
這位老兵說:“我相信烏克蘭人可以向西方軍隊和北約傳授不少東西,因為我們他媽的已經很久沒有打過一場正規戰爭了?!?br />