1. This Binkov's Battlegrounds video:...the infamous Russian hand puppet commissar has made a video on a hypothetical Malaysia vs. Singapore.
(i) wrongly assumes that both causeways will be blown up without being rebuilt (the Woodlands Causeway, pipes in raw water from Johor) and the Singapore Army can easily cross the Strait of Johor — with its Terrex ICVs and the MG3s joined as rafts to carry MBTs;
(ii) illogically assumes Singapore will take a week1 to establish a forward defence sector in the west of Johor — Binkov's Battlegrounds basic battle geometry is wrong. Singapore’s forward defence forces have to secure the causeway (plus the water catchment area in Johor and pump stations) and then flow forces to other ancillary lines of effort;
(iii) disrespectfully and without basis assumes that the Singapore Army’s forward defence divisions, namely, the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 21st (AOR) and 25th (AOR) divisions are incompetent;
(iv) grossly underestimates the SAF’s demonstrated amphibious capability at Ex Trident; plus RSN’s fleet of Fast Craft Equipment & Personnel (FCEP) and Fast Craft Utility (FCU) can easily fight across and ford the Singapore Straits.
The 27m x 6.8m FCU can carry up to 30 tons (a Hunter IFV or a Bionix II) and the 43m x 6.8m FCU can carry up to 75 tons (a Leopard 2 SG);
(v) conveniently and without basis assumes that Singapore’s 21st Division, supported by 3 squadrons of troop lift helicopters (32 Super Pumas and 15 CH-47Ds/CH-47SDs) and four 7,600 ton Endurance Class LPDs (each carrying ten 13m FCEPs, four 27m FCUs and FBS sections) are tactically incompetent — Binkov's Battlegrounds illogically assumes that the SAF’s heliborne operations would insert Guardsmen less than 18km into the enemy’s depth (when it has confirmed that the SAF is capable of deep battle*2). A heliborne brigade can be inserted into LZs that are over 200km from the forward edge of the battlefield;
(vi) strangely and without basis assumes that the Malaysian Army will be given time to send reinforcements, a month after fighting has commenced or that a stalemate can occur in Johor (as Binkov's Battlegrounds does not understand the SAF’s actual mobilisation speed or its force structure designed for regional overmatch); and
(vii) ignores the strategic value of the SAF holding at risk all three northwards axis of advance, via a “thunder run”, as a phase 2 plan after an initial forward defence sector is established. The essence of a 357km “thunder run” is the intent to deal a psychological blow to the defenders of Putrajaya and to avoid a prolonged fight in Johor. To do this, Singapore’s Leopard 2SG and Hunter/Bionix armoured battalions, attacking as Singapore Armoured Brigades, namely, the 4th, 8th, 54th or 56th SABs (tasked as necessary), would target strategic objectives instead of street-to-street fighting.
*1 On 14 Jan 2003, the tabloid providing a dramatization of Dr. Tim Huxley's book "Defending the Lion City", has the following war scenario, as wild imaginings of The Malay Mail writers:
"It's 4am. The early morning calm is suddenly shattered by the deafening screams of low-flying jets. Seconds later, Kuantan air base is rocked by multiple explosions, followed by "secondaries" as Malaysia's air assets in aircraft shelters and revetments are obliterated. Klaxons blaring, pilots are scrambled to whichever aircraft that are still air-worthy, but it's useless. The runways had been cratered. In the ensuing confusion, reports start streaming in. It seems that this is not an isolated case. Butterworth checks in and reports that its entire complement of F/A-18D Hornets are now smoking, twisted hulks out on the tarmac.
And the entire Third Division which has overall command over Johor and Malacca had also been annihilated.The National Power Grid had not been spared, plunging the entire country in darkness, adding to the chaos and confusion. Reports also indicated that the Ministry of Defence building in Jalan Padang Tembak, Kuala Lumpur, had been hit by at least six GBU-31 1,000-pound JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions). Even the KLCC had been struck with such ferocity that only the Maxis Tower was left standing. On Bukit Nanas, only a blackened stump is left of what used to be the Kuala Lumpur Tower. Down in Johor and Malacca, the situation is much worse. A torrent of armoured vehicles, including tanks, are hogging all the roads linking Johor Baru to Muar and Kota Tinggi, disgorging armed soldiers who took over all the towns.
Senai airport, captured in a pre-dawn attack was being used by the helicopters and planes taking part in the on-going offensive. On the North-South Expressway, main battle tanks and armoured fighting vehicles together with towed artillery with fighter jets and attack helicopters providing close support were going north, destination unknown. Reports of troops landing from helicopters were coming in from all over Johor, from Mersing to Muar. By noon, Johoreans find themselves under Singapore military rule."
*2 Teo Chee Hean, speaking in 2008 as the then Minister of Defence said:
“...This exercise confirms the SAF's capability to have comprehensive awareness and precision strike on multiple targets.... This is done by integrating a network of sensors and shooters.... What this means is that the SAF division now has the capability to see first and to strike first well into the division's depths and that means that the division is able to influence the battle well into the depth.”
2. With 7 facts, assumptions and strategic thinking, wrong, it is hard for the analysis by Binkov's Battlegrounds to be seen as credible.
3. I agree and I think the scenario drawn by Binkov's Battlegrounds lacks respect for the Malaysians is a capable force as the Malaysian Army has motorised divisions (eg. operates 48 PT-91Ms, 211 ACV 300s, and 257 AV-8s) and is capable of Network Centric Operations. The Malaysian 3rd Division and the 10th Parachute Brigade, as the first to fight, would want to engage the SAF in motti or pocket battles, by using terrain and strong points keep Singaporean troops headed north, road bound and cut them off into isolated pockets from logistic support and mutual support.It seems really unrealistic and overly simplistic.
4. Using a decision-making model based on PESTEL (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal) analysis, AHP (Analytical Hierarchical Process), and game theory, it would be clear that the video is unrealistic and overly simplistic.
5. The Malaysians are capable of conducting their own game theory analysis to determine the weaknesses of Singapore’s forward defence strategy. Their plan is to use terrain to select motti battles to trade space for time — plus using their divisional reserves and their 6 ASTROS II artillery batteries, judiciously — to prolong the dispute/fighting. We must assume that the Malaysians are tactically competent and not act in an illogical manner. I believe that the Malaysians will not disregard their own PESTEL and AHP models (as suggested the scenario set in Binkov's Battlegrounds) as it is against their interest.
6. I was initially tempted to explain what was wrong with the war plans illustrated in this Binkov's Battlegrounds video but realised that such explanation at that level of detail will lead to numerous disputes within this thread. It is better choose the more simple route. In my first point, I chose to explain what is wrong by pointing out the 7 mistaken facts, assumptions and strategic thinking rather than detail what is wrong with his proposed war outcome.The comments are, well, YouTube comments. But if I'm wrong in my judgment, do let me know and why!
7. I trust my debunking of some the assumptions is a useful thinking aid to help you construct your arguments against the silly scenario set in Binkov's Battlegrounds. I will be interested to hear what you think.