Putin still thinks it’s World War 2 and he’s going to liberate Stalingrad!

Otto von Bismarck once said that only a fool learns from his own mistakes. “I learn from other people’s,” the 19th-century German chancellor said. Astonishingly, the Russian army is repeating the past mistakes of its Soviet predecessor. In April 1945, Marshal Georgy Zhukov, under intense pressure from Stalin, sent his tank armies into Berlin without infantry support. Vladimir Putin’s forces not only made the same error; they even copied the way their forebears had attached odd bits of iron—including bed frames—to their tanks’ turrets in the hopes that the added metal would detonate anti-tank weapons prematurely. This did not save the Russian tanks…

The Russian president’s distorted obsession with history, especially with the “Great Patriotic War” against Germany, has skewed his political rhetoric with bizarre self-contradictions. It has clearly affected his military approach. Tanks were a great symbol of strength during the Second World War. That Putin can still see them that way defies belief. The vehicles have proved to be profoundly vulnerable to drones and anti-tank weapons in recent conflicts…

Yet Putin seems to have learned as little as he has forgotten…Putin’s control of domestic media can hide the truth from most of the Russian population, but his conscripts, forced now to sign new contracts to turn them into volunteers, are all too aware of the reality…

Against all prewar expectations, though, a Russian military collapse also looks possible. A complete disintegration of morale could lead to a humiliating withdrawal, a potentially devastating result of Putin’s inability to part with the Soviet past.

The Sunday TIMES carried an amazing GROUNDHOG DAY Tale of repetitive blunders, repeated not once or twice; but, ten times in a row. Chornobayivka, is now the most famous village in Ukraine because it has become a byword for breathtaking Russian military incompetence.

No gloating as young conscripts die by the hundreds. But, mediocre maneuvers, out-of-date by decades, illustrate how Putin’s reliance on WW2 tactics writes a new chapter of death and despair for his army as thoroughly as it does for some of the Ukrainians standing in his way.