Observers watched the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War closely, searching for indicators of the character of warfare on tomorrow’s battlefields. The lessons extracted have covered advanced technology and unmanned platforms, proxy dynamics, the ongoing relevance of armor, and more. But some of the most important lessons have received much less attention. They center around the increasingly unavoidable importance of combat in cities and are drawn principally from the battle for the city of Shusha—a fight that arguably decided the outcome of the war.

In this episode of the Urban Warfare Project Podcast, John Amble takes over as host while John Spencer moves to the guest’s chair. He has spent much of the past year studying the Battle of Shusha, including authoring a a report about the battle. In fact, the week this episode was released, he visited Shusha, walking the streets, observing the terrain of both the city and its surrounding area, and gaining an important firsthand understanding of how the battle played out. In the conversation, John offers a detailed look at the context and conduct of the battle. He makes a compelling case that the fight for this single city was the key inflection point on which the outcome of the entire war hinged. He also explains what we should learn from the battle, and how US and allied military forces should apply those lessons as they prepare for the future of warfare in a rapidly urbanizing world.

You can listen to the discussion below or find the episode on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotifyTuneIn, or your favorite podcast app. Be sure to subscribe, and if you’re enjoying the Urban Warfare Project Podcast, please take a minute and leave the podcast a review or give it a rating!

Image: Still image from video released by the Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence after the battle for Shusha (adapted by MWI)