As we look back on 2023, we’re once again sharing the most widely read articles published by the Modern War Institute over the past twelve months. The war in Ukraine, which continued through its second year, and Hamas’s attacks on October 7 followed by Israel’s ground campaign represented two of the most significant features of the year’s strategic landscape, and articles focused on those two conflicts are represented strongly on the list.

Alongside examinations of Russia’s strategic objectives in Ukraine, new technologies and equipment appearing on that battlefield, and how Hamas managed to pull off its comprehensive, large-scale attacks against Israel, other articles featured expand the scope beyond the two conflicts that have attracted the most attention over the past year.

If you missed any of the top ten most widely read articles MWI published in 2023, now is a great chance to catch up. As always, we’re grateful to all of the readers who sought out these articles and all of the other content we’ve published over the past year!

1. Underground Nightmare: Hamas Tunnels and the Wicked Problem Facing the IDF

John Spencer

October 17, 2023 — In the days after Hamas’s deadly attacks against Israel on October 7, it became clear that Israeli forces would be sent into Gaza—a territory under which crisscrossed hundreds of miles of Hamas tunnels.

2. Hypersonic Hype? Russia’s Kinzhal Missiles and the Lessons for Air Defense

Peter Mitchell

May 23, 2023 — In May, a Patriot air defense system in Ukraine intercepted a Kinzhal hypersonic missile. It presented a prime opportunity to explore the role of modern air defense systems and their readiness for an emerging class of weapons.

3. Leopards into the Fray: How Will German Tanks Affect the Battlefield Balance in Ukraine?

John Amble and John Spencer

January 27, 2023 — The war in Ukraine had already seen heavy attrition of Russian armor, but the announcement that Ukraine would receive new, modern tanks from its international supporters raised the question of how much impact they would have.

4. What is Russia’s Theory of Victory in Ukraine?

Marnix Provoost

March 31, 2023 — More than a year after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, was it possible to discern what Russia hoped to achieve in the war and how it intended to do so—in other words, was it possible to identify Russia’s theory of victory?

5. Catastrophic Success: What if Ukrainian Counteroffensive Achieves More than Expected?

Alex Betley

May 8, 2023 — Ahead of a much anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive after a winter of attritional, positional warfare, how well could observers predict how Russia might react if Ukrainian forces made quick and steady battlefield gains?

6. The Russian Way of War in Ukraine: A Military Approach Nine Decades in the Making

Randy Noorman

June 15, 2023 — A look at how Russia has employed force during the war in Ukraine makes clear that, despite new technologies and equipment, this was a model of warfare that has been shaped in Russian military thinking over nearly a century.

7. What Happened to Iron Dome? A Lesson on the Limits of Technology at War

Patrick Sullivan and John Amble

October 10, 2023 — On October 7, Hamas rocket attacks overwhelmed one of the most advanced and interconnected air defense systems in the world. The key to how the group did it? Mass.

8. The Army Eliminated the Coast Artillery Corps in 1950—It’s Time to Bring It Back

Alec Rice and Elliot Pernula

February 22, 2023 — For three-quarters of a century, artillery specifically designed to protect coastal areas has been deemphasized by the US Army. In today’s operational environment, there’s a strong case for reprioritizing it.

9. I Live, I Fight, I Win? Analyzing Russia’s Slightly Bizarre Manual for Soldiers Fighting in Ukraine

Patrick Griffin

January 12, 2023 — In late 2022, details of a manual for Russian soldiers emerged on the internet. Though partly propaganda, the manual’s highly curated guidance yielded hints about the Russian military’s expectation for the future of the war in Ukraine.

10. War Has Changed, and the Army’s Conceptualization of Operational Art Must Follow Suit

David C. Clouse

December 5, 2023 — The character of warfare has changed dramatically over the past three decades, and yet the Army’s approach to operational art envisions a battlefield bare changed since Operation Desert Storm. It’s time to change that.