How many tanks does Russia have in Ukraine?
Today, April 26, 2022, is D+60 in the Russian Invasion of the Ukraine. This post resets the overall Russian Order of Battle for the battle in the east (Phase II of the campaign). To 75 Battalion Tactical Groups manned at 90%. Revises the concept of a typical Russian Battalion Tactical Group by reducing the Air Defense capability to only a platoon (due to indicators in Phase I), and begins assessing the the crowd sourced Battle Damage Assessment for Russia in Phase II (the battle in the East) and keeps the BDA the same for Ukraine using the data from the Oryx website.
Current Situation — Big Picture
Here is Jomini of the West’s (Twitter @JominiW) latest map of the current situation (April 21, 2022). As he states “The past 72 hrs. have seen the Kremlin declare “victory” in Mariupol, with Ukrainian resistance continuing in the Azovstal area. Russia keeps up pressure in the Severodonetsk Salient with only marginal gains. The pace of offensive action in the Donbas has not yet displayed that the Russian military can obtain a significant operational victory in the next 17 days or by the end of May for that matter. The battle of Donbas may end in stalemate.”
As I stated in the D+53 SITREP, the war has transitioned (Phase II) to the east and the Donetsk Oblast. Phase I could be considered the attack towards Kyiv and the fight in the east from February 24-April 8. Phase II is from April 9 to the present. This is my first attempt to capture losses for Russia in Phase II of the Invasion.
Current Situation — Donetsk Oblast, April 21, 2022
The most important oblast (province) right now in Ukraine is Donetsk. Donetsk Oblast is approximately 26,505 km2 in size and has a population of 4,165,901. Its largest city is Donetsk, with a pre-war population of over 1,000,000. Other significant towns are Horlivka (over 300,000 people pre-war), Makiivka (430,000 people), Mariupol (500,000 people), and Pokrovsk (only 82,000 people but key terrain). As part of the previous 2014 Ukraine War, a portion of Donetsk (about 30%) Oblast declared their independence as the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). On February 21, 2022 Russia recognized DPR as an independent state. Russia is the only country to recognize the DPR’s independence.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his speech on February 22, 2022, stated Russia’s goals as the independence of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). As of April 18, 2022, 100% of the Luhansk Oblast/LPR is under Russian control, while approximately 60% of Donetsk Oblast is under Russian control. The DPR (and Russia) controls Donetsk’s major cities of Donetsk, Horlivka, and Makiivka. Ukrainian forces control Donetsk’s key cities of Mariupol (tenuously) and Pokrovsk. Ukraine also has defended and occupied the small town of Severodonetsk, which is a key part of Ukrainian defenses. The focus of the war has transitioned to Donetsk Oblast as Russian forces attack from the north, the east, and the south.
Here is Jomini of the West’s (Twitter @JominiW) map of the current situation in Donetsk (April 21, 2022). As he states “Intense Russian air, artillery, and missile bombardment of the Severodonetsk Salient & Donbas Line of Contact continues. Russian forces could potentially mass 8x BTGs near Lyman to attempt a breakthrough NE of Slovyansk.”
Updated Battalion Tactical Groups and Order of Battle
A Battalion Tactical Group, or BTG, is the primary combined-arms maneuver unit used by the Russian Army. In NATO militaries, this grouping would be called a Task Force. (More on BTGs here). A typical BTG is comprised of one tank company, three infantry companies, one Anti-Tank (AT) missile company, one engineer company, two field artillery batteries, and one Surface to Air Missile (SAM) Platoon. Each BTG has approximately 600-800 soldiers assigned to it. BTGs formed the mainstay of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine from 2013–2015 and now in 2022. Here is the updated graphic of a typical BTG:
The order of battle tries to depict the hierarchical organization, command structure, strength, disposition of personnel, and disposition of equipment of military units participating in a military operation. Corporate types would recognize this as an org chart. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m will focus on the Order of Battle/potential disposition of the Russian military equipment involved in Phase II (fight in the east) in the invasion of Ukraine.
There are 75 BTGs in the Phase II fight in Ukraine.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/JkOytIomIds?start=102&feature=oembedWar in Ukraine, Russia’s Failure & Burnt Tanks with US Army Colonel & Paratrooper Ret. Dave Fivecoat
Since the BTGs have been engaged in combat since February 24, I’m going to assess that they started Phase II, on April 9th, at 90% strength for vehicles and people with:
- 750x T-72/80/90 Tanks * 90% = 675x T-72/80/90 Tanks
- 2,475x BMPs/BTRs/BMDs (Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs)) * 90% = 2,227x BMPs/BTRs/MMDs (APCs)
- 225x BAT-2s and 150x IMR-2s (Engineer Vehicles) * 90% = 337x Engineer Vehicles
- 450 x 152 mm 2S19 Msta (Self-Propelled Artillery) * 90% = 405x 152mm 2SS19 Msta (SP Artillery)
- 450x BM-21 122mm Multiple Launch Rocker System (MLRS — More Artillery) * 90% = 405x BM-21 (MLRS Artillery)
- 225x Pantsir-S1 (Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) or Air Defense Artillery) * 90% = 202x Pantsir-S1 (SAM)
- 525x MT-LB ACRV (Command and Control) * 90% = 472x MT-LB ACRV (C2)
- 52,500 Soldiers * 90% = 47,250 Soldiers
The rest of the Russian invasion force (reported to be over 100,000+) is in the support forces.
Crowd Sourced BDA
Each day the Russian Invasion of Ukraine continues, both Russian and Ukraine forces have vehicles destroyed, damaged, abandoned, or captured from combat. Battle Damage Assessment, or BDA, is “the estimate of damage composed of physical and functional damage assessment, as well as target system assessment, resulting from the application of lethal or nonlethal military force.” Five guys in the Netherlands — Stijn Mitzer, along with Joost Oliemans, Kemal Janovsky, Dan Janovsky, and Jakub Janovsky — have taken this idea into the 21st Century. The five people are attempting to crowd source battle damage assessments in real-time from both the Russian and Ukraine armed forces during the invasion of Ukraine on The Oryx Website.
The team finds photos of destroyed, abandoned, and captured vehicles and then tries to count them based on the vehicle type. They also categories them based on the vehicle being destroyed, abandoned, or captured. The team does its best to make sure that they are not counting the same vehicle twice and are updating it daily. Check it our yourself — the link to their regularly updated article is here.
Russian BDA (Revised April 25, 2022)
Here is the baseline crowd sourced Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) for the fight in the east. Here is the updated graphic that shows Russian losses over the previous 2 weeks. The Russians have lost 283 tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery pieces, engineer vehicles, air defense vehicles, and command and control vehicles over the last 16 days in the fight in the Donetsk. That’s about 6% losses of the key weapon systems that started Phase II.
Just counting damaged, destroyed, and captured vehicles is Basic BDA. Taking the raw numbers and then assessing the impact on the invasion force is Advanced BDA. Advanced BDA helps military leaders understand the context and make better decisions.
The military uses three categories to measure the impact on enemy units: suppressed, neutralized, or destroyed. As you would expect, each of these terms has a military definition. These terms use the US Army’s Field Artillery percentages for suppressed, neutralized, or destroyed.
- Suppress is a tactical mission task that results in temporary degradation of the performance of a force or weapons system below the level needed to accomplish its mission. Moreover, it is the lowest level. In addition, typically equates to 3% of a friendly or enemy unit’s equipment destroyed, damaged, abandoned, or captured.
- Neutralize is a tactical mission task that results in rendering enemy personnel or materiel incapable of interfering with a particular operation. Furthermore, it is in the middle and usually equates to 10% of a friendly or enemy unit’s equipment being destroyed, damaged, abandoned, or captured.
- Destroy is a tactical mission task that physically renders an enemy force combat-ineffective until it is reconstituted. It is the highest level and usually equals to 30% of a friendly or enemy unit’s equipment being destroyed, damaged, abandoned, or captured.
Russian BDA (As of April 25, 2022 at 15:00 EDT the Oryx Website (Only captures losses from April 9 onwards))
Tracking the Russian BDA in Phase II is a combination of art and science. From April 9, 2022, I believe that Russian forces have lost in Phase II:
- 76 Losses (42 ⬆️) out of an estimated 765x T-72/80/90s Tanks — 11.2% Losses (Neutralized)
- Average of 5.1x tanks damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of Phase II
- 124 Losses (91 ⬆️ )out of an estimated 2,227x BMPs/BTRs/BMDs (Armored Personnel Carriers) — 5.5% Losses (Suppressed)
- Average of 7.8x BMPs/BTRs damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of Phase II
- 13 Losses (6 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 282x BAT-2s and 188x IMR-2s (Engineer Vehicles) — 3.9% Losses (Suppressed)
- 19 Losses (8 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 405x 152 mm 2S19 Msta and 405x BM-21 122mm MLRS (Field Artillery) — 2.3% Losses (No Impact)
- 2 Losses (1 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 202x Pantsir-S1 (SAMs) — 1% Losses (No Impact)
- 49 MT-LB Losses (9 ⬆️) out of an estimated 472x MT-LB ACRV (Command and Control) — 10.4% Losses (Neutralized)
There have not been regular updates or reports on casualties. Until there are updated reports, I will continue to provide this for some perspective:
Yesterday, April 25, 2022 the UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace stated that “over 15,000 Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine.”
In addition, there may be another 30,000 Russian soldiers wounded, captured. Or missing, casualties represent soldiers killed, wounded, captured, or missing. With an estimated 190,000 Russian soldiers participating in the invasion. This represents 23.6% casualties (in line with the total amount of key ground vehicles lost by the Russian Army).
Ukrainian BDA (As of April 25, 2022 at 1500 EDT the Oryx Website)
I did not reset the Ukrainian data. I believe these numbers are low since the Russian forces are not using social media. And it makes it difficult for the Oryx team to crowd source the data. However, it is a good start point. So far, according to Oryx, Ukrainian forces have lost:
- 139 Losses (15 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 630x T-64/80s Tanks — 22.1% Losses (Neutralized)
- Average of 2.3x tanks damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict.
- 201 Losses (19 ⬆️) out of an estimated 2,215x BMPs/BTRs/BMDs (Armored Personnel Carriers) — 9.1% Losses (Suppressed)
- Average of 3.4x BMPs/BTRs damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict.
- 67 Losses (3 ⬆️) out of an estimated 306x 152 mm 2S19 Msta and 306x BM-21 122mm MLRS (Field Artillery) — 10.9% Losses (Neutralized)
- 15 MT-LB Losses (1 ⬆️) out of an estimated 476x MT-LB ACRV (Command and Control) — 3.1% Losses (Suppressed)
Once again, there have not been regular updates or reports on casualties.
President Zelenskyy said during an April 15, 2022 interview with CNN that Ukraine had lost(kia) over 2,750 soldiers (US estimates were 3,000) and over 10,000 wounded. This number does not include civilian casualties.
To help you understand the maps better, here is a short guide to some of the symbology above the units. Russian units are in red. Ukrainian units are in green. Name of the unit is typically to the right of the symbol.
- Combined Arms Army (CAA) — Symbolized by XXXX above a unit on the map, the Army Group system developed by the Soviets during World War II. When the echelons of corps and armies merged together. Army Groups typically have at several motorized rifle and tank divisions and brigades; headquarters, artillery, air defense, reconnaissance, and MTO (logistics) brigades; and an engineering regiment and a NBC defense regiment. These formations have over 20,000 soldiers in them.
- Divisions — symbolized by XX above a unit on the map, these formations have about 8,500 soldiers and resemble Soviet-era divisions. With three motorized rifle regiments and one tank regiment (for a motorized rifle division (MRD)) or three tank regiments and one motorized rifle regiment (for a tank division) plus supporting units.
- Brigades — symbolized by X above a unit on the map, these formations typically have 3,000-4,500 soldiers
- Battalion Tactical Groups — symbolized by II above a unit on the map, these formations typically have 600 soldiers. See Invasion of Ukraine, D+15, SITREP for more details on the BTG.
More Information on Both the Russian Invasion Force and Ukrainian Defense Forces Found at:
In conclusion, want even more? Reach out to me me here for a virtual talk to your group or company on the Invasion of Ukraine and its tactical and strategic implications.
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Lastly, use your deeper awareness of the invasion of Ukraine to go on the offensive and follow the conflict with better insight.
How many tanks does Russia have in Ukraine?