How many tanks has Russia lost?
In addition to updating the crowd sourced Battle Damage Assessment on both sides of the conflict. Using the data from the Oryx website and providing an assessment on the impact of the war on both the Russian and Ukrainian forces. Moreover, this article looks at crowd sourced BDA, implications for the future. In addition, provides an assessment over time on the Russian losses.
Crowd Sourcing Battle Damage Assessment
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.”
In the old days, the Battalion or Brigade Intelligence Officer had to collect reports from helicopter pilots, Air Force pilots, forward observers and ground forces who engaged the enemy. As a result of these reports, the Intelligence Officer would make an assessment of how badly the enemy had been damaged from the actions of friendly forces.
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. Furthermore, the team finds photos of destroyed, abandoned, and captured vehicles. And then tries to count them based on the vehicle type. They also categorize them based on the vehicle destroyed, abandoned, or captured. In addition, the team does its best to make sure that they are not counting the same vehicle twice. Furthermore, they update it daily. Check it our yourself — the link to their regularly updated article is here.
Russian Losses Over Time and Bigger Implications
Crowd sourced Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) continues to be intriguing to watch after almost 6 weeks of combat. Here are three thoughts on crowd-sourced BDA.
Oryx’s team of five people is diligently working through the backlog, but the data has a lag right now — even so, the Russians have lost 400+ tanks!
Second, I think that crowd sourced Battle Damage Assessments will be part of future battlefields. Cell phones with cameras and social media platforms are here to stay and will only get better. The Oryx Website is just a team of five civilians working through every social media post of destroyed or damaged vehicles from both sides in Ukraine. Hats off to them for their incredible work. But every Army in the future will have to deal with this phenomena. There certainly are implications for the US military as well.
Is crowd sourced-BDA going to be replicated at the US Army’s National Training Center? How about at a Warfighter Command Post Exercise? What if the crowd-sourced BDA is more accurate than the reports the unit has received from its own people?
There are larger, more strategic issues as well. Has the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) started to put together teams that can can review photos and crowd source the BDA of North Korean, South Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, Pakistan, and Indian equipment? Is the DIA able to replicate what Oryx is doing with a team crowd sourcing the BDA from Ukraine and Russian losses?
Thinking ahead five years, the technology should be there to enable a computer to do the crowd sourced BDA faster and more accurately than people. Has the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency started to encourage tech start-ups to produce an Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning platform that can review social media photos and provide this crowd sourced BDA to the US Department of Defense in future conflicts? What about Army Futures Command or the United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence? There’s work to be done to add this capability to the US military and the US intelligence community.
Lastly, Oryx’s updates are dynamic and their web page is being updated by the minute. However, there is not historic data available. I have maintained my data from over the last month. Here is a graphic that shows Russian vehicle losses from Monday at 3:00 PM EDT from each of the last 5 weeks. For example, February 24, 2022 is the beginning of the Russian invasion — the vehicle numbers are my estimate that Russia attacked with 94 Battalion Tactical Groups.
Unfortunately, my Excel skills are limited. If you want the complete spreadsheet and can put together a better graphic/chart (if anyone out there can do a Minard chart that would be awesome!) send me a note here and I’ll send you the spreadsheet.
Here is Jomini of the West’s (Twitter @JominiW) map of the current situation (April 4, 2022). As he states “The collapse of the Kyiv-Chernihiv & Sumy Strategic Fronts & a shift of combat focus to east Ukraine will change the character of the war, not its essence.”
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. In addition, 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. It is the lowest level and 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. It is in the middle and usually equates to 10% of a friendly or enemy unit’s equipment 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 destroyed, damaged, abandoned, or captured.
Russian BDA (As of April 4, 2022 at 15:00 EDT the Oryx Website)
Russian forces have lost:
- 424 Losses (74 ⬆️) out of an estimated 940x T-72/80/90s Tanks — 45.1% Losses (Destroyed)
- Average of 10.9x tanks damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict
- 487 Losses (18 ⬆️ )out of an estimated 3,102x BMPs/BTRs/BMDs (Armored Personnel Carriers) — 15.7% Losses (Neutralized)
- Average of 12.5x BMPs/BTRs damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict
- 7 Losses (No Change) out of an estimated 376x Shturm-S ATGM Carriers — 1.8% Losses (No impact)
- 81 Losses (16 ⬆️ )out of an estimated 282x BAT-2s and 188x IMR-2s (Engineer Vehicles) — 12.9% Losses (Neutralized)
- 175 Losses (29 ⬆️ )out of an estimated 564x 152 mm 2S19 Msta and 564x BM-21 122mm MLRS (Field Artillery) — 15.5% Losses (Neutralized)
- 57 Losses (4 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 564x Pantsir-S1 (SAMs) — 10.1% Losses (Neutralized)
- 133 MT-LB Losses (11 ⬆️) out of an estimated 658x MT-LB ACRV (Command and Control) — 20.2% Losses (Neutralized)
- Average of 3.4x MT-LBs damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict
Moreover, there have not been regular updates or reports on casualties. Until there are updated reports, I will continue to provide this for some perspective:
On March 21, 2022, Komsomolskaya Pravda, a pro-Kremlin tabloid, reported that according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. 9,861 Russian soldiers were killed in Ukraine and 16,153 were injured during the invasion, there may be an additional 10,000+ Russian soldiers Ukraine captured as well. On Wednesday, March 23, 2022 a NATO spokesperson announced their estimate between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine and up to 40,000 Russian troops in total killed, wounded, taken prisoner or are missing.
Ukrainian BDA (As of April 4, 2022 at 1500 EDT the Oryx Website)
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:
- 93 Losses (14 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 630x T-64/80s Tanks — 14.6% Losses (Neutralized)
- Average of 2.5x tanks damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict.
- 150 Losses (22 ⬆️) out of an estimated 2,215x BMPs/BTRs/BMDs (Armored Personnel Carriers) — 6.8% Losses (Suppressed)
- Average of 4x BMPs/BTRs damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict.
- 57 Losses (10 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 306x 152 mm 2S19 Msta and 306x BM-21 122mm MLRS (Field Artillery) — 9.3% Losses (Suppressed)
- 13 MT-LB Losses (1 ⬆️) out of an estimated 476x MT-LB ACRV (Command and Control) — 2.7% Losses (No Impact)
Once again, there have not been regular updates or reports on casualties. Until there are updated reports, I will continue to provide this for some perspective:
President Zelenskyy said on March 13, 2022 that Ukraine lost 1,300 soldiers (US estimates were 3,000). Remember casualties in war consist of killed, wounded, and captured. This would also imply 6,500 Ukrainian soldiers wounded or captured. This uses the same ratio (1 killed to 5 wounded/captured) from the Soviet experience in Afghanistan. This number does not include civilian casualties. There have been no updates to Ukrainian casualties for the past 20 days.
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 was 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 Can Be Found at:
Invasion of Ukraine, D+36, SITREPInvasion of Ukraine, D+33, SITREPInvasion of Ukraine, D+29, SITREPInvasion of Ukraine, D+26. SITREPInvasion of Ukraine, D+22, SITREPInvasion of Ukraine, D+19, SITREPInvasion of Ukraine, D+15, SITREP
In conclusion, want even more? Lastly, 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.
Lastly, use your deeper awareness of the invasion of Ukraine to go on the offensive and follow the conflict with better insight.
Written by David Fivecoat
How many tanks has Russia lost?