How many tanks have the Russians lost?

How many tanks have the Russians lost?

How many tanks have the Russians lost?

Today, April 12, 2022, is D+47 in the Russian Invasion of the Ukraine. 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, this article takes a more in depth look at Russian tank losses.

Leadership Under Pressure

Yesterday, Oryx website has confirmed that Russia has lost 476 tanks in Ukraine. Some pundits have argued that the Russian tank losses in Ukraine aren’t that bad and that they can be rapidly replaced by some of the “10,000 tanks” the Russian Army has. However, these pundits’ assertions and assumptions are incorrect. The bulk of these “10,000 tanks” can’t be operated by the Russian troops due to maintenance, crew, or readiness issues.

War in Ukraine

Let’s break down the issues with the 10,000 tanks. First, there are just not enough units to operate them. The Russian tanks belong in four categories:

  1. Firstly, tanks operated in standing army, manned by contracted soldiers (many of these tanks were already deployed to Ukraine. See below)
  2. Secondly, tanks operated in standing army, manned by conscripts (many of these tanks deployed to Ukraine, can operate without mobilization)
  3. Tanks stored in Weapons and Equipment Storage Bases, to become brigades when mobilized;
  4. Tanks stored in Central Base for the Storage of Armored Vehicles, to become replacement pieces when mobilized.

As of 2022, Russia has a standing army of some 250,000 personnel.

The Russian Army operates a total of 2,609 tanks according to their Table of Organization & Equipment (TOE). The rest of the “10,000 tanks” (7,391) are stored at 7 Weapons and Equipment Storage Bases (5 which are in Asia) and the Central Base for the Storage of Armored Vehicle. Lastly, it takes time, training, and mobilization of the reserves to get the 7,391 tanks out of the storage bases.

I believe that the Russian Army has lost 476 tanks out of 940 deployed to Ukraine (50.6%). This is also 18.2% of ALL Russian Tanks (476/2,609) in the standing army. Furthermore, there are indications that almost ALL modern Russian tanks have been put into the fight in Ukraine. Let’s break the losses down by model of Russian tanks (the actual numbers of tanks lost are even higher since there are 60 unknown tanks and a 200-vehicle, uncounted, backlog):

  • 18 T-90A (began service in 2004) destroyed, captured, or abandoned out of total fleet of 187, or 9.6% losses
  • 151 T-72B3/B3Ms (these upgrades began in 2010) destroyed, captured, or abandoned out of a total fleet of 1054, or 14.3% losses
  • 60 T-80Us destroyed, captured, or abandoned out of a total fleet of 186, or 32.3% losses
  • 21 T-80BVMs (revealed in 2017) destroyed, captured, or abandoned out of a total fleet of 72, or 29.6% losses
In just over a month and a half of combat in Ukraine, Russia has lost at least 16.7% of its most modern, capable tanks.

In short, Russian tank losses are horrendous. The shortage of modern tanks will hinder further Russian offensive operations this spring in Ukraine.

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.” 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. Based on these reports, the Intelligence Officer would make an assessment of how badly the enemy had been damaged from the actions of friendly forces.

How many tanks has Ukraine destroyed?

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. Furthermore, they also categorize them based on the vehicle being destroyed, abandoned, or captured. In addition, 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 Losses Over Time and Bigger Implications

Crowd sourced Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) continues to be intriguing to watch after almost 7 weeks of combat. Here is the updated graphic that shows Russian losses over time.

How many tanks have the Russians lost?

Current Situation

Here is Jomini of the West’s (Twitter @JominiW) map of the current situation (April 10, 2022). As he states “The past 100 hrs. have seen increased Russian focus on the Donets River Line & Severodonetsk Salient. Ukraine has mounted a series of successful counter attacks against Kherson, threatening Russian control there.”

How many tanks have the Russians lost?

Advanced BDA:

Just counting damaged, destroyed, and captured vehicles is Basic BDA. Taking the raw numbers and then assessing the impact on the invasion force becomes 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. Thus, 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 11, 2022 at 15:00 EDT the Oryx Website)

Russian forces have lost:

  • 476 Losses (52 ⬆️) out of an estimated 940x T-72/80/90s Tanks — 50.6% Losses (Destroyed)
    • Average of 10.9x tanks damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict
  • 676 Losses (58 ⬆️ )out of an estimated 3,102x BMPs/BTRs/BMDs (Armored Personnel Carriers) — 21.8% Losses (Neutralized)
    • Average of 12.5x BMPs/BTRs damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict
  • 9 Losses (1 ⬆️) out of an estimated 376x Shturm-S ATGM Carriers — 2.4% Losses (No impact)
  • 106 Losses (15 ⬆️ )out of an estimated 282x BAT-2s and 188x IMR-2s (Engineer Vehicles) — 22.6% Losses (Neutralized)
  • 198 Losses (15 ⬆️ )out of an estimated 564x 152 mm 2S19 Msta and 564x BM-21 122mm MLRS (Field Artillery) — 17.6% Losses (Neutralized)
  • 69 Losses (4 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 564x Pantsir-S1 (SAMs) — 12.2% Losses (Neutralized)
  • 133 MT-LB Losses (No Change) out of an estimated 658x MT-LB ACRV (Command and Control) — 20.2% 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:

On March 21, 2022, Komsomolskaya Pravda, a pro-Kremlin tabloid, reported that according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, 9,861 Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine and 16,153 injured during the invasion. There may be an additional 10,000+ Russian soldiers Ukraine has captured as well. On Wednesday, March 23, 2022 a NATO spokesperson announced that their estimates fell 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 11, 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:

  • 103 Losses (10 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 630x T-64/80s Tanks — 16.3% Losses (Neutralized)
    • Average of 2.2x 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)
  • 60 Losses (3 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 306x 152 mm 2S19 Msta and 306x BM-21 122mm MLRS (Field Artillery) — 9.8% Losses (Suppressed)
  • 14 MT-LB Losses (1 ⬆️) out of an estimated 476x MT-LB ACRV (Command and Control) — 2.9% 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 over 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed (US estimates were 3,000, remember casualties in war represent killed, wounded, and captured, as a result, this also implies that there are about 6,500 Ukrainian soldiers wounded or captured. Moreover, this uses the same ratio (1 killed to 5 wounded/captured) from the Soviet experience in Afghanistan. In addition, this number does not include civilian casualties. However, there have been no updates to Ukrainian casualties for the past 20 days.

Map Notes

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 in addition, 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 Available at:

Invasion of Ukraine, D+43, SITREPInvasion of Ukraine, D+40, SITREPInvasion of Ukraine, D+36, SITREP,BTGs, OoB, and Crowd Sourced BDA in Ukraine, D+11

Conclusion

Over the weekend I was on Rebellion Research TV talking about my views on the current situation in Ukraine. You can watch the interview here.

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.

Lastly, the next blog post will be Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Furthermore, 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

Managing Partner of The Five Coat Consulting Group & Former US Army Paratrooper

How many tanks have the Russians lost?

War in Ukraine
How many tanks have the Russians lost?