How many tanks & vehicles has Russia lost in Ukraine?
Today, March 25, 2022, is D+29 in the Russian Invasion of the Ukraine. In addition to updating the crowd sourced Battle Damage Assessment on both sides of the conflict from the Oryx website and providing an assessment on the impact of the war on both the Russian and Ukrainian forces, this article looks at what’s next in the war.
So What’s Next in Ukraine?
Some readers have asked what I think will happen next with the war? My best guess is that the Russian military will consolidate and defend their territorial gains and the war will transition to a World War I style “trench warfare.” Neither side will be able to gain enough initiative and momentum to regain all the lost territory (Ukraine) or generate an offensive to capture more cities (Russia).
Historically speaking, it took 36 days for the Great War to transition from a war of movement and maneuver to trench warfare.
World War I began on August 7, 1914 when German forces attacked into France and the low countries. A series of 5 battles in August at Mulhouse, Lorraine, the Ardennes, Charleroi, and Mons saw heavy casualties on both sides. Aggressive German offensive tactics forced a general Allied retreat to a defensive line behind the Marne River. From September 6 to 12, 1914 the Allies stopped the German advance at the First Battle of the Marne. After the Battle of the Marne, the war transitioned into trench warfare, which is defined as warfare in which opposing armed forces attack, counterattack, and defend from relatively permanent systems of trenches dug into the ground.
Don’t like the World War I analogy? It took 318 days for the Donbas War (Donbas is one of the eastern provinces of Ukraine) to transition from maneuver warfare to trench warfare. The Russian occupation of the Donbas Region of Ukraine began in April 2014. In February 2015 the conflict settled into a “frozen war” with trench lines, artillery barrages from both sides, small raids, and drones operating overhead. A Ukrainian trench system is pictured above. The frozen war continued from February 2015 until the Russian Invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Here is Jomini of the West’s map of the current situation (March 24, 2022). As he states “The past 96 hours has seen a lot of activity throughout the Ukrainian Theater of War, Russia is actively transitioning to a protracted defense, with offensive operations continuing in the Donbas. Ukrainian forces have counterattacked near Kyiv:”
Crowd Sourcing Battle Damage Assessment
Each day the conflict continues, both Russian and Ukraine forces lose vehicles from combat. These vehicles were destroyed, damaged, abandoned, or captured in battle. 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.
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.
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. It is the lowest level and typically equates to 3% of a friendly or enemy unit’s equipment being 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 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 March 24, 2022 at 15:00 EDT the Oryx Website)
Russian forces have lost:
- 280 Losses (17 ⬆️) out of an estimated 940x T-72/80/90s Tanks — 29.8% Losses (Neutralized)
- Average of 10x tanks damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict
- 377 Losses (14 ⬆️ )out of an estimated 3,102x BMPs/BTRs/BMDs (Armored Personnel Carriers) — 12.2% Losses (Neutralized)
- Average of 13.4x 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)
- 47 Losses (3 ⬆️ )out of an estimated 282x BAT-2s and 188x IMR-2s (Engineer Vehicles) — 10% Losses (Neutralized)
- 126 Losses (20 ⬆️ )out of an estimated 564x 152 mm 2S19 Msta and 564x BM-21 122mm MLRS (Field Artillery) — 11.2% Losses (Neutralized)
- 51 Losses (1 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 564x Pantsir-S1 (SAMs) — 9% Losses (Suppressed)
- 105 MT-LB Losses (N/C) out of an estimated 658x MT-LB ACRV (Command and Control) — 15.9% Losses (Neutralized)
- Average of 4x MT-LBs damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict
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 captured by Ukraine as well. On Wednesday, March 23, 2022 a NATO spokesperson announced that their estimate was between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine and up to 40,000 Russian troops in total have been killed, wounded, taken prisoner or are missing.
Ukrainian BDA (As of March 24, 2022 at 1500 EDT the Oryx Website)
I believe these numbers are low since the Russian forces are not using social media. Moreover, 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:
- 74 Losses (4 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 630x T-64/80s Tanks — 11.7% Losses (Neutralized)
- Average of 2.8x tanks damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict.
- 123 Losses (7 ⬆️) out of an estimated 2,215x BMPs/BTRs/BMDs (Armored Personnel Carriers) — 5.5% Losses (Suppressed)
- Average of 4.6x BMPs/BTRs damaged, destroyed, abandoned and captured per day of the conflict.
- 36 Losses (7 ⬆️ ) out of an estimated 306x 152 mm 2S19 Msta and 306x BM-21 122mm MLRS (Field Artillery) — 4.7% Losses (Suppressed)
- 12 MT-LB Losses (No Change) out of an estimated 476x MT-LB ACRV (Command and Control) — 2.5% Losses (No Impact)
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 are killed, wounded, and captured. This would also imply that there are about 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 10 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 were merged together. Army Groups typically have at several motorized rifle and tank divisions and brigades; headquarters, artillery, air defense, reconnaissance, and MTO (logistics) brigades; in addition 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:
Written by David Fivecoat
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