Analysis for Force Ratios using the Campaign Data Base (CaDB)

We have not made much use of our Campaign Data Base. (See: The History of the DuWar Data Bases | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)). We used it as part of the Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) studies back in 200-2001 and have not made use it in the last two decades. But, for a presentation I did last year on force ratios, I blew the dust off of it because I wanted to see if force ratios were different for army-level operations than for division-level engagements. I mean, in the ETO data we have (116 cases), in the force ratios ranging between 1.15-to-1 to 1.88-to1 the attacker won 79% of the time (so much for needing 3-to-1). See: The 3-to-1 rule and the War in Ukraine | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). So the question became, is the pattern we see at army-level different than division-level?

The Campaign Data Base consists of 196 campaigns from 1905 to 1991. They from two days in length to 155 days in length. Only three were over 60 days in length. The problem is that the database is not complete. We assembled it, used it once and have not used it again. There are some holes. For example, we only had the starting strength ratios calculated for 163 cases, we only had the total casualty ratios calculated for 162 and only had the winner calculated for 156 cases. In most cases the missing data is available but has not been assembled. The database just needs a little tender loving care. 

The average attacker strength (99 cases) was 188,909. The average defender strength (96 cases) was 95,497. This comes out to a 1.98-to-1 ratio.

The average attacker losses (176 cases) was 36,076. The average defender losses (172 case) was 47,004. This comes out to a 1-to-1.30 ratio.

The average attacker percent losses per day (163 cases) was 0.69%. The average defender percent losses per day (162 cases) was 1.85%. This comes out to a 1-to-2.68 ratio.

The starting strength ratio (163 cases) was 2.24 (2.24-to-1). The total casualty ratio was (164 cases) 1.35-to-1.

Now, the holes in the database become an issue. This are holes that can be filled given time (read: budget). We have 97 cases where the attacker is coded as the winner, and 38 cases where the defender wins. We have draws in 21 other cases. The rest (40 cases) are currently not coded.

Anyhow, this all produces the following table:

                                                   Attacker   Defender   Draw 

Av. Attacker Strength               208,835    156,821     171,312

Av. Defender Strength                91,486    100,729       96,582

       Ratio                                   2.28           1.56           1.77

 

Av. Attacker Losses                    34,630      69,098       15,232

Av. Defender Losses                   52,466      64,271       12,632

      Ratio                                     0.66           1.08           1.21

 

Av. Attacker % per day              0.73           0.98           0.32

Av. Defender % per day             2.59           0.98           0.39

      Ratio                                      0.28          1.00            0.82

 

Starting Strength Ratio              2.42          2.24            1.79

Casualty Ratio                            1.04          2.51            1.22

 

Contemplate for a moment what this data is telling you. A few observations:

  1. There is a difference in force ratios between winning and losing engagements (2.28-to-1 vice 1.56-to-1).
  2. There is a difference in casualties between winning and losing engagements (0.66-to-1 vice 1.08-to-1).
  3. The data for these army-level operations does not look significant different than for a division-level operation. This is significant.

I will stop here for a moment. This is from slides 12 – 18 for my force ratios briefing. There is more to come (because my briefings, like some of my books, are never short).

 

Next Revised Schedule for the Third Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 8 – 10 October 2024

This is the third provisional schedule for the third Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC). We currently have 29 presentations scheduled by 20 speakers and two group discussions planned. We are looking for more presentations. Have slots still open for seven more presentations (although I can add more slots). Each slot is an hour long, so plan for a 45-minute presentation and 15 minutes of discussion.

The conference is at 1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350, Vienna, VA 22182. This is basically across the street by Tysons Corner Shopping mall and the Marriot Hotel on Route 7. It is right off the Route 7 exit from 495 (the Beltway). It is at the corner of Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) and Old Gallows Road. It is in the building above the restaurant called Rangos. Parking is in the parking garage next door to it.

Conference description is here: The Second Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 17-19 October 2023 in Tysons Corner, VA | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Costs, Hotels and Call for Presentations (these are all 2023 postings but nothing has changed): Cost of the Second Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 17 -19 October 2023 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and Hotels for the Second Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 17-19 October 2023 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and Call for Presentations for the Second Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 17-19 October 2023 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

The cost of the conference is $150 for entire conference or $60 a day. This the same as the last two years. Please pay through PayPal (www.paypal.com) to SRichTDI@aol.com. The conference is priced to cover the costs of the conference facility. We are also set up to take credit card payments by phone. Call The Dupuy Institute during working hours at (703) 289-0007.

We are set up for virtual presentations and virtual attendees. We do record the presentations but most have not been published yet.

 

Schedule: Pike and Gallows Conference Center

Updated: revised 21 April 2024

 

Day 1: Analysis of Conventional Combat

0900 – 0930   Introductory remarks – Christopher A. Lawrence (TDI)

0930 – 1030   Studying Combat: The “Base of Sand” Problem – Dr. Shawn R. Woodford

1030 – 1130   Slouching Towards Wabash: The Withering of Historical Analysis in the American Profession of Arms – Ivan Torres (Major, U.S. Army, ret.)

1130 – 1230   Redux: Quantifying Warfare – Alexandru Filip (Canadian Center for Strategic Studies)

1230 – 1400   Lunch

1400 – 1500   Temporal and Geographic Patterns of Fatal Casualty Rates in WWI and WWII – Sasho Todorov, esquire  

1500 – 1600   Validation Challenges in Wargaming: What’s Real Here? – Dr. Doug Samuelson (InfoLogix)

1600 – 1700   open

1700 – 1800   Grinch in Ukraine – Carl Larson

 

Evening (1900):   Group Dinner – Rangos

 

Day 2: Analysis of Unconventional Warfare

0900 – 1000   Iraq, Data, Hypotheses and Afghanistan (old) – Christopher A. Lawrence (TDI)

1000 – 1100   Haiti: The Risks of a Failed State in the Western Hemisphere – Dr. Christopher Davis

1100 – 1200   Native American Wars and Conflicts, 1500-1900 – Dr. David Cuberes

1200 – 1300   Lunch

1300 – 1400   The Islamic State of Khorasan: The Evolution of Terrorism – Dr. Christopher Davis

1400 – 1500   The Gaza Death Numbers – Dr. Michael Spagat (Royal Holloway University)

1500 – 1600   HAMAS: A History of Terrorism (Jennifer Schlacht, M.A.)

1600 – 1700   Group Discussion: The Next Middle East Wars

 

Evening (1900):   Group Dinner – BJs

 

Day 3: Other Analysis of Warfare

0900 – 1000   Close Combat Overmatch Weapons (SLAMMER) – Joe Follansbee (Col., USA, ret.)

1000 – 1100   Reserved (Dr. James Slaughter)

1100 – 1200   The Future of TDI and work of the conference – Christopher A. Lawrence (TDI)

1200 – 1300   Lunch

1300 – 1400   The Red Army’s Offensive Operations in Ukraine, 1943-44 – Dr. Richard Harrison

1400 – 1500   Critique of Western Wargames of NATO-WP Conflict – Walker Gargagliano

1500 – 1600   Capabilities of FPV drones in Ukraine: Revolution or Continuation of Historical Quantitative Trend? – Dr. Alexander Kott 

1600 – 1700   Group Discussion: Russo-Ukrainian War

 

Evening:   Happy hour – Rangos 

 

 

Schedule: Einstein Conference Room

 

Day 1: Poster and Book Room

Opened at 0800

 

Afternoon Day 1: Air Warfare Analysis

1400 – 1500   open

1500 – 1600   Temporal and Geographic Patterns of Fatal Casualty Rates in WWI and WWII (part 2 or overflow presentation) – Sasho Todorov, esquire 

1600 – 1700   open

 

Day 2: Analysis of Conventional Combat – mostly virtual

0900 – 1000   Designing Computer Based AI Wargaming Systems for Simulating and Investigating Historical Battles – Clinton Reilly (Computer Strategies, Australia) – virtual

1000 – 1100   Beaches by the Numbers – Dr. Julian Spencer-Churchill (Concordia University, Quebec) – virtual

1100 – 1200   Surveying and Quantifying Naval Warfare – Alexandru Filip

1200 – 1300   Lunch

1300 – 1400   Urban Warfare: Myths and Reality – Dr. James Storr (UK) – virtual

1400 – 1500   Urban Warfare (old) – Christopher A. Lawrence (TDI)

1500 – 1600   open

1600 – 1700   Winfield Scott: Architect of American Joint Warfare (LtC. Nathan A. Jennings) – virtual 

 

Day 3: Other Analysis of Warfare

0900 – 1000   The Impact of Horses on Native Americans – Dr. David Cuberes

1000 – 1100   The Red Army’s Plans for a Preemptive Attack in 1941 – Dr. Richard Harrison

1100 – 1200   Mass Egress after an IED Explosion: Lessons Learned about Validation – Doug Samuelson (InfoLogix)

1200 – 1300   Lunch    

1300 – 1400   Political Science Pedagogy in Strategic Studies (A Contrast in Quantified History) – Dr. Julian Spencer-Churchill – virtual

1400 – 1500   open

1500 – 1600   open

1600 – 1700   open

 

The presentations from all three days of the first HAAC are here: Presentations from the first HAAC – all three days | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

Friday, October 11: Tour of a Civil War Battlefield – Antietam: bloodiest day of the U.S. Civil War (and in the Western Hemisphere?). –  we will arrange transport there and back ($20 charge for tour).

The House passed the aid bill for Ukraine

The House passed the aid bill for Ukraine. This was the hold up. It will now go to the Senate, which will approve and then to the President who will sign it. I assume it will be a done deal next week.

The final vote was 311-112 (7 not voting and five unfilled seats). So ,72% voted for it. Of those 210 were Democrats and 112 were Republicans. The House current sits 217 Republicans and 213 Democrats. So, this ends up being a bi-partisan foreign aid bill.

So, 99% of the House Democrats and 52% of the House Republicans voted for it. Note that the foreign aid bill advanced yesterday with 165 Democratic votes and 151 Republican votes. That is 70% of the House Republicans advancing the bill. 

The total bill was for $95.3 Billion, or which $61 billion was for Ukraine. Around $16 B was aid to Israel and over $9 B was humanitarian assistance for Gaza. Another $8 B was for the Indo-Pacific region.

Related post: Size of aid bill versus Russian defense budget | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

 

The 3-to-1 rule and the War in Ukraine

There is a 3-to-1 rule that some people quote from somewhere. We have discussed this before: Trevor Dupuy and the 3-1 Rule | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and The 3-to-1 Rule in Histories | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and The 3-to-1 Rule in Recent History Books | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

Trevor Dupuy’s argument was always that it took a combat power advantage to advance (attack successfully). This combat power calculations considers weapons, terrain, posture, air support, human factors, etc. Because of the current artillery shell shortages for the Ukrainian Army, logistics may also be a factor.

This combat power advantage often happens at 1.5-to-1 or 2-to-1. Usually is happens by around 2-to-1 (my conclusions – see War by Numbers). For example, here is my chart of force ratios for division-level combat in the European Theater of Operation (ETO) in 1944 from page 10 of War by Numbers:

FORCE RATIO…………………..RESULT……………..PERCENTAGE OF FAILURE………NUMBER OF CASES

0.55 TO 1.01-TO-1.00…………ATTACK FAILS………………………….100……………………………………5

1.15 TO 1.88-TO-1.00…………ATTACK USUALLY SUCCEEDS………21…………………………………..48

1.95 TO 2.56-TO-1.00…………ATTACK USUALLY SUCCEEDS………10…………………………………..21

2.71 TO 1.00 AND HIGHER….ATTACK ADVANCES……………………..0…………………………………..42

 

Notice that the attacker succeeds at force ratios between 1.15-to-1 to 1.88-to-1 in 79% of the 48 cases of division-level combat. It gets better from there. The book also has force ratios from other theaters and campaigns. Some of this has been discussed here before: More Combat Results Tables from War by Numbers | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and Force Ratios at Kharkov and Kursk, 1943 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and Force Ratios in the Arab-Israeli Wars (1956-1973) | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

A rigidly defined 3-to-1 rule tends to create an officer corps of McLellan’s. This rule-of-thumb is doing more damage than good as constructed.

What got my attention is that some people are trying to apply some 3-to-1 rule in Ukraine, and then come to the conclusion that one or the other side cannot advance because they don’t have a 3-to-1 force ratio. Yet, people have been advancing. In fall of 2022 Ukraine re-took Kherson and surrounding areas (see: 2022 Kherson counteroffensive – Wikipedia) and achieved a breakthrough at Balakliya that took back a significant portion of Donetsk province (see: Battle of Balakliia – Wikipedia) and conducted a successful offensive around Kharkiv (see: 2022 Kharkiv counteroffensive – Wikipedia). In 2023 Russia did advance on Bakhmut and took it (see: Battle of Bakhmut – Wikipedia) and in 2023/2024 Russia did advance on Avdiivka and took it (see: Battle of Avdiivka (2023–2024) – Wikipedia). I think in three for those five cases the attacker did not have anything approaching a 3-to-1 advantage. Of course, I have no reliable manpower statistics for either side in any of these five battles, so this is sort of a guess, as is most of the analysis and expert opinions on this war. 

I do not know how many troops Ukraine currently has. I am guessing at least 300,000 deployed. Some people throw out figures in the 600-700,000 range. I have no idea if that are total mobilized estimates or total deployed estimates. The same with Russia, where figures of 600-700,000 are also thrown out, but not sure that is what is actually deployed in Ukraine. I am guessing some number closer to 300,000. Don’t really know, and don’t know who does for certain (see the “Force Involved’ section of this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 699 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)).

Anyhow, I gather the two sides are somewhere near parity in force size. They can certainly concentrate forces to get a local advantage. With current modern intelligence gathering capabilities, concentrating forces is often seen while it is happening and opposing side can respond promptly. So not sure where anyone can get their 3-to-1 advantage.

I did do a test recently, comparing the force ratios in a database over 700 division-level combat engagements to the force-ratios in over 100 Army-level operations. The question was whether force ratios and the success from those force ratios was different at division-level vice army-level. My tentative conclusions were that force ratios for army level campaigns had the “Same patterns as for division-level combat.”

Now, I have not written this effort up. I did brief it last year at the Second HAAC and did brief it in Norway. I will be briefing it again on Thursday, July 11 at HADSS in York (see:  Historical Analysis for Defence and Security Symposiums (HADSS), 8 – 11 July in York, England | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)) and for one last time at the Third HAAC (see: Revised Schedule for the Third Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 8-10 October 2024 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)). After that, I may write it up, either as a blog post or as a chapter in a book called More War By Numbers, which will probably be delayed until 2026 (see: Current book release schedule | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org), which I probably need to update).

Anyhow, the point is, anyone doing analysis for the situation in Ukraine based upon some 3-to-1 rule probably needs to reconsider their analysis.

Size of aid bill versus Russian defense budget

The military aid bill currently languishing in the House is $61 billion for Ukraine.

It is reported (via Wikipedia) that the Russian defense budget in 2023 was only $86.4 billion. Now, I am not sure how accurate that figure is and whether it has gone up in 2024 (I assume it has). Also Russian labor costs are lower, so it is hard to directly compare with western defense budgets. The 2024 Military Balance puts the Russian budget at $294.6 billion based upon PPP (Purchasing Power Parity).

Still, the Russian “defense” budget only makes up 4.1% of its GDP in 2023. This is surprisingly low for a country at war. In comparison, the U.S. defense budget as a percent of GDP was 3.47%. in 2022. The budget was $816.7 billion in 2023.

In contrast, Ukraine is spending 18% of its GDP on defense in 2024 with a budget of $45 billion (based on nominal figures… PPP figures will be higher as their labor costs are lower than Russia’s).

It is clear that the western power needs to provide at least 100-120 billion a year in military aid to Ukraine. Our European partners are providing half of that.

When does the campaign season start?

The “Eastern Front” is driven by the weather conditions. Kharkov is almost on the 50 degree latitude. The majority of the population of Canada lives below that line. The extended western part of border between the U.S. and Canada is on the 49th latitude line. Winters are kind of cold there. Bad time for campaigning (as the Russians demonstrated in February 2022).

And then at the end of winter the snow melts and everything gets very muddy. It also rains a lot during their “spring.” This is called Pasputitsa (see: Rasputitsa – Wikipedia). These muddy seasons are infamous, effectively stopping all serious military operations. In the case of the battles between Kharkov and Belgorod in 1943, the Germans continued advancing north towards Belgorod until around 21 March, when they had to halt because of the weather. They were not able to consider renewing their offensive operations until after the middle of May. So, the general rule of thumb is that you really can’t do anything in April or most of May. In the case of the Ukrainian offensive last year, they waited until the first week of June to initiate operations. They were also further to the south.

So, right now, everyone is saying that the spring/summer of 2024 is going to open with a Russian offensive. Have no idea of how big or how serious it is going to be. Their last offensive operation, the Battle of Avdiivka (10 October 2023 – 17 February 2024), was overall successful (they took Avdiivka), even if the objective had more political value than military (see: Battle of Avdiivka (2023–2024) – Wikipedia). It did take them a while. It is expected that they will continue offensive operations once the ground dries out.

So, I get weather reports on my iPhone. On Tuesday (when this is going to be posted) the weather is expected to range from 49 (9 Celsius) to a high of 72 (22 Celsius). There was precipitation on Monday but nothing until next Sunday. Precipitation over the next 24 hour is estimated to be 0.15″, which is pretty light. It is unusually dry and moderate. Now, my weather app does not report surface trafficability. There is probably some website that does but I have not found it. The question is: is the ground now dry enough to drive tanks and AFVs across, so everyone is not road bound? I doubt it.

Most likely, we will not see the rumored Russian offensive until the second half of May or later.

Call Congress about Ukrainian aid

Advocacy is not our business, but there a $61 billion aid bill for Ukraine that is coming up in the House perhaps early next week. If you have an opinion on the subject, now is the time to call your congressman and let them know. The links are here: Ukraine – Call Congress. To have an impact, now or early this week is the time to call. In the end, almost no one is there without over 50% of the votes of the voters in their district. We do get the government we deserve. Please let your congressmen know where you stand on the subject.

 

 

Two missing reports – #26 and #27

As I was going through our early reports, it again came to my attention that we were missing two early reports. See: TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications. They are:

26. Target/Range Experience for Tank & Antitank Weapons (1969) (Batelle) – Pages: NA

27. Historical Data on Tactical Air Operations: The Rome Campaign, 11 May-17 June 1944 (1970) (AFS&A) – Pages: NA

They have been missing for a while. Our report list comes from the 1980s, and even then their pages were listed as “N/A.” I gather that means we were missing them at that time. They may have been classified. When DMSi/HERO was shut down in the early 1990s, any classified reports had to be burned.

Anyhow, the customers for those reports were Batelle and AFS&A. If anyone has access to these reports, we would love to get a copy for our files.

Personnel Attrition Rates….

While searching the internet for something else, I ran across this April 1996 report by Dr. Robert L. Helmbold of CAA (Center for Army Analysis). Personnel Attrition Rates in Historical Land Combat Operations: Losses of National Populations, Armed Forces, Army Groups, and Lower Level Land Combat Forces. (dtic.mil)

I am surprised that I have not seen that before. At the time of its publication we were under contract with CAA for work on the Kursk Data Base (KDB). I gather Dr. Helmbold retired shortly thereafter. I was asked if I wanted to take over his slot at CAA, but being the executive officer of TDI, I was not willing to step back down to a non-management position. I had gotten spoilt.

Anyhow, a few notes:

Page 1-1 (page 22 in the pdf file): They list six supporting reports done between 1992-1995. I assume there are all available from DTIC.

Page 2-1 (page 27): This chapter addresses the question of losses in wars as a whole. This might have some value in looking at mobilization levels for Ukraine.

Page 3-1 (page 55): This chapter addresses variation of loses by nationality, theater and major operations or campaigns.

Page 4-1 (page 66): The Chapter addresses losses by Army Groups. This chapter is mostly based upon George Kuhn’s work the LMI, as is some of the next two chapters. Some of George Kuhn’s data was collected under contract with HERO (our predecessor company).

Page 5-1 (page 75): This chapter address losses by Army. This chapter does include a number of graphs from the CDB90 data base (which was built from our work) as does the next chapter.

Page 6-1 (page 99): This chapter addresses losses by Corps.

Anyhow, two Dupuy books are referenced in this report, along with four HERO reports. In the study directive the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base (ACSDB) and the Kursk Data Base (KDB) was both referenced but they were not used. I was the program manager for both of those databases.

Tank Ditch at Prokhorovka

Recently got a request for a better map of the tank ditch at Prokhorovka. This request was in response to this post: Tank Losses on 12/13 July 1943 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Instead of a map, Eugene Matyukhin provided me the following annotated aerial photographs taken at the time:

A few blog posts related to this subject:

The Importance of the Tank Ditch | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Basis of the Tank Ditch Story of 12 July 1943 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Was the Tank Ditch encountered in the morning, the afternoon, or both? | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Meanwhile back at the Tank Ditch | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)