Soviet Propaganda Leaflet, July 1943

Daniel Horvath, the author, has passed to me a copy of a Soviet propaganda leaflet from July 1943. He said it came from a crashed plane in Orel province.


It is the same thing on both sides of the two-sided printed leaflet. Translation: Russian Propaganda Leaflet (2)

Translation:

A New
Adventure by Hitler

German soldiers!

On the morning of July 5, Hitler again threw you into a senseless offensive. In two days, this adventure in the Kursk-Belgorod-Orel region cost the German troops 314 aircraft, 1019 tanks and several tens of thousands of soldiers, and

brought no success to the Germans.

Soldiers! With the example of your dead comrades you should be convinced:

The offensive means inevitable death!

Yesterday your comrades fell, tomorrow will be your turn for a reckoning. In the two years of war in the East, Hitler has already destroyed 6,400,000 soldiers and officers in this way.

Soldiers! Think of your families! Refuse to attack!

Go into Russian captivity!

The offensive means death!

Captivity is your salvation!

This leaflet is valid as a pass for German soldiers and officers who surrender to the Red Army.

,<The same in Russian>

The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 457

Lots of things going on but no big spring offensive yet.

As of 20 May, Bakhmut has fallen, except Ukraine was still holding onto the SW corner where the MiG-17 monument is. It clearly was completely under Russian control by 24 May. Ukraine is making small advances around the outside of Bakhmut. The Wagner Group is now withdrawing from Bakhmut and handing their prize over to the Russian Army. They sort of accomplished what they said they would, but it took them many months and some heavy casualties. The head of the Wagner Group has said he lost 20,000 killed.

Photos from Ukrainska Pravda, March 10, 2023.

Meanwhile a group of Russians invaded Russia. The cross-border attack into Belgorod province started on 22 May and lasted a couple of days. The invasion force appears to have consisted of 4 MaxxxPro MRAPs and two HMMWVs. Maybe two dozen riders. One MRAP and one HMMWV were captured while the Russian invaders captured a BTR-82A. They basically got to Grayvoron (pop. 6,179 2021 census), which is only 10-15 kilometers from the border in the SW corner of the province. It is to the NW of Kharkiv. This action was not militarily significant but was politically so. Not only did it show that the considerable Russian border with Ukraine was undefended, but more significantly, Russia did not have a reserve maneuver battalion available to respond to the invasion within 12 hours of it. This is kind of surprising. It appears that they have committed all their maneuver battalions to Ukraine and have little spare. One wonders what would happen if Ukraine invaded Belgorod province with some of the 12 brigades it is holding back for the spring offensive? Anyhow, the Freedom of Russia Legion (it claims to have two battalions) said they lost no one in this operation, while Russian is claiming they killed 70. I will go with the first estimate on this one. The neo-Nazi Russian Volunteer Corps was also involved and had previously conducted the raid in Bryansk province in March 2023. 

The unit badges for the Freedom of Russia Legion and Russian Volunteer Corps.

25 May the Russian 4,000 ton SIGINT intelligence collection ship, the Ivan Khurs, was hit in the Black Sea by Ukrainian drone boat.

The classified Joint Staff briefing book did talk about 12 “combat credible” brigades being generated for the “spring counteroffensive.” They report on the status of 9 new brigades being raised (“trained and equipped by US, Allied and Partners”). Six will be ready by 31 March (page was dated 23 February) and 3 by 30 April. Eight of these newly raised brigades are mechanized-like brigades, which nominally have one tank battalion of 31 tanks per brigade. A NATO rep. said in late April that 98% of the vehicles scheduled are now in Ukrainian hands. This is a very qualified statement.

The status of these nine new brigades is discussed here: The nine new brigades for the spring offensive – organization | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Basically, eight of them have 28 – 32 tanks, seven have 90 to 101 other AFVs, IFVs, APCs and MRAPs, and six of them have between 8 to 16 artillery pieces and three have between 22 to 24 artillery pieces. Three other brigades will be added to offensive force, although there are no reports on their status. 

The DOD count of opposing forces is discussed here: Count of Opposing Forces | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and combat effectiveness is discussed here: Unstructured Comments on “The Relationship of Battle Damage to Unit Combat Performance” | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

The U.S. has announced on 21 April that it will began training Ukrainian forces on their new Abrams tanks. The 31 tanks will arrive in Grafenwoehr at the end of the May and the training will last for around 10 weeks. On 28 April the Germans are saying that over 100 Ukrainians are now training on Leopard Is (the older version). That does indicate that some of these newly raised Ukrainian brigades are still going to receive more equipment. So while the weather may be clear in early May, that does not mean that Ukraine will initiate a major offensive operation in May. One notes that Zelenskyy is now saying they are waiting until fully prepared.

I will put any changes/updates since my last post in italics. A link to a blow up of the map is here: Wikipedia mapIt is dated 26 May. The last dated update on the map is Soledar on 16 January.

Russia currently occupies five cities: Lysychansk (pop. 95,031), Severodonetsk (pop. 101,135), Mariupol (pop. 431,859), Berdyansk (pop. 107,928) and Melitopol (pop. 150,768). Kherson (pop. 283,649) was retaken by Ukraine on 11 November.

 

We have been looking at six major areas of operations. Only the Donbas appears to be active right now. 

1. Kyiv (pop: 2,962,180): It appears that Kyiv is secure.

2. Odesa (pop: 1,015,826): Appears to be secure. The grain deal has been renewed for another 60 days. Since the start of these deals, the shipments have resulted in over thirty million tons of grain shipped by sea. As of 25 May, the amount of grain shipped from Ukrainian ports and across the Black Sea under this initiative was 30,290,085 metric tonnes carried in 953 ships according to posts on twitter by @exit266. There are 53 days left to the agreement. 

3. Kharkiv (pop: 1,433,886): Kharkiv looks to be secure. Still, it is near the Russian border, so this can change suddenly. Ukraine did bombard Russian troops in the village of Tsapovka in early April, in Russian territory in the Belgorod Oblast. Ukraine published pictures of this. It is right on the border, due south of Borisovka. The village is reported to be unpopulated since 2013.

On 17 April, the Ukrainians did attack two Russian power stations in Belgorod oblast using drones. The following week the Russians also accidently dropped two bombs on Belgorod. On 1 May, a Russian ammo dump was hit near Tomorovka, in Belgorod province.

4. The Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (the Donbas): Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is reporting as of 16 December that they had 4,133 soldiers killed and 17,379 wounded (4.20-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). This includes the 13 killed and 50 wounded reported from 01.01.22 to 02.25.22. For the period of 16 – 22 December (overlapping dates on 16 December) they report 43 killed, but do not report the wounded. Through the 16th, this is 108% casualties out of an estimated initial force of 20,000. Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) is reported as of 5 April to have had 500-600 killed out of an estimated force of 14,000. This is 21% casualties, assuming a 4-to-1 killed ratio.

5. Mariupol (pop: 431,859): Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Google maps has updated its images of Mariupol to show the city as it is now (extensively shelled) vice how it used to look before the war.

Prisoner Exchanges: Russia has claimed that they captured 2,439 prisoners from the siege of Mariupol. Russian claimed on 30 June that they held 6,000 prisoners. Ukraine stated in early July that they had more than 7,000 missing. Now Ukraine is stating as of 30 December that Russian holds 3,400 prisoners and 15,000 Ukrainians are missing.

In 2022 there were 1,447 prisoners of war exchanged, 112 civilians and five foreigners. Of those, at least 427 were from Mariupol/Azovstal and up to 53 others were killed in captivity. Latest prisoner exchange on 8 January was for 50 prisoners. Another prisoner exchange on 4 February of 116. Some of these Ukrainian prisoners had been in captivity for almost a year. Latest prisoner exchange, on 16 February, was for 100 soldiers and one civilian for 101 Russian soldiers. 94 of them were defenders of Mariupol, including 63 soldiers from Azovstal. There was another prisoner exchange on 7 March with 130 Ukrainians exchanged for 90 Russians. This included 87 Mariupol defenders (71 from Azovstal). 35 of them were soldiers captured in Bakhmut and Soledar. Most of the Ukrainian and Russian prisoners were seriously injured.

The Ukrainian Omsbudsman has stated in late January that 800 severely wounded Ukrainians are held as POWs. He also stated that they hold 200 severely wounded Russians.

There was a prisoner exchange in early May of 42 soldiers and two civilians for what I assume was a similar number of Russians. On 7 May, Russia exchanged 45 defenders of Azovstal, including 10 officers for only just 3 pilots. I gather Russia is still holding thousands of more prisoners than Ukraine does.

6. Crimea & Kherson (pop: 283,649): Kherson is now back under Ukrainian control as of 11 November. Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

The early morning on 22 March (at 04:43:58 according to videos), there was another attack on Russian ships in Sevastopol harbor using seaborne naval drones. The last time they tried this (29 October 2022), they (lightly?) damaged the 4,035-ton frigate Admiral Makarov. It appears that one got close to one rather large ship and exploded near its rear. Not sure if a Russian ship was damaged. At least three drones were used in the attack. One was stopped by the booms at the entrance to the harbor, and two were destroyed in the harbor.

There was also a car blown up on 23 March in Melitipol that injured a Ukrainian accused of collaborating with the Russians. There was an IED exploded in Melitipol on 3 April.

Apparently, back in October, in conjunction with the Kherson offensive, there was a failed attempt by Ukraine to retake Zaporizhia nuclear power plant with an amphibious operation across the large reservoir there.

There was Ukrainian crossing on 20 or 21 April at the village of Dachi. This is just across the Dnipro near Kherson where the damaged Antonivka Road Bridge crosses. 

I do think this is a diversion, vice the preparation for a major offensive. The problems with conducting operations across the Dnipro work both ways. The Russians were forced in November to withdraw from north of the river because of supply issues. There are only three bridges across the river in the best of times. If the Russians could not support 20,000 troops to the north of the river, I suspect the Ukrainians will have a similar problem south of the river, especially as Russia has air superiority.

The Ukrainians two weeks ago hit three oil tanks in and around Crimea (one near Sevastopol early in the week, one in Krasnador province on 2 May that was only 7 km from the bridge to Crimea, and another attack on 3 May in Krasnador near the bridge). Also on 29 April it is claimed that the Russian village of Suzemka was shelled. It is 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the border in Bryansk province. The Russians report two, and later four civilians killed. On 2 May a train was derailed by a bomb near Bryansk. Finally, two drones attacked the Kremlin in Moscow on 4 May, with one hitting a flag on a dome. 

 

Weather: Kharkiv at 7 PM: It is 71 degrees (22 Celsius) and partly cloudy. Rain is expected on Thursday and Saturday. Sunrise is at 4:35 and sunset is at 8:28, giving them more than fifteen hours of daytime to operate it. 

Kherson is 69 degrees (21 Celsius) and cloudy. Rain is expected for the next four days.

Ukrainian Army Build-up: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Do not know the current strength of the deployed Ukrainian Army but am guessing that it is over 300,000 deployed troops. They clearly are going to have to build it up to 400,000 or more in response to Russia’s partial mobilization. There is a Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force of 100,000 to 200,000. Wikipedia was reporting 209,000 in their armed forces and 102,000 paramilitary. They were reporting their ground forces at 198,000 in July 2022. 

Do not have a good estimate of the total number of foreign volunteers now in Ukraine, although it is clearly thousands.

The U.S. and many countries in and around Europe are now providing tanks to Ukraine. This includes 31 Abrams (M1A2) from the U.S. that were not expected to arrive until 2024, but the U.S. has now announced that they will be in Germany as of the end of May. It also includes the previously announced 40 AMX-10 light tanks from France, the previously announced 14 Challengers from the UK and 14 new Challengers from the UK, 14 Leopards (2A6) from Germany announced on Jan. 25 plus they are going to provide 14 more later, 14 or so Leopards (2A4?) from Poland, maybe 20 Leopards (2A4) from Spain, but so far only 6 have been confirmed (they are planning to train 55 Ukrainian crew members), no Leopards from Netherlands (previous rumors said 18), Portugal is sending 4 (2A6) out of their 37, 8 (2A4) from Norway out of their 36, and 8 2A4 Leopards from Canada out of their 80. The 8 Canadian Leopards have already arrived in Poland. Non-NATO members Finland is providing 3 Leopards and Sweden is providing 10 2A6s along with 8 Archer 155mm SP Artillery. Also, Morocco is providing Ukraine with 173 T-74s EA, 70 are already in Ukraine. It does appear in a number of cases the announcements are lagging behind the actual shipments of tanks. Poland is providing Ukraine with another 60 upgraded T-72s. It has already sent Ukraine some 260 or more tanks. 

Twelve countries in NATO have Leopards. Germany is saying that a total of around 80 will be sent between them all. My count currently shows at least 77 Leopards from eight different countries (two not yet in NATO). It now looks like many of the older 40-45 ton German Leopard Is are being refurbished and will be sent. Germany has 88 of them it could send and Belgium has 50. Between Denmark, Netherlands and Germany, they are putting together a package of 100 1A5s, although the details of the deal keep changing.  It will be a while before most of them arrive. An initial package of 29 is being refurbished and are supposed to arrive in the summer (enough for one more brigade). There are a lot of them out there, with Greece supposedly having 520 (and 392 U.S. M-48s and 100 U.S. M-60s) and Turkey having 355 or 397 (and 750 M-48s and 785 M-60s). Opportunity to replace old stocks. Switzerland has 230 Leopard 2 tanks of which 96 are not in operation (in storage). Germany has asked for them but on 7 March the Swiss Parliament voted not to export tanksMeanwhile reports are saying some of the 100+ Leopard Is will still arriving in Ukraine starting May. Meanwhile, the U.S. is now planning on providing older M1A1s instead of M1A2s are it can be arranged to get there this fall. Not sure if the count of tanks provided will remain at only 31 (one battalion’s worth).

Meanwhile, Russia has been seen transporting T-54Bs from Siberia to somewhere (probably Ukraine). That particular model dates from 1955, so a little older than a Leopard I or M1A1. On 30 April, T-55s and T-62 were reported in the Berdiansk area.

From a practical point of view, it means that around four or so Ukrainian tank battalions will be armed up with Abrams/Leopard 2/Challengers. Ukraine has over 30 tank battalions. Some should probably be in place for the spring offensives. Some of the Canadian Leopard 2s have already arrived in PolandAt least 18 of the Leopard 2A6s have arrived in Ukraine. Challengers will be arriving in Ukraine during March.

Slovakia announced on 23 March that they have transferred 4 MiG-29s to Ukraine. It now appears that all 13 Slovak MiG-29s have been handed over to Ukraine. On 8 May, it was confirmed that 10 Polish MiG-29 have been delivered to Ukraine. On 5 May, it was confirmed that Croatia is providing 14 Mi-8 helicopters, of which 9 are already in Ukraine. Looks like Ukraine will be receiving F-16s also. Numbers to be determined. It may be six or more months before they are operational.

Some weapons have been supplied that have not been announced. For example, Finnish ex-Soviet 152K89 152mm field guns recently have showed up on the battlefield in Ukrainian hands, even though Finland has never announced that they were being provided. Danish artillery has also recently showed up in Ukraine.

Russian Army Build-up:  

In the fall of last year, Ukraine was reporting that around 280,000 Russians were deployed in Ukraine. This seems a reasonable estimate. On 4 November Putin stated at 318,000 reservists and “new volunteers” have been mobilized and 49,000 are in combat zones. I assume the Russian army in Ukraine was at about 200,000 at the start of this mobilization.

The U.S. and UK estimate that the Wagner Group had 50,000 people in December 2022. Have no idea if this estimate is accurate. John Kirby (U.S. DOD spokesman) said that Wagner has lost 30,000 people, at a wounded-to-killed ratio of maybe 2-to-1, implying 10,000 deaths. Around 20 May, the head of the Wagner Group said they they had lost 20,000 killed. 

Ukraine stated on 22 Feb. that Russia has deployed more than 350,000 troops to Ukraine. This sounds about right.

Russia is now starting its spring conscript draft of 147,000. It does this twice a year. Conscripts are for one year and are not allowed to serve outside of Russia.

The Russian defense budget for 2023 is $159 billion, up from $111 billion in 2022. This appears to now be around 9% of GDP.

According to one article, which I suspect is a little biased, Russian tank production at Uralvagonzavod is currently over 900 armored vehicles a year, including 35-40 T-90s a month. In contrast, the U.S. is producing two M-1A2 a month in Lima, Ohio. The German Leopard 2 is also still in production. 

Russia is getting some support from China, possibly spare parts and more important, microchips. They are reportedly not currently providing Russia with weapons. This is a source of discussion between the U.S./EU and China.

As of 26 February, Russia has announced that the DPR has raised a new battalion entirely composed of Ukrainian prisoners of war, called the Bohdan Khmelniksky Battalion. It was claimed that the unit consists of 70 Ukrainians. 

Opposing forces: Ukraine had before the war an army (ground forces) of 169,000 in 2016. The Russian army (not armed forces) was 280,000. The current Ukrainian army is now probably over 200,000. The Russian army (ground forces) in and around Ukraine is probably around 150,000 (up to 190,000). Donetsk PR is estimated at 20,000 and Lugansk at 14,000. Russia has added at least 41,000 troops to the front line from their new partial mobilization effort and will be adding more. Potentially up to 300,000. Most likely by the spring, both armies will be sporting 400,000 or more troops. It does appear that by spring, the level of intensity and casualties from this war will be a count twice as high as it currently has been.

Economics and the Home Fronts: The complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 380 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)Price of oil (Brent Crude) remains low at 76.85 as of 12:16 PM EST. Ruble remains low at 80.13 to the dollar.

On 6 May “right-wing” activist, Yevgeny Prilepin, was seriously injured near Nizhny Novgorod when his car was blown up. His bodyguard died. On 2 April, Vladlen Tartarsky, 40, a pro-war Russian blogger, was assassinated in St. Petersburg. The accidental assassin, who was also wounded, was Darya Trepova, 25. The previous war-related assassination was of Darya Dugina, 29, back on 20 August 2022. Not sure who was responsible for any of these three efforts.

Casualties: The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian miliary, Valerii Zaluzhny, on 21 August stated that almost 9,000 Ukrainian military have died in the war. This is a lower estimate than most people have given (although we have leaned towards the lower estimates). Not sure if these figures included militia losses (like Azov Regiment). If Ukraine lost almost 9,000, then hard to believe the Russian losses are that much higher. On 1 December a presidential advisor stated that Ukraine has lost between 10,000 and 13,000 troops killed. On 17 March, the Ukranian Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council argued that total Ukrainian losses are less than 100,000 killed and wounded. As of 24 March 1,509 bodies have been returned to Ukraine. 

The U.S. estimate is that Russian casualties are now at 220,000 (killed and wounded). The U.S. estimate provided on 9 November was “well over 100,000.” Did they really loose another 100,000 troops in the last five months? For 18 November BBC/Mediazona reported that 9,001 Russians had been killed based upon media accounts, obituaries, funeral notices, and so forth. Now their count is 18,023 as of 24 March. This is a doubling of their recorded count of people who have died. This is still considerably lower than the Ukrainian claims of 173,360 Russians killed as of 31 March (which would imply 693,440 to 866,800 total casualties, which does not mesh well with the reports of forces deployed). I do have some doubt about this suddenly increase in U.S. claims, see BBC/Mediazona Figures Over Time | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and Russian Losses over Time | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Needless to say, if I have doubts about the U.S. DOD estimates, then I don’t buy into the Ukrainian claims of Russian casualties, or the similarly high Russian claims of Ukrainian casualties.

The various versions of the briefing books did have Ukrainian and Russian casualty figures. They estimated that Ukrainian losses were 15,500 – 17,500 killed and 124,500 – 131,000 total casualties. This estimate may be a little “light,” but it is certainly within the ball park. They appear to be using a wounded-to-killed ratio of around 7.5-to-1 for this. This is kind of high. These figures may also include missing and captured (at least 6,000 were captured).

The Russian estimates are 35,500 – 43,000 killed and 189,500 – 223,000 total casualties. This may be on the high side. Ukraine is claiming over 180,000 Russians killed, which I think can be dismissed. BBC/Mediazona reports as of 7 April are counting 19,688 Russian killed by name. They appear to be using a wounded-to-killed ratio of around 5-to-1 for this. 

Mediazona, through Dr. Olga Ivshina (BBC) @oivshina stated on 25 April that “…if we have 20,000 names we think the real toll may be around 40,000 KIA.” The exchange is here: The Dupuy Institute (TDI) on Twitter: “@oivshina Question: Do you mean that you suspect the actual count of dead is 1.5 times the count on your list, or is it 2.0 times the count on your list?” / Twitter.

These wounded-to-killed ratios open up a lot of questions. 1) why are they different for the Ukrainian vice the Russians, 2) I have been saying it is at least 4-to-1. They are using figures higher than that. What is that based upon?, and 3) some people on the “twittersphere” have criticized me for even using a 4-to-1 ratio and have used lower figures than that. Is it time for them to revise their estimating practices?

John Kirby, the NSC spokesman, said on 1 May that Russia has suffered 100,000 casualties since December, including ove 20,000 killed (implying a 4-ot-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). Half of the killed are from the Wagner Group.

The previous, more detailed older casualty write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 394 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

The UN is reporting as of 15 May at least 8,895 civilians confirmed dead in the war. They reported 138 civilians killed from 1-28 February and 178 for 1-31 March and 169 killed from 1-30 April.

The UN provided the following chart showing civilian losses by month:

More than 50,000 people have died in this conflict: 22,644 or more (Russian Army – Mediazona count) + 16,000 or more (Ukrainian Army – U.S. DOD estimate) + 8,895 (Civilians) + 4,176 (DPR in 2022) + 600 (LPR) = 52,315. It is probably in excess of 60,000 total deaths depending on Ukrainian and Russian military deaths and the real count of civilian losses. Suspect the BBC/Mediazona count is off (undercounted) by at least 50% and they say it is by a factor of two. The last figure from Ukraine of 13,000 was dated 1 December, so is also now probably off by at least 50%. Mediazona is now reporting that Donetsk and Lugansk losses were in excess of 8,000.

An eighth American has been killed in Ukraine, Nick Maimer, 45, of Boise. He was a former Green Beret who was training Ukrainians. He was hit by artillery sometime in May.

Ammo: The second and third to last paragraphs in The Times (UK) article referenced in the Day 394 blog post says:

However, Barrons argues that Ukraine needs ammunition even more than it needs soldiers. It fires 90,000 155mm shells a month and sometimes 6,000 shells a day but combined US and European production is less than 30,000 a month. “There is a mathematical mismatch,” he says. The US is tripling its output but “Europe has been too slow”.

Russia, which has been firing 20,000 shells a day and is thought to have used up ten years’ worth of production in 12 months, has the same problem. In recent weeks they have reduced the numbers by 75 per cent.

So 6,000 shells a day vice 20,000 shells a day, have no idea if that is true or what percent of the rounds fire are “smart” versus old style. One would expect the side firing the most rounds would be causing more causalities. On the other hand, if U.S. production is less than 30,000 a month Ukraine will be forced to eventually reduce their expenditures to 1,000 or 2,000 shells a day. If Russia has to reduce their numbers by 75%, then they are firing 5,000 shells a day. Don’t know if any single number in this discussion is close to reality but suspect that both sides will have to reduce their artillery expenditure at least until May. This war could be very quiet for a couple of months.

Anyhow, Ukraine is requesting 250,000 shells a month from the EU.

Air Power: Previous discussion of air power is in the Day 443 post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 443 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

On 13 May, Russia lost 4 aircraft in one day, two Mi-8 helicopters, one Su-34 and one Su-35. This was their highly daily losses since the first month of the war. They were shot down just inside of the Russian territory, in Bryansk province.

Missile Defense: Discussion of previous missiles attack is in the Day 443 post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 443 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). It is clear that the Russian attempt to cut off Ukrainian power and freeze them out over the winter has failed and they have not done any of those massive missile strikes since 9 March.

There has been some increase in airstrikes and drone attacks this month, partly in response to Ukrainian strikes, but nothing that looked like a major strike. The last major Russian airstrike was on 9 March. The previous one was on 10 February. Meanwhile, on 4 May a Russian hypersonic missile was reported to have been shot down by a Patriot missile. This was not supposed to be possible.

Attack on Kyiv on 15/16 May result in 18 out of 18 attacking claimed to have been shot down. One Patriot launcher was damaged. The Patriot missile battlery was the target of the attack.

End of the War: Looks like this war will be continuing onto until at least fall of 2023. Completer write-up of this section is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 380 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Atrocities: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

Russia continues their display of Orc-like behavior with a video coming out of the execution of the POW tentatively identified as Oleksandr Ihorevich Matsievskiy of the Territorial Defense Forces. His last words were “Slava Ukraini.”  This execution probably occurred sometime in early February.

Another video was released on 11 April of a Russian-speaking Ukrainian soldier being beheaded, ISIL-like. This appears to have occurred last summer. I gather this was done by Wagner.

You would think at some point the Russian senior command would understand that this is working against them politically and is resulting in wide-spread international support for Ukraine, which is resulting in increased shipment of arms and ammunition. It also continues to show a real lack of discipline among the rank and file. In addition to being an inhumane war crime, it is just plain stupid. 

Ukrainian reforms: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). The Ukranian defense minister appears to be staying.

Other Issues: 

U.S. Support for Ukraine: Write-up on U.S. support for Ukraine is in the Day 443 post here: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 443 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Itis going to be a long campaign season until November 2024, so certainly we will revisit this issue at some point. The total amount of support committed by the U.S. to Ukraine is $133 Billion.

Also, see the Day 443 posts for previous reports on the EU, NATO, Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh. On 20 May, Lavrov’s daughter (Lavrov is the foreign minister of Russia) attended a wedding in Georgia. There were protests by the Georgians, with her car egged. She was forced to leave because of the public reaction. 

Belarus: Belarus is back in the news as its dictator, Lukashenko, is ill. Also, Belarus has signed an agreement on 25 May with Russia about basing tactical nuclear weapons there, with some sources claiming they have been deployed there. I still doubt that they will join the war. Belarus has 60,000 troops and now they are trying to recruit another 20,000. This is from a country that the government was almost overthrown two years ago by popular acclaim. Ukraine has an 891-kilometer border (554 miles) with Belarus, so Ukraine must maintain some forces there. Reports are now saying that only about 4,000 Russian troops are in Belarus, and no nuclear forces are there..

NATO: As of 4 April, Finland is a member of NATO. Sweden is still awaiting approval from Hungary and TurkeySee Day 443 for more info. Turkish presidential elections were held on 14 May and Erdogan won 49.5% of the vote. There is a run-off election on 28 May, and most likely Erdogan will exceed 50% of the vote. Erdogan has been endorsed by the 3rd party candidate. We shall see after that if he is willing to let Sweden into NATO.

Sections on Kazakhstan, European Support, Iran and Miscellaneous were last reported in the blog post for day 408 here: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 408 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). They have been removed from this post.

Schedule for the Second Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 17-19 October 2023

This is the fifth provisional schedule for the second Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC). We currently have 27 presentations scheduled by 20 speakers and two group discussions planned. Each slot is an hour long, so planning 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: 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. 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 are exploring the costs of having the presentations professionally recorded.

 

Schedule: Pike and Gallows Conference Center

Updated: 19 May 2023

 

 

Day 1: Analysis of Conventional Combat

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

0930 – 1030     Addressing the Decline in War Question with New Disaggregated Data

                                                Dr. Michael Spagat (Royal Holloway University of London)

1030 – 1130      A Cautionary Tale: Alternative Interpretations of the Same Data – virtual

                                                                                    Jim Storr

1130 – 1230 Land Operations – consistencies and discrepancies between theory, historical analysis and doctrine                             LtC. Trygve Smidt (Norway)

1230 – 1400    Lunch

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

1500 – 1600    Force Ratios                                    Christopher A. Lawrence (TDI)

1600 – 1700    open

1700 – 1800    open

 

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     Evidence of Fabricated Survey Data Collected during the War in Iraq

                                           Dr. Michael Spagat (Royal Holloway University of London)

1000 – 1100 Unburdened by History: Understanding Russia’s Growing Influence in Haiti                                                                           Dr. Christopher Davis (UNCG)

1100 – 1200    open

1200 – 1300    Lunch

1300 – 1400    The Right Way to Do Risk Analysis: A Primer and Update, With Examples from Pandemics                                                       Dr. Doug Samuelson (InfoLogix)

1400 – 1500    Close  Combat Overmatch Weapons (SLAMMER)

                                                                                    Joe Follansbee (Col., USA, ret.)

1500 – 1600    Chemical Weapons in Syria – virtual           Jennifer Schlacht, M.A. – virtual

1600 – 1700    Group Discussion: The Next Middle East Wars

 

Evening (1900):          Group Dinner – BJs

 

 

Day 3: Other Analysis of Warfare

0900 – 1000    Russian Information Warfare Against Western Democracies Since 2013: A review and update                                                 Dr. Doug Samuelson (InfoLogix)

1000 – 1100    open

1100 – 1200    open

1200 – 1300    Lunch

1300 – 1400    The Application of the Scientific Method to Military History – virtual

                                                            Clinton Reilly (Computer Strategies, Australia)

1400 – 1500    The Future of TDI and work of the conference (new)

                                                                                  Christopher A. Lawrence (TDI)

1500 – 1600    open

1600 – 1700    open

 

Evening:         Happy hour – Rangos 

 

 

Schedule: Einstein Conference Room

 

Day 1: Poster and Book Room

Opened at 0800

 

Afternoon Day 1: Other Analysis of Warfare

1400 – 1500   History of Pneumatic Combat Weapons    Jacob Friend

1500 – 1600   Soviet WWII Aerial Photography      Eugene Matyukhin 

1600 – 1700    Air Combat Analysis on the Eastern Front in 1944-45

                                                                            Daniel Horvath – virtual

 

Day 2: Analysis of Conventional Combat

0900 – 1000    Wargaming 101                               William Sayers

1000 – 1100    Open

1100 – 1200    Urban Warfare (old)                         Christopher A. Lawrence (TDI)

1200 – 1300    Lunch

1300 – 1400    Study of Pneumatic Weapons in Sub/Urban Combat

                                                                                  Jacob Friend

1400 – 1500   Open

1500 – 1600   Penetrate, Dis-Integrate and Exploit: The Israeli Counter-Offensive at the Suez Canal, 1973 – virtual                                       LtC. Nathan A Jennings, PhD

1600 – 1700    Operation “Sea Lion”: Simulating the German 1940 invasion of England – virtual                                                                       Dr. Niall MacKay (University of York)

 

 

Day 3: Researching Operations

0900 – 1000 The AEF and Consolidation of Gains Operations Durning the Meuse-Argonne Offensive                                                  Dr. Christopher Davis (UNCG)

1000 – 1100    Kursk Photo Analysis                     Eugene Matyukhin

1100 – 1200    The Red Army’s Offensive Operations in Ukraine, 1943-44                                                                Dr. Richard Harrison

1200 – 1300    Lunch

1300 – 1400   Patterns of Explosive Violence Harm in Ukraine Before and After the 24 Feb. Invasion                                                           Chiara Torelli (AOAV) – virtual

1400 – 1500    Competing Proxy Strategies in the Russo-Ukrainian War and a War of Attrition – LtC. Amos Fox

1500 – 1600    Open

1600 – 1700    Group Discussion: Russo-Ukrainian War

 

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

Bigger Fleets Win

This article just came across my desk courtesy of a friend: Bigger Fleets Win | Proceedings – January 2023 Vol. 149/1/1,439 (usni.org) 

I will avoid discussing the article, instead I will only discuss the two references to me (A little bit of vanity here).

First there is footnote 24, which references my book War by Numbers. There problem is that the discussion that he is footnoting does not something I recall writing. He may be paraphrasing me, but I do really recall making that point. Still, I appreciate the shout out.

The next paragraph also repeats footnote 24 following the sentence “Why bother discussing such ancient history when ‘everything is different now?’. I actually do not recall making such a statement, but maybe I did somewhere. Between a thousand+ blog posts, 60+ reports, 7+ books, etc. I could have said that. I don’t remember saying that. The article having two footnotes 24 and no footnote 25 leads me to suspect that the footnoting got garbled.

Later on in the article, they claim that “the DuPuy Institute finds it difficult to validate models of future combat based on past data because ‘there are no real-world examples in the past twenty-five years of combat between conventional armed forces with similar levels of advanced technology and military competence.'”

The first part of this…the “finds it difficult” part really does not sound like anything I have said. My attitude it that you go ahead and test a model to the past, because if it cannot predict the past, if it cannot predict the actions of lower tech weapons; then you can be pretty damn sure it is not also predicting modern combat. So this does not seem to be a claim I would make. 

Now the quote that is attached to that sounds exactly like something I would say or did say. I kind of remembering saying that in a phone interview. I don’t remember when or where. The reference is to footnote 30, an article on F-35s published in Breaking Defense two years ago. It is here: HASC Chair Slams F-35, 500-Ship Fleet; Highlights Cyber – Breaking Defense. Now, I don’t see any references to The Dupuy Institute there. Perhaps it is in one of the linked articles.

Anyhow, nice to be referenced and quoted. Would be nicer if it was in proper context. 

Update: Found the quote from my book. The article says:

“The Dupuy Institute, one of the most notable independent centers of operational research on land warfare, and one that models combat outcomes based on historical data, expressed this concern in 2017:

“Many have postulated… a revolution in warfare created by the synergetic effects of increased weapons accuracy… [etc., see above]. Recent U.S. conventional operations have increased this perception due to our opponents being technologically inferior, not particularly well trained, or simply incompetent, while the United States had enjoyed air supremacy and the luxury of outgunning our opponents.”

Now this is something I have said. It is footnote 29, the Freedberg article quoted above, which does not quote me. So, clearly the footnotes have gotten garbled.

I do have to thank Captain Tangredi, who I have never met, for calling us “one of the most notable independent centers of operational research on land warfare.” The quote from 2017 is clearly referring to War by Numbers (published 2017).

The Easy Button

Second to three recent articles from William (Chip) Sayers. The conclusions are his:

———-

The Easy Button

In the 1960s and 70s, the Soviet Union began exporting tactical and short-range ballistic missiles to its client states around the world. These missiles were developed as nuclear warhead carriers, so why give them to, for instance, Egypt, Iraq and North Korea? None of the countries were developing nuclear weapons, and Moscow wouldn’t have wanted these wild cards to do so at the time. All of these missiles had conventional warhead versions, and that’s what the Soviets were exporting, but they were so inaccurate as to make them virtually useless in the eyes of Western military analysts. A Soviet Combined Arms or Tank Army had three battalions of four R-17 Scud B launchers in their Table of Organization and Equipment, and they provided the army commander with a dedicated and powerful nuclear weapons capability. However, with a Circular Error Probable of 450m, twelve rockets with 1,000kg conventional warheads were highly unlikely to put even one within the effective blast radius of a point target.[1]

According to probability theory, half of the warheads would land within the CEP radius of the system, 93.7% within 2 CEPs, 99.8% within 3 CEPs and the balance within 4 CEPs. The Scud’s warhead can damage reinforced concrete buildings within an area of 7,854m2, compared to the 450m CEP which encompasses an area of 636,172m2. The Mean Area of Effectiveness (MAE) of the six warheads combined only cover about 7% of the total area of the CEP circle not particularly promising odds for hitting a point target.[2] 

While Western eyes would see this as a waste of time, the Soviets (and now the Russians) would look at it differently. The “War of the Cities” during the Iran/Iraq war — when the two sides used short-range ballistic missiles to indiscriminately bombard each other’s urban areas — offers considerable insight into the current war in Ukraine. The accuracy of the Scud B was obviously insufficient for most military targets. In this case, however, entire cities were the targets — as they are, today. Between 1984 and 1988, Iraq and Iran exchanged attacks on each other’s major population centers with fixed-wing aircraft, Tactical and SRBM attacks in a campaign of what can only be called Douhetian strategic bombing. The target for both sides was not military or industrial infrastructure, leadership or command/control capabilities. It was quite simply the enemy’s people. The aim was to inflict as much pain and destruction as possible on them to destroy their will to continue the war. While thousands of civilians were killed and wounded (Iran admitted to over 10,000 deaths, alone), both country’s efforts seemingly failed. 

However, it is never easy to say for sure what the impact is of operations aimed at influencing the enemy’s psychology. All of warfare is essentially intended to get inside the enemy’s head, be it via influence operations or sheer destruction of the enemy’s forces. Campaigns rarely, if ever, end in annihilation — at some point, the enemy’s will is broken and he gives ground or surrenders. For example, it is a myth that the strategic bombing of Britain, Germany and Japan during WWII was counterproductive, resulting in a strengthening of the public’s desire to resist the attackers. In fact, in all three cases, public morale declined substantially and industrial production was suppressed even in factories that were not bombed. Defeatism and absenteeism soared. Britain was not subjected to an effective and sustained campaign, but in Germany and Japan it is likely that their respective secret police forces were the major factor in keeping a lid on a possible revolt of the kind that resulted in the withdrawal from fighting by Russia and Germany in WWI.

Neither Iraq, nor Iran had the wherewithal to mount a sustained campaign — a small inventory of weapons on both sides ensured that the war of the cities could only be fought in fits and starts — nevertheless, Tehran was reportedly so damaged in the last months of the war that as many as 1 million of its 6 million residents left the capital city. There was also a great deal of fear that Iraq would start arming its Scuds with chemical warheads — a particular terror for civilians with no access to protective equipment. It is uncertain how much influence the war of the cities had on the mind of the Ayatollah or the Majles, but between that, a rejuvenated Iraqi Air Force and battlefield reverses, Ayatollah Khomeini was moved to “drink the chalice of poison,” and agree to end the war.

In 1995, the Russians went full scorched earth in Grozny, though their purpose in razing the city was tactical, rather than strategic: they used it as a tactic for clearing the city of insurgents, not breaking the will of the Chechen people and leadership. The results were much the same for the city, however.

Fast forward to the current war in Ukraine. When their coup de main on Kiev failed, the Russians fell back on their old tricks of attempting to flatten cities to demoralize their enemies into submission.  And that’s where things stand, today.

For the last thirty years, the Russians have talked up the accuracy of their tactical and short-range ballistic missiles, referring to them as precision weapons. Russian claims notwithstanding, photos of Ukrainian cities show plain evidence that civilian residences and infrastructure have suffered massively from the besieger’s bombardment. Entire neighborhoods of apartment buildings are rubbled and burned out. The Russians claim this to be collateral damage, but if the Russian missiles have “pin-point” accuracy, that shouldn’t occur on such a scale as this. The implication is that the apartment complexes, schools and hospitals are the targets. Deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure is a war crime. On the other hand, if the accuracy of Russian missiles is so poor that it takes this much destruction to hit legitimate targets, then the bombardment is indiscriminate, and that is a war crime, too. Either way, Western governments should drop the pretenses and treat Putin as what he is: a war criminal.

This begs the question as to why Putin is using such weapons to prosecute his war. To put it bluntly, he can’t trust his Air Force to do it. Russian fixed-wing bombers are not sufficiently accurate, their crews are not sufficiently well trained, and they are too vulnerable to Ukrainian air defenses to be survivable. So, they are stuck with delivering stand-off missiles from the safety of Russian territory. Again, these weapons are claimed to have great accuracy, but there is little evidence to back up these assertions. 

So, what’s going on here? Why all the seeming contradictions?  There are three possibilities. First, Russian missiles just aren’t that accurate and they’ve been making false claims in order to boost arms sales. This is probably the likeliest explanation and fits well with the possibility that they are using relatively low-cost munitions to bombard Ukrainian cities. Second, the Russians may be pressing into service high-precision and expensive missiles in a role they are ill-suited for. To wit: they are dumbing-down or removing their guidance systems to allow for a more traditional random bombardment — an expensive way to do the job. Third, the Russians are really hitting what they are aiming at with great precision. Apartment buildings are being targeted as though they were factories with specific aimpoints chosen to make for maximum destruction.

In the months prior to D-Day in June 1944, Gen. Eisenhower directed that all Allied heavy bombers in theater target railroad marshalling yards in France and Belgium to hinder the ability of German reinforcements to make it to the lodgment area. USAAF commanders believed their bombers could make a better contribution to success by bombing strategic targets in Germany and offered the fact that they couldn’t prevent French and Belgium casualties, given that marshaling yards tended to be located near the city centers. Eventually, the French and Belgian governments in exile authorized the strikes, believing the good they did would outweigh the civilian deaths they would cause, and while there is some question on how effective the strikes actually were, they caused much less collateral damage than had been feared. If Russian missiles are simply inaccurate and the proportion of collateral damage was reasonable compared to the damage caused to legitimate military targets, their actions might be seen as justifiable. However, the damage to civilian areas clearly isn’t reasonable. Further, tampering with guidance systems or the deliberate targeting of precision weapons against civilian targets would be evidence of a coldly calculated crime. The Hague should be warming up a cell for Mr. Putin.

The intriguing train of thought from this problem, however, is what happens next with precision-guided missiles? The US GMLRS, HIMARS and ATACMS systems have long proven that surface-to-surface missiles with GPS guidance can strike with great precision with relatively little technical investment. While their Russian counterpart systems have not, for whatever reason, shown this level of accuracy, it is clear that Moscow’s weaponry should be able to do so, if not now, certainly in the near future. It is simply not that difficult to do. Iran has claimed to have achieved a 50m CEP with some of their SRBMs. While this is, perhaps, a dubious assertion now, it is inevitable that nearly every nation that desires so may have access to weapons of such range and accuracy at some point in the near future. What are the implications? Several come to mind.

  1. From the illustration above, it is easy to see that a Scud-sized warhead with a 50m CEP would virtually guarantee target destruction when two are fired at a single target. The commander presses a button and the target goes away.  While high-precision SRBMs may be relatively expensive, they are a bargain for a country without a first-class air force. 
  2. This is in contrast to dependence upon an indifferently trained aircrew with elementary tactics, obsolescent weapons and aircraft having to penetrate lethal air defenses before making a low-probability of success attack. SRBMs don’t get scared or refuse a mission because of difficult circumstances, or because they disagree with their political leadership. The necessity of training and maintaining an expensive and unreliable air force is eliminated, as well — at least with regard to the air-to-ground mission. A similar savings could be made by substituting Surface-to-Air missiles for fighter-interceptors in the air-to-air role.
  3. The ensuing cost to success ratio is likely to tempt the use of high-precision ballistic missiles to solve problems that otherwise might be addressed through diplomacy, economic pressure, or other means short of violence. One could easily envision even policing actions being undertaken through the use of missiles: a wanted criminal or political adversary is located taking sanctuary in a nearby uncooperative country, the leadership doesn’t waste time arguing about extradition, he presses his “Easy Button” and obliterates the residence the wanted fugitive is occupying. Problem solved. An economic rival is pumping too much oil for your taste?  Press the Easy Button and make some unmanned pumping stations go away. Problem solved. A rival’s fishing fleet encroaching in your exclusive economic zone? The Easy Button makes some trawlers mysteriously disappear in the night and the problem is solved.

While it is easy to come up with dozens of scenarios where precision married to long-range weapons can be useful, the difficult part is developing a useful doctrine to employ them to maximum effect. Destroying a group of targets will have an impact, though limited to the additive effect of their individual values. Destroying the same number of targets according to an effective and well thought-out plan will have multiplicative effect far beyond the value of the individual elements. The whole will be much greater than the sum of its parts. What is required is an airpower doctrine — missile warfare is the purist, most fundamental form of airpower. However, there is only one military force in the world that has thoroughly explored airpower doctrine and that is the US Air Force. 

The only countries with the elements required to develop a viable airpower doctrine (a truly independent air force, an air force of sufficient size as to explore and test ideas while continuing to meet defense obligations, an academic plant of sufficient independence to develop suitable doctrine, an industrial base capable of designing and manufacturing the necessary tools, etc.) are all strong allies of the US, and none of them has an air force of sufficient size to realistically execute such a doctrine on their own. None of our adversaries has those elements necessary to do so, so it is likely that whatever precision ballistic missile attacks they execute will be done so with suboptimal, less than decisive effect.

The upshot is that without a vital, robust and well-founded doctrine, these weapons will not be capable of fulfilling their potential, but will rather merely become long-range artillery. They may be capable of great destruction, they are unlikely to ever become decisive unless wielded with an educated hand.

The Japanese Navy began World War II with an excellent submarine fleet armed with a revolutionary torpedo that actually worked, unlike those of virtually every other navy. In contrast, the US Navy fielded obsolescent boats (albeit, with superbly trained crews) armed with virtually worthless torpedoes. Over the course of the war, the US submarine service proved decisive in the defeat of Japan by cutting off Japanese transport of vital resources and troops to the home islands. The Japanese submarine force, by contrast, contributed very little to the overall war effort. The difference was doctrine. The Japanese wasted their assets on scouting for their battleline, while virtually ignoring the US lines of communications that ran across vast stretches of ocean. US submarines interdicted Japanese LOCs — vital for linking the home islands with the natural resources they went to war over in the first place.

If someone manages to marry the new, high-precision SRBMs with a solid, well thought out doctrine, we will move from an age of warfare where missiles are used, to a true age of missile warfare.  That would be a real “revolution in military affairs.”

 

[1] Missile Defense Project, “SS-1 “Scud”,” Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 11, 2016, last modified August 2, 2021, https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/scud/.

[2] Weapon Data Fire Impact Explosion, Final Edition September 1945, Osrd No. 6053, Division 2, National Defense Research Committee Office Of Scientific Research And Development.

——–

P.S.: Some related past posts:

TDI Friday Read: Iranian Casualties In The 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

VVS View of Air Superiority | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

 

 

The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 450

No spring offensive yet. Ukraine is making small advances around Bakhmut, but I suspect that is not their spring offensive. They appear to be holding back on the main offensive efforts until later.  

The classified Joint Staff briefing book did talk about 12 “combat credible” brigades being generated for the “spring counteroffensive.” They report on the status of 9 new brigades being raised (“trained and equipped by US, Allied and Partners”). Six will be ready by 31 March (page was dated 23 February) and 3 by 30 April. Eight of these newly raised brigades are mechanized-like brigades, which nominally have one tank battalion of 31 tanks per brigade. A NATO rep. said in late April that 98% of the vehicles scheduled are now in Ukrainian hands. This is a very qualified statement.

The status of these nine new brigades is discussed here: The nine new brigades for the spring offensive – organization | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Basically, eight of them have 28 – 32 tanks, seven have 90 to 101 other AFVs, IFVs, APCs and MRAPs, and six of them have between 8 to 16 artillery pieces and three have between 22 to 24 artillery pieces. Three other brigades will be added to offensive force, although there are no reports on their status. 

The DOD count of opposing forces is discussed here: Count of Opposing Forces | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and combat effectiveness is discussed here: Unstructured Comments on “The Relationship of Battle Damage to Unit Combat Performance” | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

The U.S. has announced on 21 April that it will began training Ukrainian forces on their new Abrams tanks. The 31 tanks will arrive in Grafenwoehr at the end of the May and the training will last for around 10 weeks. On 28 April the Germans are saying that over 100 Ukrainians are now training on Leopard Is (the older version). That does indicate that some of these newly raised Ukrainian brigades are still going to receive more equipment. So while the weather may be clear in early May, that does not mean that Ukraine will initiate a major offensive operation in May. One notes that Zelenskyy is now saying they are waiting until fully prepared.

Ukraine is advancing around Bakhmut. Supposedly they have reclaimed 20 square kilometers of territory. This is not much, but is something. Russia clearly controls over half the town. On 11 April, Wagner sent out photos of them controlling Metalurh Stadium in central Bakhmut. 

I will put any changes/updates since my last post in italics. A link to a blow up of the map is here: Wikipedia mapIt is dated 19 May. The last dated update on the map is Soledar on 16 January.

Russia currently occupies five cities: Lysychansk (pop. 95,031), Severodonetsk (pop. 101,135), Mariupol (pop. 431,859), Berdyansk (pop. 107,928) and Melitopol (pop. 150,768). Kherson (pop. 283,649) was retaken by Ukraine on 11 November.

 

We have been looking at six major areas of operations. Only the Donbas appears to be active right now. 

1. Kyiv (pop: 2,962,180): It appears that Kyiv is secure.

2. Odesa (pop: 1,015,826): Appears to be secure. The grain deal has been renewed for another 60 days. Since the start of these deals, the shipments have resulted in over thirty million tons of grain shipped by sea. As of 18 May, the amount of grain shipped from Ukrainian ports and across the Black Sea under this initiative was 30,283,285 metric tonnes carried in 962 ships according to posts on twitter by @exit266. There are 60 days left to the agreement. 

3. Kharkiv (pop: 1,433,886): Kharkiv looks to be secure. Still, it is near the Russian border, so this can change suddenly. Ukraine did bombard Russian troops in the village of Tsapovka in early April, in Russian territory in the Belgorod Oblast. Ukraine published pictures of this. It is right on the border, due south of Borisovka. The village is reported to be unpopulated since 2013.

On 17 April, the Ukrainians did attack two Russian power stations in Belgorod oblast using drones. The following week the Russians also accidently dropped two bombs on Belgorod. On 1 May, a Russian ammo dump was hit near Tomorovka, in Belgorod province.

4. The Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (the Donbas): Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is reporting as of 16 December that they had 4,133 soldiers killed and 17,379 wounded (4.20-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). This includes the 13 killed and 50 wounded reported from 01.01.22 to 02.25.22. For the period of 16 – 22 December (overlapping dates on 16 December) they report 43 killed, but do not report the wounded. Through the 16th, this is 108% casualties out of an estimated initial force of 20,000. Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) is reported as of 5 April to have had 500-600 killed out of an estimated force of 14,000. This is 21% casualties, assuming a 4-to-1 killed ratio.

5. Mariupol (pop: 431,859): Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Google maps has updated its images of Mariupol to show the city as it is now (extensively shelled) vice how it used to look before the war.

Prisoner Exchanges: Russia has claimed that they captured 2,439 prisoners from the siege of Mariupol. Russian claimed on 30 June that they held 6,000 prisoners. Ukraine stated in early July that they had more than 7,000 missing. Now Ukraine is stating as of 30 December that Russian holds 3,400 prisoners and 15,000 Ukrainians are missing.

In 2022 there were 1,447 prisoners of war exchanged, 112 civilians and five foreigners. Of those, at least 427 were from Mariupol/Azovstal and up to 53 others were killed in captivity. Latest prisoner exchange on 8 January was for 50 prisoners. Another prisoner exchange on 4 February of 116. Some of these Ukrainian prisoners had been in captivity for almost a year. Latest prisoner exchange, on 16 February, was for 100 soldiers and one civilian for 101 Russian soldiers. 94 of them were defenders of Mariupol, including 63 soldiers from Azovstal. There was another prisoner exchange on 7 March with 130 Ukrainians exchanged for 90 Russians. This included 87 Mariupol defenders (71 from Azovstal). 35 of them were soldiers captured in Bakhmut and Soledar. Most of the Ukrainian and Russian prisoners were seriously injured.

The Ukrainian Omsbudsman has stated in late January that 800 severely wounded Ukrainians are held as POWs. He also stated that they hold 200 severely wounded Russians.

There was a prisoner exchange in early May of 42 soldiers and two civilians for what I assume was a similar number of Russians. On 7 May, Russia exchanged 45 defenders of Azovstal, including 10 officers for only just 3 pilots. I gather Russia is still holding thousands of more prisoners than Ukraine does.

6. Crimea & Kherson (pop: 283,649): Kherson is now back under Ukrainian control as of 11 November. Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

The early morning on 22 March (at 04:43:58 according to videos), there was another attack on Russian ships in Sevastopol harbor using seaborne naval drones. The last time they tried this (29 October 2022), they (lightly?) damaged the 4,035-ton frigate Admiral Makarov. It appears that one got close to one rather large ship and exploded near its rear. Not sure if a Russian ship was damaged. At least three drones were used in the attack. One was stopped by the booms at the entrance to the harbor, and two were destroyed in the harbor.

There was also a car blown up on 23 March in Melitipol that injured a Ukrainian accused of collaborating with the Russians. There was an IED exploded in Melitipol on 3 April.

Apparently, back in October, in conjunction with the Kherson offensive, there was a failed attempt by Ukraine to retake Zaporizhia nuclear power plant with an amphibious operation across the large reservoir there.

There was Ukrainian crossing on 20 or 21 April at the village of Dachi. This is just across the Dnipro near Kherson where the damaged Antonivka Road Bridge crosses. 

I do think this is a diversion, vice the preparation for a major offensive. The problems with conducting operations across the Dnipro work both ways. The Russians were forced in November to withdraw from north of the river because of supply issues. There are only three bridges across the river in the best of times. If the Russians could not support 20,000 troops to the north of the river, I suspect the Ukrainians will have a similar problem south of the river, especially as Russia has air superiority.

The Ukrainians two weeks ago hit three oil tanks in and around Crimea (one near Sevastopol early in the week, one in Krasnador province on 2 May that was only 7 km from the bridge to Crimea, and another attack on 3 May in Krasnador near the bridge). Also on 29 April it is claimed that the Russian village of Suzemka was shelled. It is 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the border in Bryansk province. The Russians report two, and later four civilians killed. On 2 May a train was derailed by a bomb near Bryansk. Finally, two drones attacked the Kremlin in Moscow on 4 May, with one hitting a flag on a dome. 

 

Weather: Kharkiv at 3 PM: It is a balmy 79 degrees (26 Celsius) and parlty cloudy. Rain is expected Monday through Sunday. Sunrise is at 4:43 and sunset is at 8:19, giving them more than fifteen hours of daytime to operate it. 

Kherson is 77 degrees (25 Celsius) and mostly cloudy. Rain is expected for most of the next ten days.

Ukrainian Army Build-up: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Do not know the current strength of the deployed Ukrainian Army but am guessing that it is over 300,000 deployed troops. They clearly are going to have to build it up to 400,000 or more in response to Russia’s partial mobilization. There is a Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force of 100,000 to 200,000. Wikipedia was reporting 209,000 in their armed forces and 102,000 paramilitary. They were reporting their ground forces at 198,000 in July 2022. 

Do not have a good estimate of the total number of foreign volunteers now in Ukraine, although it is clearly thousands.

The U.S. and many countries in and around Europe are now providing tanks to Ukraine. This includes 31 Abrams (M1A2) from the U.S. that were not expected to arrive until 2024, but the U.S. has now announced that they will be in Germany as of the end of May. It also includes the previously announced 40 AMX-10 light tanks from France, the previously announced 14 Challengers from the UK and 14 new Challengers from the UK, 14 Leopards (2A6) from Germany announced on Jan. 25 plus they are going to provide 14 more later, 14 or so Leopards (2A4?) from Poland, maybe 20 Leopards (2A4) from Spain, but so far only 6 have been confirmed (they are planning to train 55 Ukrainian crew members), no Leopards from Netherlands (previous rumors said 18), Portugal is sending 4 (2A6) out of their 37, 8 (2A4) from Norway out of their 36, and 8 2A4 Leopards from Canada out of their 80. The 8 Canadian Leopards have already arrived in Poland. Non-NATO members Finland is providing 3 Leopards and Sweden is providing 10 2A6s along with 8 Archer 155mm SP Artillery. Also, Morocco is providing Ukraine with 173 T-74s EA, 70 are already in Ukraine. It does appear in a number of cases the announcements are lagging behind the actual shipments of tanks. Poland is providing Ukraine with another 60 upgraded T-72s. It has already sent Ukraine some 260 or more tanks. 

Twelve countries in NATO have Leopards. Germany is saying that a total of around 80 will be sent between them all. My count currently shows at least 77 Leopards from eight different countries (two not yet in NATO). It now looks like many of the older 40-45 ton German Leopard Is are being refurbished and will be sent. Germany has 88 of them it could send and Belgium has 50. Between Denmark, Netherlands and Germany, they are putting together a package of 100 1A5s, although the details of the deal keep changing.  It will be a while before most of them arrive. An initial package of 29 is being refurbished and are supposed to arrive in the summer (enough for one more brigade). There are a lot of them out there, with Greece supposedly having 520 (and 392 U.S. M-48s and 100 U.S. M-60s) and Turkey having 355 or 397 (and 750 M-48s and 785 M-60s). Opportunity to replace old stocks. Switzerland has 230 Leopard 2 tanks of which 96 are not in operation (in storage). Germany has asked for them but on 7 March the Swiss Parliament voted not to export tanksMeanwhile reports are saying some of the 100+ Leopard Is will still arriving in Ukraine starting May. Meanwhile, the U.S. is now planning on providing older M1A1s instead of M1A2s are it can be arranged to get there this fall. Not sure if the count of tanks provided will remain at only 31 (one battalion’s worth).

Meanwhile, Russia has been seen transporting T-54Bs from Siberia to somewhere (probably Ukraine). That particular model dates from 1955, so a little older than a Leopard I or M1A1. On 30 April, T-55s and T-62 were reported in the Berdiansk area.

From a practical point of view, it means that around four or so Ukrainian tank battalions will be armed up with Abrams/Leopard 2/Challengers. Ukraine has over 30 tank battalions. Some should probably be in place for the spring offensives. Some of the Canadian Leopard 2s have already arrived in PolandAt least 18 of the Leopard 2A6s have arrived in Ukraine. Challengers will be arriving in Ukraine during March.

Slovakia announced on 23 March that they have transferred 4 MiG-29s to Ukraine. It now appears that all 13 Slovak MiG-29s have been handed over to Ukraine. On 8 May, it was confirmed that 10 Polish MiG-29 have been delivered to Ukraine. On 5 May, it was confirmed that Croatia is providing 14 Mi-8 helicopters, of which 9 are already in Ukraine.

Some weapons have been supplied that have not been announced. For example, Finnish ex-Soviet 152K89 152mm field guns recently have showed up on the battlefield in Ukrainian hands, even though Finland has never announced that they were being provided. Danish artillery has also recently showed up in Ukraine.

Russian Army Build-up:  

In the fall of last year, Ukraine was reporting that around 280,000 Russians were deployed in Ukraine. This seems a reasonable estimate. On 4 November Putin stated at 318,000 reservists and “new volunteers” have been mobilized and 49,000 are in combat zones. I assume the Russian army in Ukraine was at about 200,000 at the start of this mobilization.

The U.S. and UK estimate that the Wagner Group had 50,000 people in December 2022. Have no idea if this estimate is accurate. John Kirby (U.S. DOD spokesman) said that Wagner has lost 30,000 people, at a wounded-to-killed ratio of maybe 2-to-1, implying 10,000 deaths. Have no way to confirm or contradict such claims, but I remain guardedly suspicious as always. How did the DOD come to the count of 30,000? 

Ukraine stated on 22 Feb. that Russia has deployed more than 350,000 troops to Ukraine. This sounds about right.

Russia is now starting its spring conscript draft of 147,000. It does this twice a year. Conscripts are for one year and are not allowed to serve outside of Russia.

The Russian defense budget for 2023 is $159 billion, up from $111 billion in 2022. This appears to now be around 9% of GDP.

According to one article, which I suspect is a little biased, Russian tank production at Uralvagonzavod is currently over 900 armored vehicles a year, including 35-40 T-90s a month. In contrast, the U.S. is producing two M-1A2 a month in Lima, Ohio. The German Leopard 2 is also still in production. 

Russia is getting some support from China, possibly spare parts and more important, microchips. They are reportedly not currently providing Russia with weapons. This is a source of discussion between the U.S./EU and China.

As of 26 February, Russia has announced that the DPR has raised a new battalion entirely composed of Ukrainian prisoners of war, called the Bohdan Khmelniksky Battalion. It was claimed that the unit consists of 70 Ukrainians. 

Opposing forces: Ukraine had before the war an army (ground forces) of 169,000 in 2016. The Russian army (not armed forces) was 280,000. The current Ukrainian army is now probably over 200,000. The Russian army (ground forces) in and around Ukraine is probably around 150,000 (up to 190,000). Donetsk PR is estimated at 20,000 and Lugansk at 14,000. Russia has added at least 41,000 troops to the front line from their new partial mobilization effort and will be adding more. Potentially up to 300,000. Most likely by the spring, both armies will be sporting 400,000 or more troops. It does appear that by spring, the level of intensity and casualties from this war will be a count twice as high as it currently has been.

Economics and the Home Fronts: The complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 380 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)Price of oil (Brent Crude) remains low at 76.69 as of 9:39 AM EST. Ruble remains low at 79.81 to the dollar.

On 6 May “right-wing” activist, Yevgeny Prilepin, was seriously injured near Nizhny Novgorod when his car was blown up. His bodyguard died. On 2 April, Vladlen Tartarsky, 40, a pro-war Russian blogger, was assassinated in St. Petersburg. The accidental assassin, who was also wounded, was Darya Trepova, 25. The previous war-related assassination was of Darya Dugina, 29, back on 20 August 2022. Not sure who was responsible for any of these three efforts.

Casualties: The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian miliary, Valerii Zaluzhny, on 21 August stated that almost 9,000 Ukrainian military have died in the war. This is a lower estimate than most people have given (although we have leaned towards the lower estimates). Not sure if these figures included militia losses (like Azov Regiment). If Ukraine lost almost 9,000, then hard to believe the Russian losses are that much higher. On 1 December a presidential advisor stated that Ukraine has lost between 10,000 and 13,000 troops killed. On 17 March, the Ukranian Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council argued that total Ukrainian losses are less than 100,000 killed and wounded. As of 24 March 1,509 bodies have been returned to Ukraine. 

The U.S. estimate is that Russian casualties are now at 220,000 (killed and wounded). The U.S. estimate provided on 9 November was “well over 100,000.” Did they really loose another 100,000 troops in the last five months? For 18 November BBC/Mediazona reported that 9,001 Russians had been killed based upon media accounts, obituaries, funeral notices, and so forth. Now their count is 18,023 as of 24 March. This is a doubling of their recorded count of people who have died. This is still considerably lower than the Ukrainian claims of 173,360 Russians killed as of 31 March (which would imply 693,440 to 866,800 total casualties, which does not mesh well with the reports of forces deployed). I do have some doubt about this suddenly increase in U.S. claims, see BBC/Mediazona Figures Over Time | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and Russian Losses over Time | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Needless to say, if I have doubts about the U.S. DOD estimates, then I don’t buy into the Ukrainian claims of Russian casualties, or the similarly high Russian claims of Ukrainian casualties.

The various versions of the briefing books did have Ukrainian and Russian casualty figures. They estimated that Ukrainian losses were 15,500 – 17,500 killed and 124,500 – 131,000 total casualties. This estimate may be a little “light,” but it is certainly within the ball park. They appear to be using a wounded-to-killed ratio of around 7.5-to-1 for this. This is kind of high. These figures may also include missing and captured (at least 6,000 were captured).

The Russian estimates are 35,500 – 43,000 killed and 189,500 – 223,000 total casualties. This may be on the high side. Ukraine is claiming over 180,000 Russians killed, which I think can be dismissed. BBC/Mediazona reports as of 7 April are counting 19,688 Russian killed by name. They appear to be using a wounded-to-killed ratio of around 5-to-1 for this. 

Mediazona, through Dr. Olga Ivshina (BBC) @oivshina stated on 25 April that “…if we have 20,000 names we think the real toll may be around 40,000 KIA.” The exchange is here: The Dupuy Institute (TDI) on Twitter: “@oivshina Question: Do you mean that you suspect the actual count of dead is 1.5 times the count on your list, or is it 2.0 times the count on your list?” / Twitter.

These wounded-to-killed ratios open up a lot of questions. 1) why are they different for the Ukrainian vice the Russians, 2) I have been saying it is at least 4-to-1. They are using figures higher than that. What is that based upon?, and 3) some people on the “twittersphere” have criticized me for even using a 4-to-1 ratio and have used lower figures than that. Is it time for them to revise their estimating practices?

John Kirby, the NSC spokesman, said on 1 May that Russia has suffered 100,000 casualties since December, including ove 20,000 killed (implying a 4-ot-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). Half of the killed are from the Wagner Group.

The previous, more detailed older casualty write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 394 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

The UN is reporting as of 15 May at least 8,836 civilians confirmed dead in the war. They reported 138 civilians killed from 1-28 February and 178 for 1-31 March and 169 killed from 1-30 April.

The UN provided the following chart showing civilian losses by month:

More than 50,000 people have died in this conflict: 22,644 or more (Russian Army – Mediazona count) + 16,000 or more (Ukrainian Army – U.S. DOD estimate) + 8,836 (Civilians) + 4,176 (DPR in 2022) + 600 (LPR) = 52,256. It is probably in excess of 60,000 total deaths depending on Ukrainian and Russian military deaths and the real count of civilian losses. Suspect the BBC/Mediazona count is off (undercounted) by at least 50% and they say it is by a factor of two. The last figure from Ukraine of 13,000 was dated 1 December, so is also now probably off by at least 50%. Mediazona is now reporting that Donetsk and Lugansk losses were in excess of 8,000.

Ammo: The second and third to last paragraphs in The Times (UK) article referenced in the Day 394 blog post says:

However, Barrons argues that Ukraine needs ammunition even more than it needs soldiers. It fires 90,000 155mm shells a month and sometimes 6,000 shells a day but combined US and European production is less than 30,000 a month. “There is a mathematical mismatch,” he says. The US is tripling its output but “Europe has been too slow”.

Russia, which has been firing 20,000 shells a day and is thought to have used up ten years’ worth of production in 12 months, has the same problem. In recent weeks they have reduced the numbers by 75 per cent.

So 6,000 shells a day vice 20,000 shells a day, have no idea if that is true or what percent of the rounds fire are “smart” versus old style. One would expect the side firing the most rounds would be causing more causalities. On the other hand, if U.S. production is less than 30,000 a month Ukraine will be forced to eventually reduce their expenditures to 1,000 or 2,000 shells a day. If Russia has to reduce their numbers by 75%, then they are firing 5,000 shells a day. Don’t know if any single number in this discussion is close to reality but suspect that both sides will have to reduce their artillery expenditure at least until May. This war could be very quiet for a couple of months.

Anyhow, Ukraine is requesting 250,000 shells a month from the EU.

Air Power: Previous discussion of air power is in the Day 443 post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 443 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

On 13 May, Russia lost 4 aircraft in one day, two Mi-8 helicopters, one Su-34 and one Su-35. This was their highly daily losses since the first month of the war. They were shot down just inside of the Russian territory, in Bryansk provice.

Missile Defense: Discussion of previous missiles attack is in the Day 443 post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 443 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). It is clear that the Russian attempt to cut off Ukrainian power and freeze them out over the winter has failed and they have not done any of those massive missile strikes since 9 March.

There has been some increase in airstrikes and drone attacks this month, partly in response to Ukrainian strikes, but nothing that looked like a major strike. The last major Russian airstrike was on 9 March. The previous one was on 10 February. Meanwhile, on 4 May a Russian hypersonic missile was reported to have been shot down by a Patriot missile. This was not supposed to be possible.

Attack on Kyiv on 15/16 May result in 18 out of 18 attacking claimed to have been shot down. One Patriot launcher was damaged. The Patriot missile battlery was the target of the attack.

End of the War: Looks like this war will be continuing onto until at least fall of 2023. Completer write-up of this section is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 380 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Atrocities: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

Russia continues their display of Orc-like behavior with a video coming out of the execution of the POW tentatively identified as Oleksandr Ihorevich Matsievskiy of the Territorial Defense Forces. His last words were “Slava Ukraini.”  This execution probably occurred sometime in early February.

Another video was released on 11 April of a Russian-speaking Ukrainian soldier being beheaded, ISIL-like. This appears to have occurred last summer. I gather this was done by Wagner.

You would think at some point the Russian senior command would understand that this is working against them politically and is resulting in wide-spread international support for Ukraine, which is resulting in increased shipment of arms and ammunition. It also continues to show a real lack of discipline among the rank and file. In addition to being an inhumane war crime, it is just plain stupid. 

Ukrainian reforms: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). The Ukranian defense minister appears to be staying.

Other Issues: 

U.S. Support for Ukraine: Write-up on U.S. support for Ukraine is in the Day 443 post here: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 443 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Itis going to be a long campaign season until November 2024, so certainly we will revisit this issue at some point.

Also, see the Day 443 posts for previous reports on the EU, NATO, Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Belarus: Belarus is back in the news as its dictator, Lukashenko, is ill. I still doubt that they will join the war. Belarus has 60,000 troops and now they are trying to recruit another 20,000. This is from a country that the government was almost overthrown two years ago by popular acclaim. Ukraine has an 891-kilometer border (554 miles) with Belarus, so Ukraine must maintain some forces there. Reports are now saying that only about 4,000 Russian troops are in Belarus, and no nuclear forces are there..

NATO: As of 4 April, Finland is a member of NATO. Sweden is still awaiting approval from Hungary and Turkey. See Day 443 for more info. Turkish presidential elections were held on 14 May and Erdogan won 49.5% of the vote. There is a run-off election on 28 May, and most likely Erdogan will exceed 50% of the vote. We shall see after that if he is willing to let Sweden into NATO.

Sections on Kazakhstan, European Support, Iran and Miscellaneous were last reported in the blog post for day 408 here: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 408 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). They have been removed from this post.

Schedule for the Second Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 17-19 October 2023

This is the fourth provisional schedule for the second Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC). We currently have 24 presentations scheduled by 17 speakers and two group discussions planned. Each slot is an hour long, so planning 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: 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. 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 are exploring the costs of having the presentations professionally recorded.

 

Schedule: Pike and Gallows Conference Center

Updated: 31 March 2023

 

 

Day 1: Analysis of Conventional Combat

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

0930 – 1030     Addressing the Decline in War Question with New Disaggregated Data

                                                Dr. Michael Spagat (Royal Holloway University of London)

1030 – 1130      A Cautionary Tale: Alternative Interpretations of the Same Data – virtual

                                                                                    Jim Storr

1130 – 1230 Land Operations – consistencies and discrepancies between theory, historical analysis and doctrine                             LtC. Trygve Smidt (Norway)

1230 – 1400    Lunch

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

1500 – 1600    Force Ratios                                    Christopher A. Lawrence (TDI)

1600 – 1700    open

1700 – 1800    open

 

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     Evidence of Fabricated Survey Data Collected during the War in Iraq

                                           Dr. Michael Spagat (Royal Holloway University of London)

1000 – 1100 Unburdened by History: Understanding Russia’s Growing Influence in Haiti                                                                           Dr. Christopher Davis (UNCG)

1100 – 1200    open

1200 – 1300    Lunch

1300 – 1400    The Right Way to Do Risk Analysis: A Primer and Update, With Examples from Pandemics                                                       Dr. Doug Samuelson (InfoLogix)

1400 – 1500    Close  Combat Overmatch Weapons (SLAMMER)

                                                                                    Joe Follansbee (Col., USA, ret.)

1500 – 1600    Chemical Weapons in Syria            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    Russian Information Warfare Against Western Democracies Since 2013: A review and update                                                 Dr. Doug Samuelson (InfoLogix)

1000 – 1100    open

1100 – 1200    open

1200 – 1300    Lunch

1300 – 1400    The Application of the Scientific Method to Military History – virtual

                                                            Clinton Reilly (Computer Strategies, Australia)

1400 – 1500    The Future of TDI and work of the conference (new)

                                                                                  Christopher A. Lawrence (TDI)

1500 – 1600    open

1600 – 1700    open

 

Evening:         Happy hour – Rangos 

 

 

Schedule: Einstein Conference Room

 

Day 1: Poster and Book Room

Opened at 0800

 

Afternoon Day 1: Other Analysis of Warfare

1400 – 1500   History of Pneumatic Combat Weapons    Jacob Friend

1500 – 1600   Soviet WWII Aerial Photography      Eugene Matyukhin 

1600 – 1700   Open

 

 

Day 2: Analysis of Conventional Combat

0900 – 1000    unnamed – William Sayers

1000 – 1100    Open

1100 – 1200    Urban Warfare (old)                         Christopher A. Lawrence (TDI)

1200 – 1300    Lunch

1300 – 1400    Study of Pneumatic Weapons in Sub/Urban Conbat

                                                                                  Jacob Friend

1400 – 1500    Open

1500 – 1600    Open

1600 – 1700   Penetrate, Dis-Integrate and Exploit: The Israeli Counter-Offensive at the Suez Canal, 1973                                                    LtC. Nathan A Jennings, PhD

 

 

Day 3: Researching Operations

0900 – 1000 The AEF and Consolidation of Gains Operations Durning the Meuse-Argonne Offensive                                                  Dr. Christopher Davis (UNCG)

1000 – 1100    Kursk Photo Analysis                     Eugene Matyukhin

1100 – 1200    The Red Army’s Offensive Operations in Ukraine, 1943-44                                                                Dr. Richard Harrison

1200 – 1300    Lunch

1300 – 1400   Patterns of Explosive Violence Harm in Ukraine Before and After the 24 Feb. Invasion                                                           Chiara Torelli (AOAV) – virtual

1400 – 1500    Open

1500 – 1600    Open

1600 – 1700    Group Discussion: Russo-Ukrainian War

 

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

Three books to be published this year

I have been quiet about the books that I am working on and publishing because some of them have been slower to release than expected.

I have three books coming out this year. The UK hardcover release dates are:

Aces at Kursk: 30 July 2023
The Battle of Kyiv: 30 August 2023
The Hunting Falcon: 30 September 2023

The U.S. hardcover release dates according to Amazon.com are:

Aces at Kursk: 30 September 2023
The Battle of Kyiv: 30 October 2023
The Hunting Falcon: 31 October 2023

So for a brief moment in time I will be pumping out a book a month. I am currently working on two other books (they might be released in 2023) and I have one other listed on Amazon.com (UK) called “The Other Battle of Kursk” with a release date of 16 July 2024. This is the book “The Battle of Tolstoye Woods.” This has been discussed with the publisher and I may get it published in 2024.

Of course, the only way one gets a book done is to ignore everything else. If some people feel I should be responding in a timely manner to their emails or requests, there is a reason I have not been. Sorry. Three books coming out in one year is evidence that there is some validity to that.

Some relevant links related to Aces at Kursk:

Aces at Kursk – Chapter Listing | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Aces at Kursk | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Is this my last Kursk book? | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org): The answer is no. I will be working on (and maybe completing) The Battle of Tolstoye Woods in 2024.

145 or 10? | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

So did Kozhedub shoot down 62, 64 or 66 planes? | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

5th Guards Fighter Regiment, 7 July 1943 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

The 728th Fighter Regiment on 16 July 1943 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Soviet versus German kill claims at Kursk | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

So What Was Driving the Soviet Kill Claims? | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Aces at Kursk – Chapters | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

And related to The Battle for Kyiv: most of this blog from December 2021 through April 2022:

December | 2021 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

January | 2022 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

February | 2022 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

March | 2022 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

April | 2022 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

And related to Hunting Falcon:

Award Dates for the Blue Max (1916) | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

 

Wargaming 101 – The 40-60-80 Games

Yet another great article from William (Chip) Sayers. First of three that are coming. The conclusions are his. 

——-

Wargaming 101 – The 40-60-80 Games

Shortly after the George H. W. Bush Administration entered office in 1989 a story — probably apocryphal — was making the rounds. In the story, President Bush and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Bill Crowe, were on the back nine when the Commander-in-Chief turned to the Chairman and said, “Bill, I want you to gather together our best wargamers and game out some scenarios for the Conventional Forces in Europe talks. I’d like you to look at bringing the two sides down to parity and then do three wargames where one takes the two side’s forces down a further 20% to 80% of baseline parity, a second down to 60% of baseline and finally one at 40%.”

For many years of the Cold War the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) talks were on the books, but nobody took them seriously. Then, in the late 1980s, they were suddenly on the front burner with a real chance of yielding results. President Bush wanted us to have credible proposals ready if a breakthrough occurred and in particular, he wanted to thoroughly understand the implications of various possible proposals. The crux of the matter was a question of force-to-space ratios. For 40 years the two sides had sufficient forces to man a continuous line of units from the Baltic Sea to the Swiss Alps. CFE was designed to lessen the chances and consequences of war by radically reducing the forces of both sides. The problem was that no one knew how the character of a war in Europe would change when this was no longer true.

Heading the project was the legendary Huba Wass de Czege, at that time a Colonel about to pin on a general’s star. EUCOM sent its best and brightest to provide the Blue side, DIA was tasked to man the Red team, while J-8 facilitated the games. The plan was for each team to wargame its scenario as many times as possible within the time allotted and note any points of interest.  We quickly began referring to the exercise as the 40-60-80 games. I was assigned to run Red for the 60 game, which turned out to be the most interesting of the three scenarios. COL Wass de Czege instinctively knew this would be the case and he spent the majority of his time with us. The 80% game was too conventional to be very interesting, while the 40% game would be the Wild-West — no structure, too much open-field running to deal with in an organized manner. The 60% game would have the right amount of possibilities with the structure needed to make it work. COL Wass de Czege’s presence was a good gauge for where the real lessons would be learned and the longer the exercise went, the more time he spent with the 60% team.

The Blue Air guy opposing me was a US Air Force officer from EUCOM who had some distinctive ideas about how to use airpower. His main line was that airpower should be used in mass, that rather than parceling it out, one should concentrate to eliminate a target-set in its entirety. Not a bad thought. However, the White Cell controllers found him very persuasive. At one point, he directed a mass air attack on one of my second echelon formations, two Combined Arms Armies lying in wait in the Thüringer Wald. The controller looked at his tables, reached over and dumped all eight divisions in the dead pile. I’m an airpower guy myself, but in my wildest dreams I would never believe that this could happen. Billy Mitchell and Giulio Douhet would have blushed. In other circumstances, I would have been happy to explore Major Airpower’s theories, but I was concerned that his fantasies were going to skew the results of the games and that COL Wass de Czege, as a ground-minded Army officer might not be able to sort this out. I wrote the Colonel a note at the end of the exercise explaining why I was concerned with airpower’s portrayal. In retrospect, however, I doubt I needed to worry about the wool being pulled over COL Wass de Czege’s eyes.

Fortunately, it was during our games that Capt. Alex Zuyev of the Soviet Air Force decided to abscond with one of the USSR’s newest jets and deliver his MiG-29 to Turkey. Major Airpower was called back to Europe in a hurry to help find out what he could about Zuyev’s jet, leaving me free to play the game without an omnipotent air force to fight. Nevertheless, even with my nemesis gone, I still had some systemic problems to overcome.

As I noted in a previous post, the models at that time had a severe bias against the attacker. It was extremely frustrating to be told that an entire Combined Arms Army could be held in check by a single NATO division when I knew I could devise a plan that would make a mockery of such ridiculous assertions.

If the NATO division concentrates to have a realistic chance of holding off a force twice its size, the remaining Soviet divisions easily sweep through the cavalry screen monitoring the defender’s right.

If the NATO division instead spreads out to cover its assigned sector, the Combined Arms Army concentrates to make a breakthrough for its tank division to exploit into the defender’s rear.

In order to make up for such obvious problems, COL Wass de Czege gave me extra forces to work with. The justification for this was that the Soviets did not have to count units east of the Ural Mountains under the terms of the agreement as it then stood.  Eventually, we posited an early movement of these forces — since the Soviets would know when they intended to attack — and had them arrive in time to take part as the second echelon of the operation. It was a bit of a cheat, but a very reasonable one in our estimation. I don’t remember who came up with the idea, whether it was me, someone else, or COL Wass de Czege himself, but it had the full backing of the Colonel, and that’s what mattered.   

My biggest frustration, however, was that my attempts to execute an Air Operation kept ending in miserable failure, with no apparent effect on Blue Air at all. This prompted a very revealing conversation with a White Cell controller. We basically broke open the “black box” of the model and found that the algorithms assumed a single runway 24,000 miles long — essentially encompassing the entire Earth at the equator. Even Fairchild-Republic — maker of the A-10 and a manufacturer reputed to build its aircraft to use the last third of any runway, no matter how long it was — would have to bow to this monstrosity. I was unable to come up with a hack to overcome this problem, but at least knowing how the model was cheating allowed me to conserve resources that I had been wasting pursuing an impossible task.

On our final run-through, I developed a tactic that, if not entirely realistic, was very successful in overcoming some of the model’s bias against the attacker. I attacked with Combined Arms Armies deployed in two echelons. On two or three occasions, I had two CAAs attacking on parallel lines successfully pushing a Blue Corps back until held up by Blue’s defense of a river line. Because I had put extra weight behind this push, there were Blue forces on Red’s flanks, which seemed to the Blue players to be a good thing, but they weren’t counterattacking through those flanks. They hadn’t turned to face inward — apparently, they had their hands full to their direct front — so I turned my second echelon divisions 90⁰ toward either side and attacked into Blue’s rear areas.  My Blue counterpart protested that you can’t just turn on a dime and attack, but now it was my turn to be persuasive. I answered that Patton did it at the Battle of the Bulge and that was what second echelons were for. That argument carried the day. It probably shouldn’t have been that easy — my counterpart was right, armies are unwieldy and have large logistics trains following them around — but the Soviets were structured better for that kind of maneuver and Blue’s defenses had no business being as effective as they were, so I wasn’t too troubled by it.

In COL Dupuy’s Understanding Defeat, he points out that, historically, the single most important factor causing defeat in land combat is the fear in the minds of defending troops that the enemy is on their flank, or worse, in their rear. By hitting Blue in the “joints” between Corps, I was able to force the flanking corps to displace to avoid entrapment. This left open flanks on the targeted corps, which was, in turn, forced to give ground to avoid being enveloped.

My Blue counterpart had no answer for this and so we went from position to position with Red leveraging Blue out of strongpoints with maneuver. I was able to gradually make progress marching to the North Sea in a thrust reminiscent of the France 1940 campaign. My operation culminated just a few kilometers from the sea, but the thin strip of land we didn’t occupy was easily dominated by Red artillery, so I believed we had accomplished our mission in isolating three NORTHAG corps from the rest of NATO’s central front. I was understandably happy with the results. They called it a Blue victory.

COL Wass de Czege considered the events, picked up his notes and headed off to Europe. The Colonel was correct about the relative value of the various scenarios: I peeked in on the other gamers from time to time and the 80% games looked a lot like the usual J-8 affairs, while the 40% games looked a lot like air combat with units zipping around the map to strike a particular point, only to have an enemy unit chase them down as though they were in a dogfight. None of that felt very real to the players, but they were frustrated because they couldn’t come up with a rationale to restrict play to something that seemed more plausible. To me, at its best it resembled nothing so much as operational-level maneuver during the Napoleonic Wars. I made a note of that for future consideration. It would have been interesting to explore that idea, but the 60% games were where the action was and gave rise to the most interesting results.

I don’t know what impact the 40-60-80 games had on the CFE negotiations, but the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty was soon a reality, and it was nice to feel like I had a piece of that history. Interestingly, the Soviet General Staff tried a gambit to gain as much advantage as they could by proposing that we use their Correlation of Forces methodology to measure force strength. There is no doubt that it would have been a smart move to incorporate qualitative factors as well as quantitative ones in the sorting out of force strength. However, the General Staff had control of the methodology and the scores they proposed for individual pieces of equipment were neither what we would have expected, nor did they look anything like previous Soviet assessments. In short, they were clearly undervaluing their own arms in comparison with the West’s in order to keep an advantage in numbers. We ended up rejecting the use of CoFM in the treaty process, but it proved to be a coup to gain valuable insight into how the Soviets did business. Many of the formulas I use in modeling are a direct result of these exchanges.

Unfortunately, events soured me on the process in an unexpected way. As with most arms treaties, CFE was only possible when circumstances changed such that it was no longer necessary. It was completed with the foundation that the Warsaw Pact countries would remain allies of the Soviet Union when it was clear that wouldn’t actually be the case. Nevertheless, Polish, Czech, East German, Hungarian, Romanian and Bulgarian units were counted as being on the Soviet side of the calculation. It was a bit of an unfairness, but Gorbachev was in such great need of relief, he acceded to it. When the Bush Administration left office after only four years, they were replaced by the Clinton Administration which was heavily criticized for not having a depth of experience in foreign affairs. The CFE Treaty was still new when they took office and their inexperience took its toll.

In 1991, Germany reunified and the General Staff saw six of the former Pact’s best divisions move from the Pact column to the NATO column. They believed they should get some adjustments to compensate. The Clinton Administration ultimately rejected compensation. Then, one by one, other former Pact countries announced their intention to apply for NATO membership. It made no sense that these forces should be counted against the (now) Russian side when they would actually be fighting for NATO. We were holding Moscow to terms that made no sense and were fundamentally unfair, but in a spirit of triumphalism in the 1990s where they wanted to claim the Cold War victory as their own, Clinton’s people danced on the grave of the Soviet Union, believing that Russia would forever be too weak to cause us problems, no matter how just their cause. Or at least not until after a second Clinton term. They rejected major Russian-proposed changes in the treaty. In 1996, when Russia was faced with conflict in the Caucasus region, we did allow an amendment that took into account the fact of what would have been a civil war a few years prior. Moscow believed the US and NATO were using a treaty meant to end the possibility of conflict between the two blocs to interfere with security challenges legitimately within their sphere of interest that had nothing to do with a potential NATO/Pact conflict. Lest I be accused of political bias, the George W. Bush Administration did little better, managing to incense the Russians by building bases in former Pact countries the Russians believed to be in violation of the treaty.

I recently read an opinion piece that ultimately blames our treatment of Russia in the 1990s for the current war in Ukraine. While we should never condone or fail to resist to our utmost the kind of outrageous military action Russia has taken against a sovereign neighbor, we should learn the hard lessons of how unjust actions we take can come back to haunt us years down the road. Putin partially suspended Russia’s participation in the treaty in 2007 and then withdrew entirely in 2015. The Russian strong-man is undoubtedly the worst war criminal to appear in Europe in the last 80 years; nevertheless, he didn’t spring onto the world stage fully formed. We should soberly reflect on our responsibility in making him what he is today.

——————-

The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 443



No spring offensive yet. Spring does last until 21 June. Looks like weather is good for operations. 

The classified Joint Staff briefing book did talk about 12 “combat credible” brigades being generated for the “spring counteroffensive.” They report on the status of 9 new brigades being raised (“trained and equipped by US, Allied and Partners”). Six will be ready by 31 March (page was dated 23 February) and 3 by 30 April. Eight of these newly raised brigades are mechanized-like brigades, which nominally have one tank battalion of 31 tanks per brigade. A NATO rep. said in late April that 98% of the vehicles scheduled are now in Ukrainian hands. This is a very qualified statement.

The status of these nine new brigades is discussed here: The nine new brigades for the spring offensive – organization | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Basically, eight of them have 28 – 32 tanks, seven have 90 to 101 other AFVs, IFVs, APCs and MRAPs, and six of them have between 8 to 16 artillery pieces and three have between 22 to 24 artillery pieces. Three other brigades will be added to offensive force, although there are no reports on their status. 

The DOD count of opposing forces is discussed here: Count of Opposing Forces | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and combat effectiveness is discussed here: Unstructured Comments on “The Relationship of Battle Damage to Unit Combat Performance” | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

The U.S. has announced on 21 April that it will began training Ukrainian forces on their new Abrams tanks. The 31 tanks will arrive in Grafenwoehr at the end of the May and the training will last for around 10 weeks. On 28 April the Germans are saying that over 100 Ukrainians are now training on Leopard Is (the older version). That does indicate that some of these newly raised Ukrainian brigades are still going to receive more equipment. So while the weather may be clear in early May, that does not mean that Ukraine will initiate a major offensive operation in May. One notes that Zelenskyy is now saying they are waiting until fully prepared.

The Russians have only made limited advances this week in Bakhmut and there has been some pushback by the Ukrainians. Russia clearly controls over half the town. On 11 April, Wagner sent out photos of them controlling Metalurh Stadium in central Bakhmut. Still, Ukraine continues to hold onto part of the town. They are also holding onto the route to the west of the town. There were some interesting videos released of the infantry fighting along this route: Video of Infantry Fighting near Bakhmut | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). There was a discussion by the head of the Wagner Group over withdrawing from Bakhmut on 10 May, but that did not happen. 

I gather Ukraine has limited the forces inside the city because of the danger of encirclement and the problems of resupply through a narrow, well-beaten corridor. This has allowed the Wagner Group to finally make progress. It did take them a few months to get over halfway into Bakhmut. We shall see how long it takes them to take it all. It is not a very significant town (58th largest city/town in Ukraine according to one twitter post), although it has become the primary story now for more than four months.

There has been some increase in airstrikes and drone attacks this week, partly in response to Ukrainian strikes, but nothing that looked like a major strike. This was kind of surprising as the muted 9 May celebrations came and went. The last major Russian airstrike was on 9 March. The previous one was on 10 February. Ukraine is exporting electricity to its neighbors, so clearly the Russian campaign to shut down the power grid has failed. Meanwhile, on 4 May a Russian hypersonic missile was reported to have been shot down by a Patriot missile. This was not supposed to be possible. 

The Ukrainians in two weeks ago hit three oil tanks in and around Crimea (one near Sevastopol early in the week, one in Krasnador province on 2 May that was only 7 km from the bridge to Crimea, and another attack on 3 May in Krasnador near the bridge). Also on 29 April it is claimed that the Russian village of Suzemka was shelled. It is 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the border in Bryansk province. The Russians report two, and later four civilians killed. On 2 May a train was derailed by a bomb near Bryansk. Finally, two drones attacked the Kremlin in Moscow on 4 May, with one hitting a flag on a dome. 

I will put any changes/updates since my last post in italics. A link to a blow up of the map is here: Wikipedia mapIt is dated 12 May. The last dated update on the map is Soledar on 16 January.

Map from 6 March 2023 of Bakhmut from @War_Mapper:

Just to compare: 14 April 2023 map of Bakhmut from @War_Mapper:War Mapper is graciously providing some maps for my upcoming book The Battle for Kyiv.

Russia currently occupies five cities: Lysychansk (pop. 95,031), Severodonetsk (pop. 101,135), Mariupol (pop. 431,859), Berdyansk (pop. 107,928) and Melitopol (pop. 150,768). Kherson (pop. 283,649) was retaken by Ukraine on 11 November.

 

We have been looking at six major areas of operations. Only the Donbas appears to be active right now. 

1. Kyiv (pop: 2,962,180): It appears that Kyiv is secure.

2. Odesa (pop: 1,015,826): Appears to be secure. Russia has renewed the grain deal for at least another 60 days. Since the start of these deals, the shipments have resulted in over thirty million tons of grain shipped by sea. As of 11 May, the amount of grain shipped from Ukrainian ports and across the Black Sea under this initiative was 30,011,920 metric tonnes carried in 946 ships according to posts on twitter by @exit266. There are 7 or 67 days left to the agreement. 

3. Kharkiv (pop: 1,433,886): Kharkiv looks to be secure. Still, it is near the Russian border, so this can change suddenly. Ukraine did bombard Russian troops in the village of Tsapovka in early April, in Russian territory in the Belgorod Oblast. Ukraine published pictures of this. It is right on the border, due south of Borisovka. The village is reported to be unpopulated since 2013.

On 17 April, the Ukrainians did attack two Russian power stations in Belgorod oblast using drones. The following week the Russians also accidently dropped two bombs on Belgorod. On 1 May, a Russian ammo dump was hit near Tomorovka, in Belgorod province.

4. The Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (the Donbas): Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is reporting as of 16 December that they had 4,133 soldiers killed and 17,379 wounded (4.20-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). This includes the 13 killed and 50 wounded reported from 01.01.22 to 02.25.22. For the period of 16 – 22 December (overlapping dates on 16 December) they report 43 killed, but do not report the wounded. Through the 16th, this is 108% casualties out of an estimated initial force of 20,000. Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) is reported as of 5 April to have had 500-600 killed out of an estimated force of 14,000. This is 21% casualties, assuming a 4-to-1 killed ratio.

5. Mariupol (pop: 431,859): Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Google maps has updated its images of Mariupol to show the city as it is now (extensively shelled) vice how it used to look before the war.

Prisoner Exchanges: Russia has claimed that they captured 2,439 prisoners from the siege of Mariupol. Russian claimed on 30 June that they held 6,000 prisoners. Ukraine stated in early July that they had more than 7,000 missing. Now Ukraine is stating as of 30 December that Russian holds 3,400 prisoners and 15,000 Ukrainians are missing.

In 2022 there were 1,447 prisoners of war exchanged, 112 civilians and five foreigners. Of those, at least 427 were from Mariupol/Azovstal and up to 53 others were killed in captivity. Latest prisoner exchange on 8 January was for 50 prisoners. Another prisoner exchange on 4 February of 116. Some of these Ukrainian prisoners had been in captivity for almost a year. Latest prisoner exchange, on 16 February, was for 100 soldiers and one civilian for 101 Russian soldiers. 94 of them were defenders of Mariupol, including 63 soldiers from Azovstal. There was another prisoner exchange on 7 March with 130 Ukrainians exchanged for 90 Russians. This included 87 Mariupol defenders (71 from Azovstal). 35 of them were soldiers captured in Bakhmut and Soledar. Most of the Ukrainian and Russian prisoners were seriously injured.

The Ukrainian Omsbudsman has stated in late January that 800 severely wounded Ukrainians are held as POWs. He also stated that they hold 200 severely wounded Russians.

There was a prisoner exchange in early May of 42 soldiers and two civilians for what I assume was a similar number of Russians. On 7 May, Russia exchanged 45 defenders of Azovstal, including 10 officers for only just 3 pilots. I gather Russia is still holding thousands of more prisoners than Ukraine does.

6. Crimea & Kherson (pop: 283,649): Kherson is now back under Ukrainian control as of 11 November. Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

The early morning on 22 March (at 04:43:58 according to videos), there was another attack on Russian ships in Sevastopol harbor using seaborne naval drones. The last time they tried this (29 October 2022), they (lightly?) damaged the 4,035-ton frigate Admiral Makarov. It appears that one got close to one rather large ship and exploded near its rear. Not sure if a Russian ship was damaged. At least three drones were used in the attack. One was stopped by the booms at the entrance to the harbor, and two were destroyed in the harbor.

There was also a car blown up on 23 March in Melitipol that injured a Ukrainian accused of collaborating with the Russians. There was an IED exploded in Melitipol on 3 April.

Apparently, back in October, in conjunction with the Kherson offensive, there was a failed attempt by Ukraine to retake Zaporizhia nuclear power plant with an amphibious operation across the large reservoir there.

There was Ukrainian crossing on 20 or 21 April at the village of Dachi. This is just across the Dnipro near Kherson where the damaged Antonivka Road Bridge crosses. 

I do think this is a diversion, vice the preparation for a major offensive. The problems with conducting operations across the Dnipro work both ways. The Russians were forced in November to withdraw from north of the river because of supply issues. There are only three bridges across the river in the best of times. If the Russians could not support 20,000 troops to the north of the river, I suspect the Ukrainians will have a similar problem south of the river, especially as Russia has air superiority.

 

Weather: Kharkiv at 5 PM: It is 64 degrees (18 Celsius) and mostly sunny. It is not expected to rain for the next six days (showers on Friday). Sunrise is at 4:52 and sunset is at 8:09, giving them more than fifteen hours of daytime to operate it. 

Kherson is 66 degrees (19 Celsius) and partly cloudy. It is not expected to rain for the next six days (showers on Friday).

Looks like weather is good for operations.

 

Ukrainian Army Build-up: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Do not know the current strength of the deployed Ukrainian Army but am guessing that it is over 300,000 deployed troops. They clearly are going to have to build it up to 400,000 or more in response to Russia’s partial mobilization. There is a Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force of 100,000 to 200,000. Wikipedia was reporting 209,000 in their armed forces and 102,000 paramilitary. They were reporting their ground forces at 198,000 in July 2022. 

Do not have a good estimate of the total number of foreign volunteers now in Ukraine, although it is clearly thousands.

The U.S. and many countries in and around Europe are now providing tanks to Ukraine. This includes 31 Abrams (M1A2) from the U.S. that were not expected to arrive until 2024, but the U.S. has now announced that they will be in Germany as of the end of May. It also includes the previously announced 40 AMX-10 light tanks from France, the previously announced 14 Challengers from the UK and 14 new Challengers from the UK, 14 Leopards (2A6) from Germany announced on Jan. 25 plus they are going to provide 14 more later, 14 or so Leopards (2A4?) from Poland, maybe 20 Leopards (2A4) from Spain, but so far only 6 have been confirmed (they are planning to train 55 Ukrainian crew members), no Leopards from Netherlands (previous rumors said 18), Portugal is sending 4 (2A6) out of their 37, 8 (2A4) from Norway out of their 36, and 8 2A4 Leopards from Canada out of their 80. The 8 Canadian Leopards have already arrived in Poland. Non-NATO members Finland is providing 3 Leopards and Sweden is providing 10 2A6s along with 8 Archer 155mm SP Artillery. Also, Morocco is providing Ukraine with 173 T-74s EA, 70 are already in Ukraine. It does appear in a number of cases the announcements are lagging behind the actual shipments of tanks. Poland is providing Ukraine with another 60 upgraded T-72s. It has already sent Ukraine some 260 or more tanks. 

Twelve countries in NATO have Leopards. Germany is saying that a total of around 80 will be sent between them all. My count currently shows at least 77 Leopards from eight different countries (two not yet in NATO). It now looks like many of the older 40-45 ton German Leopard Is are being refurbished and will be sent. Germany has 88 of them it could send and Belgium has 50. Between Denmark, Netherlands and Germany, they are putting together a package of 100 1A5s, although the details of the deal keep changing.  It will be a while before most of them arrive. An initial package of 29 is being refurbished and are supposed to arrive in the summer (enough for one more brigade). There are a lot of them out there, with Greece supposedly having 520 (and 392 U.S. M-48s and 100 U.S. M-60s) and Turkey having 355 or 397 (and 750 M-48s and 785 M-60s). Opportunity to replace old stocks. Switzerland has 230 Leopard 2 tanks of which 96 are not in operation (in storage). Germany has asked for them but on 7 March the Swiss Parliament voted not to export tanksMeanwhile reports are saying some of the 100+ Leopard Is will still arriving in Ukraine starting May. Meanwhile, the U.S. is now planning on providing older M1A1s instead of M1A2s are it can be arranged to get there this fall. Not sure if the count of tanks provided will remain at only 31 (one battalion’s worth).

Meanwhile, Russia has been seen transporting T-54Bs from Siberia to somewhere (probably Ukraine). That particular model dates from 1955, so a little older than a Leopard I or M1A1. On 30 April, T-55s and T-62 were reported in the Berdiansk area.

From a practical point of view, it means that around four or so Ukrainian tank battalions will be armed up with Abrams/Leopard 2/Challengers. Ukraine has over 30 tank battalions. Some should probably be in place for the spring offensives. Some of the Canadian Leopard 2s have already arrived in PolandAt least 18 of the Leopard 2A6s have arrived in Ukraine. Challengers will be arriving in Ukraine during March.

Slovakia announced on 23 March that they have transferred 4 MiG-29s to Ukraine. It now appears that all 13 Slovak MiG-29s have been handed over to Ukraine. On 8 May, it was confirmed that 10 Polish MiG-29 have been delivered to Ukraine. On 5 May, it was confirmed that Croatia is providing 14 Mi-8 helicopters, of which 9 are already in Ukraine.

Some weapons have been supplied that have not been announced. For example, Finnish ex-Soviet 152K89 152mm field guns recently have showed up on the battlefield in Ukrainian hands, even though Finland has never announced that they were being provided. Danish artillery has also recently showed up in Ukraine.

Russian Army Build-up:  

In the fall of last year, Ukraine was reporting that around 280,000 Russians were deployed in Ukraine. This seems a reasonable estimate. On 4 November Putin stated at 318,000 reservists and “new volunteers” have been mobilized and 49,000 are in combat zones. I assume the Russian army in Ukraine was at about 200,000 at the start of this mobilization.

The U.S. and UK estimate that the Wagner Group had 50,000 people in December 2022. Have no idea if this estimate is accurate. John Kirby (U.S. DOD spokesman) said that Wagner has lost 30,000 people, at a wounded-to-killed ratio of maybe 2-to-1, implying 10,000 deaths. Have no way to confirm or contradict such claims, but I remain guardedly suspicious as always. How did the DOD come to the count of 30,000? 

Ukraine stated on 22 Feb. that Russia has deployed more than 350,000 troops to Ukraine. This sounds about right.

Russia is now starting its spring conscript draft of 147,000. It does this twice a year. Conscripts are for one year and are not allowed to serve outside of Russia.

The Russian defense budget for 2023 is $159 billion, up from $111 billion in 2022. This appears to now be around 9% of GDP.

According to one article, which I suspect is a little biased, Russian tank production at Uralvagonzavod is currently over 900 armored vehicles a year, including 35-40 T-90s a month. In contrast, the U.S. is producing two M-1A2 a month in Lima, Ohio. The German Leopard 2 is also still in production. 

Russia is getting some support from China, possibly spare parts and more important, microchips. They are reportedly not currently providing Russia with weapons. This is a source of discussion between the U.S./EU and China.

As of 26 February, Russia has announced that the DPR has raised a new battalion entirely composed of Ukrainian prisoners of war, called the Bohdan Khmelniksky Battalion. It was claimed that the unit consists of 70 Ukrainians. 

Opposing forces: Ukraine had before the war an army (ground forces) of 169,000 in 2016. The Russian army (not armed forces) was 280,000. The current Ukrainian army is now probably over 200,000. The Russian army (ground forces) in and around Ukraine is probably around 150,000 (up to 190,000). Donetsk PR is estimated at 20,000 and Lugansk at 14,000. Russia has added at least 41,000 troops to the front line from their new partial mobilization effort and will be adding more. Potentially up to 300,000. Most likely by the spring, both armies will be sporting 400,000 or more troops. It does appear that by spring, the level of intensity and casualties from this war will be a count twice as high as it currently has been.

Economics and the Home Fronts: The complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 380 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)Price of oil (Brent Crude) was declined to 74.31 as of 11:52 AM EST. Ruble has stabilized at 77.34 to the dollar.

On 6 May “right-wing” activist, Yevgeny Prilepin, was seriously injured near Nizhny Novgorod when his car was blown up. His bodyguard died. On 2 April, Vladlen Tartarsky, 40, a pro-war Russian blogger, was assassinated in St. Petersburg. The accidental assassin, who was also wounded, was Darya Trepova, 25. The previous war-related assassination was of Darya Dugina, 29, back on 20 August 2022. Not sure who was responsible for any of these three efforts.

Casualties: The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian miliary, Valerii Zaluzhny, on 21 August stated that almost 9,000 Ukrainian military have died in the war. This is a lower estimate than most people have given (although we have leaned towards the lower estimates). Not sure if these figures included militia losses (like Azov Regiment). If Ukraine lost almost 9,000, then hard to believe the Russian losses are that much higher. On 1 December a presidential advisor stated that Ukraine has lost between 10,000 and 13,000 troops killed. On 17 March, the Ukranian Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council argued that total Ukrainian losses are less than 100,000 killed and wounded. As of 24 March 1,509 bodies have been returned to Ukraine. 

The U.S. estimate is that Russian casualties are now at 220,000 (killed and wounded). The U.S. estimate provided on 9 November was “well over 100,000.” Did they really loose another 100,000 troops in the last five months? For 18 November BBC/Mediazona reported that 9,001 Russians had been killed based upon media accounts, obituaries, funeral notices, and so forth. Now their count is 18,023 as of 24 March. This is a doubling of their recorded count of people who have died. This is still considerably lower than the Ukrainian claims of 173,360 Russians killed as of 31 March (which would imply 693,440 to 866,800 total casualties, which does not mesh well with the reports of forces deployed). I do have some doubt about this suddenly increase in U.S. claims, see BBC/Mediazona Figures Over Time | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and Russian Losses over Time | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Needless to say, if I have doubts about the U.S. DOD estimates, then I don’t buy into the Ukrainian claims of Russian casualties, or the similarly high Russian claims of Ukrainian casualties.

The various versions of the briefing books did have Ukrainian and Russian casualty figures. They estimated that Ukrainian losses were 15,500 – 17,500 killed and 124,500 – 131,000 total casualties. This estimate may be a little “light,” but it is certainly within the ball park. They appear to be using a wounded-to-killed ratio of around 7.5-to-1 for this. This is kind of high. These figures may also include missing and captured (at least 6,000 were captured).

The Russian estimates are 35,500 – 43,000 killed and 189,500 – 223,000 total casualties. This may be on the high side. Ukraine is claiming over 180,000 Russians killed, which I think can be dismissed. BBC/Mediazona reports as of 7 April are counting 19,688 Russian killed by name. They appear to be using a wounded-to-killed ratio of around 5-to-1 for this. 

Mediazona, through Dr. Olga Ivshina (BBC) @oivshina stated on 25 April that “…if we have 20,000 names we think the real toll may be around 40,000 KIA.” The exchange is here: The Dupuy Institute (TDI) on Twitter: “@oivshina Question: Do you mean that you suspect the actual count of dead is 1.5 times the count on your list, or is it 2.0 times the count on your list?” / Twitter.

These wounded-to-killed ratios open up a lot of questions. 1) why are they different for the Ukrainian vice the Russians, 2) I have been saying it is at least 4-to-1. They are using figures higher than that. What is that based upon?, and 3) some people on the “twittersphere” have criticized me for even using a 4-to-1 ratio and have used lower figures than that. Is it time for them to revise their estimating practices?

John Kirby, the NSC spokesman, said on 1 May that Russia has suffered 100,000 casualties since December, including ove 20,000 killed (implying a 4-ot-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). Half of the killed are from the Wagner Group.

The previous, more detailed older casualty write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 394 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

The UN is reporting as of 7 May at least 8,791 civilians confirmed dead in the war. They reported 138 civilians killed from 1-28 February and 178 for 1-31 March and 169 killed from 1-30 April. One wonders how many of the claimed Mariupol casualties are included in these figures.

Of those 4,010 of the civilian deaths are in Ukrainian controlled territory in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk with 692 killed in territory controlled by Russian separatists. They are also now reporting in other regions 1,279 killed in other Russian Federation occupied territories (including Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Sumy and Zaporizhzhia regions). 

On 5 December, the First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Yevhen Yenin, said that according to National Police over 9,400 civilians have been killed in Russian shelling.

The UN provided the following chart showing civilian losses by month:

More than 50,000 people have died in this conflict: 19,688 or more (Russian Army – Mediazona count) + 16,000 or more (Ukrainian Army – U.S. DOD estimate) + 8,791 (Civilians) + 4,176 (DPR in 2022) + 600 (LPR) = 49,355. It is probably in excess of 60,000 total deaths depending on Ukrainian and Russian military deaths and the real count of civilian losses. Suspect the BBC/Mediazona count is off (undercounted) by at least 50% and they say it is by a factor of two. The last figure from Ukraine of 13,000 was dated 1 December, so is also now probably off by at least 50%.

Ammo: The second and third to last paragraphs in The Times (UK) article referenced in the Day 394 blog post says:

However, Barrons argues that Ukraine needs ammunition even more than it needs soldiers. It fires 90,000 155mm shells a month and sometimes 6,000 shells a day but combined US and European production is less than 30,000 a month. “There is a mathematical mismatch,” he says. The US is tripling its output but “Europe has been too slow”.

Russia, which has been firing 20,000 shells a day and is thought to have used up ten years’ worth of production in 12 months, has the same problem. In recent weeks they have reduced the numbers by 75 per cent.

So 6,000 shells a day vice 20,000 shells a day, have no idea if that is true or what percent of the rounds fire are “smart” versus old style. One would expect the side firing the most rounds would be causing more causalities. On the other hand, if U.S. production is less than 30,000 a month Ukraine will be forced to eventually reduce their expenditures to 1,000 or 2,000 shells a day. If Russia has to reduce their numbers by 75%, then they are firing 5,000 shells a day. Don’t know if any single number in this discussion is close to reality but suspect that both sides will have to reduce their artillery expenditure at least until May. This war could be very quiet for a couple of months.

Anyhow, Ukraine is requesting 250,000 shells a month from the EU.

Air Power: The Pentagon on 12 March is reporting that Russia is flying about 200 sorties a day. The Ukrainian air force has 56 operational jets flying 5 to 10 hours a day. March 22 it was reported by the U.S. that Russia flew more than 300 sorties into Ukraine. March 24 it was reported that more than 250 Russian sorties were flown, mostly around Kiev and Kharkov. On 12 May, the U.S. was claiming that the Russians flew 300 sorties over Ukraine in the last 24 hours. On 14 May they were claiming 250 Russian sorties. It has been pretty consistent reporting of 250-300 sorties a day for quite some time now. For 24 August Ukraine reported 200 Russian sorties over Ukraine. 

On 3 September is it stated that Ukraine did 40 sorties, which is a record. On 18 September they claimed to have launched 20 air strikes, on 22 September launched 25 and on 11 October launched 15 air strikes. This is a fairly low level of air activity.

@Oryx, which is a twitter account worth following, is reporting as of 14 September that since the start of the war 53 Russian aircraft have been destroyed as have 42 Ukrainian aircraft. This is all counted by photo confirmation. On 19 September, U.S. General James Hecker stated that Ukraine has shot down 55 Russian aircraft in the war. He stated that he was pretty sure that all of those losses were due to surface-to-air missiles, SA-10s and SA-11s. This count does not include non-battle losses and accidents (of which there are some). It appears no Russian planes have been shot down in air-to-air combat and maybe only a handful of Ukrainian planes.

The Russians are now reported to be using loitering munitions. Ukraine has been using them since the start of the war. There are also reports of drone-on-drone engagements and have been 9 such cases reported. So drone vs drone combat is now a thing. 

A Ukrainian deputy prime minister is saying on 12 February that Ukraine has already “contracted” 1,765 drones. It has spent more than 85.5 million Euros on the drones and more than 3,500 servicemen have been trained to operate them. 

Poland will be providing Ukraine with 4 MiG-29s. F-16s are still up in the air, so to say. 

Missile Defense: In his 5 July video, Denys Davydov states almost 80% of Russian missiles are being intercepted by anti-missile defenses. I have seen this claim repeated elsewhere but have no idea as to its validity. On 10 October, Ukraine intercepted only 43 out of the 84 missiles (51%) fired at it. On 11 October, they intercepted 20 out of 28 (71%). On 16 October there was another wave of missiles targeting Ukraine’s energy structure. The Mayor of Kiev (heavy weight world champion Vitali Klitschko) said that 23 of the 28 drones fired at Kiev were intercepted. Overall, 42 drones were fired at Ukraine and they claimed to have shot down 36 of them. 

The bombardment on 31 October consisted of over 50 Russian missiles/drones, of which 44 were claimed to have been shot down. Ukraine claims to have shot down 73 of the over 100 missiles fired in the bombardment of 15 November. Fragments of one Ukrainian air defense missile landed in Poland killing two. The missile that landed in Poland on 15 November was probably a Soviet-era S-300 surface-to-air missile, of which most versions have a range of less than 100 miles. Pretty hard for this to be anything other than Ukrainian. On 23 November, there was a large missile attack where Ukraine claimed 51 out of 70 missiles shot down. This attack shut down all the power in Kiev and killed four civilians there. The large attack on 5 December claimed around 60 missiles shot down out of around 70 fired, which is 86% intercepted. This is particularly good. On 16 December, they claimed to have intercepted 60 out of 74, or 81%. 

For the attack on 29 December, Ukraine does report shooting down 54 out of 69 cruise missiles and 11 Iranian drones. This comes out to 81% intercepted except other reports are saying over 120 missiles were fired. So, is the interception rate more like 54%? Anyhow, it does look like the Russians overloaded the Ukrainian missile defense this time. As this is supposedly their tenth such strike (I have not verified the count), then it is about time Russia figured this out. The question is: does Russia have the resources to keep doing this?

This was followed up with an attack on New Year’s Eve of about 20 cruise missiles and further attacks on 1 and 2 January. For the attack on New Year’ Eve it looks like they shot down 12 out of 20 cruise missiles (60%). In the attack of 1 and 2 January by 39 or 45 Iranian-made Shahed drones, Ukraine claims it shot them all down. They have power outages in Kyiv as a result of the attack on 2 January. This strongly indicates that not all the drones were shot down.

There was another missile attack on 14 January of only 38 missiles that was effective. Ukraine only shot down 25 of them (only 65%), so power infrastructure was hit, as was several apartment buildings. On 25 January they shot down 47 out of 55 or 85%, which is better than they have been doing recently. The effectiveness of this missile strike against infrastructure was limited. Russia’s last big aerial bombardment attack was on 10 February using 71 missiles. Ukraine claimed 61 downed (86%).

On 9 March the Russians finally delivered their first major air strike since February 10. Clearly doing a major air strike once a month is not going to permanently shut down the Ukrainian power grid. This attack was in response to the several attacks that occurred in Russian territory the previous week. The Russia Defense Ministry specifically stated that it was a retaliatory strike for the attack on Bryansk region on 2 March. This strike was 81 missiles targeted in 10 regions. Ukraine claimed to have shot down 34 cruise missiles and 8 Shahed drones on Thursday. Russia also used 6 ballistic missiles, which Ukraine does not have the capability to shoot down. At least six people were killed.

The U.S., Germany and Holland have agreed to provide Ukraine with Patriot air defense missile systems. Should be interesting to see how well they do. The U.S. Patriot battery is expected to be in Ukraine in the coming weeks, as the training of 65 Ukrainian troops at Fort Sill, Oklahoma is now wrapping up. The training for the German Patriot battery has been occurring in Poland. The Dutch are providing additional missiles and launch systems that will be incorporated into the German Patriot battery. The final deployment over the next couple of months appears to be two batteries of Patriot missiles. I gather a Patriot missile battery consists of six launchers. Each launcher contains four missiles.

End of the War: Looks like this war will be continuing onto until at least fall of 2023. Completer write-up of this section is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 380 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Atrocities: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

Russia continues their display of Orc-like behavior with a video coming out of the execution of the POW tentatively identified as Oleksandr Ihorevich Matsievskiy of the Territorial Defense Forces. His last words were “Slava Ukraini.”  This execution probably occurred sometime in early February.

Another video was released on 11 April of a Russian-speaking Ukrainian soldier being beheaded, ISIL-like. This appears to have occurred last summer. I gather this was done by Wagner.

You would think at some point the Russian senior command would understand that this is working against them politically and is resulting in wide-spread international support for Ukraine, which is resulting in increased shipment of arms and ammunition. It also continues to show a real lack of discipline among the rank and file. In addition to being an inhumane war crime, it is just plain stupid. 

Ukrainian reforms: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). The Ukranian defense minister appears to be staying.

Other Issues: 

U.S. Support for Ukraine: I sort of hate to get into discussing this as it invariably gets divisively political, but it is a significant issue. Half of the aid to Ukraine comes from the U.S. If the U.S. wavers, then this poses real challenges for Ukraine’s defensive efforts. The latest Gallup poll (3-22 January) says that 65% of Americans support the war in Ukraine. 31% clearly do not. This is pretty much the same figures as in August 2022 (66% vs 31%). Among self-identified Democrats the split was 81% to 16%, among independents it was 59% to 38% and among Republicans it was 53% to 41%. So, according to the Gallup poll, the majority of Republicans support Ukraine. On the other hand, 47% of the Republicans polled said that the U.S. is doing too much to help UkrainePrevious polling from Washington Post shows that 52% of Republicans want to reduce aid to Ukraine or “…want their member of congress to opposed additional funding.” 

The leading two contenders for the Republican presidential nomination are both opposed to extensive aid for Ukraine. Rick Desantis said that it was a not a “vital” U.S. interest. He got immediate pushback from six U.S. Republican senators, but it is clear that there is a very definite split in the Republican Party on this issue. It is a long way until November 2024, but right now it looks like the main leaders for the nomination are in place (Trump and Desantis) and I don’t see a third person that is going to displace them at the top of the ticket. We will have to see how this develops.

The United States passed the fiscal year 2023 budget before the new congress was seated. The Democrats/Independents control the Senate 51-49 and the Republicans now control the House 222-213. The U.S. budget is in place through September 2023 and cannot be overturned or cut by the new Republican majority House, if they so desire. 

I am pretty certain that come October 2023, the United States will be struggling to approve a budget for fiscal year 2024. This is going to complicate things. The Republican controlled House did raise the debt ceiling this week with a vote of 217-215, so that problem is going to be averted for a while longer.

Eleven Republican members of the House did propose in February a resolution (“Ukraine Fatigue Resolution”) to cut aid to Ukraine. There is a clearly a vocal minority that is opposed to supporting Ukraine, along with both leading Republican presidential candidates. The “Ukraine Fatigue Resolution” is worth a read. It is here: Text – H.Res.113 – 118th Congress (2023-2024): Ukraine Fatigue Resolution | Congress.gov | Library of Congress.

A letter was issued on 20 April (Hitler’s birthday) calling for an end to unrestrained U.S. aid to Ukraine. It was signed by three senators (out of 100) and 16 members of the house (out of 435). There is a vocal minority opposed to this war, but it is clearly a minority. 

Meanwhile, a Republican House member submitted a resolution last month recognizing the borders of Ukraine as being the 1991 borders. This was supported by 13 Democrats and 5 other Republicans. 

Also, the most watched supporter of Russia on U.S. cable news, a man who said “I root for Russia,” has been fired.  His firing was probably not related to his support of Russia, but he certainly will not be missed by the majority of Americans who do support Ukraine. Russian FM Lavrov did mention his firing, stating “The First Amendment of the United States Constitution apparently means nothing in practice.” It is good that he is aware of the first amendment, freedom of speech is not protected in Russia. News companies can fire their employees. That employee is still free to say what he wants, which I assume he will continue to do so in a smaller forum.

The defense budget for 2024 proposed by President Biden is $842 Billion. This is a 3.2% increase over the $816 Billion budget for last year. It includes a 5.2% pay raise for the troops, vice 4.6% in 2023. It does not include aid for Ukraine. 

Belarus: I still doubt that they will join the war. Belarus has 60,000 troops and now they are trying to recruit another 20,000. This is from a country that the government was almost overthrown two years ago by popular acclaim. Ukraine has an 891-kilometer border (554 miles) with Belarus, so Ukraine must maintain some forces there. Belarus has stated on 16 October that a little less than 9,000 Russian troops will be stationed in Belarus to protect it borders. Reports are now saying that only about 4,000 Russian troops are in Belarus, and no nuclear forces are there. It turns out the Russian AWACS plane attacked in Belarus was probably done by Ukrainian security service forces (SBU).

EU: Ukraine has been made a candidate member of the European Union as of 23 June. It still means that it will be years before Ukraine becomes part of the EU, but this is a big first step. The Ukraine government applied for EU membership less than week after Russia first invaded them. Moldova was also granted candidate membership. Georgia has not (and it is not on good terms with Russia).

This was the issue that started all the turmoil in 2013. This is the issue that fueled all the conflict over the last nine years, for the Euromaidan revolt occurred when Ukrainian President Yanukovich decided to join Putin’s Eurasian Union vice the EU. The subsequent conflicts included the whole three-month Euromaidan revolt in the dead of winter of 2013-2014 that led to over 100 Ukrainians being killed, many protesters shot in the street by President Yanokovich’s security forces; the seizure of Crimea; the creation of LPR and DPR; the subsequent war; and now this war. Ukraine certainly has paid a much higher cost to join the EU than anyone else ever has. Current polling (Reuters April 5) shows that 91% of the Ukrainians support joining the EU. 

NATO: As of 4 April, Finland is a member of NATO. Sweden is still awaiting approval from Hungary and Turkey. It does add an 810-mile (1300 km) border with Russia, but NATO already abuts Russian and Belarussian territory in the Baltic states and Norway abuts Russia above the arctic circle. Also, Denmark has joined the common EU defense cooperation, something which it has stayed out of for three decades. 

They officially applied to join NATO on May 18. Finland and Sweden signed the accession protocol to join NATO on 5 July, along with all 30 members of NATO.  As of 1 October, 28 NATO members have ratified the accession protocol. It does require unanimous consent of all 30 members for them to join NATO. The United States voted on 4 August to the accession of Finland and Sweden into NATO by 95-1. On 31 March, both Hungary and Turkey approved Finland joining NATO. 

The other 28 members approved their accession by October 2002. Turkey has said it still has issues with Sweden and their Kurdish refugees. It appears that Sweden has made all the “reforms” that it is going to make. Specifically, it has rejected the request to extradite four people. The U.S. in the past has made similar refusals. It is now up to Turkey to decide if this is enough. The U.S. is apparently negotiating selling F-16s to Turkey. This may be the quid-pro-quo that makes this happen. In October 2021 Turkey requested to purchase 40 F-16s. Congress has resisted approving the sale, but it appears it will go through if Turkey approves Sweden to join NATO. Turkish elections are scheduled for 14 May, so this issue may not get resolved until after that. Right now, U.S. Turkish relations have been a little contentious. Turkey was also just hit with a massive earthquake on 6 February near Syria. Around 57,000 dead in Turkey and Syria, around 50,000 of them in Turkey.

Turkish presidential elections are on 14 May.

Meanwhile, on 30 September 2022, the president of Ukraine formally applied to join NATO. 

Also, the United States will be establishing a permanent troop presence in Poland, maintain a rotational brigade in Romania, and enhance its rotational deployment in the Baltic States, among other expansions. As of December, the United States has a total of 100,000 troops across all of Europe (including Germany and Italy). Canada is leading a NATO battlegroup of Latvia of around 2,000 soldiers, including troops from Canada, Albania, Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. Germany is to lead a combat brigade in Lithuania of 3,000 – 5,000 soldiers. The command unit of around 100 soldiers arrived on 4 September. A NATO battalion of about 1,500-1,600 has been stationed there since 2017 and is under command of a German officer. There are also NATO battle groups in Estonia and Poland. Germany is also now talking about an armored division for protection of NATO’s eastern border.

Poland has completed on 30 June a steel wall on its border with Belarus to curb the flow of asylum seekers from Belarus. The wall is 115 miles long (186 km), 18 feet tall (5.5 meters) and cost $407 million to build (353M Euros). Poland is also building a fence along its border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which has irked Russia. Work began in late February. The Polish border with Belarus is 258 miles long (416 km). Poland also announced around 15 July that it will be increasing its defense budget to be 5% of the GDP and building up its army to 300,000 troops. Poland is currently spending 2.4% of its GDP on defense. It is going to increase it next year to 3%. The U.S. currently spends 3.5% of our GDP on defense.

Poland has renamed the Russian controlled enclave of Kaliningrad (previously the Prussian capital Koenigsberg) to the Polish name of Krolewiec. In a similar vein of removing Soviet vestiges, in March Moldova declared that their language, Moldovan, was Romanian.

Lithuania has also completed a barrier between itself and Belarus. It is mostly a 4 meter (13 foot) tall steel wire fence topped by concertina barbed wire. It covers approximately 550 kilometers (342 miles) and costs 152M euros. See twitter @LinasKojala post for 29 August for a picture of the fence.

Finland is now also talking about starting to build a barbed-wire fence along its long border with Russian starting early next year. They are looking at it covering 124 miles of the 832-mile border. Estimated cost is $393 million with a completion date of 2026.

Georgia: Georgia was back in the news with four days (6-10 March 2023) of large demonstrations (looks like tens of thousands) in Tbilisi and attempts to suppress them using water cannons. The current government has now withdrawn the Russian-like “foreign agents” bill that they were protesting against. The current government of Georgia has been Russian-leaning since the brief war there in 2008. I gather a significant portion (maybe the majority) of the population do not share their sentiments. We shall see how this develops. In 2003 Georgia dumped out their leadership (Gorbachev’s foreign minister Shevardnadze) with massive protests in what was called the Rose Revolution (and then the Orange Revolution occurred in Ukraine in 2004). If it happened once, it can happen again.

Nagorno-Karabakh: Artillery fire was exchanged on 5 October between Azerbaijan and Armenia, as a result of their continuing conflict that Russia is supposed to be policing. There are also now credible reports and videos of Azerbaijanis executing Armenian prisoners. Significant fighting has erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia on 13 September. There has been a cease-fire as of 15 September. Armenia has said that at least 49 of its soldiers have been killed since fighting erupted early Tuesday. They are now saying 105. Azerbaijan has said it has lost 50 troops. Russia is serving as the peacekeeper force with about 2,000 troops. I gather most of the fighting is artillery shelling. There have been large protests the last few days in the capital of Yerevan, Armenia against the prime minister. Meanwhile, U.S. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is in Yerevan as of 18 September. This visit was then followed by protests in Yerevan against the Russian dominated military alliance CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization), which Armenia, Russia, Belarus and three other post-Soviet states are members of.

Previous recent fights have resulted in at least 2 Armenians killed and more than a dozen wounded and 1 Azeri killed and 3 wounded. Azerbaijan took the border position. Russia is the Armenian-leaning peacekeepers in this area. One wonders if many of the outlying areas of the Soviet empire are going to turn into disorder over the next few months. The Azerbaijan embassy in London was also seized a few months ago by Muslim fundamentalists. Azerbaijan is a secular state. The Muslim fundamentalists may be supported by Iran. On 14 November, there was another round of shelling reported by Armenia at the border. On 26 November, there was another clash along the border, but no losses and then more firing on 27 November, with two Armenians reported wounded. There was another shelling by Azerbaijan reported on 23 December by Armenia. No casualties reported. It appears that Azerbaijan is trying to cut off the Lachin corridor, which connects Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh.

Another exchange of fire in in Nagorno-Karabakh on 11 April with Armenia reporting 4 killed and 6 wounded. They are now reporting that one Armenian serviceman was killed last week by a sniper.On 29 April another Armenian was wounded. At this point, it appears that the Lachin Corridor is effectively under Azerbaijaini control, and the Russian peacekeepers have been marginalized. On 30 April, Azerbaijan arrested 16 Iranians.

Sections on Kazakhstan, European Support, Iran and Miscellaneous were last reported in the blog post for day 408 here: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 408 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). They have been removed from this post.