Casualties in the Hamas-Israeli War

There is an MSNBC news clip about casualties in the Hamas-Israeli War that is worth noting: Counting the casualties in an active warzone – YouTube

I may comment on it at some point, but just wanted to bring it to people’s attention for now.

What is does say:

  1. More than 20,000 people have died in Gaza according to Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.
  2. 1,200 people have died in Israel.
  3. Israel says that 470 soldiers have been killed.
  4. Hamas took about 250 hostages. Around 129 remain in Gaza.
  5. Israel says 22 hostages have been killed.

Deaths in past Gaza conflicts:

               Israeli      Gaza Health

               Military    Ministry

2009       1,116       1,440

2014       2,125       2,310


It has been suggested that two Palestinian civilians are being killed for every one Hamas fighter killed. If true, this would mean:

  1. 6,667 Hama fighters killed.
  2. 13,333 civilians killed.

I do have some doubts about these estimates.

Updated calendar for the Republican nomination

The calendar for the Republican Party nomination:

1) Four Republican primary debates have been completed, the field is pretty settled now (Trump, Haley and Desantis). Three more debates are scheduled for 10, 18 and 21 January. Trump has yet to attend one.
2) Donald Trump currently leads the polling for the Republican Party presidential nomination by significant margins.
3) He is currently in a civil trial in New York concerning his businesses. A summary judgment was issued on 26 September that his companies had committed fraud. We expect the final verdicts related to results and penalties to be completed by the end of January.
4) the Iowa caucuses will be on 15 January 2024,
5) the New Hampshire primary will be on 23 January 2024,
6) the Nevada primary will be on 6 February 2024,
7) 24 February is SC primary, then MI,
8.) The date for the DOJ Special Council criminal trial for charges related to the 6 January incidents in now scheduled for 4 March. We gather Trump’s former chief of staff has taken a partial immunity deal with the government and will be providing testimony,
9) on 5 March 14 states will hold their primaries and between 9 – 23 March another 15 states/territories will hold their primaries. The Republican nominee could be decided by then,
10) 25 March is the trial date for Donald Trump’s New York Stormy Daniel’s related case,
11) 20 May is the trial date for Donald Trump’s classified documents case. This one is kind of a guaranteed conviction.
12) last Republican primary is 4 June 2024. I actually do think this is war related news as the currently three of the five leading Republican presidential candidates do not support Ukraine.
13) 15-18 July: Republican National Convention held in Milwaukee
14) 5 August is the start date for the Fulton County Georgia case. Four of the defendants have already pleaded guilty under a plea agreement. The other 15 defendants, including Donald Trump, will be going to trial.
15) The U.S. presidential, senate and congressional election is on Tuesday, 5 November, 2024.

So, there seems to be a race between whether Trump can get the Republican nomination before he gets too tangled up in his legal troubles.

The U.S. Defense Budget for FY 2024 has passed

By the way, on 14 December, the U.S. Congress did pass the defense budget for FY 2024. Fiscal Year 2024 begins in October 2023. It is expected to be signed by the president.

The total budget was $886.3 Billion. The Senate voted 87-13 for it and the House voted 310-118. The majority of the opposing votes were from the Republican Party. In the Senate opposed were 6 Republicans, 6 Democrats and one Independent (Bernie Sanders). In the House opposed 73 Republicans and 45 Democrats. It did include a provision that would require an act of Congress or 2/3rds Senate approval if the president wanted to leave NATO. This provision appeared to be in response to previous comments made by Donald Trump. The bill also extended a military aid program to Ukraine, allowing for the gradual release of $300 million to Kyiv. 

The previous year’s defense budget (FY2023) was 813.3 billion. Back for FY 2016 the defense budget was 580.3. There has been a steady increase in the annual defense appropriations since then. In FY 2022, the U.S. defense budget made up 3.47% of the GDP. 

In contrast, the defense budget of Russia for 2023 is $86.4 billion making up 4.1% of GDP. I gather it will be higher now for 2024. The defense budget of China for 2022 was $293 billion, making up 1.7% of GDP. The defense budget of Ukraine for 2023 was $46.8 billion making up 18.2% of GDP. They also received over $100 billion in foreign military aid.

There is also a combined bill in development of $105 billion for aid to Israel and Ukraine. This currently includes $61.4 billion for Ukraine. It also includes $14.3 billion for Israel, $10 billion for humanitarian assistance (including Gaza), 7.4 billion for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region and 13.6 billion for border security. This may not be the final figures. It has not been passed and is currently being negotiated in the Senate in exchange for tighter U.S. border controls. The House has already gone home for Christmas. I believe a version of this bill will pass in early January.

The History of the DuWar Data Bases

The original databases of battles was developed by Trevor Dupuy and HERO (Historical Evaluation and Research Organization) back in the 1980s. They were published in a six volume work in 1983 as the HERO Land Warfare Data Base. This is back in the days when a data base did not have to be computerized (paper database – how quaint) and database was two words. It is report number 95 listed here: TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications. Descriptive link is here: Analysis of Factors that have Influenced the Outcomes of Battles and Wars ( Of significance, there is a detailed description of each engagement in these paper reports. It was republished in 1984, 1985 and 1986 as report numbers 100, 103 and 111 here: TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications. The final publication named the database as CHASE. 

This effort was funded by CAA and was before my time. I came to work for HERO in 1987. There was then some back and forth between CAA, where HERO and CAA got to fighting over details of the content. One analyst at CAA sent 16 engagements out for comment. I did analyze that effort, although that file is now buried on an old Word Perfect DOS-era disk. He had four outside independent historians each analyze four engagements. The end result is the comments made corrections/improvements to 25% of the engagements, the comments did really did not change anything in 25% of the engagements, and the comments actually, if implemented, would have added error the engagements in 50% of the cases. This is fairly typical of outside comments, with 1-out-of-3 or 1-out-of-4 being helpful, and half of them would degrade the product. At that point, the project came to a griding halt, with much animosity between the arguing parties.

Then both HERO and CAA decided to independently computerize their databases. HERO added about four new engagements to their database, maybe corrected a few others, and the programmed it in a flat file called Reflex. It was 603 engagements (working off memory here) and called the LWDB (Land Warfare Data Base). CAA decided to computerize its version of 598 or 599 engagements and it was called the CHASE database. This became the CBD-90 that some people are still using. Neither of these versions included the extensive battle narratives as databases at that time could not handle large text files.

The computerized Reflex version of the LWDB was later purchased by Oak Ridge National Laboratories and published in the book by Dr. Dean Harley. It is a better version than the CBD-90. I did review the CBD-90 over twenty years ago. In the original database, there were a series of factors that were coded as to what degree they influenced the battle. In the CBD-90 about one-third of those factors (or one-third of the engagements that had those factors) – they were blanked out or mis-coded. It was a simple coding error, that as far as I know has never been corrected. 

In the meantime, around 1995 I decided we needed to reorganize and reprogram the database. We had a new database created by Jay Karamales in Access. It included text files. We loaded the old Reflex engagements in the database and then Susan Rich and I proofed the entire database back to the paper copies. Susan Rich then entered in all the narratives into the database. So this was now a complete and proofed version of the 1986 paper database. 

I then broke the database up. One of the problems with the original database is that it has engagements from 1600 next to engagements from 1973 next to a series of day-long division-level engagements from WWII next to some six-month long army-level engagements from the Great War next to battalion-level actions. While there are definitely some historical trends across all these, in some cases, depending on what you are analyzing, it is comparing apples to oranges. So, I took at mostly one-day battles from 1600-1900 and put them in a separate database (243 engagements – the  BaDB. I took all the large army-level engagements (like Battle of Verdun, Battle of the Somme) and put them into a Large Action Data Base – LADB. Basically, moved them out of the way. They were later used in part to help create the CaDB (Campaign Data Base). I put the smaller battalion-sized engagements into a separate battalion-level data base (BLODB). They left us with a core of around 300 engagements in a division-level database, mostly of 1-day engagements. All this work was done outside and independent of any contracted effort and therefore became a Dupuy Institute proprietary product. As with any proprietary product, you have to protect it.

We then expanded all these databases. In the case of the division-level database (the DLEDB), we ended up doing a series of studies for CAA on Enemy Prisoner of War capture rates in 1998-2001. We coded the division-level engagements by outcome and then using that to analyze capture rates based upon the outcomes of the battle. This effort included getting counts of the number captured and the number of deserters in each engagement. This is reports E-1 to E-8 here:  TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications. The data used (but not the complete listing of the engagement) was included in appendices to these reports. CAA and the U.S. Army is still using these new rates.

We also added engagements to it from our urban warfare studies (CAA), reports U-1 to U-3. We used the database to analyze the urban versus non-urban combat. It was during that study we added engagements from the Channel Ports, Aachen and the three battles of Kharkov (1943). This study is discussed in two chapters in my book War by Numbers. We also took the time and put in 192 engagements from the Battle of Kursk (1943) based upon our work on the Kursk Data Base. All these Kursk engagements are listed (abbreviated) in my big Kusk: The Battle of Prokhorovka book. We also did a study on situational awareness for OSD Net Assessment (Andy Marshall’s old office). This is report SA-1 and also two chapters in my book War by Numbers. We ended up coding 295 division-level engagements based upon their knowledge of the enemy (by reviewing their intel reports of the divisions involved). We then reviewed what was the measurable combat advantage of improved situation awareness based upon real-world combat data. So, as in the EPW study, we took our original database and added additional filled-in fields so as to be able to do properly analyze the issue. This last expansion of the database was completed in 2004.

At that point, the division-level database had 752 cases in it. We had done some additional work on the old Italian Campaign engagements to clean them up and revise them. In particular Richard Anderson collected UK records from PRO and we cross-checked and revised all the UK engagements in the database and expanded the number of Italian Campaign engagements from about 70 to around 140. We then stopped work on the database in 2004.

During that time, we also expanded the battalion-level database to around 200 actions. We also had created a Campaign Data Base as part of our work, to examine operations above division-level and that last more than a few days. This was recently used for my presentation on Force Ratios that I gave at the second HAAC and in Norway in early November. See: The Schedule for the Second Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 17 – 19 October 2023 | Mystics & Statistics ( In 2010 we created a small draft company-level database under contract with Boeing of 100 cases. A listing of most of these databases is here: TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications. It does not include the company-level database, the Battle of Britain database nor the Dupuy Insurgency Spread Sheets (DISS) as we have not updated that page.

Obviously, people are going to ask: how can they get access to these databases. The answer is that you cannot until someone is willing to purchase them at a price that I willing to release them for. With the internet any single sale of the database will result in the release of the entire database to the world. So, any price would have to address the fact that these powerful and unique databases, which are proprietary to The Dupuy Institute, would be shared with the world. This includes potential business competitors. We still rely on contracts for our funding and these databases are part of our “product.” So, cost of giving away an exclusive competitive advantage? We would be willing to sell them to an organization if the price is right and they could then be publicly released. So far no one has made a significant concrete offer to us.


So other links:

Some Background on TDI Data Bases | Mystics & Statistics (

Dupuy Institute Data Bases | Mystics & Statistics

Cost of Creating a Data Base | Mystics & Statistics (

The Division Level Engagement Data Base (DLEDB) | Mystics & Statistics (

Battalion and Company Level Data Bases | Mystics & Statistics (

Other TDI Data Bases | Mystics & Statistics (

Using the DLEDB:

Average Losses per Day in Division-level Engagements on the Eastern Front in 1943 | Mystics & Statistics (

Density of Deployment in Ukraine | Mystics & Statistics (

The U.S. Army Three-to-One Rule versus the 752 Case Division-level Data Base 1904-1991 | Mystics & Statistics (

Comparing Force Ratios to Casualty Exchange Ratios | Mystics & Statistics (

Comparing the RAND Version of the 3:1 Rule to Real-World Data | Mystics & Statistics (

Summation of Force Ratio Posts | Mystics & Statistics (

Amphitheater, 9 – 11 September 1943 | Mystics & Statistics (

Amphibious and River Crossing Engagements in the Italian Campaign 1943-44 | Mystics & Statistics (

The World War I Cases from the Division-level Database | Mystics & Statistics (

The World War II Cases from the Division-level Database | Mystics & Statistics (

Post-World War II Cases from the Division-level Database | Mystics & Statistics (

Force Ratios in the Arab-Israeli Wars (1956-1973) | Mystics & Statistics (

Other discussion:

Battles versus Campaigns (for Validation) | Mystics & Statistics (

Validation Data Bases Available (Ardennes) | Mystics & Statistics (

Validation Data Bases Available (Kursk) | Mystics & Statistics (

Other Validation Data Bases | Mystics & Statistics (

The Use of the Two Campaign Data Bases | Mystics & Statistics (

Measuring the Effects of Combat in Cities, Phase II – part 1 | Mystics & Statistics (

Presentations from HAAC – Urban Warfare | Mystics & Statistics (

The Battle of Britain Data Base | Mystics & Statistics (

Presentations from HAAC – Data for Wargames | Mystics & Statistics (

The U.S. Army Three-to-One Rule versus 243 Battles 1600-1900 | Mystics & Statistics (

The U.S. Army Three-to-One Rule versus 49 U.S. Civil War battles | Mystics & Statistics (

Using the CBD:

The Key to Victory: Machine Learning the Lessons of History | Mystics & Statistics (

Presentations from HAAC – Machine Learning the Lessons of History | Mystics & Statistics (

There is more….

Phalanx Article: What We Have Learned from Doing Historical Analysis | Mystics & Statistics (

Total Casualties in Ukraine according to CBC

There was an article on 8 December by CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) that provided a reasonable discussion of casualties in Ukraine. It is here: Hundreds of thousands wounded and dead in Ukraine as war grinds on, intelligence suggests (

It states for Russia (based upon UK estimates):

50,000 killed + 20,000 Wagner Group = 70,000 killed

240,000 wounded + 40,000 Wagner Group = 280,000 wounded.


My comments: Wounded-to-killed ratio: 4.80-to-1 for regular forces and 2-to-1 for Wagner Group. Total of 4-to-1 ratio (precisely, which is odd). I assume LPR and DPR forces are included in these totals.

My comments: The Mediazona by name count of as of 1 December is 38,261. They estimate they are counting only half, making for a total Russian killed of 76,522. This does not include members of LPR and DPR forces who are not Russian.

They give Ukrainian casualties as:

24,500 named + 15,000 missing + 5,500 or more killed who are not named (an estimate based upon the assumption that they are naming 70% of the killed) = 45,000 or more.

My comments: Now, my nagging suspicion is that Ukrainian losses are at least 75% of Russian losses or 70K x .75 = 52,500 or greater.

As they note, a U.S. estimate in August by the U.S. (quoted in NYT) was that Ukraine had close to 70,000 killed and 120,000 wounded (which produces a rather meaningless wounded-to-killed ratio).

My comments: No wounded figures are given for the Ukrainians, but no reason not to assume it is at least four times the number killed.

More than 10,000 civilians have been killed (UN figures).

My comments: The last UN report for 10 September stated 9,614 civilian dead. Not sure why there are not more recent reports.

Total dead is at least 70K + 52.5K + 10K = 132.5K

My comments: In my briefing I give in Norway in early November, I gave the Russian losses aa over 60K killed, Ukrainian losses as over 45K killed and civilian losses as over 10K.

My comments: Note that some people and governments have released much higher figures than this. I do wonder what are the basis for these claims.


P.S. My book The Battle for Kyiv is out in the UK. So far I have not heard any feedback.