Measuring Unit Effectiveness in Italy

We are in discussion over revisiting the measurement of combat effectiveness of select units in Italy 1943-1945. This was done by Trevor Dupuy in Numbers, Predictions and Wars (1977) by division using the QJM (Quantified Judgment Model) and was done in aggregate by me in War by Numbers (2017) using simply comparative statistics.

For a little background on page 115 of Understanding War is a chart of German, UK and U.S. units in the Italian Campaign and their CEVs (Combat Effectiveness Values). Their values range from 0.60 to 1.49. The German Hermann Goering Division is the highest rated division at 1.49. This is based upon five engagements. The German 3rd PzGrD was rated 1.17 based upon 17 engagements and 15th PzGrD was rated 1.12 based upon 11 engagements. This was done using the QJM.

For reference, I would recommend reading the following four books:

1. Understanding War
2. War by Numbers
3. Attrition (optional)
4. Numbers, Predictions and War (optional)

There are two ways to measure combat effectiveness. 1) Do a model run and compared the results of the model run to historical data. This requires 1) a historically validated combat model (there are very few), and 2) confidence in the model. 2) The other option is to do a statistical comparison of a large number of engagements. This is what I did in Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of War by Numbers.

One can measure combat effectiveness by three means: 1) Casualty effectiveness, 2) special effectiveness (distance opposed advance) or 3) Mission effectiveness. This is all discussed in Trevor Dupuy’s work and in War by Numbers.

To date, the only people I am aware of who have published their analysis of combat effectiveness is Trevor Dupuy, me (Chris Lawrence) and Niklas Zetterling. See: CEV Calculations in Italy, 1943 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and his book Normandy 1944 (recently revised and republished). There is also a six-volume quantitative effort related to Operation Barbarossa by Nigel Askey, which I have never looked at. Everyone else has ignored quantifying this issue, although there are no shortage of people claiming units are good, bad or elite. How they determine this is judgment (and it is often uncertain as to what the basis is for this judgment).

Now, the original work on this was done by Trevor Dupuy in the late 1970s based upon his data collection and the QJM. Since that time the model has been updated to the TNDM. The engagements used for the QJM validation were then simplified (especially in weapons counts) and assembled into the LWDB (Land Warfare Data Base). The LWDB had around 70 engagements from the Italian Campaign. Since that time we have created the DuWar series of databases which includes the DLEDB (Division-Level Engagement Data Base). See: The History of the DuWar Data Bases | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). We have doubled the number of Italian Campaign engagements to around 140.

There are a total of 141 Italian Campaign division-level engagements in the DLEDB. The first 140 engagements cover from September 1943 to early June 1944. There is almost 12 months of war not covered and not all units in the first part of the campaign are covered. With all the various nationalities involved (i.e German, Italian, U.S., UK, Free French, Moroccan, New Zealand, South African, Poland, Indian, Canadian, Brazilian, Greek, etc.), the Italian Campaign is a fertile field for this work. We are looking at stepping back into this.

Units involved in engagements in the DELDB:

German:
3rd PzGrD: 25 cases
15th PzGrD: 39 cases
16th PzD: 7 cases
26th PzD: 8 cases
29 PzGrD: 6 cases
65th ID: 5 cases
94th ID: 8 cases
305th ID: 4 cases
362nd ID: 3 cases
715th ID: 2 cases
4th Para D: 3 cases
HG PzGrD: 26 cases
LXXVI Pz Corps: 4 cases

12th Para Rgt: 1 case

American:

3rd ID: 19 cases
34th ID: 15 cases
36th ID: 12 cases
45th ID: 20 cases
85th ID: 7 cases
88th ID: 4 cases

509th PIB: 1 case
1st SSF: 1 case

British:

1st ID: 9 cases
5th ID: 2 cases
46th ID: 18 cases
56th ID: 24 cases

Losses in the Hamas-Israel War – Day 111

I have not blogged much about the Hamas-Israeli War since the first couple of days of the war (for example, see: Hamas-Israeli War – Day 3 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)). On Monday, 22 January, 24 Israeli soldiers were killed in one day. Twenty-one were killed in a single blast that collapsed two buildings. Previously, on October 31, 16 Israeli soldiers were killed, 11 in a single incident when an armored personnel carrier was hit.

Total losses for the Israeli armed forces during the offensive into Gaza is 219 (as of 22 January). See: 24 soldiers killed on deadliest day for Israeli forces in Gaza combat | CNN. Wikipedia is reporting a total of 627 service members killed, 556 soldiers, 61 police and 10 “Shin Bet” personnel. Many of those were among the 1,200 killed on 7 October. See: Authorities name 556 soldiers, 60 police officers killed in Gaza war | The Times of Israel.

Just for comparison, Israeli losses in the 1956 War were 172 killed, their losses in the 1967 war were 776-983 killed, their losses in the 1973 War were 2,521 to 2,800 killed, their losses in the 1982-85 intervention in Lebanon were 654 killed, their losses were 559 killed (256 in combat) in the 1985-2000 Southern Lebanese Conflict (vs Hezbollah) and they lost 121 killed in the 2006 Lebanon War (also vs Hezbollah). The Gaza War (2008-2009) lasted 23 days and resulted in 10 Israeli soldiers killed (and 3 civilians). The 2014 Gaza War lasted 50 days and resulted in 67 Israeli soldiers killed (and 6 civilians).

Hamas’ actual losses are harder to gauge. Israel is claiming that they have killed about 9,000 Hamas fighters in Gaza along with more than 1,000 killed during the attacks on 7 October. The U.S. is recently saying they have been attritted by 20-30%. Just to complicate such calculations, it is uncertain what Hamas’ strength originally was. U.S. intelligence estimates Hamas strength at between 25,000 to 30,000 before the war, plus thousands of police and other forces. Israel estimates Hamas at 30,000 or more.

Israel is estimating that as many at 16,000 Hamas have been wounded. The U.S. estimates between 10,500 to 11,700 wounded. This produces some unusually low wounded-to-killed ratios. Israel as reported three days ago to have 190 killed and around 1,200 wounded in their offensive operations, producing a 6.32-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio. See: Hamas Toll Thus Far Falls Short of Israel’s War Aims, U.S. Says (msn.com).

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has said that the total number of Palestinians killed since October 7 is 25,295 (as of 22 January). It is hard to know how accurate these figures are, but MSNBC has made the argument that in the past the Gaza Health Ministry has provided accurate estimates: Casualties in the Hamas-Israeli War | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Regardless, it does seem that a significant percent of the losses are civilians and that civilian killed number in the thousands. With over 40% of the population being under 14 or younger, then over half of those civilians were not of voting age when Hamas was first elected to lead Gaza in 2006 (and it was their last election: see 2006 Palestinian legislative election – Wikipedia). This is just noted in case someone wants to make an argument that these civilians deserve what they are getting. There has also been hundreds of thousands of civilians forced to relocate, and there are not a lot of good places to relocated to in Gaza.

Israel lost over 1,200 killed on 7 October. This included around 799 civilians and a large number of military, reservists, police, etc. Total Israeli civilians killed since the start of this war is 809 (according to Wikipedia). Over 250 civilians have been taken hostage (253 according to Wikipedia), of which 110 have been rescued or released and 38 are confirmed to now be dead (at least three killed by Israel). This leaves over 100 who may be still in captivity. Some of them have probably died (according to Wikipedia there are 107 living captives and 29 dead bodies while CNN reports 104 living and 28 dead bodies).

The U.S., in operations against the Houthis in Yemen, have lost two special forces soldiers. Houthi losses are fairly limited (10 according to Wikipedia).

There is no good solution here. I was of the opinion that the most rational result would have been for Israel to invade Gaza for two weeks, negotiate a hostage release, declare victory and pull out. For lots of reasons, this did not happen. So, the war continues past day 111, with the 800 Israeli civilians killed on 7 October being overshadowed by the thousands of civilian deaths in Gaza. Hamas is slowly winning the propaganda war.

Note the opinion of U.S. 18-24 years olds or “under 35” in various recent polls: Quinnipiac poll shows Israel-Palestine divide across generations, parties – POLITICO and Vast majority of voters back Israel over Hamas: Poll (msn.com).

The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 699

I am back to blogging about the war in Ukraine. My last blog post was in October: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 589 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). I also did a few blog posts about the war between Hamas and Israel: Hamas-Israeli War – Day 3 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). I then got overwhelmed with 1) travel, 2) conferences (The Schedule for the Second Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 17 – 19 October 2023 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)), 3) presentations, 4) planning (The Third HAAC – October 2024? | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)), 5) marketing (Are we the world leader in military historical analysis? | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and The History of the DuWar Data Bases | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)) and 6) working on finishing books. There are a finite number of hours in a day.

Anyhow, I did not blog about the lastest Battle of Avdiivka (10 October to present), which was the big story between Day 589 until the end of the year. I gather this Russian attack and stalled out and quieted down. The Wikipedia post is here on subject: Battle of Avdiivka (2022–present) – Wikipedia. My knowledge of the subject does not exceed that, as I simply have not had time to pay attention to it.

I have gotten my book The Battle for Kyiv out, I have been done the (hopefully) final edits on Aces at Kursk. Our current publication schedule is here: Current book release schedule | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). I do not know if they are going to release Aces at Kursk by 30 January, but I gather it will be soon.

Forces involved:

I have been for a while guestimating that both sides had 300,000 to 400,000 regular forces deployed in the field. Recently Russia (Putin specifically) claimed 617,000 in the combat zone. Ukraine counter-claimed that Russian only had 450,000. They have been various claims over times that Ukraine has 700,000 or more forces activated. There is a difference apparently between “activated” and on or near the front line. I have suspected for a while that both sides had roughly equal forces deployed, because if that was not the case, someone would be advancing. We have not seen a lot of advancing for over a year, since November 2022.

Casualties:

There are lots of casualty figures out there. There appears to be almost no factual or analytical basis for most of these figures. Some are absurd (like the Ukrainian claims of Russian losses or the Russian claims of Ukrainian losses). Some of the estimates from various intelligence agencies sometimes also seem high. While lots of people seem willing to hang their hats on these estimates, we actually have no idea how they are constructed and what they are based upon. They might be based upon solid data, or they might not. The intelligences communities have a mixed record. My last discussion on casualties is here: Total Casualties in Ukraine according to CBC | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

Here is what we know:

1. Last Russian report: 5,937 as of 21 September 2022.
2. Last DPR count (not estimate): 4,176 dead end of 2022
3. Last LPR report: 500-600 killed as of April 2022.
4. Last Ukrainian report: almost 9,000 military (21 August 2022) or 10,000 – 13,000 (1 December 2022).
1. Detailed discussion of this report is here: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 560 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)
5.  Current Russian casualty count from Mediazona: 42,284 as of 19 January 2024.
6. Current Ukrainian casualty count by name from the Book of Remembrance of the Fallen for Ukraine (24 February 2022 to August 2023): 22,233 as of the end of August 2023 (Mediazona count as of 24 August 2023 was 30,698).

Wounded-to-killed ratios are at least 4-to-1. They may be higher. There are claims that the Wagner Group had only a 2-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio. This probably does not apply to the entire Russian Army. Some light reading on the subject of wounded-to-killed ratios: Wounded-To-Killed Ratios | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and Wounded-to-killed ratios in Ukraine in 2022 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). It is also worth while taking a look at Chapter 15 of my book War by Numbers. Wounded-to-killed ratios is heavily dependent on the nature of combat, with a lot of direct fire engagements generating lower ratios while a lot of artillery generates higher ratios. The war has been very driven by artillery fire for most of the last year. Again, look at my book.

Now, not all wounded are seriously wounded. Some wounded are effectively incapacitated, some may recover to be functional but can no longer serve in the military, some are seriously wounded but given enough time can return to duty, some are lightly wounded and will returned to duty within days or weeks, and some are so lightly wounded that they will return to duty within days or that same day. This last group is the carded for record only category used by the U.S. Army in WWII and the Vietnam War. They are usually not counted in wounded statistics (although the USMC does). I may blog in more depth about this later. In the meantime see: Return-to-Duty (RTDs) | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and Carded-for-Record in WWII | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Anyhow, the Mediazona is an undercount of Russian casualties. By their own admission in an exchange with them, they say they estimate that their undercount is a factor of two. If that is the case, the Russian casualties can be estimated at least 84,568 killed. This does strike me as a reasonable estimate. There are some who question that and claim that the Mediazona is undercounting by a factor of 3 or 4 based upon their count of Wagner casualties. I am not sure of that argument and its application to the entire set of casualties. I do question any estimated Russian killed count higher than 100,000 and I do challenge those people making such an argument to provide a factual basis for these higher estimates (I seriously doubt they can do that).

I suspect Ukrainian losses are at least 75% of Russian losses. There appear to be two periods in this war where Russian losses were higher the Ukrainian losses. That was Wagner group attacks on Bakhmut and the recent attacks on Avdiivka. There does appear to be a couple of periods in this war where Ukrainian losses were higher than Russian losses. This may have been early in the war, when thousands of Ukrainian prisoners were taken (although the exchange in people killed may have been roughly equal) and during the fall 2022 offensive in Kherson province, although not much had been reported about that. Therefore, if Ukrainian losses are at least 75% of Russian losses we are looking at least at 63,426 Ukrainians killed.

Assuming a 4-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio (which is an assumption, it could be higher, it is probably not much lower), then:

Ukraine: 63,426 killed and 253,704 wounded.

Ukraine still has a few thousand people held as prisoners by the Russians. The UN count of Ukranian civilian losses is 9,701 as of 24 September 2023. These reports include civilians killed in the DPR and LPR. For some reason, they have quit updating these reports. The Ukrainian government provided a list of 10,749 civilians killed by name up through 1 August 2023. The DPR and LPR have provided a count of 1,499 civilians killed.

That is all for now.

The Battle for Kyiv released in the U.S. Today

The Battle for Kyiv has been released today in the U.S.

It is intended to be the first book in a series. Currently working on finishing up the second book of the series, The Siege of Mariupol. It is co-authored with Stefan Korshak. He is here: Stefan Korshak – Medium

The third book of the series will be The Battle for the Donbas, also co-authored with Stefan Korshak. That might be published before the end of 2024, depending.

The long-term plan is to either eventually issue out a second edition of The Battle for Kyiv at some point, and combine all these smaller books into one really large book (because I like big books: Did I Just Write the Largest History Book Ever? | History News Network).

The Battle for Kyiv will be released in the U.S. this Thursday

The release date in the U.S. for The Battle for Kyiv is 18 January 2024. It was already released in the UK as of 28 November 2023.

Some people overseas have been reading it. One recent twitter post on the book has received over 563K hits and 323 retweets. See: John Helin on X. I do not know John Helin but do want to thank him for his tweet. If I am ever in Finland, I will certainly owe him a beer or two.

The book is available on the U.S. Amazon: The Battle for Kyiv: The Fight for Ukraine’s Capital: Lawrence, Christopher A: Amazon.com: Books; from Barnes and Nobles The Battle for Kyiv: The Fight for Ukraine’s Capital by Christopher A Lawrence, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com); other books sellers (The Battle for Kyiv – Casemate Publishers US; and maybe Aberdeen: Home (aberdeenbookstore.com)). I gather it will be bookstores.

It looks like this:

Battlefield Tour of the Ardennes

Jay Karamales, the co-author of Against the Panzers and of the soon-to-be released Hunting Falcon, did record a video of his tour of the Ardennes in 1993. They are posted to YouTube. I just found out about it. So, the links to his YouTube videos are here:

Day 1, England to La Gleize (youtube.com)

Day 2, Chateau Froid Cour and December 1944 Museum (youtube.com)

Day 3, Peiper’s Route, Scheid to Stavelot (youtube.com)

Top Ten Blog posts in 2023

Happy New Year to all. 2023 is over. Not the best year for many in the world. Wanted to take a moment to list out our top ten blog posts for 2023 (based upon number of hits). They are:

1. Wounded-to-killed ratios in Ukraine in 2022 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)
2. U.S. Tank Losses and Crew Casualties in World War II | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) – a blog post by Dr. Shawn Woodford from 2016.
3. How many brigades did Ukraine start with war with? | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) – this is actually clipped from my book The Battle for Kyiv.
4. Population over Time (US vs USSR) | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) – a blog post from 2018. I suspect this gets so many hits because this was the initial entry point for a number of people who periodically check on this blog and they continue to use this post to direct them to our blog.
5. German versus Soviet Artillery at Kursk | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) – another 2018 blog post.
6. New WWII German Maps At The National Archives | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) – a 2017 blog post by Dr. Shawn Woodford.
7. How Does the U.S. Army Calculate Combat Power? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) – another 2017 blog post by Dr. Shawn Woodford.
8. Tank Loss Rates in Combat: Then and Now | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) – a 2016 blog post by Dr. Shawn Woodford.
9. U.S. Army Force Ratios | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) – a 2018 blog post.
10. The Russian Artillery Strike That Spooked The U.S. Army | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) – a 2017 blog post by Dr. Shawn Woodford. It was the second most popular blog post in 2022.

Honorable mentions:

18. The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 560 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) – for a while we did post daily (then two-three times a week) about the war in Ukraine. This was our most popular one of those posts. We will probably restart these again sometime this winter, like when there is a danger of the front lines again moving.

Anyhow, the blog has been quieter for the last three months. This was in part because I was on travel and in part because I needed to finish up a book (The Siege of Mariupol). To date, I have not learned how to multi-task and complete a book, so the book has had the priority. Sorry to anyone I have not responded to as a result.

The Battle for Kyiv book will be available in the U.S. on Amazon.com come 18 January 2024.