Tank Losses and Crew Casualties in the Russo-Ukrainian War

One of our more popular blog posts is this one:
U.S. Tank Losses and Crew Casualties in World War II | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

Now we were able to do a similar comparison of the personnel losses to tank losses for the Russian First Guards Tank Army from 24 February to 15 March 2022. This came from a captured document released by Ukrainian intelligence. The two pages from that report included below.

What I say in my book, The Battle for Kyiv, page 129-131, is:

The Russian 1st Guards Tank Army was deployed across a wide area of the front from around Sumy to north of Kharkiv. They seemed to achieve rather limited results considering this was largest army and the premier army in Russia. The 2nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division was involved in the movements past Sumy and Konotop, before being stopped east of Pryluky, 75 miles (121km) east of Kyiv.15 Its losses as of 15 March were reported to be16 killed, 43 wounded, 2 missing and 54 captured for a total of 115 casualties. Its tank losses were considerably higher, with 45 T72B3Ms lost. It lost 85 other vehicles. This division ended up with a wounded-to-killed ratio of 2.69-to-1.

The 4th Guards Tank Division was involved in the attack on Okhtyrka and operations north of Kharkiv. Its losses as of 15 March were reported to be 25 killed, 92 wounded, 18 missing, 21 captured for a total of 156 casualties. The tanks losses between its 2 tank regiments were 62 T-80Us and T-80UEs. It lost 58 other vehicles. This division ended up with a wounded-to-killed ratio of 3.68-to-1. It was stopped at Okhtyrka, but this obviously was not with high personnel losses, although the tank and vehicle losses were notable.

The 47th Guards Tank Division was involved in operations north of Kharkiv. The 26th Tank Regiment losses as of 15 March were 4 killed and 13 wounded. Its tank losses were only 8 T-72B3Ms and T-72 B3M2s. The division lost 9 other vehicles. The 7th Reconnaissance Battalion lost 5 killed, 13 wounded, 2 missing and 1 captured. These are not high losses. The division ended up with a wounded-to-killed ratio of 2.88-to-1. These appear to be the only two combat units that made up 47th Guards Tank Division.

The 27th Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade, which appears to have operated around Sumy, had 7 killed, 28 wounded, 14 missing and 14 captured. The brigade lost 9 T-90s and 21 other vehicles. It had a wounded to killed ratio of 4.00-to-1.

Other army troop losses were 4 killed, 18 wounded, 8 missing and 6 captured along with 15 vehicles lost. Overall losses of the 1st Guards Tank Army, drawn from a captured Russian report released by Ukraine, were only 408 in 3 weeks of fighting. This included 61 killed, 207 wounded, 44 missing and 96 surrendered. This is a wounded-to-killed ratio of 3.39-to-1. There were also two sanitary losses from 2nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division due to illness. Their total equipment losses were 115 tanks and 197 other vehicles lost for a total of 312. This is 0.86 people killed or wounded for every vehicle lost. There is no strong reason to the doubt this report.

One cannot help but make a few observations about this report. First, personnel losses are lower than one would expect, considering their actions, the Ukrainian claims and their heavy armor losses. It would appear that they did not make much active use of their infantry in combat. Second, the armor losses are significant. Of the 115 tanks lost, it is not known how many were broken down, abandoned or captured. In the Oryx count of tanks lost, around one-third were abandoned or captured. Probably some of these were broken down. One does note that there is less than one person killed or wounded per vehicle lost. Third, the number of people missing and captured is high for the overall casualties. They make up 34% of their casualties. These are not the figures that one would expect to see from a force on the offense. At the Battle of Kursk in 1943, units with that high of losses of missing and captured tended to be defenders who were dislodged and partly overrun. These high missing and captured figures from 1st Guards Tank Army indicates poor morale and mishandling of the units. One wonders if the fearsome 1st Guards Tank Army was still somewhat lacking in capability. It was probably made up of a mix of contract soldiers and conscripts, with perhaps the third battalion in each regiment or brigade being conscripts. As such, most of them would not have been sent into Ukraine because of Russian policies. In the end, the 1st Guards Tank Army ended up taking no significant cities, not even Sumy, only 25 miles (40km) from the border, and never got within 100km of Kyiv.

Their opposition appeared to include the Ukrainian 58th Motorized Brigade in addition to National Guard forces and perhaps other Ukrainian regular forces.

Now. I was intending to include parts of this report in my picture section, was limited as to how many photos I could provide (photo 63):

and (photo 64):

This entry was posted in Eastern Europe, Russia by Christopher A. Lawrence. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience. ... Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation. ... His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024). ... Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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