Body Counts

Have some estimate of losses from the operations around Mosul. See: us-general-says-800-900-fighters-killed-mosul

This operations have been going on since Monday, October 17, so I am guessing they cover a 10 day or so period.

A few factoids:

  1. Up to 900 Islamic State fighters killed (source: Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads the U.S. Central Command).
  2. There are between 3,500 – 5,000 ISIL fighters in Mosul (I assume we have not really engaged them yet).
  3. Up to another 2,000 ISIL fighters in the broader area (I assume this is who they have been fighting).
  4. As of late Tuesday Iraq Army had lost 57 killed and 255 or so wounded.
  5. For the Kurdish Peshmerga the numbers are 30 killed and 70- 100 wounded.

Let me do a little back-of-the-envelope calculations here:

  1. 900 ISIL killed versus 87 allied killed = 10.3-to-1 exchange ratio. This seems high.
  2. Wounded-to-killed ratio Iraq Army = 4.47 wounded per killed (this seems low)
  3. Wounded-to-killed ratio Peshmerga = 3.33 wounded per killed (this seems low)
  4. Wounded-to-killed ratio ISIL…unknown, but with 900 killed then are there 1,800 are 2,700 wounded…or are there no wounded?
  5. If there are wounded, then if total ISIL casualties (killed, wounded and missing) are 2,700 – 3,600 and there are 2,000 ISIL fighters in the broader area…..then…….

The body count seems high. What appeared to be more relevant in Vietnam was the number of rifles and other personal weapons taken after the battle. The assumption was that most dead warriors left a weapon on the battlefield. Often the weapon count was less than half the estimated number of killed.

It appears that the estimate of 900 ISIL killed may be high and the Iraq Army and Peshmerga reports of wounded are low. This seems to happen a lot.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
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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