Back in 1915, a Russian named M. Osipov published a paper in a Tsarist military journal that was Lanchester like:

He actually tested his equations to historical data, which are presented in his paper. He ended up coming up with something similar to Lanchester equations but it did not have a square law, but got a similar effect by putting things to the 3/2nds power.

As far as we know, because of the time it was published (June-October 1915), it was not influenced or done with any awareness of work that the far more famous Frederick Lanchester had done (and Lanchester was famous for a lot more than just his modeling equations).  Lanchester first published his work in the fall of 1914 (after the Great War had already started). It is possible that Osipov was aware of it, but he does not mention Lanchester. He was probably not aware of Lanchester’s work. It appears to be the case of him independently coming up with the use of differential equations to describe combat attrition. This was also the case with Rear Admiral J. V. Chase, who wrote a classified staff paper for U.S. Navy in 1902 that was not revealed until 1972.

Osipov, after he had written his paper, may have served in World War I, which was already underway at the time it was published. Between the war, the Russian revolutions, the civil war afterwards, the subsequent repressions by Cheka and later Stalin, we do not know what happened to M. Osipov. At the time I was asked by CAA if our Russian research team knew about him. I passed the question to Col. Sverdlov and Col. Vainer and they were not aware of him. It is probably possible to chase him down, but would probably take some effort. Perhaps some industrious researcher will find out more about him.

It does not appear that Osipov had any influence on Soviet operations research or military analysis. It appears that he was ignored or forgotten. His article was re-published in the September 1988  of the Soviet Military-Historical Journal with the propaganda influenced statement that they also had their own “Lanchester.” Of course, this “Soviet Lanchester” was publishing in a Tsarist military journal, hardly a demonstration of the strength of the Soviet system.


Share this:
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.

Articles: 1516


  1. I believe the translation was in Helmbold’s literature.

    Didn’t Kolmogorov work on Soviet evaluations and artificial dispersion if I recall correctly?

  2. Pretty sure the translator was Allen Rehm (who was a friend of Trevor Dupuy). The entire document is in the link.

    Have not looked at Kolmogorov’s work. But…there was little of the Soviet work that went from the theoretical to the practical. They simply did not have much in the war of computerized wargames, operational analysis, etc. It certainly was not driving defense systems in the way that they were influencing decisions here and in the UK.

  3. “Pretty sure the translator was Allen Rehm ”
    I didn’t claim that Helmbold was the translator.
    It was presented in Helmbold and Rehm (1995), p.435.

    Regarding Soviet systems: Judging by how quickly they exploited the technology from their newly occupied areas (introducing weapon systems the US was only hesitant to adopt) followed by their expansionistic endeavors into asia, we can conclude that they had a different “approach” to analysis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *