Latest Russian Losses

With estimates of Russian losses soaring, been poking about trying the figure out how bad it really is.

One interesting article is here: A Russian prisoner-turned-soldier says he was brought to the front line without training and told to charge ‘as far as we could go’ into Ukrainian gunfire (msn.com)

It details Wagner losses in three separate accounts.

1. Five men went forward, three were killed and two captured.

2. “half the soldiers in these assaults are wounded or killed, one soldier told the Times.”

3. “By other estimates, about 70% of soldiers are wounded or killed in battalions with former convicts, military analysts told the Times.”

They also state that the White House said that the Wagner Group had about 40,000 convicts deployed to Ukraine: “We continue to assess that Wagner currently has approximately 50,000 personnel deployed to Ukraine, including 10,000 contractors and 40,000 convicts.”

So, an attack by Wagner convicts results in 50% to 70% casualties. Not sure what the wounded-to-killed rate is for penal battalion attacks, but it might be lower than the norm of 5-to-1 or 6-to-1 for normal conventional warfare attacks (see: War by Numbers). Lets say 3-to-1 for the moment. How many of the 40,000 convicts have been sent in these “soak-off” attacks? Might be hundreds, might be thousands, doubt if it is tens of thousands. Lets say if 10,000 convict soldiers had been thrown away in this manner. We are looking at 10K x .50 (this assumes only one such attack) x .25 (wounded-to-killed ratio of 3-to-1) = 1,250 killed. Now this is a horrendous number, but certainly not high enough to justify all the much higher claims being made.

Then there are the attacks around Vuhledar. Clearly they took some losses, at least 16 AFVs from the hap-hazard counting I did and other claims are stating 31 tanks. This article states 130 peices of equipment, including 36 tanks and 5,000 soldiers killed, wounded or imprisoned: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/russia-loses-entire-elite-brigade-after-5-000-troops-are-wiped-out-in-battle/ar-AA17tIWW?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=39ac09a80e3f4dde94b4b9904b629b67. These are, of course, Ukrainian claims. It would give them more credence if they reported the number captured and provided an actual body count figure. While body counts are in somewhat disrepute because of the U.S. Vietnam experience, I can only imagine that casualty estimates of enemy losses without body counts would only be much worse (more inflated). Still, with an estimate of 5,000 casualties, I am guessing that means less than 1,000 killed.

There are other attacks going on elsewhere along the front, but Vuhledar and Bakhmut (the Wagner area) are the two biggest ones. Not sure how this adds up to the UK estimate of 824 Russian troops being killed each day. It could certainly have happened in either locale for one day, but not sure how this turns into a norm day-by-day. Probably not the norm week-after-week.

Now, I am asking “What is the factual basis for these recent higher casualty estimates.” No one has actually answered that question. So in light of the non-response, this is my attempt to find the accounts that justify these higher estimates. They don’t really do that, especially day-by-day and week-after-week. A couple of good stories about high enemy losses does not establish the norm. The question is what is the factual basis for declaring such norms as 824 Russian troops killed each day? Are people taking exceptional incidents and using that to claim it is the norm?

 

Also see:

Wounded-to-killed ratios in Ukraine in 2022 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

The Ukrainian casualty claims are inflated – part 1 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Wounded-To-Killed Ratios | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

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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.
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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.
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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).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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