The War in Ukraine – Economist Article

The Economist published an article last month called “The war in Ukraine shows how technology is changing the battlefield.” The subtitle is “But mass still counts, argues Shashank Joshi in the first of seven chapters of a special report on the future of warfare.” The link is here: The war in Ukraine shows how technology is changing the battlefield (economist.com). The headline in the actual (hard-copy) July 8-14 issue was “Ypres with AI: The war in Ukraine shows how technology has changed the battlefield. But mass still counts, argues Shashank Joshi.” Not sure why they have two different headlines.

I am quoted in the article. This took me by surprise as I had not talked or exchanged emails with Mr. Joshi in a few months. A well-read friend called and told me. 

The specific quote is: 

This jeopardy is reflected in a curiously sparse battlefield. In Ukraine some 350,000 Russian troops are arrayed on a front line stretching 1,200 km (750 miles) – around 300 men per km and, at times last year, less than half that. That is around a tenth of the average for the same area in the second world war, notes Chirstopher Lawrence, head of the Dupuy Institute, which collects such data. Battalions of several hundred men fill areas that would once have been covered by brigades of a few thousand.

In theory, say Mr. Lawrence, this seems a ripe environment for attackers. Thin front lines are easier to break through. And new sensors, more accurate munitions and better digital networks make it easier to find and strike targets. The catch is that attackers must concentrate their forces to pierce well-defended front lines, as Ukraine is now trying to do with its counter-offensive. And such concentrations can be detected and struck – not always, but more often than in the past…

Yea, I said something like that. Don’t remember exactly when or where.

Anyhow, thank you Mr. Joshi for the quote.

 

P.S. A few related references:

Density of Deployment in Ukraine | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Economist Article on Urban Warfare | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Economist Article on Russian Casualty Estimates | 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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