This is an analysis of Russian invasion of Ukraine compared to historical invasions known for their speed and success. The DuPuy Institute’s data was utilized for some parts of this analysis. Posted with the permission of the anonymous author. – VD
Russia’s rate of conquest is extraordinary: 1.43 times faster than Israel in 1967, 1.85 times faster than US in Iraq in 2003, and 10 times faster than US in Kuwait in 1991.
Russia has plausibly lost up to 15% of its tank force but the alleged death toll of 5,000+ is grossly exaggerated. Russian deaths are in the range of 234 to 1100 dead at most. Ukraine has plausibly lost 36% of its tank force.
If Russia wants to conquer all of Ukraine, victory will be complete by the end of March, after around 41 days of fighting.
SIX DAY WAR (1967)
Israel conquered the Golan Heights (690 square miles), the West Bank (2173 square miles) and Sinai (23,000 square miles), for a total of 25,863 square miles.
Israel deployed 264,000 troops vs. 100,000 Egyptians; 75,000 Syrians; and 55,000 Jordanians. Israel started with 800 tanks and 300 combat aircraft. The Arabs started with 2,054 tanks and 957 combat aircraft.
It took 6 days for Israel to conquer the theater, for a rate of conquest of 4280 square miles per day or .016 square miles per soldier per day.
The DuPuy Institute rates the Combat Effectiveness Values (CEV) of these soldiers as Israeli 3.5, Jordan 2.27, Egyptian 2, and Syrian 1.33. So the overall force ratio was (264,000 x 3.5) vs. (200,000 + 99,750 + 124,850), or 924 vs 424, or 2.2 to 1.
In conquering the Golan Heights, West Bank, and Sinai, Israel lost 983 soldiers (0.3%), 400 tanks (50%) and 46 aircraft (15%). The Arabs lost 17,500 soldiers (7.6%), 950 tanks (46%), and 452 aircraft (47%). There were very few civilian casualties.
Note that the Israelis suffered per-capita armored vehicle losses that were higher than the Arabs. This is because fast-moving tank attacks incur more losses, many of which are mobility kills.
GULF WAR (1991)
The US conquered Kuwait, a total of 6,880 square miles.
US deployed 700,000 troops vs Iraq’s 650,000 troops. US started with 2,300 tanks. Iraq started with 4280 tanks.
It took 4.25 days to conquer Kuwait, for a rate of conquest of 1618 square miles per day, or .0023 square miles per soldier per day.
The DuPuy Institute rates the US CEV as somewhere between 4 and 6 to Iraq’s CEV of 1. I assume a mid-range CEV of 5. The force ratio was therefore 3,500,000 to 650,000 or 5.38 to 1.
In conquering Kuwait, the US lost 292 soldiers (.04%). It lost 31 tanks (1.3%). Iraq lost 50,000 soldiers (7.7%) and 3700 tanks (86%). There were approximately 5,000 civilian casualties.
Here we see that, despite having a force ratio twice as good as Israel’s in 67, the US only conquered Kuwait at a speed of about 1/7th the speed that the Israeli conquered its territories. But US only suffered per-capita losses of 1/10th the men and 1/35th the tanks. The Iraqis, meanwhile, suffered similar levels of total deaths (7.7%) as the Arab League in ’67 (7.6%).
Desert Storm is often perceived as a blitzkrieg or maneuver war but it was actually a methodical battle of annihilation in which carefully advancing shock armies followed on air strikes to destroy everything in their path.
INVASION OF IRAQ (2003)
US conquered Iraq, a total of 169,285 square miles.
US deployed 310,000 troops vs Iraq’s 538,000 troops.
It took 41 days to conquer Iraq, for a rate of conquest of 4,128 square miles per day, or .013 square miles per soldier per day.
The DuPuy Institute has not offered a CEV rating for the 2003 war. I assume a CEV of 6. The force ratio was therefore 1,860,000 to 538,000 or 3.46 to 1.
The US lost 196 soldiers (.06%). Iraq lost 30,000 killed (5.6%). Data on armored vehicle losses isn’t available but we know they were very high for Iraq. There were approximately 7,300 civilian casualties.
Here we see that the force ratio was 57% better than the force ratio in the Six Day War, but only 64% as good as the force ratio in Desert Storm. The rate of conquest was almost as fast as that in the Six Day War, and much faster than that of the Gulf War. The US losses were 50% higher per-capita than the Gulf War. The Iraqi casualties were lower (5.6%).
The 2003 invasion of Iraq, with its thunder runs, seems to have been more like a maneuver war with fast movement and somewhat higher casualties.
SUMMARY OF HISTORICAL BENCHMARKS
1967, winner: 0.3% deaths, 50% tank losses – tank losses 167x deaths; 0.016 square miles per soldier-day
1967, loser: 7.7% deaths, 46% tank losses – tank losses 6x deaths
1991, winner: 0.04% deaths, 1.3% tank losses – tank losses 33x deaths; .0023 square miles per soldier-day
1991, loser: 7.6% death, 86% tank losses – tank losses 11x deaths
2003, winner: .06% deaths; .013 square miles per soldier-day
2003, loser: 5.6% deaths
INVASION OF UKRAINE (2022)
Russia invaded Ukraine, which is 233,062 square miles.
Russia has allegedly deployed 234,000 troops vs Ukraine’s 125,000 ground troops. Russia allegedly has 1,200 tanks amassed. According to Global Security, Ukraine has 620 T-64, 100 T-64BM Bulat, 133 T-72s and 5 T-84 Oplots, for a total of 858 tanks. The T-64s and T-72s are vintage Soviet equipment, so only 105 tanks are modern. The Russian tank makeup is unknown.
What is the force ratio? Sadly the DuPuy Institute does not give us CEV for Ukraine and Russia. If we assume they are equal, the force ratio is 1.872. If we assume the Russians are better than the Ukrainians to the same ratio that Israelis were better than Jordanians, then the force ratio is 2.88. Based on the rate of advance (discussed below), the figure of 2.88 to 1 seems right.
By my estimates (plotting areas of advance on Google Earth), the Russians have conquered 33,465 square miles of terrain in 6 days. That represents .024 square miles per soldier day. That is 1.43 times faster than the Israel advance during the Six Day War, 10x times faster than the US advance during the Gulf War, and 1.85 times faster than the US advance in 2003.
So any suggestion that the Russians are moving slow is revealed as absolute nonsense.
What are the casualties? Ukraine claims to have killed 3,500 soldiers (1.4%). Losing that many men in just a few days would mean the Russians are on track to defeat (7.7% deaths being enough for Arabs to lose in 67 and 91). It seems to me to be a very carefully selected number – low enough to seem plausible, high enough to hint at defeat. But the number is certainly wrong. The US Army, in the first 25 days of Operation Overlord, lost 2,811 killed. It is implausible to believe that Russia has lost forces at 625% of the rate of the losses we incurred storming Omaha Beach and fighting through the bocage. With the entire world watching via satellite and mobile phone, it would be impossible for Russia to disguise losses like that.
Ukraine claims have destroyed 191 tanks (15.9%). That number of losses is plausible for an aggressive tank attack against a near-peer. The Israelis, after all, suffered higher tank losses in 1967, and the Russians are advancing 43% faster. If we look to history, this would suggest Russian loss of life would be somewhere around 0.1% to 0.5%, or 234 to 1170 dead.
Russia has said very little about kills, but it claims to have destroyed 314 tanks. That would be 36.5% of Ukraine’s tank force. That is a very plausible figure. Remember that Israeli inflicted 46% tank losses in 1967 by the end of the war. Here, the war is still ongoing. Ukraine’s death toll is then somewhere around 6% of its troops, or 7,500 soldiers, putting it very close to the point at which the Arabs routed.
If the above analysis is correct, Russia will have captured all of Ukraine in 41 days. The war will be over around the end of March.
I further note that the 5,300 Russian soldiers reported killed in four days of combat by the Ukrainian defense ministry is not even remotely credible when one considers that 5,732 Russian soldiers were reported killed or missing in 625 days of combat in the Chechen defeat of Russia during the First Chechen War. – VD