24 Mar 2022

Will Russia Run Out of Tanks and Soldiers?


Brian Wang puts the situation into perspective.

There are estimates that Russia has lost 40,000 soldiers (killed or wounded) out of 190,000 after the first three weeks of the Russia-Ukraine war. Russia has 900,000 in the military but this includes Navy and Air Force. Russia has about 250,000-300,000 in the Army. Russia has 2 million in reserve but those are mostly x-conscripts and 14 million men of military age (18-30).

Independent UK and many other sources cite a senior NATO official estimate of up to 40000 Russian Casualties.

NATO and US estimates of 7000 to 15000 Russian war dead. (via AP).

According to Oryx, as of March 23, 2022, Russia has lost somewhere in the region of 279 tanks, of which 116 have been destroyed, 4 damaged, 41 abandoned. Some 118 have been captured. (via interesting engineering and other sources.

Putting more untrained people into this conflict will just get most of them killed. One of the Russian problems is the poor training of its military. The other aspect is that the death and wounded rates could go up if Russia commits to major urban warfare. If the supply line situation is as bad as some reports indicate then the 70,000 soldiers in the north could run out of ammo and food and collapse. This would mean a lot killed, wounded and captured.

Russia started the war with 1200 Tanks committed to the conflict. Russia had about 2800 active tanks. They had about 10,000 Soviet-era tanks in storage. Those tanks in storage were not modernized and are even more crappy that what Russia has been losing. Russia has lost 270-500 tanks already. All of Russia’s tanks are vulnerable to Javelin missiles. There are 17000 Javelin missiles in the Ukrainian army now.

Russia has lost 100 planes and Russian pilots are flying very defensively. They are trying to avoid getting shotdown instead of focusing on military objectives.

Putin/Russia should already cut a peace deal and withdraw. Losing the northern Army (70,000) would be an even greater catastrophe. Going into Kyiv or any other major city in urban combat would also ratchet up the losses.

It took Russia twenty years to make 2800 modern tanks.

The current pace of losses cannot be sustained for more than two more months. Four more weeks of losses at this pace is devastating as half of the soldiers they went in with would be injured or dead. Russia is already digging into defensive positions. Unless there is a significant improvement in strategy and tactics there is no way that even with 50,000 or 100,000 new conscripts or other force replacements would a second offensive be effective in taking Kyiv or other major Ukrainian cities.

It is even difficult to see how Putin/Russia could sustain a campaign with annual losses like the first month of this war.


6 Feedbacks on "Will Russia Run Out of Tanks and Soldiers?"


There is a lesson here for all armies. In this battle we are seeing the effectiveness of modern weapons against old armor and artillery. Tanks are targets now more than they are weapons. Imagine this same battle with U.S. soldiers who are highly trained in using the anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. Never mind that air superiority would crush the tanks and missile batteries in 24-48 hours.

There is a related lesson for the navy. Every navy ship is a target just like the tanks, in fact it is far worse. You can fire on a ship 500 miles away with a missile and the ship won’t detect it until it is seconds away and there is no “good” defense to them. They have a defense; the phalanx but it depends on detecting the missile and if it is coming in 6 feet above the waves they won’t see it until 5 seconds before it hits and they only need one hit to take out any ship in the fleet.

This is why any war between any of the nuclear armed countries will devolve into nuclear war almost immediately.

Dan Kurt

If I am correct, Russia will win this war and set up a puppet Ukraine that is essentially a neutral state. Please remember to comment should this happen so as to give reasons for your believing that Russia should lose decisively.

Dan Kurt


Were Russia to win, Putin would, at the very least, turn Ukraine into a puppet state.


I doubt Putin will stop unless someone stops him personally, or he gets his objectives, or he has no army available to press on.

If I were in charge, I would make an offer to Putin:

“I get it, you are worried about your border security with NATO. How about a neutral Ukraine, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland? These are your
border states. They will be neutral, BUT armed to the teeth. They will sign a non-aggression pact with you BUT you will risk losing Kaliningrad if you so much as meddle with any of them. You will have to give up Crimea and the Donbas region; get your people out of both areas. But you will be able to claim a victory with this treaty. And, who knows, maybe Sweden will join in too, and you have wanted both Sweden and Finland to stay neutral and not join NATO.”

Of course Finland, Poland, and the Baltic States would have to agree and I’m not sure they would, but it’s worth a try. Not if NATO signs a treaty guaranteeing support (including boots on the ground) if Russia should try anything.

Not sure if I would like to be caught between the Axis of Evil and the Axis of Stupid (take your pick as to which is which), but it’s worth a try.

P.S. I know Putin has other gripes beside border security with NATO, but this is a start.

bob sykes

Wang is delusional, and his claims of huge Russian losses are patently absurd.

Russia claims as of March 25, 2022, 1,351 servicemen were killed, 3,825 were injured. Those are credible numbers.


So, in other words, Russian casualties in 4 weeks of war in Ukraine equalled what they lost in 4 days taking just the Reichstag building in 1945.


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