A huge loss in just 8 weeks and severely draining your resources

Russia has already lost more than 500 tanks in Ukraine: this affects its military forces

One of the most repeated comments by Russia’s defenders upon learning of the losses it is suffering in Ukraine is that they are insignificant.

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The loss of 506 Russian tanks in 8 weeks in Ukraine has already been documented

When it comes to tanks, there are many commentators who say, rather lightly, that Russia has many thousands of tanks and therefore the losses it suffers in the Ukraine are not that important. Well, according to Oryxspioenkop.com, which has been documenting and accounting for material losses on both sides since the beginning of the invasion, Russia has already lost 506 tanks in Ukraine. The most affected model is the T-72B, with 98 units lost, followed by the T-72B3 Obr. 2016 (85), the T-72B3 (78), and the T-80U (63). Russia has even lost 17 units of the most modern T-90A.

Russia is already turning to many obsolete tanks

What these figures reveal, first of all, is that Russia is sending Ukraine many rather outdated and ill-prepared tanks to deal with the latest anti-tank weapons. Russia has tried to make up for this with the famous anti-missile protection on its tanks, but judging by the results they have been useless. The pathetic protections of the T-72B3 and T-80 have also been exposed, with bags filled with what look like egg cartons to try to stop the most modern anti-tank missiles with compacted sand. That gives a sad image of the Russian Army.

An interesting analysis on the real numbers of operational Russian tanks

But to what extent can these losses be important for Russia? This Monday, a Twitter user, @partizan_oleg, published an interesting thread analyzing with data to what extent these losses affect the Russian Army. Many, including a certain “evidence-based only” sources would argue that the Russian Federation is operating some 10,000 tanks so 467 is “but a scratch”. Which is certainly not true.” he notes. “Their mistake is that the bulk of these “10,000 tanks” are not in a status that can be operated by the Russian troops. There are just not enough units to operate them.

That user divides the Russian Army’s tank inventory into four categories:

  1. “Operated in standing army, manned by contracted soldiers.”
  2. “Operated in standing army, manned by conscripts.”
  3. Storaged in Weapons and Equipment Storage Bases, to become brigades when mobilized.”
  4. Storaged in Central Base for the Storage of Armored Vehicles, to become replacement pieces when mobilized.”

Russia could have involved in the invasion of Ukraine about 1,400 tanks

Only the first two categories are among the forces that Russia can use without resorting to large-scale mobilization. But how many tanks do those two categories have? The user @partizan_oleg points out that Russia has a permanent army of some 250,000 soldiers and 2,609 tanks, according to its Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE), data collected on a Russian blog. On this basis, the aforementioned user points out that Russia would have involved 80% of its available forces in the invasion of Ukraine, which implies some 2,080 tanks.

However, @partizan_oleg clarifies that Russian formations maintained a high percentage of conscripts (may vary between units). Therefore, due to the inability to deploy conscript abroad, an RU brigade/regiment would usually deploy ONE/TWO instead of THREE BTGs into the battle.” That would reduce the number of Russian tanks deployed in Ukraine to 1,400, so those 506 lost tanks would be 36% of the Russian armored fleet in Ukraine. This is not an insignificant loss, but a huge one.

The Russians are losing more tanks than their industry can replace

Could Russia make up for these losses by building more tanks? The aforementioned analysis indicates that the industry provides about 200 tanks a year to the Russian Armed Forces, while they are losing about 300 tanks a month. Russia has more losses than its industry can replace. To this must be added the training of the crews. “The immediate replacement for the front are the active service tanks manned by conscripts. On paper we have some 750”, @partizan_oleg points out. Taking into account that the number of operational tanks is not 100%, but around 90%, the losses that Russia can cover rise to 472 tanks. “That indicates the Russian Army will soon (if not already!) start to face a shortage of tanks in the front,” the aforementioned analysis said.

Russian tank storage bases and their drawbacks

The problem is aggravated considering that Russia has 9 arms and equipment storage bases, but 7 of them are in the Far East.They are to be mobilized into motor rifle brigades with reserve personnel in 3-6 months,” the aforementioned analysis says, adding that it would take 2 to 3 months to reactivate and move these tanks. But in doing so, Russia risks leaving its eastern borders unprotected. The analysis adds that the rest of the 10,000 tanks army” is in the “Central Armored Tank Storage Bases”, but these bases have even more obsolete models, such as the T-62, ill-suited for modern warfare.

Las pérdidas porcentuales de tanques rusos por cada modelo

The analysis adds: “There are signs that basically all modern Russian tanks have been put into active service. The newly expanded 90th Guards Tank Division in Brovary were using Cold War-era T-72A/AVs (produced in 1981-84).” Based on the figures available this Monday, the analysis puts the Russian losses as follows:

  • 9.6% of its T-90A fleet.
  • 14.3% of its fleet is T-72B3/B3M.
  • 32.3% of its T-80U fleet.
  • 29.6% of its fleet of T-80BVMs.

In a word: the loss of Russian tanks in Ukraine is terrible. It is not sustainable or compensable. There will soon be a shortage of modern tanks among the Russian ranks, and it will definitely hamper further Russian (offensive) operations,” that analysis notes.

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