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Debalstevo casualties report


Alexey K

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Quite interesting scan of document regarding Ukraninan forces losses in Debaltsevo: http://higgs.rghost.ru/6Fnm8ZvGl/image.png

Alleged source: SBU (Ukranian Security Service).

Disclaimer: Possibly a fake.

 

Figures:

Irrecoverable losses (KIA?) : 3695

Injured: 4262

POW: 183

Tanks lost: 248

AFVs: 278

Artillery: 260

Automobiles: 295

Aircraft: 3

 

 

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Definitely fake or misreporting - 248 tanks is about the entire combat-capable Ukrainian fleet. As far as we know, the Ukrainian mechanized units in the area of Debal'tsevo consisted mostly of 2 battalion tactical groups (from 128th mountain inf. bde and 30th mech. bde). Each mech BTG typically includes 10-15 MBTs (depending on the technical condition of the vehicles). There were also a couple handfuls of vehicles from 1st and 17th tank bdes, reinforcing various motorized airmobile and territorial defense units. After the encirclement was completed, the last reserves, consisting of another mech BTG of 30th mech. bde and company-sized force of 17th tank bde, attempted a partially successful de-blocking action. It should be noted that the 17th tk bde's company had been equipped with newly restored T-64BVs from long-term storage, and about half of these vehicles very soon broke down and had to be towed to the rear by the still operational ones (so it probably did not participate in the battle for long). Therefore the total number of Ukrainian MBTs in the combat area for the fighting period was probably no greater than 60-70 vehicles.

Out of this number, by Lost Armour's count, 20-24 were confirmed destroyed (location uncertain for 4, might be another section of the frontline) and 25 captured by militia (majority of them abandoned without significant damage - probably due to mechanical problems). Similar proportions are present for other AFVs (126 Ukrainian BMPs and BTRs lost during period of Jan. 1st - Mar. 7th 2015). Personnel losses are harder to verify, but the more reliable figures that I have seen are in the area of 1200-1500 Ukrainian KIA/MIA (with ~800-1000 for militia).

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On top of what Krasno already pointed out, are you going to have me believe that there were 3695 KIA and only 4262 WIA? That is some bull **** if I have seen it. These Pro-Russians must be scoring a hell of a lot of headshots and they must have some of the best artilleryman and mortarman in the world if they have almost as much KIA as WIA. I don't think I have ever seen a battle in world history where KIA was almost proportional to WIA. It is usually KIA is much lower than WIA because, well, humans are hard to ****ing kill sometimes.

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the KIA count might not be referring only to combat deaths - in fact he says irrecoverable losses. Might include all the personnel who got discharged as a result of wounds or sickness, while the WIA count should refer to personnel that has been treated by military hospitals and put back into service, regardless of where or in which unit.

 

Could be an interpretation, although I can't be for sure since I didn't read any document in regard as how the Ukrainian armed forces categorizes this kind of information

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On top of what Krasno already pointed out, are you going to have me believe that there were 3695 KIA and only 4262 WIA? That is some bull **** if I have seen it.

 

Irrecoverable losses doesn't necessarily mean KIA. It also includes wounds so severe as to preclude additional service.

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I think Little Big Horn might be one where it was mostly KIA...generalizations are usually easy to counter, generally.

 

The Battle of Cannae on 2 August 216 BC resulted in 70.000 out of 80.000 Romans KIA, 10.000 POWs. During the Battle of Carrhae on May 6 53 BC 30.000 of 52.000 Romans died.

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The battles of antiquity are not a good model for modern fighting.

 

Given the separatist line about the outcome of the battle, they lack the POWs to support a flaming cauldron of doom, but an inflated kill count supports that to a large degree.  Either way that sort of losses is something that the Ukraine couldn't keep under wraps, simply in terms of human mortality.  That's something like 5% of total Ukrainian ground forces KIA/WIA, and 2.5ish Brigades down.  There's reason to have some pretty serious doubts.

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WW2 Pacific front

 

Self inflicted.  You look at where the Japanese losses spike, and it's either in the "Banzai" attacks once the US forces took the decisive upper hand, or suicide in same situation.  Unless the Ukrainians were throwing themselves into separatist machine guns, or cutting themselves open before a painting of the Ukrainian emperor, it's a poor analogy.  

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Definitely fake or misreporting - 248 tanks is about the entire combat-capable Ukrainian fleet. As far as we know, the Ukrainian mechanized units in the area of Debal'tsevo consisted mostly of 2 battalion tactical groups (from 128th mountain inf. bde and 30th mech. bde). Each mech BTG typically includes 10-15 MBTs (depending on the technical condition of the vehicles). There were also a couple handfuls of vehicles from 1st and 17th tank bdes, reinforcing various motorized airmobile and territorial defense units. After the encirclement was completed, the last reserves, consisting of another mech BTG of 30th mech. bde and company-sized force of 17th tank bde, attempted a partially successful de-blocking action. It should be noted that the 17th tk bde's company had been equipped with newly restored T-64BVs from long-term storage, and about half of these vehicles very soon broke down and had to be towed to the rear by the still operational ones (so it probably did not participate in the battle for long). Therefore the total number of Ukrainian MBTs in the combat area for the fighting period was probably no greater than 60-70 vehicles.

Out of this number, by Lost Armour's count, 20-24 were confirmed destroyed (location uncertain for 4, might be another section of the frontline) and 25 captured by militia (majority of them abandoned without significant damage - probably due to mechanical problems). Similar proportions are present for other AFVs (126 Ukrainian BMPs and BTRs lost during period of Jan. 1st - Mar. 7th 2015). Personnel losses are harder to verify, but the more reliable figures that I have seen are in the area of 1200-1500 Ukrainian KIA/MIA (with ~800-1000 for militia).

 

Excellent points tovarish Kransoarmeyets. We really don't know,nor do we have any reliable means to estimate the losses for either side that were inflicted during the winter campaign(s). However, your ball-park estimate seems fairly feasable for the overall casulaty count during the peak of fighting in Jan and Feb of 2015. Although, I believe that those numbers probably apply to all hotspots in Donbass (i.e. Debaltseve, Peski, Avdeivka, Donetsk Airport, Schastye, Metalist, etc); rather than just the Debaltseve offensive.

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The battles of antiquity are not a good model for modern fighting.

 

Given the separatist line about the outcome of the battle, they lack the POWs to support a flaming cauldron of doom, but an inflated kill count supports that to a large degree.  Either way that sort of losses is something that the Ukraine couldn't keep under wraps, simply in terms of human mortality.  That's something like 5% of total Ukrainian ground forces KIA/WIA, and 2.5ish Brigades down.  There's reason to have some pretty serious doubts.

 

Excellent point, the aging Ukrainian population just has not enough man in fighting age to stand such casualties, especially the KIA !

The moral of the population would go downwards really really quick and peace talks would start. The same could be applied in a similar way to the russian side.

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Excellent point, the aging Ukrainian population just has not enough man in fighting age to stand such casualties, especially the KIA !

The moral of the population would go downwards really really quick and peace talks would start. The same could be applied in a similar way to the russian side.

 

While I agree that the numbers listed by OP don't have any credibility behind them, there are some serious issues that prevent the casualty counts in this conflict from being more transparent... The Ukrainian forces are a mix of ZSU (Army), National Guard, Police, and volunteer battalions. All of these formations keep separate casualty counts and in case of some (i.e. volunteer battalions) the casualties are not officially verified (especially considering that there are quite a few foreign nationals fighting there).

 

Now in case of DNR/LNR side, things are even less transparent; as you have higher rate of foreign nationals (who don't have to be reported), Russian regulars (who are not reported due to OPSEC), and irregular formations that are not accounted for in any centralized casualty figures.

On top of that, there is a very large number of MIAs (around 1,000) reported by each side, some of them are probably WIA or deserters; but many are unfortunately no longer with us.  What’s worse is that many (if not most) soldiers on both sides are from small rural areas (villages), where the impact of high casualty numbers is nullified due to small size and large distance between the locales where the recruits come from.

 

Those are some of the issues that make realistic casualty tracking  be an absolute nightmare in this conflict; and that’s why the best we can do is operate with the ball-park figures based on video/photographic evidence and very limited objective news coverage.

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The "report" is fairly typical of what I've seen in the past. Figures that are utterly unbelievable released purely for propaganda purposes, not as part of a serious and unbiased attempt to figure out what the losses really were. It should not be discussed in serious terms because it was not arrived at seriously.

Another complicating factor is that battles like Debaltseve and the Donetsk airport went on for months with many units rotating in and out. That presents problems all on its own. It also makes figuring out the casualties from specific phases of the battle is even more difficult since samplings may not be indicative of any other time in the longer battle.

Further complicating things is defining the scope of the battle. When one talks about the battle for Debaltseve, is one talking about just the salient or the battles going on at the "shoulders"? If one is counting the "shoulders", at what point does one draw a line and say "everything from here over is part of a different battle". It's always a tricky thing to do.

Lastly, one must be very careful to compare apples to apples. If one wants to look at the total casualties for the entire battle of Debaltseve, then you have to make sure that you define a timeframe and geographical boundaries, then make sure all the information needed within that definition is accounted for and anything outside of the definition isn't.

As a rule, WIA figures include everything from a wound significant enough for disruption of duty (even if for a few hours)all the way to something that requires discharge from military service. The latter is never included in KIA because the "K" part does mean Killed. As much as a soldier with no limbs is "combat ineffective", he is not dead and therefore was not "Killed".

There is a category of "died of wounds". Meaning, they didn't die while in combat, but wounded and then later died. Generally speaking this is noted as a footnote to WIA or KIA figures to make it clear where such deaths are counted. This ensure the figures do not get double counted or not counted at all. If no notations exist, then "died of wounds" should be presumed not accounted for in either WIA or KIA figures. At least that's my personal take on it.

A similar notation is sometimes made to account for non-combat related deaths. For example, in Iraq and Afghanistan there were months when the casualties were almost all not related to hostile fire (helicopter crash due to mechanical failure, for example). These are technically not KIA because they were not killed by enemy fire, but they were in theater and they did die so they do need to be accounted for as part of that specific military operation.

Steve

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Not trying to derail this very interesting discussion but wanted to reply to my getting quoted.

Self inflicted.  You look at where the Japanese losses spike, and it's either in the "Banzai" attacks once the US forces took the decisive upper hand, or suicide in same situation.  Unless the Ukrainians were throwing themselves into separatist machine guns, or cutting themselves open before a painting of the Ukrainian emperor, it's a poor analogy.  

I wasn't trying to make any kind of analogy, I just noticed we seemed to be kind of listing high percentage KIA battles, and I thought those ones were kind of glaringly missing.   My granddad led a Company on some of those islands and I think its good for us not to forget how crazy that war was.   But your right that its not really relevant to the discussion at hand so carry on ;)

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