Artillery types

Ukraine loses its artillery, 200 dead a day, desertions increase

The war in Ukraine certainly exceeded everyone’s expectations, with the Ukrainian Armed Forces repelling the initial Russian advance towards Kyiv and repelling significant thrusts by Russian forces to the east. However, it seems that the protracted war is weighing heavily on Ukrainian troops. They suffer massive casualties of 200 dead per day, and morale drops after being outgunned in terms of artillery and ammunition.

Western intelligence obtained by The Independent says the situation in eastern Ukraine has worsened for Ukrainians. These sources indicate that the Ukrainian forces are suffering 100 casualties per day due to the new conditions of the war, focusing mainly on artillery bombardment and slow advances.

Intel suggests the Ukrainians are struggling to come up with a response to the Russian bombardment as they are outgunned by 20 to 1 in artillery and 40 to 1 in ammunition. Additionally, Ukrainian artillery has a range of about 15.5 miles, while Russian artillery can attack them from 12 times that distance. Russian forces have a huge range advantage in terms of artillery fire, with the Ukrainians finding it difficult to get within range as they can lose their artillery guns with more soldiers moving into positions shooting.

Also, Intel’s report indicates that the Ukrainians are almost completely out of missiles for their Smerch MLRS and Uragan MLRS. These weapon systems have a range of up to 50 miles. Their 152mm and 155mm caliber artillery can only reach 15.5 miles. By comparison, Russian forces have missiles that can hit them from 186 miles away through the use of Iskander ballistic missiles, as well as their own Smerch MLRS, Tochka-U, both of which have a range of up to 50 miles, and their Uragan MLRS.

“We lose 60 to 100 soldiers per day killed in action and around 500 people injured in action. So we maintain our defensive perimeters,” Zelensky said two weeks ago.

Thus, if they consistently lost 60-100 men a day at the 100-day-of-war mark, that would bring their death toll to 6,000-10,000. Also, if one followed the conventional ratio of 2-4 wounded soldiers for every 1 dead soldier, the number of incapacitated soldiers would be around 20,000 to 40,000. This is not a small number, but it is certainly much less than the estimated number of casualties on the Russian side.

That number killed each day has since risen, with Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak saying they were losing more than 200 men a day due to continued and intensified Russian bombardment.

“Our artillery requests are not just a kind of whim…but an objective need regarding the situation on the battlefield,” Podolyak said.

He also reiterated that they needed more artillery to push back the Russians. This is compounded by a statement from Ukraine’s deputy military intelligence chief, Vadym Skibitsky, who said the invasion was now an “artillery war” and that they were losing “in terms of artillery”.

Read more : Russian forces destroy escape route from last bridge in Severodonetsk

“It all depends now on what [the west] gives us,” Skibitsky said. “Ukraine has one artillery piece against 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces. Our Western partners gave us about 10% of what they had.

“We have almost exhausted all our [artillery] ammunition and now use standard NATO 155 caliber shells,” adding that 5,000 to 6,000 artillery shells per day were used in daily combat.

However, the situation appears to be one of constant oscillation between Ukrainian and Russian forces to the east, with the Russians advancing into new areas with the Ukrainians counterattacking afterwards to reclaim their territory. The protracted conflict has now taken its toll on Ukrainian forces, who were widely considered to be the most motivated troops between the two.

An M777 howitzer destroyed by the United States in Ukraine (Matthew Luxmoore).  Source: https://twitter.com/mjluxmoore/status/1535542761407057920
An M777 howitzer destroyed by the United States in Ukraine (Matthew Luxmoore/Twitter)

Artillery barrages are probably the most demoralizing weapon of war. Personal accounts of soldiers written almost since the invention of the cannon repeatedly say that their worst experience on the battlefield is being under the relentless pounding of artillery day and night. Seeing their comrades being blown up by artillery fire can have a serious demoralizing effect on the psyche of soldiers, leading to a growing problem of desertion every week for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Ukraine probably has a qualitative advantage over Russia in terms of the type of artillery it uses, its method of employment and the quality of the troops using the guns, but these advantages can be virtually wiped out by an enemy. with a 10-15 to 1 advantage in arms deployed against you.

The loss of Mariupol and the soldiers defending the Azovstal Ironworks held captive by Russian forces may also have contributed to the loss of Ukrainian fighting spirit. According to Intel, Ukraine has only some 550 Russian prisoners of war after exchanges with the Kremlin. By comparison, Russia has some 5,600 soldiers held captive, including 2,500 members of the Azov Regiment and the 36th Marine Brigade. These troops are hailed as heroes in Ukraine, often hailed as symbols of Ukraine’s will to defend its country. These soldiers face trial on false charges against them, with the Russian government calling them neo-Nazis who massacred civilians in Donbass.

A few days ago, SOFREP reported that British fighters Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were sentenced to death along with Moroccan fighter Saaudun Brahim. Aslin and Pinner, originally from the UK, have served in the Ukrainian Armed Forces since emigrating to Ukraine after marrying Ukrainian nationals. Both men would have been part of the 36th Marine Brigade. The trial and persecution of these men may also have affected the morale of Ukrainian troops, as more and more war crimes trials are being conducted by both sides.

As a result, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on Russia to release prisoners captured in Mariupol because the Russian government “is not to be trusted”, insinuating that the trials could be sham, as Western government officials believe. . Currently, some 1,000 soldiers from Mariupol have been transferred to mainland Russia for investigation, with the majority facing war crimes trials.