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PostUkraine's Current Advantage in Manpower (Cameron Sawyer, USA, 08/02/22 4:54 am)
JE commented: "One disturbing statistic for those of us who still sympathize with the Ukrainian side: the reported 3:1 casualty rate suffered by the defenders. This, in brief, cannot be sustained."
It can be sustained, actually, so long as the Russians don't do a bigger mobilization. The Ukrainians at this point have a huge advantage in manpower--about 2.5:1. At 3:1 in casualties, they won't be seriously degraded before the end of the year at least. And we don't even know if it's 3:1, or 5:1, or 1:1, as various sources report--we have to guess at what the correct statistics are. I take the 3:1 figure as most credible, bearing in mind the fact that the Russians are firing about 10x as many artillery shells as the Ukrainians, are not doing much frontal attacking, and remembering that 70% of all WWII casualties were caused by artillery. The Russians are also using the diabolical TOS-1 fuel-air bomb throwing system against Ukrainian trenches, which obliterates large areas with fuel-air explosions (same system as the US MOAB--"mother of all bombs"). The Ukrainians are defending the fortified lines on Donetsk Oblast' they prepared after 2014--that's what the current battle is about. They need to be keeping the Russians back far enough that they can't use these fairly short-range weapons; it's a bad sign that they're not.
Manpower hugely favors the Ukrainians at the moment. What they lack is materiel. The Russians reportedly inherited 150 million rounds of 152mm and 122mm artillery shells, and a similar number of rockets, from the Soviet Army when the USSR collapsed, and retain very large manufacturing capacity.
The Ukrainians can go on for a long time with heavy losses of personnel, but they have almost exhausted their stocks of artillery shells and rocket munitions and are more or less completely dependent on Western aid for these (and everything else). The Russians can go on for a long time firing huge numbers of artillery shells, but can't afford to lose a lot of people. Who will blink first? No one knows. We shall see.
JE comments: Soviet-era artillery shells are at least 30 years old. One wonders how many are duds--or as dangerous to the firers as to the "firees."