There has been a lot of speculation on the number of casualties suffered by the Russian invaders in their attempt to take over the nation of Ukraine. On Wednesday, we got a look at the official numbers produced by both sides. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed 5,840 Russian casualties while the Russians admitted to 2,095.
⚡️ Russia reports 498 killed, 1,597 wounded in first report of military casualties.— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 2, 2022
According to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, Russia has actually lost approximately 5,840 soldiers.
Even if you are the most committed Putin fluffer getting paid by the hour to plague political blogs and post nonsensical statements about Russia's awesomeness, you have to admit that nearly 2,100 casualties over seven days of a “cakewalk” (to coin a phrase) operation are a lot. That is 300 troops per day (the equivalent of a Russian infantry battalion). When you consider that most of the casualties will come from the front-line troops, and that is especially true in this war as Ukraine has demonstrated an inability to hit Russian rear echelons with anything other than a handful of drones, the loss of a few hundred soldiers can take on immense importance.
Let me take a moment to explain. I commanded an infantry company in a Light Infantry Division (read the history of how we came to be here). The division had a personnel limit of 10,000 soldiers. The division had three infantry brigades consisting of three battalions. These battalions were composed of three infantry companies and a headquarters company. This all means that the division's foxhole strength, the sharp edge of the spear, is 27 rifle companies. Each company had 125 officers, noncommissioned officers, and, dare I say it, men. When a Light Infantry Division deployed, it had 3,375 men on the front line and 6,625 troops supporting, supplying, and commanding them. At the level of wastage the Russians are experiencing in Ukraine, an American Light Infantry division would cease to be combat effective in less than a week. By the way, two days ago, I estimated the Russians would lose at least 100-200 men per day, and I was poked fun at by the pro-Russian trolls that have started infesting our comments list. Right now, I feel pretty good about my estimate.
Let's look at US military performance. The US invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003, and the “official” war closed with the fall of Baghdad (population 7 million versus 3 million in Kiev) on April 9 (according to Google Maps, it is 280 straight-line miles from the Kuwait border to Baghdad and 76 straight-line miles from the Russian border to Kiev). This is a total of 20 days. While I can't find a source to do a day-by-day count of casualties (the graph on page 11 of the link indicates about 30 dead and 130 wounded in March and April combined), the US military suffered from March 2003 through December 2003 468 killed and 2,416 wounded.
There is also a mismatch in the historic relationship one would expect between killed and wounded. It is doubtful that an army with 498 dead has only had 1,600 wounded. That number should be around 2,500 and probably over. UNLESS Russian medical care is so inept that many men who should have survived died.
I would submit that if the Russian casualty list is high enough to admit to over 2,000, the actual number is higher.