Russian troops’ ammunition consumption rates during the assault on Bakhmut

How does Wagner PMC advance? Russian troops’ ammunition consumption rates during the assault on Bakhmut

The owner of Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin has published a unique document today - a request for ammunition of all calibers the Russian group needs to capture Bakhmut. It contains the handwritten numbers of actual ammunition supplies not only for Wagner group, but also for the forces attached to it. A fierce political struggle between Prigozhin and Defense Minister Shoigu contributes to the leaking of valuable information that is very important for our defense planning. 

Prigozhin leaked classified information in response to the RF Ministry of Defense’s statement dated February 21:

"Over the period of two days from February 18 to February 20, 2023, the volunteers of the assault detachments were supplied with:

1,660 multiple launch rocket system rounds; 10,171 units of ammunition for large-caliber cannon artillery and mortars; 980 units of tank ammunition.

In the next few days, all requests for ammunition submitted by the assault units in February will be fully met. On February 25, deliveries of ammunition of the entire range will begin in accordance with the submitted request for March. In total, over the past year, the needs of assault detachments for ammunition were met by 140 percent of the requests received. This is our priority."

Wagner's request indicates that 70% of the ammunition should be delivered to them, and the other part to the attached units subordinated to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. According to our information, together with Wagner group, three regiments of airborne troops of the Russian Armed Forces and one of the brigades of the 1st Army Corps are participating in the assault on Bakhmut.

Item 1 in the request is, obviously, 152 mm shells for howitzers Msta, Akatsia, D-20, D-1 (the main caliber of Russian heavy artillery). 10,566 shells of 152 mm caliber per day. Prigozhin notes that he is provided with 3,600 such shells per day. In fact, 3,600 shells a day for such a small front as Bakhmut is a very large number. Because due to correction from the drone, all these shells are used on targets with high accuracy, 3,600 shells are enough to reliably hit more than 100 targets per day.

The other items are not deciphered, but we know what Wagner is armed with and can roughly estimate the number of large-caliber ammunition, which apparently makes up the bulk of the request.

Wagner group also uses 152 mm Giatsint guns, 220 mm Uragan MRLS, 122 mm Grad MRLS, 125 mm tank shells, 122 mm Gvozdika and D-30 howitzers, 120 mm mortars. The range of ammunition also includes 82 mm caliber ammunition, Kornet, Fagot, Metis anti-tank missiles, etc. In total, according to the daily request, Wagner aims to receive 37,387 shells, mines and missiles per day.

If we count it up according to the handwritten note as for February 18-20, the Russians can spend about 50% less ammunition, in particular, about 35% of demand for 152 mm shells (Item 1).

Nevertheless, it becomes clear why Wagner can advance - they spend up to 40 thousand ammunition of all types per day, excluding infantry weapons - obviously, judging by the numbers, this table does not include ammunition for automatic easel and under-barrel grenade launchers, and small arms.

Even now, given the limited supplies (according to Prigozhin), they can spend about 20,000 rounds of ammunition per day. Is it a lot or a little?

Suffice it to say that Wagner's rate of consumption of 152 mm shells per day means that for a year of hostilities they want to fire more than 3.5 million 152 mm shells, and if we take the seemingly small, in Prigozhin's opinion, consumption of 3,600 shells per day, then the consumption is 1.3 million 152 mm shells per year. This is without taking into account other powerful ammunition (152, 122, 120, 220 mm shells), which Wagner also uses in significant quantities.

For comparison, the USA supplied Ukraine with about 1 million 155 mm shells for the entire front in 2022. That is, the minimum consumption of 155 mm shells by Wagner PMC for the year exceeds the annual volume of supplies of 155 mm shells for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

My conclusions:

1. The Ukrainian army demonstrates high endurance and resilience near Bakhmut, because it fights in the conditions of the Russians’ multiple superiority in ammunition. This is done thanks to the high motivation and self-sacrifice of our people.

2. It is important to systematically improve counter-battery combat, the search for and destruction of enemy ammunition delivery routes. Wagner PMC receives a daily delivery of a significant number of shells of many types, which means that their routes can be figured out and tracked. Only reconnaissance and high-precision weapons can deal with this number.

3. The Supreme Commander-in-Chief and the Minister of Ukraine should finally pay attention to the fact that a sufficient number of construction and engineering equipment from the civilian sector is not being supplied to the arm. The required amount of construction materials for fortifying our positions is not being supplied either. Lack of attention to engineering support leads to significant losses of our people.

4. High-quality equipping of front and rear positions, deployment of combat formations in two echelons, in order to carry out constant rotations of troops, which are quickly exhausted under constant fire and in contact battles, are also of great importance.

5. There is a need for a sharp increase in camouflage equipment and the creation of special camouflage units to arrange models of equipment, false targets and false positions, to divert the enemy's ammunition.

6. The main danger in shelling arises from the enemy's correction from drones of all types, reducing the effectiveness of artillery can be ensured through the destruction of medium-range drones of the Orlan and Eleron types, and through providing the troops with means of radio-electronic warfare - hand-held short-range and dome ones.

7. Ukraine and NATO countries should figure out a production program that would allow for a sharp increase in the supply of shells to Ukraine, because without an increase in the supply of shells, hostilities are accompanied by large losses of people.

Ukraine Front Lines


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