The Attrition Factor

The war in Ukraine reminds us of high wastage rates sustained in modern combat, writes Craig Allen

During the Normandy campaign of 1944, British tank commander Stanley Christiansen and his crew of the Sherwood Rangers had several tanks shot from under them in the bitter bocage fighting.

Given the scale of wartime production, the Sherman Mk4s they were equipped with could be rapidly replaced but it underlines the high levels of wastage experienced in combat. During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I witnessed scores of Iraqi tanks and AFVs lying knocked out by the roadside.

Our losses were light in comparison given the dominance of allied air power and superior weaponry and training. When it comes to fighting a peer or nearpeer enemy, however, the situation is very different. So it has proved in the current Russia/Ukraine conflict where the Ukrainians were initially able to inflict significant losses on the attacking Russians.

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