Comparative ammunition expenditures

Well this is interesting. The graphic in quoted tweet is from telegram account #UAWarInfoGraphics . It looks like they take #OSINTguild224 analysis (ex: my chart below) turn into a good infographic and post on Telegram. Shout out to @rshereme for amp’ing it. 

You’ll note that I projected that AFU would overtake the Russians in shell fire per day in 4Q23 (now). Is that occurring? Anyone in #OSINTguild224 – or anyone else – have recent shells fired per game data? I would like to update the chart.

As an aside, the reported shipping of ~100k shells from Putin’s bestie in NK will not likely have significant impact: it’s got to get to the front through Russian’s crappy logistics network and also needs to be actually usable. Assuming that, its a few week supply. Hopefully Ukrainian partisans/SoF – or long range strike – will hit it on its way to the front line.

Comment: I’ve seen a number of Russian accounts complaining about their lack of sufficient artillery over this Summer that backs up the above analysis. In addition to the poor Russian logistics system as the “HerrDr8” analyst notes, barrel wear has had a massive effect on the Russian rate of fire. Given the initial fire rates, the Russians must have been going through barrels at an astronomical rate. Overhead imagery of storage lots of self-propelled artillery shows the barrels have been removed from the majority of pieces still in those lots.

Another point touched on by the “HerrDr8” analyst is the Ukrainian success in interdicting the ammunition supply lines. Ukraine has made a concerted effort to reduce the Russian artillery advantage this Summer. Counter-battery artillery and missile strikes and ubiquitous drone strikes have dramatically reduced both the artillery pieces available and the ammunition for those pieces in the last few months. For an artillery-centric army like the Russian Army, this doesn’t bode well for future defensive or offensive operations.


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37 Responses to Comparative ammunition expenditures

  1. voislav says:

    It’s an interesting graph. I’ve seen reports that Russian ammo production is in 2-2.5 million range, which corresponds to 7K per day. So it looks like Russians have depleted the stocks (or decided to preserve the remaining stocks) and cut the ammo usage down to the level supported by current production.

    I also wonder if reduction in Russian artillery usage has to do with adaptations to the new realities of battle. Both sides have massively increased the use of FPV drones and loitering munitions for surveillance, targeting and precision strikes. Russian especially seem to have embraced this and appear to have abandoned heavy artillery barrages and area bombardments that consumed large amounts of ammo.

    I think there is more to it than simple “running out of barrels and ammo”, both armies have gained a lot of combat experience over the last 18 months and are fighting much more efficiently. Russians especially were wasteful with their artillery and ammo early in the war.

  2. leith says:

    100,000 artillery rounds from NorKo isn’t going to last long for Russkie cannon cockers if they are using 7,000/day. But the HerrDr8 analyst says the 7k is only an estimate, and adds “Caution: 1st Ugly Pass at the numbers”.

    Speaking of North Korean aid, I’m betting Putin did not go begging to Kim for just a lowly 100,000 shells. That is undoubtedly just one of many shipments. Most sources say several million, both shells and rockets. Will they send artillery and rocket launchers in addition? Missiles? The bigger question is what does Kim get in return?

    By the way, this may not be something new. A year ago there was reporting that Norko was already providing artillery ammo to Russia.

    • Yeah, Right says:

      It would make sense for the Russians to order a small number to ascertain if the North Koreans can provide shells of sufficient quality to make this worth the Kremlin’s effort.

      If the Norks can – and I assume they can – then more orders will be forthcoming.

      Speaking of North Korean aid, to my mind it makes a great deal of sense for the Russians to ramp up orders for 152mm artillery even if they don’t really need it.

      After all, there is always the possibility that NATO enters the war, in which case the USAF would definitely attack Russian munition factories.

      So having a second source of supply from somewhere that Isn’t In Russia would seem to be a prudent bit of insurance.

  3. Eric Newhill says:

    There’s no evidence to support any of this.

    Ukros are forced to attack the Russia line on foot and in small units.

    The Russians hold the land bridge to Crimea, just like they did a year ago.

    The graph, whatever its value and accuracy (I suspect 0 on both accounts) changes none of the above facts. It may however convince some dummies that they have cover to continue to vote for more money for Ukraine (= more bakshish for oligarchs and government scum voting for the funds).

    • ked says:

      “The Russians hold the land bridge to Crimea, just like they did a year ago.”

      impressive that after a year & a half of an intense war of conquest initiated by the Russian Empire, it has managed to hold onto a piece of land it occupied prior to its full scale invasion of Ukraine.

      • TTG says:


        I think you’re referring to the Kerch Peninsula and the bridge. The land bridge consists of overland along the north shore of the Azov Sea. Russia now holds that although it is subject to frequent bombardment. Even Crimea isn’t much of a prize anymore. The irrigation canal is gone. The entire Crimea, including the bastion of Sevastopol is under frequent bombardment. The Black Sea port and the Black Sea Fleet have lost their luster. Russia’s hold on Crimea was better prior to their February 2022 invasion.

    • leith says:

      @EricNewhill – “forced to attack … on foot and in small units.”

      Tanks & APC/IFVs are toast now with the advent of UAVs and top-attack ATGMs. Plus the millions of mines placed in front of defensive lines. The Ukrainian generals have learned that. A few Russkie generals have also learned that lesson. During their attacks towards Kupiansk earlier in October they used crews of an elite tank regiment as infantry armed only with AKs. But that seems to be a solitary incident because further south just outside Donetsk City: “Even after several days of constant failures, Russians continue to mindlessly push against the fortress Avdiivka. The burnt out predecessor waves of Russian armored vehicles are literally clogging the pathways so that following vehicles have to push their way through only to get obliterated themselves.”

      Hat tips to ChrisO and Tendar. Similar reports on other OSINT accounts and in the mainstream press:

  4. wiz says:

    Another way to look at these numbers is that the Russian army manages to successfully actively defend and even launch local offensives using only 7k shells per day whereas before they needed 40k.

    • TTG says:


      Ukraine has managed to defend and retake territory with even less than 7k shells per day and with far less troops.

      • wiz says:


        I wasn’t comparing Russia to Ukraine but rather the current iteration of the Russian military to the one from a year ago.
        According to the chart you presented, this one manages to get by using much less artillery ammo.

        If you want to include Ukraine into the mix, then it looks even better since Ukraine is now better armed (777, HIMARS, Ceasar, PzH2000, Archer, counter battery, drones etc etc), much more experienced and more numerous than it was 16-18 months ago.

        • TTG says:


          True. The Russians are learning a hell of a lot about waging modern warfare, even if it is through tough and costly lessons. In years to come, the Russian Army will be much improved and far wiser than it was back in February 2022. It would behoove us to study those lessons intensely without the bloody and destructive costs.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      Another interpretation is that there are few Ukro targets left for the Russians to shoot arty at given that Ukro armor has been depleted and Ukros are attacking in small infantry formations that can be wiped out by mines and MG fire + mortars

      Land bridge = the military approach from Ukraine to Crimea. It was always about Crimea. The US has been wailing and gnashing teeth over Crimea since the Russians re-claimed it.

      • TTG says:

        Eric Newhill,

        Ukraine has more tanks, artillery and units now than when the invasion started. There is no lack of targets for Russian artillery, just a growing lack of working Russian artillery.

        • Christian J Chuba says:

          I bet you do not put much stock in Russian MoD reports but I’ve noticed that the number of claimed Ukrainian tank losses has been trending down sharply. This implies that Ukraine is using less tanks and I conclude, that it is because they have less tanks. I did not notice a drop in other categories.

          I have not done a study of MoD reports over time but the declining number of tanks being reported caught my eye.

          • TTG says:

            Christian J Chuba,

            The early days of the Ukrainian counteroffensive saw a number of tanks and IFVs being taken out of action and destroyed. That’s when Ukraine tried the US style combined arms mobile thrust. It didn’t work. Now they’re using small infantry assault groups supported by a few tanks and IFVs. These tactics save infantry and armored vehicles. The Russians are also becoming better at using drones. Another reason for keeping massed armored vehicles off the battlefield.

  5. F&L says:

    Holy cowpastures TTG and guys everywhere .. I would expect this has strategic and military implications ⬇️

    Fun Gals are evolving!

    Fungal evolution discovered: Mycena can now invade living hosts
    Biologists have long known mushrooms of the genus Mycena, commonly known as bonnet mushrooms, as fungi that live off of dead trees and plants. New research from the University of Copenhagen demonstrates that bonnets can also find their ways into young, healthy trees and plants, where they try to cooperate. In doing so, they have made an evolutionary leap which challenges our understanding of the ecological roles of fungi.
    Read in

    • TTG says:


      It’s only news that this particular fungus is evolving to live off a living host. There are lost of fungi that invade living hosts. I remember those extremely tough mushrooms growing off very healthy white birch trees. Totally inedible, but interesting and all over my local forest as I was growing up. Then think of all the fungal infections us humans are susceptible to. Here’s a new one.

      “Candida Auris is a dangerous and sometimes lethal drug resistant fungus infection that is spreading across Southern Nevada. The CDC just warned that the fungus also poses a threat nationwide. “

    • Mark Logan says:


      A living symbiosis between plants and fungi is considered key to the very earliest land plants. The earliest fossilized plants show the roots of fungi intertwined within. Seems creating the soils we take utterly for granted was an extremely long process and very much a team effort.,the%20oldest%20known%20lineage%20of

      • TTG says:

        Mark Logan,

        True. Healthy soil require all manner of fungi and bacteria. When I moved into my newly built house, I moved countless wheelbarrows of forest soil onto my flower beds to get the soil going. I’m glad i did that while I was younger.

        • Mark Logan says:


          I’ve wondered if the deep symbiotic links between earth’s plants and fungi, microbes, et al established through millions of years might mean that colonization of other planets is even feasible. Doesn’t matter how chemically fertile an alien soil might be it won’t have the things an earth plant needs to access those chemicals. Certainly, if we are being observed, they have shown no interest in invasion or even short term habitation of this planet. Or so I assume…

          • TTG says:

            Mark Logan,

            We also can grow plants without soil through hydroponics. Don’t know about doing that at scale. If we introduce Fungi and microbes into an other world environment, who knows what we’ll end up with, probably something out of our control.

  6. Christian J Chuba says:

    I agree w/voislav, that is Russia’s sustainable budget. Ukraine will see a big drop after they burn through the inventory of cluster shells we sent them.

    Efficiency is going to be the key for everyone.
    Can a standard sized 155 (or 152) mm shells be modified to become more like a glide bomb? It would need fins, or something like it to allow guidance. It would also need to be drone guidable. I see big advantages to this approach, 1. you can hit a moving targets (like a tank), and 2. gain protection against counter-battery fire since the course of the shell will now be quite different from the traditional rifled barrel.

    Today’s drone aimed artillery is great for stationery targets such as tanks disabled in a minefield but will always be less efficient against moving targets.

    • TTG says:

      Christian J Chuba,

      You’re describing the Copperhead artillery round that was guided to target by a laser designator, originally carried by an Aquila drone. This was developed in the 70s. I know the Lebanese Army used them successfully against ISIS back in 2017 including against moving technicals.

      • Christian J Chuba says:

        Thx, just looked up Russia’s version, Krasnopol,
        And it looks like Russia has a renewed interest in improving and increasing its production. It can use the same barrels as conventional rounds on some of their artillery systems. That’s a big plus.

        I can see its usage increase but never replace conventional shells. The older shells are fine for stationary targets and a fallback when lack of visibility is an issue. Drone spotting is the big new change on the battlefield.

        In short, ‘work smarter not harder.’ Looking forward to the day when the daily shell count goes to 0 for both sides.

    • voislav says:

      Some versions of the Excalibur 155 mm round have guidance capability, so it’s quite possible that they are in use in Ukraine. The cost of these is high though, $50-100K per round, so approaching the cost of HIMARS munitions (likely around $100K).

  7. F&L says:

    Different region – Nesmiyan 10 minutes ago. No sources. I’m drawing a blank myself about how SFs might rescue hostages except in the movies or on TV. So the respective governments can say they tried and not get voted out?
    Special forces from different countries are converging on the Middle East region. Apparently, we are talking about the release of hostages from these countries. However, given the specifics of the work of such units, it is unlikely to be public. We learn about some things, but we never know about others. Especially in case of failure. But the trend is this: there are quite a lot of reports about the arrival of special forces.
    Most likely, they will try to free the hostages before the start of the Israeli army’s ground operation, simply because then all hell will break loose.

  8. Mark Logan says:

    Reminds of Arty Green’s prediction a couple months ago in which he stated with confidence that the Russians had only a couple more months before they would face significant problems. He has said he began as a Russian artillery officer so he might have some real insights.

    Being low on ammo and winning are two different things though. We will know if it’s significant if the Ukrainians are able to gain significant chunks of territory, I suppose.

  9. drifter says:

    So the Russians are really losing now.

  10. Yeah, Right says:

    Another way to look at this is that the Russians are planning to go onto the offensive, and so they are husbanding their stockpile of 152mm ammo so they can go all ape-shit crazy on the Ukrainian front lines when the time comes.

    But I’m… dubious…. about those Ukrainian figures, since I seem to remember that the Ukrainians eased up on their artillery barrages prior to the Great Summer Counter-Offensive. But the numbers don’t support that.

    Maybe I am just having a seniors-moment.

    • TTG says:

      Yeah, Right,

      They recently launched their “go for broke” Andriivka offensive. We’ll see if they were saving up for that. So far ammo expenditure rates haven’t come close to the Bakhmut rates.

      According to the chart, the Ukrainians did ease up prior to the counteroffensive. Don’t know if that was planned or due to a genuine shortage of ammo.

      • Yeah, Right says:

        But are they “going for broke” in Andriivka, or are they simply taking advantage of an opportunity that presented itself?

        Perhaps “go for broke” means something different where you live, but to me the Russians don’t appear to be putting all their ambitions on that one town.

  11. babelthuap says:

    I feel bad for anyone that got consumed with Ukraine victory. It is over. Let it go. Move on. The country is destroyed. They spend most of their effort bombing their own country and dying in the thousands bombing it.

    Imagine bombing your own state, dying in the thousands and thinking you are winning. You are not winning. You are losing and losing a war of attrition. Snap out of it. End it now or do not. You will cease to exist pushing. Less bodies. You lose. Not any harder than that. FYI I hate Russia but I live in reality and accept it. I do not live in fantasy land of masks, vaccines and boosters working. If you live in that world then God help you.

    • TTG says:


      Of course the Ukrainians are bombing their own land. That’s where the Russian invaders are. You think the only wars worth fighting are expeditionary wars far from one’s borders? I think just the opposite. Defensive wars to defeat an invader are necessary and just.

    • Al says:

      Imagine letting invaders take over your own country!

  12. Another Russia is losing and Ukes winning post.

    Waiting for the Ukes will take Moscow by Christmas post.

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