Analytica Camillus

Morality in Ruthlessness

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Steeling the Nightingale: A Shopping List For The Ukrainian Army

(Combined Arms Live Fire in Poland, Photo(s) by Jason Johnston)

As anyone not living under a rock is aware, the flames of war are raging in Europe for the first time in 30 years as a revanchist nouveau-imperialist Russia helmed by Vladimir Putin has mounted an invasion upon the sovereign territory of its Ukrainian Slavic kinsmen. As we’re all keen and invested observers, there has been much ado in the West about our ability to provide martial sustenance to our underdog friends who call their capital Kyiv (not Kiev).

Barring the careful exercises in enumeration by open-source analysts such as Ed Nash (for example), Jakub Janovsky, Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans (their data logs can be seen here), popular discourse on arming Ukraine has been embarrassingly divorced from the actual data on military equipment – both of the kit sent to Ukraine, and the status of the stockpiles from which they’re originating. This is disappointing but understandable, given that the profession of arms is inarguably the most complicated and dynamic field of study yet devised by mankind. Nevertheless, if the West is to properly equip Ukraine so it can accomplish its objective of forcing its invaders back to the borders of the Russian Federation, we need to have some rough idea of what we and they are working with.

To that end, this post will discus the vehicular composition of the two kinds of mechanized formations used by the US Army, the nominal armored fighting vehicles and artillery pieces maintained by the Western countries capable or interested in supplying Ukraine, and (hopefully) it will provide adequate suggestions as to what equipment should be provided to Ukraine within the near future (as of July, 2022).

Wither the Great Satan

The Vehicular Composition of the US Army’s Mechanized Formations

The Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT)

(Borrowed from ‘Field Manual 3-96, Brigade Combat Team
‘ by the Department of the Army, pg. 1-16)

I don’t know about you all, but the above image doesn’t really mean all that much to me. I’m fluent in NATO Joint Military Symbology (the technical term for the gibberish above), but the human mind does a poor job of translating symbols into mental images without years of training. Let’s take a moment to break down the important parts of it. Per FM 3-96, the US Army’s Brigade Combat Team Field Manual for January of 2021, a standard ABCT is comprised of 3 combined arms battalions (broken down into a mixture of armored and mechanized companies), an armored cavalry squadron, a self-propelled artillery battalion, an engineer battalion, and supporting elements.

The ABCT is the Army’s standard brigade-level unit for tackling “tough problems”, and they’d presumably be the main maneuver units used to grapple with most conventional threats – be they Iran, Russia or China. Don’t obsess over the details of these units – trust me, you’ll just hurt your brain, and the Army updates these Tables of Organization (TOEs) every 5 years or so anyways, depending on the international strategic environment, changes in procurement, and the whims of whichever generals are in charge of a coterie of institutions at the time.

What you, the reader ‘need’ to know, is that the key component(s) of armored infantry companies and armored cavalry squadrons are M2/M3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) – pictured below.

(3-67 AR Bradley Gunnery, Photo(s) by Sgt. Trenton Lowery)

Armored companies are mainly comprised of M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs) – pictured below.

(Getica Saber 2017 M1 Abrams, Photo(s) by Spc. Kelsey M VanFleet)

And brigade artillery battalions are primarily composed of M109 self propelled howitzers (SPH) – pictured below. The Army currently operates the M109A6 Paladin variant of this long-gun, but it’s in the process of transitioning to the M109A7 Paladin. The two platforms are similar, but (mind-bogglingly), the A7 is mounted on the chassis of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, whereas the A6 is mounted on the chassis of an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) – don’t ask me why they have the same numerical designation.

(M109 Paladin, Photo(s) by Sgt. Thomas Stubblefield)

On a related note, it’s worth pointing out that pretty much all of the US Army’s mechanized vehicles are derivatives of just 4 or 5 different chasses – and have been for over 50 years. Namely, speaking generally, the Abrams, the Bradley, the M113 “family” of vehicles, and the Canadian Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) – which in turn, is derived from the Swiss Mowag Piranha APC. The incestuous nature of US and Western armor has its advantages of course. Most notably, it drastically simplifies the process of maintaining the massive fleet of armored fighting vehicles (AFVs) that the US maintains.

The Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT)

(Borrowed from ‘Field Manual 3-96, Brigade Combat Team
‘ by the Department of the Army, pg. 1-12)

The US’ Stryker Brigade Combat Teams have a similar TOE to their armored kin, with a few key differences that are worth bearing in mind at all times. First and most importantly, they are composed largely of variations of the Stryker AFV (one of the Canadian LAV’s bastard sons) – pictured below. The base US Stryker is an 8×8 APC featuring very light armor and a fairly high on-road top speed – in this analyst’s parlance, it’s what one might call “fast trash.”

The SBCT is composed of 3 battalions of mechanized infantry, a battalion of towed howitzers, a scout squadron, an engineer battalion and supporting elements.

(Mobilizing the Strykers, Photo(s) by Cpl. Tyler Giguere)

I won’t talk about Strykers or SBCTs too much since they’re wholly unsuited for the sort of high-intensity armored combat taking place in the Russo-Ukrainian War, and should not be considered in any potential aid packages destined for Ukraine (despite the claims of its ferocity touted by the soldiers and officers who command them, who notably ‘have not seen high-intensity combat against a peer adversary’).

The Stryker’s armor can be pierced by the weakest guns mounted on the trashiest Russian vehicles as well as even the weakest handheld or man-portable Russian anti-material and anti-tank guns and weapons. Put another way, it’s a $4 million dollar vehicle that’d probably lose a shootout with a $5,000 used pick-up truck rocking a $2,000 KPV heavy machine gun if it’s missing its explosive reactive armor (ERA). As Major James King put it in his article Never Bring a Stryker to a Tank Fight:

“You could put an Abrams main gun on a Stryker and it still wouldn’t change the fact that both the vehicle and the infantry squad sitting in the back are vulnerable to anything bigger than a machine gun.”

ABCT and SBCT’s by the Numbers

A mixture of sources were employed to calculate the tables listed below, with the key ones being; The U.S. Military’s Force Structure: A Primer, written in 2016 by the Congressional Budget Office, as well as its 2021 update; Field Manual 3-96, Brigade Combat Team by the Department of the Army. There are slight differences between the Army’s 2016 and 2021 force structures, but because they’re still transitioning to their 2021 ideal, this analysis made use of the 2016 TOE.

As of the 31st of July, 2022, per IISS’ Military Balance for 2022, the U.S. Army maintains 16 Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCT) and approximately 9 Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCT), including 5 ABCTs and 2 SBCTs in the US Army National Guard. 2 of the Stryker “brigades” are technically organized as “cavalry regiments”, and thus maintain a marginally smaller force structure – but precise data on the number of vehicles in each unit was hard to come by, so for the purposes of this exercise they were counted as standard SBCTs. The Army also maintains dozens of Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs), but since this piece is already getting acronym/numbers heavy and Ukraine (and US police departments for that matter) has no shortage of lightly armored trucks, those weren’t counted.

For the sake of not melting everyone’s brains with numbers and tables I left out most of the counting and math, but my methodology is pretty straightforward. I took the individual vehicles composing each BCT, multiplied them by their number of respective brigades, then added them together in the 4th column. These are roughly the number of vehicles that comprise the mechanized maneuver units of the entire US Army. Vehicles that are most relevant to the US’ ability to assist Ukraine are highlighted in red.

ABCT (Active and NG) x16SBCT x9Total Vehicles
M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank13921392
M2/3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle/ M7 Bradley Fire Support Vehicle21122112
M109A6 Paladin 155 mm Howitzer288288
M992A2 Ammo Support Vehicle288288
M577A1 Command Post Carrier768768
M113A3 Armored Personnel Carrier/ M1064 120 mm Mortar Carrier656656
M113A3 Ambulance512512
M577A1 Medical Treatment Vehicle128128
M1117 Armored Security Vehicle
M88A1 Medium Recovery Vehicle/ M88A2 Improved Recovery Vehicle (Hercules)448448
XM1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle With Mine Plow6464
XM1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle With Blade1616
M9 Armored Combat Earth Mover (ACE)3232
M2/3 Bradley Engineer Vehicle With Trailer144144
M104 Wolverine Heavy Assault Bridge3232
M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier11521152
M1127 Stryker Reconnaissance Vehicle459459
M1128 Mobile Gun System243243
M1129 Stryker Mortar Carrier324324
M1130 Stryker Command Vehicle315315
M1131 Stryker Fire Support Vehicle198198
M1132 Stryker Engineer Support Vehicle7272
M1133 Stryker Medical Evacuation Vehicle126126
M1134 Stryker Antitank Guided Missile Vehicle8181
M1135 Stryker Nuclear Biological Chemical Reconnaissance System482775
M998/M1038 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV)584021698009
M1114/1151A1 Up-armored HMMWV288288
M1113 Expanded Capacity HMMWV With Rigid Wall Shelter1129991111
M1097A2 Heavy Variant HMMWV With Shelter
M997 HMMWV Ambulance336162498
Secure, Mobile, Antijam, Reliable Tactical-Terminal (SMART-T)
AN/TSQ-190 Trojan Spirit HMMWV/Trailer
Unmanned Air System Ground Control Station
AN/MLQ-40 Prophet Detecting System Countermeasures
M1120 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Load Handling System and Trailer7848641648
M1074/M1075 Heavy Cargo Truck Palletized Load System Transporter432432
M1074 Palletized Load Transport With Forward Repair System
M984A1 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Wrecker112207319
M978 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Fuel Tanker With Fuel Trailer384216600
M977/M985 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Cargo With Trailer784784
M916 Tractor Truck With M172A1 Lowbed Semitrailer9696
M917 Dump Truck3232
M1977 Common Bridge Transporter With Rapidly Emplaced Bridge Systems3636
M1078 Light Medium Tactical Vehicle10723421414
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle299219714963
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With M1095 Cargo Trailer
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With Kitchen or Tool Set Trailer
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With Water Tank Trailer6464
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With Generator or Welding Trailer
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With Power Plant Trailer
M1088 Medium Tactical Vehicle Tractor With M129A3 Semitrailer1616
M1089 Medium Tactical Wrecker128128
M1088 Medium Tactical Vehicle Tractor With M172A1 Lowbed Semitrailer4848
M777 Towed 155mm Howitzer162162
M119A1/A2 Towed 105 mm Howitzer
Rough Terrain Forklift161834
Interim High Mobility Engineer Excavator9654150
All Terrain Lifter Articulated System (Atlas) Forklift7272
Shadow Launch/Recovery Trailer and RQ-7 Shadow Tactical Unmanned Air System6436100
Deployable Light Engineer Tractor (Deuce)4872120
Multipurpose Loader9663159
Other8054134
Total207681049431262
(Table 1)

The variants of humvees and light tactical vehicles (FLTVs), loading vehicles, medium tactical vehicles (FMTVs) – lightly armored mid-sized trucks, and heavy tactical vehicles (FHTVs) – large trucks, were difficult to differentiate given the source material, so with the exception of the M1078, M997, M917 and M978, these numbers should be read as best guess approximations. The various tractors, trailers, generators, field kitchens that are also allocated to these brigades were not included, as they were difficult to pinpoint from the source material. These units’ integrated radar vehicles were also not included for three reasons – the ones listed in the principal source material are already obsolete, counting them was difficult, and the US has already transferred significant quantities of counter-battery radar vehicles to Ukraine. The “other” category consists of a mixture of mine resistant armored personnel carriers (MRAPs) and mine disposal vehicles.

Because the US Department of Defense is a stickler for contingency planning, the above table alone is insufficient for guestimating DoD force requirements. As a rule of thumb, in the event of a hot war, the US Army prefers to hedge its bets by retaining the capacity to double its maneuver units within a relatively short time frame (I don’t know the amount of time this would take offhand – neither does DoD for that matter – but I’d guess that it’d be at least 6 months), or to replace the losses of the total force at at least a 1 to 1 rate.

So, in order to calculate what vehicles the US can afford to send Ukraine, it’s necessary to double our estimates of the US’ standing forces, and then we can subtract those figures from the US’ stockpiles of equipment (the precise numbers of which are hidden behind a classified network – if anyone wants to double check my numbers and reach out to me, be my guest – you just need a CAC card to access them).

Hypothetical Armor x2Hypothetical SBCT x2Mechanized Units Total Vehicles 2x
M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank27842784
M2/3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle/ M7 Bradley Fire Support Vehicle42244224
M109A6 Paladin 155 mm Howitzer576576
M992A2 Ammo Support Vehicle576576
M577A1 Command Post Carrier15361536
M113A3 Armored Personnel Carrier/ M1064 120 mm Mortar Carrier13121312
M113A3 Ambulance10241024
M577A1 Medical Treatment Vehicle256256
M1117 Armored Security Vehicle
M88A1 Medium Recovery Vehicle/ M88A2 Improved Recovery Vehicle (Hercules)896896
XM1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle With Mine Plow128128
XM1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle With Blade3232
M9 Armored Combat Earth Mover (ACE)6464
M2/3 Bradley Engineer Vehicle With Trailer288288
M104 Wolverine Heavy Assault Bridge6464
M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier23042304
M1127 Stryker Reconnaissance Vehicle918918
M1128 Mobile Gun System486486
M1129 Stryker Mortar Carrier648648
M1130 Stryker Command Vehicle630630
M1131 Stryker Fire Support Vehicle396396
M1132 Stryker Engineer Support Vehicle144144
M1133 Stryker Medical Evacuation Vehicle252252
M1134 Stryker Antitank Guided Missile Vehicle162162
M1135 Stryker Nuclear Biological Chemical Reconnaissance System9654150
M998/M1038 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV)11680433816018
M1114/1151A1 Up-armored HMMWV576576
M1113 Expanded Capacity HMMWV With Rigid Wall Shelter22419982222
M1097A2 Heavy Variant HMMWV With Shelter
M997 HMMWV Ambulance672324996
Secure, Mobile, Antijam, Reliable Tactical-Terminal (SMART-T)
AN/TSQ-190 Trojan Spirit HMMWV/Trailer
Unmanned Air System Ground Control Station
AN/MLQ-40 Prophet Detecting System Countermeasures
M1120 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Load Handling System and Trailer156817283296
M1074/M1075 Heavy Cargo Truck Palletized Load System Transporter864864
M1074 Palletized Load Transport With Forward Repair System
M984A1 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Wrecker224414638
M978 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Fuel Tanker With Fuel Trailer7684321200
M977/M985 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Cargo With Trailer15681568
M916 Tractor Truck With M172A1 Lowbed Semitrailer192192
M917 Dump Truck6464
M1977 Common Bridge Transporter With Rapidly Emplaced Bridge Systems7272
M1078 Light Medium Tactical Vehicle21446842828
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle598439429926
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With M1095 Cargo Trailer
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With Kitchen or Tool Set Trailer
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With Water Tank Trailer128128
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With Generator or Welding Trailer
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With Power Plant Trailer
M1088 Medium Tactical Vehicle Tractor With M129A3 Semitrailer3232
M1089 Medium Tactical Wrecker256256
M1088 Medium Tactical Vehicle Tractor With M172A1 Lowbed Semitrailer9696
M777 Towed 155mm Howitzer324324
M119A1/A2 Towed 105 mm Howitzer
Rough Terrain Forklift323668
Interim High Mobility Engineer Excavator192108300
All Terrain Lifter Articulated System (Atlas) Forklift144144
Shadow Launch/Recovery Trailer and RQ-7 Shadow Tactical Unmanned Air System12872200
Deployable Light Engineer Tractor (Deuce)96144240
Multipurpose Loader192126318
Other160108268
415362098862524
(Table 2)

A Humble Request

The Problem

With the above figures out of the way, now we can get to calculating what hypothetical Ukrainian Army request for armored vehicles could and should look like, with an added extremely rough estimate of the dollar valuation of all of this equipment.

In this analyst’s estimation, 5 ABCTs worth of material is a good starting figure that ‘should’ provide the Ukrainian Army enough firepower to at the very minimum foist the Russian military out of Kherson oblast as well as large chunks of southern Ukraine – potentially threatening to roll up the Russian Army’s lines and sever their ground lines of communication out of the Crimea Peninsula.

5x ABCT to Ukraine$/unit$$$ Sum
M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank435$10,000,000.00$4,350,000,000.00
M2/3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle/ M7 Bradley Fire Support Vehicle660$5,500,000.00$3,630,000,000.00
M109A6 Paladin 155 mm Howitzer90$4,000,000.00$360,000,000.00
M992A2 Ammo Support Vehicle90$300,000.00$27,000,000.00
M577A1 Command Post Carrier240$300,000.00$72,000,000.00
M113A3 Armored Personnel Carrier/ M1064 120 mm Mortar Carrier205$300,000.00$61,500,000.00
M113A3 Ambulance160$300,000.00$48,000,000.00
M577A1 Medical Treatment Vehicle40$300,000.00$12,000,000.00
M1117 Armored Security Vehicle
M88A1 Medium Recovery Vehicle/ M88A2 Improved Recovery Vehicle (Hercules)140$9,600,000.00$1,344,000,000.00
XM1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle With Mine Plow20$10,000,000.00$200,000,000.00
XM1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle With Blade5$10,000,000.00$50,000,000.00
M9 Armored Combat Earth Mover (ACE)10$5,500,000.00$55,000,000.00
M2/3 Bradley Engineer Vehicle With Trailer45$5,500,000.00$247,500,000.00
M104 Wolverine Heavy Assault Bridge10$10,000,000.00$100,000,000.00
M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier
M1127 Stryker Reconnaissance Vehicle
M1128 Mobile Gun System
M1129 Stryker Mortar Carrier
M1130 Stryker Command Vehicle
M1131 Stryker Fire Support Vehicle
M1132 Stryker Engineer Support Vehicle
M1133 Stryker Medical Evacuation Vehicle
M1134 Stryker Antitank Guided Missile Vehicle
M1135 Stryker Nuclear Biological Chemical Reconnaissance System15$5,000,000.00$75,000,000.00
M998/M1038 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV)1825$137,614.00$251,145,550.00
M1114/1151A1 Up-armored HMMWV90$137,614.00$12,385,260.00
M1113 Expanded Capacity HMMWV With Rigid Wall Shelter35$137,614.00$4,816,490.00
M1097A2 Heavy Variant HMMWV With Shelter
M997 HMMWV Ambulance105$137,614.00$14,449,470.00
Secure, Mobile, Antijam, Reliable Tactical-Terminal (SMART-T)
AN/TSQ-190 Trojan Spirit HMMWV/Trailer
Unmanned Air System Ground Control Station
AN/MLQ-40 Prophet Detecting System Countermeasures
M1120 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Load Handling System and Trailer245$334,000.00$81,830,000.00
M1074/M1075 Heavy Cargo Truck Palletized Load System Transporter135$288,000.00$38,880,000.00
M1074 Palletized Load Transport With Forward Repair System
M984A1 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Wrecker35$400,000.00$14,000,000.00
M978 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Fuel Tanker With Fuel Trailer120$445,000.00$53,400,000.00
M977/M985 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Cargo With Trailer245$380,000.00$93,100,000.00
M916 Tractor Truck With M172A1 Lowbed Semitrailer30$300,000.00$9,000,000.00
M917 Dump Truck10$380,000.00$3,800,000.00
M1977 Common Bridge Transporter With Rapidly Emplaced Bridge Systems
M1078 Light Medium Tactical Vehicle335$160,000.00$53,600,000.00
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle935$160,000.00$149,600,000.00
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With M1095 Cargo Trailer
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With Kitchen or Tool Set Trailer
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With Water Tank Trailer20$160,000.00$3,200,000.00
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With Generator or Welding Trailer
M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle With Power Plant Trailer
M1088 Medium Tactical Vehicle Tractor With M129A3 Semitrailer5$160,000.00$800,000.00
M1089 Medium Tactical Wrecker40$160,000.00$6,400,000.00
M1088 Medium Tactical Vehicle Tractor With M172A1 Lowbed Semitrailer15$160,000.00$2,400,000.00
M777 Towed 155 mm Howitzer
M119A1/A2 Towed 105 mm Howitzer
Rough Terrain Forklift5$50,000.00$250,000.00
Interim High Mobility Engineer Excavator30$50,000.00$1,500,000.00
All Terrain Lifter Articulated System (Atlas) Forklift
Shadow Launch/Recovery Trailer and RQ-7 Shadow Tactical Unmanned Air System20$632,500.00$12,650,000.00
Deployable Light Engineer Tractor (Deuce)15$50,000.00$750,000.00
Multipurpose Loader30$50,000.00$1,500,000.00
Other25$50,000.00$1,250,000.00
6490$11,442,706,770.00
(Table 3)

So now we know what equipment the US should send to Ukraine.

Great!

But, there’s a slight problem. Doubling the US’ mechanized maneuver units with their 2016 TOE gets you to approximately 2,784 M1 Abrams, 576 M109 Paladins, 4,512 M2/M3 Bradley variants, 6,090 Stryker variants, 4,704 variants of the M113 family. The Army’s 2021 TOE’s allocates at least 27 more Bradley IFVs and 14 more M1 Abrams to each ABCT – which boosts our doubling requirements to 3,232 M1 Abrams and 5,376 M2/M3 Bradley variants.

Per IISS’ Military Balance, the US military retains approximately 6,100 M1 Abrams, 1,539 M109A6 and A7s, 6,800 M2 and M3 Bradleys, 3708 Stryker variants, and 13,000 M113 variants of all sorts. Let’s shuffle a few numbers around to see how much of DoD’s stockpiles would get eaten up by the Army’s hypothetical doubling requirements:

  • 3232/6100 = 53% M1 Abrams
  • 5376/6800 = 79% M2/M3 Bradleys
  • 576/1539 = 37% M109 A6 Howitzers
  • 6090/3708 = 164% Stryker Variants
  • 4704/13000 = 36% M113 Variants

Now, I’ve already established that I firmly believe the Stryker to be an inadequate vehicle – but the US Army sadly doesn’t agree with me as to its utility. Since the Stryker and Bradley are the keystone of the Army’s “mobile infantry” units, it’s quite likely that they’d feel obligated to offset their glaring shortfall in Strykers with more dedicated ABCTs, scraping even closer to and potentially beyond its number of total stored Bradleys. This could partially explain the US government’s apparent reluctance to supply Ukraine with significant quantities of capable Armored Fighting vehicles thus far.

A Potential Solution

Alrighty, so we’ve run the numbers, dotted our Ts and crossed our eyes, and we’ve identified at least one key problem. I’d be remiss if I didn’t include at least one potential solution. Introducing:

(Connecticut Army National Guard Supplies M113 APC to Ukraine, Photo(s) by Sgt. Matthew Lucibello)

Now hold on, hold on – I’ll give the people who know what this vehicle is a moment to stop either laughing or crying. For those of us who don’t know, this is a picture of the M113 APC – variously referred to as a “death trap” or a “rolling coffin” by the soldiers who’ve been forced to ride in it over the decades it’s been a staple of the US’ arsenal. The Stryker is a terrible APC, the M113 is significantly worse. Characterized (really, caricaturized) by its infamously thin aluminum armor (vulnerable to bullets fired from heavy machine guns), its slowness relative to modern APCs, and its general lack of armaments of note – the M113s one sanctioned use on the battlefield per Army doctrine is as a “(far behind the) battle taxi” or support vehicle.

But, beggars can’t be choosers, and until the US government begins ramping up production its next generation IFVs and APCs, the best bet on the Ukrainian government’s end is to ask the US government for the transfer of the vehicles listed in Table 3, with a request for M113s instead of the listed ~700 Bradleys and Strykers. M113s lack the firepower or protection of their modern successors, but they should provide Ukrainian maneuver units enough protection to successfully wade through Russian artillery fire.

So far, the United States has provided Ukraine with approximately 200 M113s, so it’s well within the realm of possibility that the US government would be amenable to significantly larger future requests.

Alternatively, the Ukrainian government should request enough vehicles to compose an American-style rehashing of the combat elements of 5 of their own motor rifle brigades (a rough mock-up of which is shown below in Table 4). Given the shortage of available IFVs in the US’ stockpile and the dominating impact of Fires on the frontlines in the eastern Donbas and Ukraine’s southern reaches, this could be the smarter ask.

US substitutesRussian/Ukrainian VicsRusso-Ukrainian Brigadex5
M577 CPC/M4 C2VBMP-2K420
M113MT-LB26130
M1 AbramsT-80/T-72/T-6441205
M3 Bradley/M1117-RSTABRM-1K00
M113/M2 BradleyBMP-2119595
M1064120mm mortar1890
FLTVs/HMMWV troop carrierUral 4320168840
M109 SPH2S3M136180
FMTVsKamaz-53501785
M997A3 Tactical Humvee AmbulanceAP-2 Mobile Dressing Room1365
HEMTT M978A2Ural 4320 tanker1995
HMMWVUAZ-46900
M88 ARVBrem-115
(Table 4)

Now, all of this is a working estimate of Ukraine’s requirements that’s been moderately stress-tested with the commercial edition of simulators used by the US Department of Defense. Apart from the lists pilfered directly from the Department of Defense’s official documents, fuel, food and ammo requirements have not been calculated to ensure that they’re in alignment with Ukrainian Army requirements (those are all a work in progress).

This is also Analytica Camillus’ first post here, so feel free to leave whatever hateful commentary that comes to mind below. If you think this analysis was helpful, interesting or you’d like to read more, feel free to throw some money our way over at Patreon here.

Your Humble Peon
James Griffin

One response to “Steeling the Nightingale: A Shopping List For The Ukrainian Army”

  1. Steeling the Nightingale pt. 2: Budgetary Boogaloo – Analytica Camillus Avatar

    […] our first post here at Analytica Camillus (accessible via this link), we went through the painstaking process of counting the amount of vehicles comprising the US […]

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  1. Steeling the Nightingale pt. 2: Budgetary Boogaloo – Analytica Camillus

    […] our first post here at Analytica Camillus (accessible via this link), we went through the painstaking process of counting the amount of vehicles comprising the US […]

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