The Ukraine War Is One Massive Artillery Fight

Artillery U.S. Army Photo
June 21, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: RussiaUkraineWar In UkraineArtilleryMilitaryDefenseM270

The Ukraine War Is One Massive Artillery Fight

Despite Western support, Ukraine is at a disadvantage in artillery volume against Russia. The war's outcome hinges on this disparity in firepower, echoing Napoleon's view of artillery as the "king of battle."


Summary and Key Points: The fighting in Ukraine persists with daily clashes. Russian forces aim to breach Ukrainian defenses, while Ukraine holds the line for a future counteroffensive.



-Recently, Ukraine reported Russian losses of 1,060 personnel and significant equipment. Artillery remains crucial, causing 80% of casualties on both sides.

-Despite Western support, Ukraine is at a disadvantage in artillery volume against Russia. The war's outcome hinges on this disparity in firepower, echoing Napoleon's view of artillery as the "king of battle."

Daily Clashes in Ukraine: Russian Forces Suffer Heavy Losses

The fighting in Ukraine continues with daily action across the contact line. Russian forces are trying to break the Ukrainian defenses, while the Ukrainian military is fighting to hold the line so that it can launch its own counteroffensive in due time.

Russian Casualties in Ukraine

Every day, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense releases its estimation of Russian casualties. Although these numbers likely get “spiced up” occasionally for psychological reasons, the history of the conflict shows that Kyiv’s assessments are eventually accurate.

Over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense assessed that the Russian forces lost approximately 1,060 men killed, wounded, or captured, as well as 55 artillery pieces and multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), 47 tactical vehicles and fuel tanks, 35 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, 14 main battle tanks, 10 pieces of special equipment, and 2 air defense weapon systems destroyed or damaged.


Overall, the Russian forces have lost more than 530,000 men killed, wounded, or captured in about 24 months of war.

If you are wondering which weapon system is the most responsible for such mayhem, you only have to ask France’s greatest general of all time: Napoleon.

Death from Artillery

The high casualties on Russian artillery is probably the most important metric. The war in Ukraine is all about artillery. What French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, himself an artillery officer, described as the “king of battle” in the early 19th Century remains very true in 2024. It is estimated that up to 80 percent of casualties suffered on both sides are due to artillery fire. Considering that Moscow has lost over 530,000 men and Kyiv has taken fewer but still significant losses, the casualties caused by artillery are numbered in the hundreds of thousands of men.

The Ukrainian military has received substantial artillery military support from the United States and the West. The U.S. military and NATO has sent Ukraine hundreds of artillery weapons, including M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), M-777 155mm howitzers, 105mm howitzers, M109 155mm Paladin self-propelled howitzers, Archer 155mm self-propelled howitzers, and Ceasar 155mm self-propelled howitzers. The Ukrainian forces have also received special munitions like the M982 Excalibur precision-guided 155mm artillery shells, MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), M718 Remote Anti-Armor Mine Systems (RAAMS) 155mm artillery shells, and cluster munitions.

On the other side, the Russian military has less quality but more quantity. The Russian military can field thousands of artillery systems, some of which are obsolete (dating back to the 1950s) but can still fire large explosives to the other side.

Equally important, the Russian military can sustain a much larger rate of fire compared to its Ukrainian adversaries. And the side that can fire more rounds generally has an advantage over the side that can fire fewer but better-placed munitions. For example, at the height of large-scale offensive operations, the Russian military will fire more than 20,000 rounds in a single day.


On the other hand, the Ukrainian forces will respond with around 5,000 to 7,000 rounds. That is a big difference in the rate of fire that can—and has—determined the course of a battle.

About the Author: Biography and Military Expertise 

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University and an MA from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.

All images are Creative Commons.