Random Analytica

Random thoughts, charts, infographics & analysis. Not in that order

Random Analytica: Ukraine. Russian Losses (May 2022)

Updated with data as at 17th May 2022.

It’s Victory Day in Moscow this month and Russia is facing serious setbacks in its war against Ukraine. So, for the month of May 2022, I’m tracking Russian combat losses. Specifically, troops, tanks, Armoured Personnel Carriers, artillery systems and Multi Launch Rocket System losses.

At the end of April, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 23,200 troops. As at 17th May 2022 the Ukrainians are estimating the Russians have lost 27,900 troops (+4,700 this month averaging approximately 276 per day).

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. Pick up of Russian casualties since late August (200+ 26/04 – 8/05). Ukrainians started reported in units of 50 on the 9th May (with 150-dead).

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 1,008 tanks. As at 17th May 2022 the Ukrainians are estimating the Russians have lost 1,235 tanks (+227 this month averaging approximately 13 per day).

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. The Ukrainians were reporting 10+ Russians tanks destroyed for 15-consecutive days until the 8th May (when only eight were reported). The numbers over the last week have been less that the highs in late April and early May.

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 2,445 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs). As at 17th May 2022 the Ukrainians are estimating the Russians have lost 3,009 Armoured Personnel Carriers (+564 this month averaging approximately 33 per day).

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. From the 17th April through to 11th May the Ukrainians are saying they have knocked out a minimum of 20 APCs per day. 25-days straight!

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 436 artillery pieces/systems. As at 17th May 2022 the Ukrainians are estimating the Russians have lost 578 artillery pieces/systems (+142 this month averaging approximately 8 per day).

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition of artillery systems. A big day of losses reported on the 16th May. Would be an interesting backstory.

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 151 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS). As at 17th May 2022 the Ukrainians are estimating the Russians have lost 198 MLRS (+47 this month averaging approximately 3 per day).

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition with a big loss on the 3rd May.


Slava Ukraini.

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Random Analytica: Ukraine. Russian Combat Losses estimated at 23,200

I fondly remember having an interesting discussion with another Veteran mate of mine (Vietnam era) who told me that Putin was the smartest card player he had ever seen. As he told me “Putin always seems to be beating guys with a pair of twos. Every time!”.

Hat-tip Bob, you know who you are. They called his bluff.

Russia is losing a lot of troops in Ukraine. Russian won’t discuss numbers but there is some anecdotal data around that suggests the number of Russian dead in the first two months of the war is over 20,000. The Ministry of Defence, Ukraine is estimating that the number of Russian combat losses today hit 23,200. I looked at the attrition rate for Russian combat troops since the Ukraine Military commenced daily updates on the 3rd April 2022.

Short analysis. Terrible strategic tactics by Russia. Another Georgia but on a bigger scale. Terrible tactics by Russia on the ground. Combat dead equals 10% of everyone deployed on 24th February. That means every Russian soldier who deployed basically knows someone who is dead or injured (in just two months of war). Imagine that. The morale on the ground must be absolutely smashed.

I trained for WWIII. Watching it live is surreal. Stay safe.

Slava Ukraini

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30. Mefloquine Dispatches: The Sandline Affair, 21st March 1997

On the 25th Anniversary of the Sandline Affair I thought it might be worthwhile to publish a couple of items I came across during my mefloquine research. The first is an article originally published on the 21st March 1997 by the Sydney Morning Herald. From the Archives: Gunpoint in PNG; mercenaries evacuated. Excerpt:

The Federal Government placed a crack Army battalion on heightened alert in a contingency plan to evacuate 12,000 Australian citizens from Papua New Guinea as rebel troops bundled the remaining mercenaries out of the country.

Late last night, 55 mercenaries were put on a chartered Air Niugini jet to Hong Kong.

The confrontation between PNG’s rebellious defence force and the Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, over his aborted plan to use the mercenaries in the Bougainville conflict moved towards a showdown yesterday.

The sacked military commander, Brigadier-General Jerry Singirok, who still holds the loyalty of most of PNG’s 4,700 troops, rejected the compromise plan by Sir Julius to hold an inquiry into the mercenaries plan, claiming it would be rigged.


Australian troops have been on alert for the past two days and are ready to move if the crisis worsens. Troops at the First Royal Australian Regiment in Townsville have packed stores, and Hercules transport aircraft at the RAAF base at Richmond have been readied.

It is understood the main purpose of the alert is to have troops ready to assist Australians in PNG if law and order collapses. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has warned Australians to stay away from PNG’s capital if possible.

The second link is a 20-minute documentary via the ABC and journeyman.tv shot in March 1997 from the ground in PNG with some extraordinary footage. To view: The 10 Days That Shook Papua New Guinea.



This report offers a dramatic overview of the events which triggered Papua New Guinea’s 1997 constitutional crisis. Jerry Singirok, the commander of Papua New Guinea’s Defence Force, was sacked for calling the government out for corruption and for spending over $40m on mercerises for the war in Bougainville. Troops loyal to Singirok revolted and seized control of the main military barracks in the country, creating a huge rift between the government and the army. Meanwhile, protests erupted in the country’s capital Port Moresby, with civilians demanding Prime Minister Julius Chan’s resignation. After MPs voted to keep Chan as Prime Minister, the army joined the protesters in storming the parliament building. Eventually Chan back down and resigned. Filming the chaos first hand, and following a pilot in the military, ABC Australia captures the turmoil that changed the fate of Papua New Guinea, and asks whether Singirok and the army’s actions defended or damaged democracy in the country.


Random Analytica: Australian Covid-19 Hospitalisations exceed 5,000 for the first time

We were told to not look at the daily case numbers but look at hospitalisations and ICU numbers.

I have been tracking Australian hospitalisations now for six weeks. Over the past month hospitalisations have increased from approximately 500 to 5,047 today (17th January 2022). This far exceeds the worst of the Delta outbreaks experienced in 2021.

A quick comparison between 15th December 2021 and today:

  • NSW – 166 on the 15th December 2021, now 2,776
  • Victoria – 365, now 1,229
  • Queensland – 28, now 702
  • South Australia – 2, now 227
  • Western Australia – 0, now one
  • Tasmania – 0, now 21
  • Australian Capital Territory – 3, now 52
  • Northern Territory – 0, now 39
  • Total – 564 on the 15th December, now 5,047

Anecdotally I am seeing a lot of evidence that State based health systems are struggling with the increased case-loads and the specific needs that Covid-19 patients require (i.e. separating wards as an example).

Omicron continues to surprise.

Random Analytica: Australian Covid-19 Hospitalisations (Dec-21 – Jan 22)

I have been tracking NSW hospitalisations and ICU numbers for the past week and made the realisation that other states and territories are seeing an increase in hospitalisations as well.

From the chart you can see the massive increase in hospitalisations in NSW. Using the 15th December 2021 (the date NSW opened up again for eight days) as a baseline you can see the almost 5-fold increase in hospitalisations across the board, with the exception of WA which remains largely Covid-19 free. The comparisons:

  • NSW – 166 on the 15th December 2021, now 1,491
  • Victoria – 365, now 591
  • Queensland – 28, now 265
  • South Australia – 2, now 125
  • Western Australia – 0, continuing zero
  • Tasmania – 0, now 5
  • Australian Capital Territory – 3, now 16
  • Northern Territory – 0, now 21
  • Total – 564 on the 15th December, now 2,514

Omicron continues to surprise.

Random Analytica: NSW Covid-19 Hospitalisations & ICU (Dec-21)

January 2022 is going to be interesting.

I have been hearing a lot how Omicron is less severe and that we should not concentrate on the cases per day but on hospitalisations, ICU and ventilator numbers. Here is a look at NSW hospitalisations and ICU numbers for December 2021. I chose NSW because they opened the hardest and fastest on the 15th December. Since opening the hospitalisations have increased five times and the ICU numbers almost tripled. Effectively they are the canary in the mine.

During every stage of this Pandemic we have underestimated Covid-19 and we have definitely underestimated this new variant.

Omicron is going to surprise us again.

29. Mefloquine Dispatches: Patricia Fernandez de Viana, 10th December 2021

On the final day of Hearing Block 1 for the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide (DVSRC) held in Brisbane in December 2021, mother of James, Patricia Fernandez de Viana gave testimony which included a linkage to the use of anti-malarials. Via the AAP and The Guardian. Mother tells veteran suicide inquiry ADF failed to support family after son’s death. Excerpt:

Fernandez de Viana, a wound care specialist nurse, said she discovered the welter of medications her son was on when he died, including experimental treatments for malaria: “I was horrified, absolutely horrified.”

More to follow…

28. Mefloquine Dispatches: 3573 – Lambie, Senator Jacqui, 23rd April 2021

I was quite unwell when this came out and completely missed it. That said the questions are good but they don’t go far enough. They focus on the initial East Timor deployments (where mefloquine was used but Tafenoquine was the preferred option). Also, no mention of previous deployments where mefloquine was used for deployments from Rwanda to PNG. Certainly no mention of the 100-odd men who received mefloquine as part of the Sandline Affair deployment as the anti-malarial was not detailed on our medical records.

Via the Parlwork website. 3573 – Lambie, Senator Jacqui to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. Her questions:

SENATOR LAMBIE asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 23 April 2021:

1. How many Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel who were prescribed mefloquine during Timor-Leste deployments were later deployed to do war service in the Middle East?

2. How many ADF personnel who were prescribed mefloquine during Timor-Leste deployments went on to serve in the Middle East:

in the Special Air Service;

as commandos; and

in Royal Australian Regiments.

3. What work has been done, and is being done, to track the effects of the mefloquine trials on soldiers’ response to trauma, is data on this being monitored.

4. How many soldiers who were prescribed mefloquine during deployment to Timor-Leste were later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

5. How many soldiers who were prescribed mefloquine during deployment to Timor-Leste later attempted suicide or committed suicide.

In response dated the 21st May 2021 via the Parlwork website. As above. The response:

1. The number of ADF personnel previously reported as using mefloquine was determined based on trial nominal roles and pharmacy dispensing records. Determining those personnel who were prescribed mefloquine during Timor-Leste deployments, and who subsequently deployed to the Middle East, would require an intensive process of matching health datasets with data in personnel service record systems, including physical records going back a number of decades. Significant resources and time would be required to consolidate and interpret this data. Defence health resources are fully engaged supporting the Defence response to the COVID-19 pandemic and are unable to be reallocated to producing the requested data.

2. The answer provided to Question 1 also applies to this question.

3. No work has been undertaken, or is being undertaken, to track the effects of the mefloquine trials on ADF personnel response to trauma. The Senate Inquiry in 2018 into ADF use of mefloquine and tafenoquine, recommended against such activities.

4. As at 1 May 2021, Defence is aware of 99 ADF members who were prescribed mefloquine in Timor-Leste, being later diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder amongst those prescribed mefloquine is similar to those who did not take mefloquine.

5. Of the ADF members who were prescribed mefloquine during their deployment to Timor-Leste, Defence is aware of seven members who have died by suicide.

27. Mefloquine Dispatches: McKinsey & Company, 19th October 2021

I completely missed this when it was very quietly released a month ago, so many thanks to Andrew Greene from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for tweeting this out today.

Via the Defence and Veteran Suicide Royal Commission. Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide to open in Brisbane. Excerpt:

Last week the Federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel announced the appointment of consultants McKinsey & Company to take action to improve the claims system for supporting veterans, administered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The Minister is reported to have said that McKinsey & Co would be consulting with bereaved families of veterans who have died by suicide.


The Royal Commission hasn’t even started and the current government is giving money to questionable consultants. The fact that staff from a consulting company would be discussing the deaths of loved ones with bereaved families is beyond my understanding. Then you have the complexities including mefloquine or tafenoquine.

In my view the McKinsey appointment doesn’t pass the pub test.

Submission to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

My story starts in 1999 when I first self-reported about mental health concerns. To the best of my knowledge I am the only person to self-report from Operation Baritone (1997).

Two years prior, on the 22nd March 1997 the online company from 3 Brigade including a detachment from the 103rd Signal Squadron of which I was a part, commenced deployment operations for an airlift to Port Moresby as part of a Company Group deployment.

It was the first stage of a larger plan to ‘temporarily’ re-occupy Papua New Guinea during the Sandline Affair.

Things were moving very quickly. The medics and doctors were under intense pressure to get us out the door. A memory from pre-deployment was of the RMO making their notes on the back of the soldier in front of me, then the same for the next in line.

As part of our pre-deployment the company was given a number of medications including a mefloquine loading dose over three days to counteract malaria. After recent investigations I found that anti-malarials was not noted in my official medical records. I have since been able to prove that I was given mefloquine via my Red Cross blood donation history.

Long story short, the Sandline Affair works itself out without Australian intervention and Company Group is given a leave pass to get on the drink. So close though. Another Fiji, 1987.

For many years, I did not remember any detail from this period until a series of ‘flash-backs’ in 2018/19 become so bad that they hospitalised me. Ironically, it is on the 22nd anniversary of Operation Baritone I was finally admitted to a mental health facility.

Mefloquine sent me insane. I attempted suicide in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2014. When I finally confirmed what the Army had done to me in early 2019 I was angry but also a little relieved. I could finally die with a little peace.

When enough memory had returned that I was able to prove the mefloquine exposure I tried to inform all the relevant authorities. Entities such as the Army HQ, the DVA were not interested in finding these men. The Australian Defence Force Malaria and Infectious Disease Institute and the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee were sympathetic but unhelpful.

In summary:

A company of soldiers were given mefloquine in 1997, a medication which was noted by the World Health Organisation as harmful in 1989. Mefloquine has also been linked to suicides and murder-suicides, most notably at Fort Bragg in 2002. It is rarely used these days. It is a medication that the Armed Forces of many countries wish they had never used.

Some from the Company Group may be dead from their mefloquine exposure. Some, like me, are permanently damaged. Many would not have experienced any symptoms and would wonder what all the fuss is about.

At the very least the men of my Company Group assigned to the opening phases of Operation Baritone deserve to be told they were exposed to mefloquine.

For your review and consideration.