Random Analytica

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

Tag: War

41. Mefloquine Dispatches: FOI – The Last Signalman (9th Sep 2022)

9th September 2022

By email: foi@defence.gov.au

Dear FOI Coordinator,

Before I make the declarations, I’d like for you to consider the following.

I won’t be able to point to a single document or set of events that would assist in this search. I’ll try but I’m likely to fail the direct request you are seeking. That said. I put forward this FOI request because it is important.

So, a quick story before the declarations.

It is the 6th June 2019. I have recently been released from the Cooinda Mental Health Service, my first MH hospitalisation (unfortunately, not my last). I am trying to work out the MyService website. It is almost as awful as the Centrelink services I have become accustomed to as my health deteriorates.

I fckn hate medals. Hate the glorification of the military. Hate ANZAC Day. Anyways, I finally got a gong and Wayne Swan pins it on me, so I think it is all good. Except, it isn’t good. I wear it once and I’m so shitty wearing it I give it away to my second son (who thinks it has some value). Back to 2019…

I’m doing the whole MyService thing on the MyGov site and they ask me do you want to sign up for the Covenant and I’m like, OK… Should be cool right?

I’m going through the process to get a nice letter from the DVA Minister, the Secretary (oh, Liz) and a pin I could wear instead of the gongs. Even though I hate it all I can find a way through. Until…

Some fuckwit at DVA doesn’t understand rank. There is no drop-down for Signalman. Signaller sure. Bombardiers aplenty… Language matters.

I go berko of course. Even put in an official complaint (completely ignored).

Back to official declarations.

This is a request for the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 for access to the following documents:

Any Australian Army documents that detail the last document that included Signalman

Should you have any questions in relation to this request, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

For your review and consideration

Shane Granger

9th September 2022

If you need help…

Thank you for your interest. More Mefloquine Dispatches can be found here.

UPDATES

13th Sep 2022: Permission for administrative release of documents

12th Sep 2022: Defence FOI Acknowledgement

Random Analytica: Ukraine. Russian Troop Losses (to 8th September 2022)

The Russians didn’t just have a bad day. They are having a series of bad days. Today was just the worst.

According to the Ukrainians the Russians lost 640-troops today. If correct it would be the worst day of losses for the Russians since early April and the most significant since the Battle for Kyiv.

It should also be noted that the 7-day average of losses has shot up past 400-per day for the first time and today sits at 414.3.

Slave Ukraini.

Random Analytica: Ukraine. Russian Losses (June 2022)

Updated with data to the 21st June 2022.

The War in Ukraine enters its 100th day in June 2022. The Battle for the Donbas grinds on extracting a heavy toll on both countries. Ukraine still holds out against the Russian invaders. The world grows weary. Random Analytics does not.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 30,500 troops. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost 300 troops today (to 21/06). This would take the total troop losses to 34,100. The 7-day average has ticked up in recent days to approx. 228 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition and a pickup, especially in the last 10-days.

Side note: Ukrainians started reported in units of 10 on the 7th June (with 110-dead). Prior to that it was in units of 50.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 1,358 tanks. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost 19 tanks today (to 21/06). This would take the total tank losses to 1,496. The 7-day average has ticked up to 8.9 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. Off big highs.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 3,302 Armoured Personnel Carriers (or APC/APVs). The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost 18 APCs today (to 21/06). This would take the total APC losses to 3,606. The 7-day average has been reasonably steady, sitting at 14.7 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. Steadied against drops in troop & tank losses.

Side note: Big day on 1st June with 41 reported losses?

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 649 artillery systems. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost three artillery systems today (to 21/06). This would take the total artillery losses to 752. The 7-day average was 4.4 per-day.

Quick data point(s): I expect the Battle of the Donbas will be a battle of artillery systems as well as men. Such is the pickup at the start of June.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 207 MLRS systems. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost one MLRS systems today (to 21/06). The 7-day average is 1.4 per day.

Quick data point(s): The Battle of the Donbas is all about artillery. Nine MLRS systems lost on the 10th June. Would equate to the second worst day for Russia.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 2,275 vehicles which we can describe as undesignated (such as fuel trucks or logistical vehicles). The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost ten vehicles today (to 21/06). This would take the total vehicle losses to 2,537. The 7-day average is 9.1 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. Picked up as fighting increased in the Donbas but has steadied a bit in recent days.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 48 special equipment vehicles. I’ll be honest, not sure how the Ukrainians designate these vehicles, but I do remember seeing a captured Electronic Warfare vehicle after the Battle of Kyiv. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost four special equipment vehicles today (to 21/06). This would take the total vehicle losses to 59. The 7-day average is 0.7 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Need more info before I could even comment. Still, the Ukrainians are still reporting it so the Russian losses must be significant.

Slava Ukraini.

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Random Analytica: Ukraine. Russian Losses (May 2022)

Updated with data to the 31st 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 (APCs), artillery systems, Multi Launch Rocket Systems and other vehicle losses. It should be noted that the only source of data is the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine but some leaked reports from Russian sources have aligned on key dates.

On the final record: The data has stood up all month. The battle of the Donbas continues, and it is a battle of attrition. Must be a fucking hellscape.

Not quite the hellscape in the online domain. Yet, people are starting to lose interest in Ukraine. On that note, I’ve just donated for the first time (online) to an outfit I’m following on Twitter. I’m so committed to this outfit I’m going to continue to donate $10p/m.

As for Random Analytica we will continue to follow this into June via a new post. Online stuff is one thing. My little donation might mean an MRE for the defence of Ukraine, or a few bullets on the front line. Small donations do matter and can make a difference.

At the end of April, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 23,200 troops. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost 150 troops today (to 31/05). This would take the total troop losses to 30,500. The 7-day average has steadied to approx. 164 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. Pick up of Russian through late April to mid-May. Reducing in recent days. Steadied in the last week of May.

Side note: Ukrainians started reported in units of 50 on the 9th May (with 150-dead) and the lowest troop loss was on the 25th May (with approx. 100-fatalities).

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 1,008 tanks. A thousand! For context Australia is currently replacing its current M1A1 Abrams with 75x newer model M1A2 SEPv3 tanks. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost nine-tanks today (to 31/05). This would take the total tank losses to 1,358. The 7-day average has reduced and settled under ten, today at 8 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. Peak in early May but has reduced to under 10 in recent days. Counterfactual: Over the last fortnight, less than 10-per day. Running out of tanks since you’re now starting to lose T-62s (another story).

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 2,445 APCs. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost 20 APCs today (to 31/05). This would take the total APC losses to 3,302. The 7-day average has declined recently to 15.4 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. I’m staggered by the losses (caveat: if correct). If the numbers are correct perhaps, we should start calling Boyevaya Mashina Pyekhoty or BMPs “Putin Coffins” the same way in WWII Soviet Katyusha rocket launchers were called “Stalin Organs”. A seven-day average of APC losses above 25 has been recorded since the 22nd April. 33-days!

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 436 artillery pieces/systems. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost six artillery systems today (to 31/05). This would take the total artillery system losses to 649. The 7-day average has really increased in recent days to 6.1 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition of artillery systems. A big day of losses reported on the 16th May (22x artillery systems).

On the final record: The battle of Donbas heats up. One to watch.

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 151 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS). The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost two MLRS today (to 31/05). This would take the total MLRS losses to 207. The 7-day average ticked up to 0.9 per-day.

Quick data point(s): A big loss on the 3rd May. I’m not sure I’d quantify this as steady attrition (perhaps compared to artillery losses). Especially early April and since the 10th May. That said, 6x losses in the last week during the Donbas fight are interesting and shouldn’t be ignored!

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 1,777 vehicles including 76 fuel trucks. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost 17-vehicles today (to 31/05). This would take the total vehicle losses to 2,275. The 7-day average is increasing to 8.9 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. A lot of vehicles lost on the 26th April with 77 reported. An aside but no losses reported 28th 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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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.