Ukraine: Both sides running out of ammo

Ukraine: Both sides running out of ammo. By Jim Dunnigan.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022 it never expected to run out of ammunition. The war was not over in a few months and because of that Russia did run out of artillery munitions while Ukraine was supplied with massive amounts, much more than Russia had access to. …

While European NATO nations don’t have to worry about their major threat, Russia, while they rebuild their war reserves, the Americans have to plan for potential conflicts elsewhere, like China, North Korea and Iran. The U.S. has to increase production for all these munitions and that takes several years to ramp up production and five or more years of increased production to restore the reserves. Munitions are still being sent to Ukraine, but not in the massive quantities seen during the first eight months of the war.

Ukraine has managed to repair its own production facilities that Russia damaged early in the war and is now manufacturing a lot of the basic small arms, artillery and mortar ammunition its troops use.

Both sides are now firing about the same number of shells each day (about 5,000):

The most basic ammunition sent was 155mm artillery shells, along with 155mm guns to fire them from. The existing Ukrainian artillery was Soviet-era 152mm shells and lot of guns to fire it from. Other NATO nations supplied a lot of 155mm artillery. The United States was the major supplier of 155mm ammunition, sending about a million rounds of shells and propellants to Ukraine. This depleted the American war reserves and South Korea was able to send the U.S. several hundred thousand shells. …

Current production is 3,250 155mm shells a month. That is being increased to 20,000 a month in 2023 and 40,000 in 2024. The 155mm shell reserves won’t be restored to 2021 levels until 2027 or 2028.

The U.S. also sent Ukraine over 5,000 GPS guided 155mm shells at the rate of up to a thousand a month. These were something the Russians didn’t have and the Ukrainians found these shells very useful. It will take at least four years to restore this stockpile. At the start of the war the U.S. was producing a thousand of these guided shells a year. It will take at least four years of increased production to restore this stockpile.

Another crucial guided munition was the 227mm GMLRS guided rockets launched from HIMARS and other types of vehicles. The United States sent several thousand GMLRS rockets to Ukraine and is still sending several hundred a month. … It takes longer to increase production of the more complex GMLRS and it will take a few years to replace what was, and still is, sent to Ukraine. …


The U.S. and other NATO countries also supplied Ukraine with thousands of Stinger portable anti-aircraft missiles and even more ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missiles) like the American Javelin and other models produced by European NATO countries. These anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons were critical in crippling Russian armored vehicle and helicopter forces early in the war.

Those are still present on the front lines but nowhere near the numbers used early in the war because so many have been destroyed. Even so, it will take several years for NATO nations to replenish their stockpiles of these weapons.

What would Alice say?

Tweedledum and Tweedledee