A progressive damage model is proposed to predict buckling strengths and failure mechanisms for both symmetric and asymmetric patch repaired carbon-fibre reinforced laminates subjected to compression without lateral restrains. Solid and cohesive elements are employed to discretize composite and adhesive layers, respectively. Coupling with three dimensional strain failure criteria, an energy-based crack band model is applied to address the softening behaviour in composites with mesh dependency elimination. Both laminar and laminate scaled failure are addressed. Patch debonding is simulated by the cohesive zone model with a trapezoidal traction–separation law applied for the ductile adhesive. Geometric imperfection is introduced into the nonlinear analysis by the first-order linear buckling configuration. Regarding strengths and failure patterns, the simulation demonstrates an accurate and consistent prediction compared with experimental observations. Though shearing is the main contributor to damage initiation in adhesive, stress analysis shows that lateral deformation subsequently reverses the distribution of normal stresses which stimulates patch debonding at one of the repair sides. The influence of patch dimensions on strengths and failure mechanisms can be explained by stress distributions in adhesive and lateral deformation of repairs. Comparison between symmetric and asymmetric regarding strength and failure modes shows that structural asymmetry can intensify lateral flexibility. This resulted in earlier patch debonding and negative effects on strengths.