The faltering superpower has made one mistake after another for more than a year, resulting in huge losses of equipment and lost battles, as Ukraine tries to level the playing field against the influx of Western tanks expected to arrive in the coming months.
While the current status of the conflict (the brutal stalemate at Bakhmut) has not been determined by tank operations, previous tank battles have received international attention, for example when Ukraine used abandoned Russian tanks to support its counter-offensive in Kharkiv last year, as well as during the failed Siege of Wohlidar. by Russia earlier this year, where the biggest tank battle to date took place.
According to Mark Cancian, a retired US Marine colonel and advisor to the Center for International Strategic Studies’ Security Program, tanks have three primary purposes on the battlefield. Tanks provide mobility, firepower, and protection, giving soldiers the ability to move and shoot at the same time.
The rest of the article is below the video
When it comes to tanks, functionality is only part of the equation. According to Jeffrey Edmonds, a Russia expert at the Center for Naval Analytics, and a former US Army weapons officer, one of their main capabilities is The psychological effect they have on the enemy, known as the “shock effect”..
Symbolic or not, tank combat remains an important aspect of the ongoing war for both sides. Russia is reportedly returning to stockpiles to replenish its depleted supplies, while Ukraine continues its crusade for more help.
Russia has more tanks, more advanced tanks and more unit types than Ukraine
During the war, Russia relied primarily on four different tank models: the T-64, T-72, T-80, and T-90, with T-72s making up the bulk of its fleet thanks to years of Soviet-era production and recent upgrades to these vehicles. .
While each type of tank has its own style, Cancian and Edmonds told Insider that the vehicles belong to a similar breed, with each generation of tank being an upgraded version of the previous one.
Cancian said of the Russian fleet “The newer the tank, the more efficient it is” but there are exceptions to this rule. During the Cold War, the Russians relied so much on the T-72 that countless upgrades and repairs made the model’s capabilities equal to or even exceed those of its immediate successor, the T-80, which is generally considered less successful and reliable. T-72.72 or T-90, the latter being the most advanced tank in Russia.
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According to Edmonds, Russian tanks are the fruit of the experience of the Second World War, and therefore they are Smaller and lighter than western tanksAs well as being low to the ground, making them more difficult to hit, they are also less effective against the heavy armored vehicles used by NATO.
According to several reports issued by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, not to mention the war losses, Russia started the conflict with a fleet of about 3,000 tanks. This is almost double Ukraine’s pre-war fleet, which was estimated at 1,500.
However, even with thousands of tanks on the battlefield, vehicle variety is scarce, and Ukraine relies solely on its range of T-64s and T-72s, the same types of tanks Russia uses.
Force enemies to face each other using almost identical tanks. This is the result of the common Soviet history of both countries. When the war began, both sides were armed with mostly the same Soviet equipment. But even with the overlap, Cancian and Edmunds argue that Russian versions of these tanks, especially the T-72, are likely to be more advanced than their Ukrainian counterparts, given years of upgrades that Ukraine had no reason to undertake.
On paper, Russia undoubtedly has better specs, but the battlefield says otherwise.
– The lethality of the regime depends on more than the regime itself Edmunds said of the tanks. “It depends on the crew, but also on how the system fits into the battlefield and how it integrates with other elements of the combat force,” he added.
Russia is not using its tanks effectively
The Russian army has problems not only with the proper use of its tanks, but also with their maintenance.
This was estimated by the February report of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and Oryx Since the beginning of the war, Russia has lost about half of its tank fleet, or more than 1,500 vehicles. According to the institute’s reports, the Russian T-72 and T-80 magazines were badly damaged with heavy losses.
“Conventional wisdom says that Russians don’t follow their own faith,” Cancian said. “They do not use their tanks as part of a joint team,” he added.
According to Cancian and Edmonds A key part of successful tank warfare is the use of vehicles in conjunction with infantry, air support, artillery and engineers. This is a tactic known as combined arms.
In one of the first manifestations of dysfunction, the Russians sent a convoy of unprotected tanks straight into an ambush at Bokza, just weeks into the war. Then, earlier this year, the Russians repeated the same mistake at Wohlidar, resulting in the loss of more than 100 tanks, many of which were seen burning in the Ukrainian ice.
See also: The Ukrainians are serving the oncoming tanks. This was the training [WIDEO]
If the Russians practiced combined arms, they could send infantry units in front of the tanks to clear the area for incoming vehicles and scout potential attack sites. but That kind of cohesion takes training, and a lot of it, and is particularly difficult for the Russians, who receive most of their training in combat..
The Russians, who undergo most of their training, have problems with this. “They obviously approached this with a lower level of tactical training than we thought,” Edmunds said of the Russian military.
Cohesion among the Russian forces is unlikely to improve as Russia suffered 220,000 casualties. A British Defense Ministry official said this week, citing US intelligence, that the number of casualties. This figure is staggering and has undoubtedly exacerbated the already existing staffing problems in the Army.
Not only are the Russians understaffed to provide adequate infantry support, they also appear to lack the manpower to man the remaining tanks.. In Wohlidar earlier this year, Ukrainian soldiers reported capturing a Russian medic who was forced to drive a tank despite having a medical background.
Russia’s repeated mistakes are costly and force it to rely on aging tankswhich have already been withdrawn from storage, such as the T-62, T-55 and T-54, some of which date back to the 1940s.
these Worn variants are slower and do not have as much fire control as modern tanks. They are less effective than their upgraded counterparts, but they can still be deadly.
Ukraine contributed to the depletion of Russia’s resources by capturing many advanced T-72s, T-80s and even some T-90s from the enemy, although it reported losing 450-700 tanks itself. It seems that the Ukrainian army is more effective in operating tanks at the tactical levelEdmonds said, citing greater flexibility and initiative.
Ukraine will soon receive Western tanks
After months of pleading with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine finally received earlier this year a promise from several Western countries to deliver the long-awaited tanks.
The United States has committed to send 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in the coming months, the United Kingdom is preparing to send 14 Challenger 2 tanks, Germany has promised 14 Leopard 2 tanks, and many other European countries have also committed to sending tanks from their fleets. German-made Leopard 2 tank.
“It’s a large group of Western tanks with better armor and fire control than the Russian T-72 tanks,” Cancian said.
According to Edmunds, all three Western tank models are larger than most Russian tanks and, thanks to their advanced armor, are “very strong”.
– All three tanks are basically equivalent Although, it gave a slight advantage to American-made Abrams tanks, which have been upgraded more often than Leopards and Challengers, Cancian said.
It is still not known when the Western tanks will arrive or what role they will play in future Ukraine offensives. In recent weeks, the use of tanks in the conflict has been minimal as the Battle of Bakhmut continues, a non-stop battle.
– This frontline stalemate we are in now is not a good environment for tanks Cancian said. He added, “The tanks must go deep into the open.”
According to Edmunds, the upcoming vehicles could help shake up the current war situation.
“Tanks are designed for this,” he told Insider. “They can be used to make something still… very fluid,” he added.
Edmunds says that the long-awaited Ukrainian spring or summer offensive will likely be an attempt to break through the open Russian lines.A fleet of tanks will help achieve this goal.
but The number of Muslim Western tanks (less than 150) is unlikely to change the course of the war. Cancian expects that the tanks will be enough for the Ukrainians to carry out “one good” attack as part of the counterattack.
“You just have a problem with numbers.” Even if they are really good, their number is too small to fundamentally change tank warfare.
considered it The Russians, though they haven’t been able to use tanks yet, have thousands of old tanks in their warehouses, Which they can even return to, especially if they continue to sustain significant equipment losses.
– The Russians, like the Soviets, never throw anything away Cancian said.
Edmunds said the promise of Western tank supplies paves the way for potential additional hardware assistance to Ukraine in the future.
“The longer this war lasts, the more effective this kind of support will be,” he said.
The above text is a reprint from US edition of InsiderCompletely prepared by the local editorial office.
Translation: Mateusz Albin
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