Ingredients for Putin's bloody tank tactics

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It is now a common sight in various sectors of the front: a destroyed Russian tank 30 kilometers west of Kiev. (File photo) Russia is bleeding heavily. © Michael Brochstein/dpa

They shoot poorly, maneuver slowly and burn quickly – Russia's tank stocks are constantly being modernized. People do it.

Moscow – “Vladimir Putin It has already ordered T-14 Armata main battle tanks, and now has another 3,000 fully modernized T-80s. The only question: what does Moscow want with so many tanks?” eight years ago severe He thought long and hard about this question; The answer is now clear. In Ukraine war Stocks of main battle tanks are melting away of Russia The invading army is gathering fast. And the T-80 continues to be considered the workhorse of the Russian military. That is why it is being modernized again as a magazine Military surveillance reported.

During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, both the Russian Army and the Ukrainian Armed Forces were used. T-80 One – both enemies eventually fall back into the ranks of the former Soviet Army. According to the statistics platform Oryx As of February 2024, the Russian Armed Forces have lost at least 755 T-80s and the Ukrainian Armed Forces at least 55 T-80s. The T-80 was a main battle tank designed and manufactured around the same time as the German Panther 2 and the American M1 Abrams. While Western countries focused on producing only one main battle tank, in the 1980s the then Soviet Union offered three tank models produced in parallel: T-64, T-72 (later T-90) and T.-80.

Now the classic car represents the future for Vladimir Putin's ambitions in Europe. A high proportion of T-80s were in stock when war broke out between Russia and Ukraine in February 2022; High operating costs led the Kremlin to prefer using the T-72 and T-90 due to their significantly lower cost. The T-80 impresses with its gas turbine engine, which is comparable to the American engine Abramsand problems related to its design, for example its excessive thirst.

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Economic considerations: Repair old tanks instead of building new ones

However, these cheaper tanks use a gas turbine engine and are not very suitable for extreme climates and the added mobility that the T-80 provides. T-80 works reliably even at low temperatures. In this respect, it has been regrowing for a long time. The upgraded T-80BVM tanks received improved reactive armor intended to provide longer crew survivability.

Its mission is to modernize classic cars in a targeted manner severe Typical of Russian weapons and attributed costs: for a fraction of the money of a new design Altison brought up to modern standards. However, updated older models always lag behind newer designs like the T-14 Armata in terms of quality. Russian media recently reported that the arms company Omsktransmash has handed over a new batch of T-80BVM tanks to the troops. The upgraded T-80BVM tanks received improved reactive armor to better protect the crew. In addition, tanks leave the premises of the “Omsk Transport Engineering Plant” with an additional tower defense module.

Tech upgrade: The T-80 turret is in a cage to protect against drones

The most notable innovation in the recent modernization of the T-80 is actually this large metal cage above the turret, intended to provide effective protection against drones and anti-tank missiles attacking from above. On the modernized T-80 the roof of this cage is additionally provided with reactive armor. It throws a metal plate over the striking projectiles to deflect the projectile's effective beam.

At the end of the first year of the war, the rapid advance of the Russian armored units forced the Russian leadership to act – on the one hand, to meet the demands of the Ukrainian front, on the other hand, to assert themselves against the Ukrainian front. Troops Brought in from Western Armies: The stores of the Russian army slowly dried up. These older vehicles were later modernized with fire control systems, heavy armor and 21st-century weapons, which were still inadequate for Russian losses from the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

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However, in their latest versions they are much less modern than all Western tanks, because the Russian tank theory is completely different: Russian tanks are less mobile on terrain, they attack worse, and they are more vulnerable – Nevertheless, the Russian leadership believes that even terrible losses for individual vehicles will never endanger the success of tank development.

Strategic considerations: A tank army similar to that of the Soviet era

At the three largest Russian arms companies, Uralvagonzavod, Omsktransmash and Kurganmashzavod, production is back to normal, according to various media reports. Last year alone, 1,000 new employees were hired at the Kurganmashzavod plant, and another 1,200 recently, according to the report. severe writes Armored personnel carriers such as the BMP-3M model are built at Kurganmashzavod, and according to Russian media, several hundred vehicles are built each year.

The main battle tanks are built by the Uralvagonzavod weapons company (“Ural Waggonwerk” in German) – the T-72 models are produced there, as well as the T-80, T-90 and T-14 Armata models. Omsktransmash no longer builds new tanks, the company told me recently, but instead modernizes and repairs older T-80 main battle tank models. Last March, Putin announced the production of 1,600 new tanks. According to Bulgarian military observers, Russia is trying by hook or by crook to return to the Soviet concept of a fleet of several thousand tanks. “Several important conclusions can be drawn from this, such as: due to the war with Ukraine, Russian production is currently unable to meet the needs of tanks for the Russian army,” the Bulgarians say.

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British intelligence can confirm this assumption – according to their information, Russian industry is capable of producing at least 100 main battle tanks every month. It will cover current losses. X (formerly Twitter) According to the British, in 2022 the Russians managed to significantly reduce their tank losses compared to the first year of the war. This is their cruel end severe: Although recent offensives have yielded only small gains for the Russians on the ground, they “can continue this level of offensive activity for the foreseeable future.”

Political misfortune: Finland's accession to NATO significantly worsens Putin's situation

In total, the Russian army is, according to Global Firepower Index There are almost 3,500 T-80 tanks in its various model versions. The reason for the attempt to rearm or maintain the status quo is the entry of Finland and the consequent sharp deterioration of Vladimir Putin's position against NATO – the border between the two organizations has now increased by 1,300 kilometers. Various media outlets are toying with the extent to which Russia has restarted production of the T-80 for military action in the Murmansk region north of the Arctic Circle — one that could deter a possible NATO invasion. Military re-enforcement of Finland's neutrality was seen as an existential necessity for Russia's security.

The T-80 can make a decisive contribution to this. Its gas turbine starts reliably at very low-zero temperatures, putting it ahead of the diesel units partially installed on other T-80s. Ralph Roths says that technical differences between tank models are ultimately irrelevant to success or failure; The historian heads the German Tank Museum in Münster.

“Different Russian tank models basically belong to one family and are further developed only in certain areas. Since both sides use the same or at least similar material, the human factor is very important: the training of the team, the leadership of the unit and the morale of the entire force,” he says.

So the Russian authorities went overboard in their rhetoric at the start of the war – when the Western powers finally sent their battle tanks forward. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “These tanks will burn like any other. He is seriously mistaken about that. On the contrary, Russia's tank force is wreck after wreck. That's why Vladimir Putin needs so many tanks, that's the answer to T severe. Eight years late.

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