While images of wrecked Russian tanks are becoming a common sight in Ukraine, a new video has emerged that captures the moment a Russian tank explodes, sending its turret into the sky.
The dashcam footage shows a Russian tank exploding in a big blaze as it drives down a road. The footage was captured on May 6 near Novoazovsk in the Donetsk region by the Chinese state media channel Phoenix TV of what they claim is the turret of a Russian T-72B3 tank flying to the sky.
The video was shot when the Chinese team was heading towards the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. The team was reportedly documenting the evacuation of residents of the city.
The T-72’s turret weighs at least 12 tones. The explosive pressure required to throw such a massive bulk high in the sky would need something very high in energy.
The Chinese channel asserted that the region was under fire from assumed Tochka short-range ballistic missiles and US-supplied loitering munitions at the time. The tank explosion was not attributed to a specific weapon system.
This attack wouldn't have been particularly remarkable if it had taken place on the front lines. It didn't. The site of the attack has been geolocated to near Novoazovsk, a town deep in the separatist "Donetsk People's Republic". /2 pic.twitter.com/79bClGLGE2
— ChrisO (@ChrisO_wiki) May 11, 2022
“Phoenix reporter Lu Yuguang escaped death during the interview in eastern Ukraine,” the channel explained, adding that the driver required “emergency deceleration to avoid danger.
Phoenix Satellite TV dispatched a front-line interview team from eastern Ukraine to go to the Mariupol Azov Steel Plant on May 6 to track and report the evacuation of civilians by the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Russian military organization.”
According to the Chinese report, while “on the way to the interview,” a Russian tank moving in front of them blew up.
The latest incident comes after revelations that many Russian tanks used in the Ukraine war have a fatal design flaw, which explains why the turret gets thrown up. Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, several Russian tanks with their tops blown off have been photographed.
Experts call it a “jack-in-the-box effect” which is caused because Russian tanks hold shells within their turrets. This implies that even an indirect strike can set off a chain reaction that detonates the tank’s entire ammo stockpile, sometimes as many as 40 shells.
Experts taking to EurAsian Times had nicely explained that the ‘jack-in-the-box effect’ – a type of explosion – which causes the tank’s turret to be blown off the chassis and into the air. It is named after the child’s toy, the jack-in-the-box, in which a puppet pops up.
It occurs when the heat or shockwave of the blast causes detonation of all the tank’s ammunition and propellant, causing a rapid pressure inside the sealed internal compartment of the tank until it explodes outwards through the weakest point in the compartment, namely the turret ring, blowing it straight up into the air.
The Russian-made T-72 and T-80 tanks are particularly prone to such explosions, Maj. Mike Liscano Jr. of the US Army had told The EurAsian Times.
According to retired British Army officer Nicholas Drummond, this shortcoming means that the tank’s crew – normally a driver and two soldiers in the turret – are killed in such explosions. “If you don’t get out within the first second, you’re toast,” he said.
Meanwhile, experts pointed out that If the explosion had happened someplace on the front lines, it would not have received the attention that it has today. This is because Novoazovsk has been under ‘Russian control’ since August 2014.
Essentially, Russia has always regarded this land as a secure enough zone for wartime operations such as population evacuation. Chinese media outlets are the only foreign media outlet now functioning in Russian-controlled territory.
Russia Facing Heavy Losses in Ukraine
A few days ago, Ukrainian military forces attacked a Russian Armored Unit in the north-eastern Ukrainian area of Kharkiv Oblast, destroying Russia’s most sophisticated tank, the T-90M Main Battle Tank (MBT).
It has improved armor, automatic target tracking, increased accuracy, and the ability to fire missiles, shells, and machine-gun rounds. However, the destruction of this class of tank could be regarded as a significant blow to the Russian military.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government recently claimed that Moscow had lost 24,900 troops, 1,110 tanks, and 199 planes in its battle in the eastern European country. While these figures appear to be exaggerated, Russia definitely has sustained heavy losses to its tanks and armored vehicles.