Friday, January 27, 2023

Ukrainian Commander ‘Heaps Praises’ On T-90 Tanks; Says ‘Need Three Tanks Or Very Good Luck’ To Counter Russian MBTs

A Ukrainian tank commander has acknowledged the superior combat capabilities of Russia’s T-90 tank, stating that it takes three tanks or a ‘good luck’ to square off against Russia’s main battle tank. 

The Ukrainian forces are apparently frustrated by the reliance on outdated Soviet-era T-62s and T-72s tanks as Kyiv deepens its calls for Western assistance. These old tanks are said to be incapable of keeping up with Russia’s highly valuable T-90 tanks on the battlefield. 

Soldiers from the 17th Tank Brigade described fighting the Russians to The Times while stationed at the Bakhmut front.

The T-64 and T-72 tanks, which are more modern but are still of the Soviet era, and an upgraded T-72 captured from the Russian forces in 2022, were used by the soldiers of the 17th Tank Brigade.

One Russian commander was very honest about the T-90, the third-generation Russian tank produced after the Soviet Union’s disintegration. The 45-ton, three-person T-90, with its 125-millimeter gun and steel-composite armor, is one of the most advanced Russian tanks. 

“This is where the quality of what we have is important. If you come across a T-90, you need three of ours to deal with it — or very good luck,” said Lieutenant Oleksander Romanchuk, 31, a tank company commander and a ten-year veteran. 

In turn, Ukrainian strategists and western experts say Kyiv requires more, higher-quality heavy equipment to withstand a broad spring offensive, let alone reclaim the large swaths of Ukrainian territory currently under Russian control.

T-90M
File Image: T-90M

To combat the Russian forces, the British government recently stated that it would send 14 Challenger 2 tanks, far bulkier and better armored than anything in Russian or Ukrainian possession, to support Kyiv’s military effort.

The ammo storage aboard Challenger 2 is guarded. This is a significant difference from the T-class of tanks, where the biggest threat to a crew’s life is an incoming round triggering their shells in the enclosed space of a tank compartment. 

“In effect, we are just sitting on our own ammo,” said Romanchuk. In the context of western tanks, he stated that everything is created with the crew’s safety in mind. “There’s more armor, better scopes, and better ammunition. It’s all just better,” Romanchuk added.

Western Tanks For Ukraine

The West could arm Ukraine with the French Leclerc, German Leopard 2, and British Challenger 2 tanks. On the other hand, the Kremlin threatened to “burn” these tanks on the battleground.

The French-made Leclerc tank, the German-made Leopard 2, and the British-made Challenger 2 are all “heavy” tracked tanks designed for high-intensity battle. They weigh between 55 and 65 tons and are made of heavy armor that protects them from various threats.

Depending on the type, the large-caliber cannon on these tanks has a diameter between 105 and 125 millimeters and can store 40 to 55 shells. They have thermal cameras and can fire precisely at night and at a great distance.

For instance, when moving, the Leclerc tank can fire at a stationary target up to four kilometers away. Western tanks were built during the height of the Cold War, between the late 1970s and the 1990s. 

Experts highlighted that these tanks were developed to defeat Russian tanks and gain a tactical and operational advantage over Russian tanks. Ukraine believes it would require 300 tanks to conduct a significant military offensive. 

Leopard 2 - Wikipedia
Leopard 2 – Wikipedia

On Thursday, a top NATO general said that Western tanks would not provide a “silver bullet” to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

US General Christopher Cavoli, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, after a meeting of NATO military chiefs, said, “There is not a particular weapon system that is a silver bullet. A balance of all systems is needed.”

However, he said that modern Western technology outperforms Russian technology on the battlefield in Ukraine. The remarks came as Kyiv and some NATO allies pressed Germany to provide Leopard II battle tanks to assist Kyiv in pushing back Moscow’s forces.

Admiral Rob Bauer, the head of NATO’s military committee, avoided urging the delivery of the supplies to Kyiv, but he stated that “if the Russians are fighting with tanks, the Ukrainians need tanks as well.”

He stated that possessing tanks was critical for the Ukrainians to fight the Russians “in terms of their ambition to reclaim their territory.”

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