Skip to main content

The Tank: News of my death have been exaggerated

 


One of the most common hot takes from the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been the idea that the main battle tank, that has ruled the battlefield for a century, is no longer a viable system. Depending on the author one of the modern wonder weapons, be it anti-tank missiles like Javelin, NLAW, the Bayraktar TB-2 drone or the accurate drone spotted artillery and mortar fire have made the tank an obsolete behemoth that is unable to successfully operate in the modern battlefield.

This conclusion is easy to come by when observing the Russian attacks on Kyiv, Sumy and Cherniv from the western media coverage. Especially the battle for Kyiv was indeed a triumph of the Ukrainian light infantry against mechanized Russian forces. But was this victory somehow revolutionary? The answer is straight forward, it was predictable to a degree that many analysts discounted the possibility of a Russian attack towards Kyiv from the north. The terrain through marches of Pripyat and the Chernobyl exclusion zone was very difficult for successful mechanized operations. The Russian forces were pushed to narrow corridors of passable lands.

This resulted in the classic traffic jam formation that was made exceedingly vulnerable by the fact that the Russian forces remained in marching columns without any serious attempts to secure their flanks. The overhopeful leadership most likely counted on the front to keep advancing at any moment and thus didn’t want any delays with moving on.

Similar situation, with similar results developed in the 1939-40 Winter War between USSR and Finland. Convoys can only project a fraction of their power forward, thus making the defense easier. Bundled up troops make easy targets for artillery, mortars and raiding light infantry.

Despite being mechanized and motorized, the Russian forces heading to Kyiv were also rather light, with more focus on fast MRAPs, IFVs and APCs. This reflected the Russian thinking that Ukraine would collapse under their fast advance. 

The Russian forces heading to Kyiv through Sumy and Cherniv were much more traditional Russian mechanized and armored units with significant numbers of main battle tanks with them. These offensives were also hampered by the limited mobility constrained by the wet terrain, but also long distances and broad sectors that quickly channeled the Russian BTGs into isolated units that could be taken out by the combination of the new systems and traditional mechanized warfare. Especially around Cherniv, Ukrainian mechanized troops mounted a successful defense with tanks of their own.

In the area where Russians concentrated their heaviest armored formations, Kharkiv, Ukrainians countered them with their own mechanized units. In these battles Russians weren’t able to gain much ground and the Ukrainian tank units were able to effectively counterattack the Russians.

Russian army has its own advanced and battle proven weapons that, if the theory of the tank being obsolete are correct, should be capable of countering the numerically limited and aging Ukrainian tanks. Despite their best efforts, the Russian Army has seriously struggled against well executed Ukrainian combined arms offensives spearheaded by tanks.

So instead of assuming that the tank is obsolete, the correct analysis is that the Russian tactics, that were obsolete in 1939, are still obsolete. The battlefield is a dangerous place to a tank, probably more dangerous than ever before. But effective anti-tank weapons have existed nearly as long as tanks have. Artillery devastated tank formations during WW2, when the intel to employ it was available. But when employed with proper support from artillery and infantry in a coordinated attacks or flexible defense tanks can still turn battles around.

-Petri Mäkelä

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If you find yourself struggling to write down everything you learn, then you may be experiencing a common problem called homework overload. Some people struggle to write down everything they learn Uk Assignment Writing Services . Others may feel overwhelmed by all of the material they have to remember. This can cause stress, anxiety, and even depression. If you feel overwhelmed by your homework assignment, you may need to find ways to make it easier for yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great article… If you need business environment assignment then contact bestassignmentexpert.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you are accepted into graduate school, you need to think about how you will pay for it, but in any case, I recommend this site https://www.cpomagazine.com/tech/what-to-do-when-rejected-from-grad-school/, where you will learn how to get into graduate school, and what to do if you are rejected for graduate school

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Quick guide to identifying the Russian tanks Part 1: Updated Dec. 2021

  As most of the western nations have reduced their inventories to a few or mostly one type of main battle tank model in their active inventories, the myriad of tank platforms and distinct versions employed by the Russian armed forces may feel overwhelming. Here is a quick guide to identifying Russian MBTs. When you come across an image (or the actual thing), follow the steps to identify it properly. Updated 15.12.2021: T-90 modifications Family of the tank Russian Armed Forces currently operates, or at least storage, the following tank platforms/families: -            T-55 (<2000 in storage) -            T-62 (2000 in storage) -            T-64 (2000 in storage) -            T-72 (2000 active duty, 8000 in storage) -            T-80 (2000 active duty, 5000 in storage) -            T-90 (350 active duty, 600  in storage) -            T-14 (20 in field testing) So how can you identify what type of a tank are you looking at? There are two features that can be used to distinguishing th

Russian Tanks 2022: Thicker and Blinder

  Since the all out invasion of Ukraine the Russian army has lost at least 1700 tanks. This has caused the Russian army some supply problems, when they are re-forming their mauled units. Fighting has also revealed the need for upgrades on most of the Russian tank designs. The most obvious issues with the existing Russian tank fleet are the insufficient armor protection, the lack of reverse mobility and the vulnerability of the automatic loaders and their ammunition carousels. Although the last one has gifted us the sport of Turret Throwing. T-72B obr 2022 tanks Very little can be done for the mobility with the limitations of the existing transmissions and the autoloaders can’t really be replaced with better designs or human loaders either. The armor part on the other hand can be improved during the activation and refurbishment of the deep stored Soviet-era tanks. The first new design that appeared in the battlefield was an upgraded T-72B3 with additional armo,r mimicking the T-90M layo

Russian Spring offensive 2023: Kyiv Take Two

Russian T-80U tanks stuck and abandoned in Ukraine in spring 2022   The spectacular Ukrainian victories during the 2022 forced the Russian army to the defensive. With the Russian retreat from Kharkiv and the areas north of the river Dnipro in Kherson, the focus of the fighting has returned to the Donbass. The Russian forces, with Wagner mercenaries and penal battalions doing the bulk of the fighting and dying, are trying to take Bakhmut in a battle that invokes parallels to the meat grinders of the Great war. The Ukrainian armed forces on the other hand are slowly making progress towards Kreminna. Despite the continuous rumors about a new massive round of mobilizations, the Russian army cannot sustain the present level of attrition indefinitely. By throwing enough men and material against the prepared Ukrainian positions manned by experienced and highly motivated defenders, Russians may be able to gain some localized breakthroughs. But even if the Russian mechanized forces are able to