War re Ukraine: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Wed Feb 8 00:48:21 PST 2023

Without air superiority, most analysts expect any threat
of western tanks to be killed on sight from the sky if
Putin decides they are an annoyance..
If they don't want to establish air superiority,
the west should first flood Ukrainian forces with endless
supplies of cheap simple man-team-mobile single shot
vehicle killing drones to take out every mobile and fixed
element on and behind the front. Cheap, effective, assassins.

Truth About Tanks: How NATO Lied Its Way To Disaster In Ukraine


Tank warfare has evolved. The large force-on-force armored battles
that were the hallmark of much of WWII, the Arab-Israeli conflicts,
which served as the foundation of operational doctrine for both NATO
and the Soviet Union (and which was implemented in full by the United
States during Operation Desert Storm in 1991), has run its course.

Like most military technological innovations, the ability to make a
modern main battle tank survivable has been outstripped by the
fielding of defensive systems designed to overcome such defenses. If a
modern military force attempted to launch a large-scale tank-dominated
attack against a well-equipped peer-level opponent armed with modern
anti-tank missiles, the result would be a decisive defeat for the
attacking party marked by the smoking hulks of burned-out tanks.

Don’t get me wrong: tanks still have a vital role to play on the
modern battlefield. Their status as a mobile bunker is invaluable in
the kind of meat-grinder conflicts of attrition that have come to
define the current stage of large-scale ground combat. Speed and armor
still contribute to survivability, and the main gun of a tank remains
one of the deadliest weapons on the modern battlefield.

But the modern tank performs best as part of a combined arms team,
supported by infantry (mounted and unmounted) and copious amounts of
supporting arms (artillery and close air support.) As part of such a
team, especially one that is well-trained in the art of close combat,
the tank remains an essential weapon of war. However, if operated in
isolation, a tank is simply an expensive mobile coffin.

Much has been made about the recent decision made by NATO and allied
nations to provide Western main battle tanks to Ukraine. The politics
of this decision is its own separate topic. This article will address
the operational practicalities of this decision, namely has the
military capability of Ukraine been enhanced through the provision of
these new weapons systems.

To answer this question, one needs to examine three basic issues:
training, logistical sustainability, and operational employment.

It takes 22 weeks to train a basic American M1 Abrams crewmember. That
training just gives the soldier the very basic skill set to be
functional. Actual operational expertise is only achieved through
months, if not years, of additional training in not just the system
itself, but employing it as part of a similarly trained combine arms
team. Simply put, even a Ukrainian tank crew experienced in the
operation of Soviet-era T-72 or T-64 tanks will not be able to
immediately transition to a Western-style main battle tank.

T-72B3M main battle tanks from the 1st Guards Tank Regiment at Red Square

First and foremost, the crew size of a Soviet-era tank is three,
reflecting the reality that the Soviet tanks make use of an automatic
loading mechanism. Western tanks have four crew members because the
loading of the main tank gun is done manually. Adapting to these
dynamics takes time, and requires extensive training.

Training is expensive. NATO is currently providing Ukraine with three
types of Western main battle tank: the British Challenger 2, the
German Leopard 2, and the American M1A2. There is no unified training
course—each tank requires its own unique training prospectus that is
not directly transferable to another system.

The decentralized training processes created by such a diverse
approach promotes inefficiencies and generates discrepancies in
outcome—one crew will not be like another, which in combat, where
units are supposed to be interchangeable to promote predictable
outcomes if all other circumstances remain the same, is usually fatal.

Moreover, these problems will only be enhanced by the emphasis that
will be placed on rapid outcomes. The reality is whatever training
programs that are developed and delivered by the nations providing the
tanks will be insufficient to the task, resulting in poorly trained
crews taking extremely complicated weapons systems into the most
dangerous environment in the world for a tank—the teeth of a Russian
Army designed and equipped to kill these very same tanks.
Logistical Sustainability

Tanks are among the most technically challenging weapons systems on a
modern battlefield. They are constantly breaking down, especially if
not properly maintained. For the M1 Abrams, for every hour a tank is
in the field, there are three hours of maintenance time required. This
problem only becomes magnified in combat.

Normally an armor unit is equipped with highly specialized organic
maintenance crews that can repair most of the minor issues that can
sideline a tank. Given the training requirements to produce this level
of high-quality mechanic, it is unlikely Ukraine will be provided with
this kind of maintenance support.

A Ukrainian artilleryman throws an empty 155MM shell tube as Ukrainian
soldiers fire a M777 howitzer towards Russian positions on the
frontline of eastern Ukraine, on November 23, 2022.

This means that the tanks that are being provided to Ukraine will need
to be returned to NATO nations for any significant repairs of
equipment that is damaged through simple usage or actual combat. In
short, it is highly likely that a Western main battle tank in
Ukrainian hands will break down at some point during its operational
use by Ukraine, meaning that the total number of tanks available to
Ukraine will be far less than the number of tanks provided.
Operational Employment

Ukraine’s commander in chief of the Armed Forces, General Valerii
Zaluzhnyi, told The Economist last month that he needed 300 tanks, 500
infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 artillery pieces, if he were going
to have any chance of defeating [Russia].

Following the January 20 meeting of the Ramstein Contact Group, and
subsequent follow-on discussions about the provision of tanks, NATO
and its allied partners have agreed to provide less than 50% of the
number of tanks requested, less than 50% of the number of infantry
fighting vehicles requested, and less than 20% of the artillery

Moreover, the timetable for delivery of this equipment is staggered
incoherently over a period that stretches out for many months, and in
some cases extends into the next year. Not only does this complicate
training and logistical sustainability issues that are already
unfavorably inclined for Ukraine, but it makes any meaningful effort
to integrate this material into a cohesive operational employment plan
all but impossible. In short, Ukraine will be compelled to commit the
equipment provided—especially the tanks—into combat in piecemeal

The truth about tanks is that NATO and its allied nations are making
Ukraine weaker, not stronger, by providing them with military systems
that are overly complicated to operate, extraordinarily difficult to
maintain, and impossible to survive unless employed in a cogent manner
while supported by extensive combined arms partners.

The decision to provide Ukraine with Western main battle tanks is,
literally, a suicide pact, something those who claim they are looking
out for the best interests of Ukraine should consider before it is too

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