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"Why Are 1000 1st-Generation T-72s Sitting In Storage?" Topic


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10 Jul 2024 9:31 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Why Are A 1000 1st-Generation T-72s Sitting In Storage?" to "Why Are 1000 1st-Generation T-72s Sitting In Storage?"

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©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian10 Jul 2024 9:30 a.m. PST

It's probably better to spend money on brand-new tanks.

Forbes: link

Dragon Gunner10 Jul 2024 10:19 a.m. PST

Some other theories?

1. T55 and T62 take less time to restore when you need tanks at front now.

2. T72 May have been stripped of components and sold on black market?

3. Some hidden logistics / maintenance nightmare the Russians have created for themselves in regards to the T72, something we will hear about after the war?

I hope Cuprum chimes in with logical explanation!

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2024 1:49 p.m. PST

I wonder if some of these T72s have been cannibalised for parts to keep other tanks running…?

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2024 2:14 p.m. PST

Very likely don't have the spares to get them running

Dragon Gunner10 Jul 2024 2:52 p.m. PST

Yes the motor pool equivalents of the hangar queen.

Personal logo McKinstry Supporting Member of TMP Fezian10 Jul 2024 5:12 p.m. PST

Didn't the autoloader on first gen T-72's have a nasty habit of eating human arms?

Cuprum210 Jul 2024 5:20 p.m. PST

The problem at the front is not with tanks there are quite enough of them and will last for more than one year of the war. There is a problem with their functions. The tank is now again just a mobile artillery piece. There are no massive tank attacks, there is no fight against enemy tanks. There is an artillery gun that has high maneuverability and armor protection against return artillery fire. Now this is the main role of the tank.
Older tanks have some advantages in this role a rifled gun barrel; an abundance of old shells for the guns of old tanks, which are not suitable for more modern weapons; simplicity and low cost of maintenance; a large reserve of already trained tank crews who previously served in the army on these tanks.
In addition, old T-72 tanks can be upgraded to the T-90 model by changing equipment (the same hull is used). Why send a tank to the front as a self-propelled gun, from which it would be possible to make a completely modern vehicle?

In addition, completely different enterprises are used to restore old tanks than to produce new ones.

Look at Western tanks in Ukraine. No model has shown any results that would have surpassed the old Russian tanks. Nothing. The day before yesterday the fifteenth Abrams was destroyed and no one cares about that anymore. Routine…

Prince Alberts Revenge10 Jul 2024 6:55 p.m. PST

According to the article, they speculate it is because of the autoloader. The T-55 and T-62 have a 4 man crew, the T-72 Ural and T-72A have an early autoloader that is fairly delicate (and as noted above had a habit of mauling human arms). The autoloaders of older tanks would require more refurbishment than is currently worth it.

That's according to the article.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian10 Jul 2024 8:30 p.m. PST

Look at Western tanks in Ukraine. No model has shown any results that would have surpassed the old Russian tanks. Nothing.

Crew survivability counts for a lot. Also, lot of videos of Bradleys kicking butt over there.

The day before yesterday the fifteenth Abrams was destroyed…

Verified? I doubt it.

Dragon Gunner11 Jul 2024 4:44 a.m. PST

@Prince Albert

I read the article even the author is speculating….

Dragon Gunner11 Jul 2024 4:47 a.m. PST

@cuprum

Thank you I learned something new about the T72 using the same hull as the T90. Turret manufacture might be easier and less time consuming than an entire new tank. In that regard it might make sense to conserve T72 if T90 turret production can be ramped up.

Martyn K11 Jul 2024 5:53 a.m. PST

I don't believe that the figures support the position that there is no difference in performance between the old Soviet tanks and some of the NATO tanks that have been supplied.
Oryx documents losses using photos of destroyed equipment. While this method will not capture everything totally accurately, there is no reason to suspect bias in favor of one side or other.

Russian losses. link

Ukraine losses: link


On a global level this website shows 3208 Russian tank losses and 860 Ukrainian tanks losses.
Of the 860 Ukrainian tank losses, the vast majority were old Soviet tanks. There were 51 ex Nato tank losses, the big share of this is 32 Leopard II (A4 and A6) and 10 M1A1.
Interestingly enough only 1 Challenger II has been lost and the crew survived.

Now there are less ex NATO tanks in Ukraine than ex Soviet tanks. But even so, the number of ex Nato tank losses are a remarkably small percentage of the total tank losses.

If anyone was expecting NATO tanks to be invulnerable to modern combat, then that was an unrealistic expectation. However, I do believe that equating their performance to Soviet era tanks is swinging way too far in the other direction. Modifications need to be made to increase protection against drones, but that is a learning for both sides.

Dragon Gunner11 Jul 2024 7:00 a.m. PST

In regards to tank losses I wonder how many were rendered immobile, abandoned and not recovered? It would be interesting to see an honest break down of how many were lost to direct enemy fire.

Martyn K11 Jul 2024 7:39 a.m. PST

In the links provided it breaks down destroyed, damaged, captured, abandoned.

Dragon Gunner11 Jul 2024 7:46 a.m. PST

Thank you for links they are very informative. I am on my cell phone and don't have good screen view, as page loaded it moved past your links.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2024 10:50 a.m. PST

As we have seen in the recent past. The Russians tend to know little to 0 when it comes to Log/Maint.

Crew survivability counts for a lot. Also, lot of videos of Bradleys kicking butt over there.
If the reports were correct and I believe they war. M2s in Iraq KO'd more enemy AFVs than MBTs. I believe the M2's sponson mounted TOWs with a range of 3750m gives them a considerable stand off advantage. As IIRC most MBTs could only effectively only KO AFVs at 2500m or so.


The problem at the front is not with tanks there are quite enough of them and will last for more than one year of the war. There is a problem with their functions. The tank is now again just a mobile artillery piece. There are no massive tank attacks, there is no fight against enemy tanks. There is an artillery gun that has high maneuverability and armor protection against return artillery fire.
Yes, as many have said and observed that the Russian's don't know how to fight modern mobile combined arms warfare. And with their very high losses they are now resorting to tactics more liked to those used during WWI.

Martyn +1
Good observations…

Grelber11 Jul 2024 10:56 a.m. PST

I once read that the T-55s and T-62s were designed to be operated by draftees with little experience and training, while the more modern tanks needed crews with more training.

Grelber

Cuprum211 Jul 2024 9:45 p.m. PST

Martyn K, this is a tricky statistic… You are counting the completely destroyed Ukrainian tanks, and all Russian tanks that were damaged in one way or another. But you don't take into account that a significant number of them return to service after repairs.
For example: a Russian tank was hit by a Javelin missile. He leaves the battle for a while, two crew members leave the vehicle, one fixes the problem, after which the tank returns to battle again… But the Ukrainian side will consider it destroyed, which is not so.

link

But a Javelin hits a Russian T-90 tank, a video filmed from the inside… The tank is hit, but it has no critical damage and will return to battle again:

link

According to Russian information, the Challenger tanks were removed from the front lines and moved to the rear as training vehicles. There is also information that they have shown themselves to be insufficiently reliable technically. In any case, video of their use no longer appears, despite the fact that the battlefield is simply oversaturated with reconnaissance drones…

Editor in Chief Bill, destruction of the fifteenth, "anniversary" Abrams from the 47th Ukrainian "Magura" brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The tank was destroyed 4 days ago using FVP drones. First the tank was hit (you can see how it was losing oil trying to escape the attack), and then it was finished off by several more FVP drones.

vk.com/video-75861262_456281295

The Western tanks did not make any special impression on the Russians. Now, even with their defeat, it is difficult to find a mention of this in the news. No one is particularly interested in this anymore.

Russian air defense and pilots are eagerly waiting for the F-16 to compete. A very attractive reward has been awarded for the first aircraft destroyed.

Martyn K12 Jul 2024 5:55 a.m. PST

Caprum2. The data that I presented was tank losses. It is further broken down into destroyed, damaged, captured, abandoned.
The data is not self reported by each side, with different criteria. The same methodology is applied to both Russian and Ukrainian tanks.
Now any individual tank loss can be somewhat subjective, but the large quantity of losses mean that trends can be reasonably well identified.
Now does this data capture every loss and assign each loss to a category with 100% correctness, almost certainly not. However, disputing the overall picture by pointing to one or two subjective cases does not invalidate the big picture.
Far more interesting is to look for trends in the data and see how both equipment design and equipment usage have impacted the figures.

Given the data, if I were a Ukrainian tanks company commander, I think that I would prefer my troops to be in Challenger IIs rather than any version of the T72. Even recognizing that training and maintenance is likely to be more complex.


As for the observation on the Challenger II figures. "According to Russian information" has a number of concerns for me. Which Russian information? is the immediate concern. Why would one of the best tanks available to relegated to training duties when there is a shortage of equipment? Why would the Russian side know the location of the Challengers? Simply dismissing the figures on the Challenger does not necessarily make it so. The Challengers record in previous conflicts was exceptional. I was merely making the observation that the limited data that we have, may show that its performance relative to US armor is continuing in Ukraine.

Cuprum212 Jul 2024 7:32 a.m. PST

British tanks are in service with the 82nd Air Assault Brigade (trained in the UK). The brigade first entered battle in August 2023 at the end of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, striking near the village of Rabotino. It was there, in September, that they lost their first Challenger. Considering that the British categorically forbade the Ukrainians from using their tanks in dangerous situations, the Ukrainians preferred to use them as training vehicles to avoid trouble with the allies.

link

You remember that Leopards and Abrams have already fallen into the hands of the Russians.

Martyn K12 Jul 2024 7:38 a.m. PST

The article is from the Sun, not my preferred source for any information. However, the article points to the fact that they would not want the Russians getting their hands on a destroyed Challenger. They therefore prefer not to use them in situations of a collapsing front where they cannot recover any damaged or destroyed vehicle. That is different from not being used in a dangerous situation.

Cuprum212 Jul 2024 7:41 a.m. PST

But if a tank needs to be used with special concerns, then how much value is it? This is something like a ceremonial sword – it's too valuable to fight with)))

Martyn K12 Jul 2024 8:04 a.m. PST

Doesn't every vehicle have to be used with special considerations? It depends if those situations exclude 10% of the times you want to use it or 90% of the times that you want to use it. A collapsing front doesn't seem a hugely limiting scenario in light of the fairly static lines in Ukraine.

Cuprum212 Jul 2024 8:12 a.m. PST

Hmm… But Leopards and Abrams are already decorating Russian squares. Moreover, the Abrams did not go on the offensive, unlike the German cats, but were used in defense…

link

If I were in the place of the commander of a tank unit, in such a situation I would prefer to have a tank that I can use as I see fit, without regard to any external conditions. And not the one for whose salvation (or not) I will be responsible to my ally and my leadership.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP12 Jul 2024 11:08 a.m. PST

Doesn't every vehicle have to be used with special considerations? It depends if those situations exclude 10% of the times you want to use it or 90% of the times that you want to use it.
Everything is based on terrain and situation. Some AFVs, etc. are better at some missions than others. E.g. what were those vehicles designed for ? But at times you use what you have. And modify your tactics, etc.

E.g. the IDF is currently using their M113 APCs to transport the Grunts only so far to a point near the enemy. Then the Grunts dismount, etc. Basically, that is what they are designed for, i.e. battlefield taxis. However, their Namer HAPC goes along with their Merkava MBTs in the advance/assault.

And again, any weapon system is only as good as its' crew and leadership.

Leopards and Abrams are already decorating Russian squares.
I'd think they'd have better uses for them than that. But seems, IMO the Russian's evaluation of things are a bit off at times…

a tank unit, in such a situation I would prefer to have a tank that I can use as I see fit, without regard to any external conditions
Again everything is based on terrain and situation. A weapon is only as good as its' crew and leaders.

E.g. in [West]Germany'[1988] old fart my Mech Co[M113A1] was attached to a Tank Bn, called cross-attaching to form Combined Arms Teams/TFs. I'd at times send a dismounted patrol(s) to check if the streams, small rivers, etc. had points where the M60A1s could easily ford. If there were not any good ford points, other options would be used. Again, terrain and situation.

Prince Alberts Revenge12 Jul 2024 5:14 p.m. PST

How about the T14 Armata? Was that not used with limitations based on "special concerns"? Was it even used at all before it was withdrawn from Ukrainian operations?

Cuprum212 Jul 2024 6:28 p.m. PST

T-14 is an expensive toy for small wars. Interest in it has been lost, at least in the current conditions (thanks, among other things, to Leopards and Abrams))). And this tank has not yet been officially accepted into service only an installation batch has been manufactured. It's stupid to send it to the front it won't bring much effect now, like any other tank, but if destroyed it will give an unpleasant media effect. Well, for what?
Now a decision has been made to restore production of the T-80 tank, of course in a more modern modification, including developments made earlier on the Armata, and before that on the Black Eagle model, which had not previously gone into production.

picture

link

Video of the Black Eagle tank

link

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