Russia ‘upgraded’ a T-72B1 tank by installing a WWII machine gun

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russian television Rossiya 1 aired a short report on the ongoing modernization of T-72 tanks. Once the modernization is done, they will be sent to the front in Ukraine. However, one video shot caused not only controversy but also bewilderment among Russian citizens, as well as among experts in the field of tank armament.

T-72 tank specific update was not well received by the Russians
Video screenshot

First, it turned out that the repair assembly line filmed by the TV report was full of T-72B3 tanks. However, a freeze frame on the upgrade in question shows that it is on a T-72B1 tank, not a T-72B3. Some comments on social media wondered how the only T-72B1 on the entire repair line received the upgrade in question.

Other people suggested that it was entirely possible that the T-72B1 was used to supply spare parts and upgrade the T-72B3, and that the one caught on camera “got lucky” and was intact. And since not a single bolt should be wasted in wartime, the T-72B1 also underwent an “upgrade” that was intended for the T-72B3.

More worrying, however, is not the presence of an old version tank. The war in Ukraine brought to light where and where older tanks – T-55, T-62. I.e. this single item is not a topic for comment. But it is in this single unit that the looming presence of a machine gun is noticeable.

T-72 tank specific update was not well received by the Russians
Photo credit: vKontakte

Russian military experts in tank armament immediately recalled that these machine guns were used in the obsolete Soviet T-54 tanks. Back then, in the era of the T-54, these very machine guns were determined to be useless. The problem arose from the fact that the tank driver had a hard time guiding them to the target and easily lost concentration. The question that worries Russian experts is how Moscow managed to find an application for something that the Kremlin years ago declared useless?

BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that the T-54 tank is from the era of World War II. Even then, Russian engineers found that this machine gun had swinging blocks on the barrel and a poor-quality stabilizer.

The astonishment among the Russians, who know weapon technology, is great. Some cannot understand why Kort machine guns, which Russia has in abundance, are not integrated. Some even say that it is better to put any other 12.7mm machine gun, but not exactly the one from 1946 from the T-54 tank.

Another problem that is noted by the still shot is that this machine gun does not have a scope. Whatever it is – optical (night or day), infrared, thermal. Of course, using a machine gun from the year 46 it is difficult to find a place for the integration of a scope.

Russia achieved a new level of upgrading the T-72 - it is T-72B4
Photo credit: blogspot

But there are opinions that such integration is possible. I.e. the integration of an electro-optical sight above the gun of the machine gun with an electric trigger and a spacious case. Something like the integration of the machine guns of the Israeli Merkava tanks or the American Abrams M2.

Bulgarianchiliters.com asked an expert in the field of dual-purpose products – optical sights. Our expert said that the machine gun allows one of two sights to be installed – TPN-3-49 or T-64BV model 2017. Both sights meet the machine gun standard in terms of dimensions.

BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that on December 25, Russia sent a new train load of tanks to the Ukrainian front. A total of 38 Russian tanks of Soviet design were photographed loaded at the station in Rostov. The tanks sent were 15 T-90M tanks, 9 T-72B3 tanks and 14 T-62M tanks.

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