Abrams/Leopard complexity could render them useless – AFU officer

PARIS, FRANCE — Kyiv awaits the first Western tanks promised by the Allies. Most likely they will be the German Leopard 2 or Leopard 1. It is possible that shortly after the first Leopards, the delivery of the British Challenger 2 will begin.

How a transport plane fills a US Army M1 tank with diesel fuel
Photo by Senior Airman Leon Redfern

Ukrainian soldiers herald the new technology but have reservations. The French media Europe 1 writes about this, referring to its own source – a Ukrainian officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine [AFU]. According to the source, the terms of delivery are very delicate. He also has doubts about the relative usefulness of certain tanks. There is also concern about the risk of training tank crews too quickly.

Ukrainian officers are wary of seeing some of the tanks promised by the West arriving to help them resist the Russian invader. If this long-awaited material raises any hope, its arrival on Ukrainian territory requires extremely meticulous organization. Receiving the machines will have to be done at night and will involve many stops at well-chosen locations such as hangars or forests in western Ukraine. The goal: is to avoid the gaze of Russian satellites and drones.

Constraining logistics

In addition, establishing logistical repairs and fuel supply chains is a problem, according to an officer met on the ground by Europe 1. According to him, the American Abrams is turbine-powered and therefore requires jet fuel as well as a special delivery.

Rheinmetall might deliver 50 'stored' Leopard-1A5 tanks to Ukraine
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The military also wondered about the Leopard 1 tank, which would have few advantages over the older T-64s, except for the ability to move faster. And the type of projectile used would offer limited utility on today’s battlefield.

If the officer admits that it is still more convenient to take advantage of a wider range of military equipment, he also fears the consequences that would result from too hasty training of the crews.

Within a month or so, his unit had lost 20 tanks out of 30 with men trained, sometimes in an accelerated fashion, to meet the immediate needs of the war.

Our analysis

From January 20 to today, BulgarianMilitary.com analyzes the upcoming deliveries of tanks to Ukraine. The statement of the Ukrainian officer completely coincides with our analysis. Without bias and without any feelings, we assert the following:

Germany allows: 105mm Leopard 1A5 tanks + APFSDS ammo go to Ukraine
Photo: Wikipedia

First: The shortened training period for tank crews will be a problem. Moreover, there is a high probability that the new Ukrainian tank crews will have impaired concentration. The reason is the number of the tank crew. Soviet-designed tanks, including the Ukrainian Army’s T-72, are manned by a three-man crew, while Western tanks are manned by a four-man crew. One more person is the ammunition filler in the weapon, while in Russian tanks it is automatic mode.

Second: The West will provide “scraped” tanks, especially Abrams and Challenger 2. Their armor is marked “secret for national security”, so Ukraine will not get exactly the tanks it hopes for, but deeply modernized, but with a negative impact.

Third: A large part of the vital infrastructure for any tank, be it Soviet or Western, is the bridges. According to Newsweek, as well as to our knowledge, most of the bridges in Ukraine are not suitable for Western heavy tanks. The bridges were designed to take the weight and movement of Soviet-era tanks, not the Challenger, Abrams, and Leopard.

Aircraft are also a problem

Absolutely the same situation will be if the West provides F-16S or Eurofighters to Ukraine. These planes are not suitable for the war in Ukraine. They cannot take off from short runways, from agricultural airfields, they cannot hide in a forest, and they cannot be serviced in a field. These aircraft will require the construction of infrastructure or the modernization of existing infrastructure. This means that Russian satellites will notice these structures.

JAS-39 Gripen to fight Russian Su in Ukraine? The reply has come
Photo credit: Twitter

The only combat aircraft that meets Ukraine’s needs is the Gripen – it takes off from short runways, is serviced in the field, not at a depot, hides in wooded areas, takes off from roads and in terms of maneuverability, and is the most maneuverable of the rest of the Western aircraft.


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