Demise of the ‘Iron coat’: Russian T-72 ‘turtle’ tank destroyed

Ukrainian sources allege the successful destruction of a Russian tank that’s gained the Internet-based nickname “Iron coat” or “turtle” for its arguably unusual design. These sources maintain that the tank was vanquished shortly after it was first used in combat during an attack attempt on Krasnogorovka.Β 

Russians 'designed' a 'turtle' tank all surrounded by a 'shell'
Photo credit: Twitter

The CyberBoroshno OSINT community has reportedly geolocated the tank’s position with success, delivering a strike characterized by its high precision. Ukrainian sources claim this strike also damaged other military equipment in the vicinity. Following the damage, the Russians are believed to have stored the tank back in its original hangar, where a video of it had previously been released by Russian outlets.

As a journalist, I often encounter the compelling validity of open-source intelligence [OSINT], as clearly witnessed in our continual tracking of Russian military assets. This intelligence approach accurately identifies the Russian fleet location down to the precise GPS coordinates, successfully piercing their veil of secrecy. 

Demise of the 'Iron coat': Russian T-72 'turtle' tank destroyed
Photo credit: Defense Express

Yet, let’s not forget that Russia, too, embraces similar intelligence structures. Communities engaged in espionage, along with military organizations, are just as active in the vast expanse of the Russian Federation. 

For this reason, we must exercise caution when sharing images or videos that may seem benign or nondescript. Claims like, “There are countless hangars like this one,” or “It’s just an indistinguishable field with some poles,” overlook the potential risk of information exposure. The dismantling of these ‘iron coat’ of misinformation not only illustrates the raw capacity of OSINT but underscores its strategic importance in our present climate.

It is interesting to note that even though the tank was ultimately destroyed, its singular mission was successfully completed. It journeyed past enemy lines, landed, and managed to return. Given this surprising achievement, one could reasonably expect the Russian military to develop similar types of structures for their army.

The so-called “turtle-shell” tank, as we previously mentioned in a report by, has been widely discussed across numerous Ukrainian platforms over the past day. A striking piece of footage captured by a drone operator shows a seemingly indestructible metal body safeguarding the tank, along with a significant chunk of its weaponry. The storyline thickens with a subsequent video that provides a sneak peek into the workshop, the very place where this remarkable modification of the tank was carried out.

The process involves securing a specially designed metal profile frame at the structure’s four corners β€” a technique that enhances the tank’s rigidity. These profiles are then notably affixed to the chain fender, which sits atop the tank. By meticulously welding these profiles at a strategic 45-degree angle, the designers ensure comprehensive coverage of the tank circuits. You can observe the precision of this technique mirrored at the backside of the structure. 

Post frame placement, the designers then skillfully weld sheet metal onto the structure, imprinting a distinctive aesthetic on the overall design. Notably, in some areas, the sheets are deliberately cut short – possibly a reflection of the thoughtful use of resources, both available and specially sourced. The backside of the tank, featuring an additional layer of profiles and sheet metal, is particularly remarkable. The ingenious “Russian field designers” seem to be demonstrating their design expertise, leveraging this additional layer possibly as an insulation measure, particularly as the engine is situated here. Evidently, these designers are leaving no stone unturned to offer heightened protection for this critical component.

Upon extensive examination, the advanced design and strategic approach used in the construction of this tank reveals very specific challenges. Take the inherent structural design constraints that prohibit the tank’s turret from completing a full 360-degree rotation. To put it simply, this means a tank can only unleash fire in its forward direction. While this specific design is in place primarily to protect against multi-directional drone assaults [a subject of ongoing debate regarding its effectiveness], it equally limits the tank’s firing capabilities to merely the front, leaving the left, right, and rear vulnerable due to the turret’s rigid structure. Any attempt to rotate could destabilize the overall structure of the tank. 

A secondary concern originating from this distinct design lies in the confined space surrounding the outlet. Traditional tank designs allocated sufficient space allowing crews to evacuate from various exit points; however, this new design with its lattice-like structure effectively traps the evacuation hatch. Thus, in the unfortunate event of an immobilizing Ukrainian drone strike, these restricted spaces may prevent effective evacuation routes for the crew, potentially culminating in a dire circumstance of lethal gas poisoning. As a result of the explosion’s aftermath, any resultant gases may have trouble dispersing due to the excessive concentration in such a confined environment.

In the end, the maneuverability of the Russian T-tank tends to stir some debates. The added heft from the metal framework and exterior surface may negatively influence the tank’s proficiency. Once perceived as lighter compared to its Western rivals, this tank now bears the extra load, which could potentially impact its operational capability, its agility, and its response in swiftly avoiding hostile scenarios.


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