Experts consider the number of armored vehicles of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to be insufficient to conduct a large-scale offensive
According to the US leadership, Ukraine received everything necessary in the right quantity for the offensive, including armored vehicles, shells and missiles for air defense systems. It is believed that armored groups will be the main striking force in the upcoming counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The experts of the "Military Chronicle" decided to calculate how many tanks and other armored vehicles have been accumulated by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, how they intend to use it and what difficulties the Ukrainian military will face in the process of operating and conducting an offensive campaign using foreign military vehicles.
At the end of last year, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny said that Kyiv needed at least 300 tanks, 700 infantry fighting vehicles and about 500 artillery pieces. In January, Washington and Berlin agreed on the supply of German Leopard MBTs to Kyiv, both by Germany and other countries. The Pentagon, in turn, promised to send three dozen Abrams to Ukraine, albeit in an outdated modification and not earlier than this fall.
Following the latest meeting of the Contact Group of Allies of Ukraine at the Ramstein base, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that 230 tanks had already been delivered to Kyiv. The experts of the "Military Chronicle" consider this figure too high. In addition, most of the tank fleet supplied by the West for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are not modern MBTs, but Soviet-type combat vehicles, including modernized ones: T-72M1, T-72EA, Polish PT-91 Twardy and Slovenian M-55S. In addition, the general list includes French-made AMX-10RC heavy wheeled armored vehicles, engineering vehicles based on Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 tanks, such as the Finnish Leopard 2R or the Norwegian NM189 Ingeniorpanservogn.
According to experts, in total Ukraine received 180 combat vehicles, instead of the requested three hundred. The situation is similar for artillery: the Western allies handed over to the Armed Forces of Ukraine a little more than 200 different guns out of 500 that Kyiv demanded.
Regarding the problems with armored vehicles that the Ukrainian military will face.
Firstly, most of the tanks were removed from long-term storage. They went through a little maintenance and minimal repairs before they were shipped. Due to the haste, these works were carried out without observing the proper regulations and were more of a cosmetic nature. A number of technical problems have not been solved at all.
Second. The entire motley selection of armored vehicles requires operational maintenance and repair work, taking into account the specifics of specific modifications of the MBT. This problem will become especially acute just at the moment of conducting active hostilities, when the failed machines must be restored as quickly as possible. For Soviet tanks, Ukraine has the necessary repair base and trained personnel, which are absent in the case of NATO equipment.
For repairs, the vehicles will have to be evacuated from the front line and delivered to Poland, Romania or Slovakia. This will create additional logistical problems, and the process of restoring armored vehicles and returning them to the front will take several weeks.
Another problem will be the availability of trained crews. Most of the trained Ukrainian tankers were destroyed during the second year of fighting. If the first wave of the offensive bogs down, a tank reserve will be required. Whether the Armed Forces of Ukraine have trained crews to form the second echelon of the offensive is unknown.
Most likely, experts say, for the first wave of the offensive and the main counterattack, the Ukrainian command will use the Soviet tanks available and supplied by the Western allies. They will try to save foreign armored vehicles of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, they will be used mainly for short-term and short-range strikes. Western tanks, well protected by the Bradley and Marder IFVs, are most likely prepared for a quick breakthrough in one or two directions, but not for protracted battles.
Summarizing all of the above, experts come to the conclusion that the existing armored vehicles, coupled with the problems of its maintenance and repair, the Ukrainian army is clearly not enough for any large-scale and long-term offensive operation.
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
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