See A Russian Tank’s Own Ammunition Explode After Strike in Ukraine – Video footage shared online this week shows the aftermath of a Russian tank in a Ukrainian farm field being struck by Ukrainian ammunition.
The video starts with the military vehicle in the middle of the field, already on fire. Seconds later, another explosion occurs without additional ammunition striking the vehicle – suggesting that the blast was caused by ammunition stored inside the tank.
The video was shared on several Telegram accounts and reposted on Twitter.
Researcher Arslon Xudosi, who uses Twitter to post commentary and information about Russian vehicle losses in the 2022 Ukraine conflict, said that the video was recorded somewhere in southern or eastern Ukraine.
It’s not the first time that a Russian vehicle has suffered this fate.
Russian tanks have been recorded exploding from the inside throughout the Ukraine conflict and even earlier, due to a phenomenon known as the “Jack-in-the-box” effect.
— Arslon Xudosi 🇺🇦 (@Arslon_Xudosi) August 3, 2022
Was It the “Jack In The Box” Effect?
Video footage shared online in June by the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine showed a T-72B3 tank turret lying next to the vehicle. The footage showed the result of the Jack-in-the-box effect, which sees the tank’s stored ammunition explode and destroy the vehicle from the inside. The footage showed the vehicle on fire and surrounded by plumes of black smoke after reportedly driving over a mine and later being hit by Ukrainian ammunition.
The T-72B3 is a modernized version of Russia’s Soviet-era T-72B tank, but the vehicles appear to have the same design flaw that made the older tanks vulnerable. The same design flaw also existed in Russia’s T-80 and T-90 tanks and is primarily a result of the design of the vehicles’ auto-loading systems. While the design makes it easier for a small crew to load the ammunition while operating the vehicle at the same time, it means that the ammunition compartment can explode when the vehicle is hit by enemy artillery. Any soldiers inside of the vehicle at the time of a strike will surely be killed if the ammunition compartment is compromised.
The problem has been known by the Russian military and foreign militaries for several decades, too. The design flaw was first noticed during the Gulf wars in 1991 and 2003 when Iraq’s Russian-built T-72 tanks exploded as a result of their own ammunition detonating.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.