How Long Can Russia Continue to Lose Tanks?: During the First World War, across nearly every front, static trench lines were created. Unfortunate soldiers would then have to charge across no-man’s-land often in seemingly futile assaults brazenly. Dozens and even hundreds of soldiers would be cut down by machine gun fire and killed while making the attempt. Historians have long suggested that the military leaders were certain that with enough tries, however, they’d eventually break through and, as a result, secure a tactical victory that could be further exploited.
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Tanks Keep Dying in Ukraine
In many ways, history seems to be repeating itself in the ongoing fighting in Ukraine.
Russia may not be sending waves of desperate soldiers – at least not yet – but instead, it continues to deploy tanks to the frontlines, only to have to see them destroyed or captured.
What is also surprising is that during the First and Second World Wars, it was typically the attacker who paid the high butcher’s bill, but even as it has gone on the offensive, Ukraine is now losing on average just a few tanks a day. Given that many Russian tanks are being abandoned, Ukraine can make up the losses quickly enough – quickly seizing the vehicles and sending them back to the front lines.
Russia’s Losses are Truly Ukraine’s Gain
According to Janes’ estimates, at least 200 vehicles, 45 tanks, 70 infantry fighting vehicles, and 30 artillery pieces have been captured in just recent weeks. Moreover, Ukraine is capturing as many tanks as it is destroying.
The situation is also worsening for Moscow. As of September 1, the Russian Army had lost around 994 tanks, 614 of which were destroyed. At that point, Russia’s losses were averaging five tanks a day. As noted, the number is now twice as great.
As a result, the situation has become so desperate for Moscow that it has been forced to deploy Cold War-era T-62s to Ukraine – tanks that had been retired even before the dissolution of the Soviet Union three decades ago. A few years ago, it was only possible to see such tanks in a museum, but now they’re being deployed on the battlefield.
This desperation has also become a propaganda coup for Kyiv, as pro-Ukrainian influencers and others quickly shared the images of antiquated Russian tanks being prepared for the battlefield on social media. Ukraine has also used destroyed Russian tanks as exhibits in its capital, as well as other European cities – and just last week, a German court ruled that activists could be allowed to place the wreck of such an MBT in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin.
Moscow’s forces are losing the war on the ground, and Ukraine is making sure the world knows.
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.