Russian T-72B3 Bites the Dust on Twitter – The Twitter world has proven to be a veritable treasure trove of video clips of Russian armored vehicles getting destroyed in their efforts to carry out Vladimir Putin’s interminable “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Last week I wrote back-to-back stories discussing videos of BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) getting schwacked.
This time we’re talking about dead main battle tanks (MBTs).
Video Recording Basics
Once again, the Twitter video comes courtesy of the UA Weapons Tracker page, with the caption/blurb reading as follows: “#Ukraine: The Ukrainian 72nd Brigade destroyed a Russian T-72B3 tank with KMT-6 mine plough in Mykilske near Vuhledar, #Donetsk Oblast. Several other destroyed/damaged vehicles (Including a T-80BV and two BMP IFV) can be seen also.”
This particular video lasts 1 minute and 19 seconds.
Note: the video is graphic so we have not embedded as to not offend or upset anyone. However, you can view it here on Twitter directly. Please note the ending is graphic. Viewer discretion is advised on this one.
The Killee: T-72B3 Brief History & Specifications
Well, what can I say about the T-72 MBT that hasn’t been said already?
As I’ve noted before, it’s the most widely used main battle tank in the world, it was quite feared in the first two decades of its existence, i.e. the 1970s and 80s, but started losing a lot of its luster after the mauling it received at the hands of the American M1 Abrams MBT starting with the 1991 Persian Gulf War AKA Operation Desert Storm.
As far as what distinguishes the T-72B3 variant from earlier versions of the tank, the Military-Today website provides some useful specifics:
“Refurbished and upgraded T-72B3 tanks are fitted with new engine [sic], new gunners sight, new fire control system and have some other improvements. Now this MBT has a limited hunter-killer engagement capability. First upgraded T-72B3 tanks were delivered to the Russian Army in 2013. By 2020 a total of 558 tanks were upgraded to the T-72B3 standard…Newer version of the T-72B3, which appeared in 2017, which is better protected than the standard T-72B3. It has an added new add-on explosive reactive armor package, which covers rear part of the turret. This tank is also fitted with cage armor, which covers rear parts of the hull and turret and improved triangular side skirts.”
As indicated in the Twitter blurb, the ill-fated tank was fitted with a KMT-6 mine plough, which is a part of the KMT (koleinyi minnyi tral, “rut mine sweep”) family of mine rollers/plows, which are attached to the front of Russian MBTs – with generally one issued per tank platoon –designed for producing rut passages in antitank minefields.
The Killers: “72nd Brigade” History & Specifications
The “72nd Brigade” in question is most likely the 72nd Mechanized Brigade, which is a formation of the Ukrainian Ground Forces and is described as “elite” by David Axe of Forbes, though I’ll leave it to other pundits to debate whether they’re more “elite” than, say, the 79th Air Assault Brigade of the Ukrainian Air Assault Forces, which are actually a separate branch from the Ukrainian Ground Forces.
Active since December 1941, the unit traces its existence back to December 1941, adopted its current moniker in 2016, numbers roughly 3,000 troops, and declares “Україна або смерть!” (Ukraine or Death!”) as its motto.
The caption doesn’t specify what weapon the 72nd used to kill that T-72, so we can only offer educated guesses as to whether it may be a Javelin missile, an NLAW, or some other weapon type.
Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force Security Forces officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon). Chris holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California (USC) and an M.A. in Intelligence Studies (concentration in Terrorism Studies) from American Military University (AMU).