Is the modern main battle tank, or MBT, as obsolete or as old as a battleship? Can modern tanks survive 21st-century warfare?
The question is not an easy one to answer. Look at the war in Ukraine, for example. Countless cheap anti-tank weapons have flooded the battlefield, resulting in the destruction of countless pieces of armor which, include tanks.
What happens now? Should the United States, Russia, China, and other nations keep spending billions of dollars on new tanks? What about smaller pieces of armor like the BMP-1?
The war in Ukraine could help answer that questions as the fighting unfolds in the months to come:
Melt that ‘Tank’ Video Shows Destruction of Russian BMP-1
A 31-second-long video posted to social media on back in Mid-March captured the exact moment a Russian BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) was targeted by an anti-tank guided missile near the village of Bilohorivka on the border near the Donetsk Oblast.
According to the post by Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons), the Ukrainian 10th Mountain Assault Brigade took out the IFV as it traveled across open ground.
The Russian BMP-1 had appeared to be stopped, with absolutely no cover, when the ATGM struck it. An explosion engulfs the IFV, which was left as a burning hulk on the field. No survivors could be seen exiting the vehicle.
Bilohorivka has been the site of intense fighting since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion a year ago.
It is about 88 km (55 miles) northwest of the center of Luhansk city and about 25 km (16 miles) southwest from Sievierodonetsk.
The town – which was founded decades before the United States was a country – has changed hands several times in recent months, so much so that according to recent reports there is literally nothing left.
It was the scene of fighting from early May to July, when Russia took full control of the town.
In September, Ukraine liberated Bilohorivka, but it then came under constant bombardment before it was captured by Kremlin forces in early February.
Days later it was again liberated. The Russian invaders have essentially razed it to the ground.
Russia’s Cannon Fodder
Russia has taken massive casualties in the recent fighting, and at times has shown little to no compassion when it comes to the losses.
Increasingly, unprepared conscripts have been thrown in to the fight, and Moscow instead has a high tolerance for losses. Victory or death seems to be the strategy that the Kremlin is employing in the recent fighting.
For the Ukrainians, they remain the David to Russia’s Goliath. The vast numbers of forces that Russia is willing to lose in the meat grinder increasingly weighs heavily on the Ukrainian defenders which are beginning to feel combat fatigue after more than months of heavy fighting.
However, Russia’s manpower – and more significantly its arsenal of modern hardware – isn’t inexhaustible and it is by no means infinite.
Likewise, there have even been reports that older T-54/55 series tanks could also be sent to the front.
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 27, 2023
If this is in fact the case, it is likely we’ll see more videos of destroyed Russian vehicles littering the Ukrainian countryside.
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.