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Jun 6, 2022
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The old T-62s were recalled from retirement to the front. But it only makes things worse for Kyiv.

In the photo: T-62 tank while moving along the pontoon bridge

In the photo: T-62 tank while moving along the pontoon bridge (Photo: Yuri Smityuk / TASS)

Russia intends to reorganize not the most militarily skilled parts of the People’s Militia of the LDNR into a fairly powerful volunteer corps. In the image and likeness of what she had created in Syria by the end of 2017. Only, unlike the Syrian one, the Donbass corps will mainly play a defensive, not a shock, role.

This is the conclusion of the American analysts of the Military Watch Magazine from the fact of the appearance near the front line near Melitopol of an echelon with old T-62 tanks, the last of which rolled off the assembly line in the USSR almost half a century ago. In 1975.

Photos of railway platforms with these combat vehicles caused a real attack of delight in Kyiv. There it was unambiguously regarded: the losses of the Russian tank troops in Ukraine are already so great that in order to plug the holes that arise, it is necessary to remove from storage and throw into battle the deliberate armor.

In particular, the adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine spoke in this spirit Viktor Andrusiv. Here are his words: “Of course, it is very difficult to call these tanks weapons. They are at least 45 years old, they are technically weak. And I doubt that their re-preservation was successful. It is obvious that the “meat battalions” of the so-called L/DPR will be filled with this technique. But this is not good news for us. Because to destroy them (not news, of course, but T-62 tanks arriving in the Donbass – “SP”) also need to spend shells. And with shells, everything is already difficult for us now, which is the reason for tactical retreats.

In this next attempt to “pass tests in Kiev” there is not even an attempt to comprehend an important detail: if in the tank units of the Russian Federation and the LDNR the “Javelins” really knocked out everything more or less decent, why, then, did Moscow decide to remove the T- 62, the development of which began already in 1957? And not, say, much more technically advanced and “younger” T-72s of various modifications, of which we have in stock beyond the Urals, according to some sources, about 9,000 more units?

In addition, only three crew members are enough for each T-72. Whereas in any T-62 four tankers are needed. That in the conditions of an acute shortage of personnel in our units on the front line, of course, would be a very significant argument. But no, for some reason they neglected him in Moscow. Why?

Military Watch Magazine gives this answer: T-62 tanks in Donbas “will be used to equip the pro-Russian Ukrainian forces. First of all, from the Russian-speaking eastern regions, to allow them to quickly form new units under Russian supervision. As it was done with the 5th Syrian Corps.”

It would probably be appropriate here to recall a brief but glorious combat biography of that same 5th Assault Volunteer Corps of the Syrian Armed Forces.

It seems that the idea of ​​its creation in the minds of Russian generals matured almost immediately after they saw for themselves the low combat capability of the traditional Syrian army, which is riddled through with tribal ties and corruption. With such an army, it was completely unrealistic to win back the country from the fanatic thugs. Then in Moscow they decided that, in fact, in Syria, with the blessing of Damascus, driven into a corner, it is necessary to create its own army. Although almost entirely from local residents. But under the leadership of Russian commanders.

For the volunteers of the 5th corps, good money by local standards was allocated from the defense budget of Russia. 200-300 dollars per brother, depending on the military specialty, rank and combat qualifications. Which was two to three times more than at that time in the Syrian Arab army. The benefits of the upcoming service were told not only in recruiting centers, a network of which was opened throughout the country, but also in mosques.

As a result, by the beginning of 2017, an elite unit of about 10-12 thousand soldiers and officers was created. First Commander – Hero of Russia Lieutenant General Valery Asapov (soon killed in action at Deir ez-Zor on September 23, 2017). The entire command vertical up to company commanders are also Russian officers. All communications, intelligence, electronic warfare are also on our shoulders. Even the headquarters of the corps was located in Latakia, next to the largest Russian military base in Syria, Khmeimim. Not without reason, in their own country, the corps soon began to be called the “Russian Legion”.

Already a couple of months after the completion of the formation, this unit entered into a fierce battle with the militants near Palmyra. And played a decisive role in the liberation of this ancient city from ISIS militants *. Further on the battle path of the elite corps were Deir al-Zor, Hama, Aleppo and Deraa, from where a few bandits managed to carry their feet under the onslaught of volunteers.

What is especially important in our current context is that Russia deliberately made the T-62 the main striking force of the assault corps. Not much later releases of the T-72 or T-80 tanks, which were also scattered in abundance among the bases of weapons and military equipment in the vastness of our country. Why was this choice made?

The thing is that “sixty-twos” do not require highly qualified crew. It is easier to train recruits to fight on such vehicles who have absolutely no experience in combat operations or at least combat training on such vehicles. In addition, the T-62 is easier and faster to restore in the field after damage on the march or in battle.

Those who criticize this way of replenishing troops usually point to two main weaknesses of the “sixty-two”: weak armor protection and insufficient power of their only 115-mm 2A20 guns (all other types of Russian battle tanks are armed with 125-mm guns).

Well, then in order. As for the security of the crew: back in the Soviet “Brezhnev” years, it was strengthened by the so-called “Ilyich’s eyebrows”. Which are additional massive metal-polymer containers welded on the tower on both sides of the gun embrasure. In side projections from cumulative shells, the tank was covered with rubber-fabric screens. From the explosion of mines under the driver’s seat of the tankers, the 20-mm armor sheets, which were absent on the early versions of the T-62, from the lower bow inclined sheet to the second pair of torsion bars, are protected.

Now about the gun. In the 80s of the last century, the 115-mm, but more advanced U-5TS gun, was also installed on these machines. This made it possible from 1983 to begin using the new guided weapons system (anti-tank guided missiles) 9K-116-2 Sheksna on the T-62.

In short, the Sheksna on the battlefield practically leveled the old Soviet tank with NATO tanks of the next, third generation. Which included the American M60 tank, the German Leopard-1, the French AMX-30 and others. The missiles of this complex penetrate armor up to 600 mm thick. Guided by a laser beam. The firing range is from 100 to 4000 meters. The probability of hitting a target at a maximum range of up to 80 percent. Which, you see, looks quite serious even today against any enemy.

And finally, the main thing: how to use the T-62? It is not necessary to throw them in frontal attacks. Much more logical – to put on checkpoints instead of T-72B3 or T-90. But those who are much more advanced should be sent from passive duty somewhere at important road intersections to the most risky sectors of the front.

Probably the “sixty-twos” are very effectively able to help the infantry with fire during the cleansing of captured settlements. Or serve to strengthen defensive positions as fixed firing points buried in the ground.

American analysts are focusing on one more thing. Against whom on the battlefield with a high degree of probability can an old Soviet tank be? The most formidable, but also the most likely enemy in those parts is almost the same ancient Ukrainian T-64 of various modifications. Whatever they say about the transformation of this tank into “Bulat” in the days of “independence”, but it is also based on exactly the same technologies of the late 60s. Maybe a little more advanced than on the T-62.

Here is the conclusion of American analysts from this fact: “The tank units of Ukraine are very far from the modern level of technology. They rely primarily on T-64 variants from the 1970s. In addition, they play a very limited role in the conflict. And this means that the T-62 will mainly be used against Ukrainian infantry and light vehicles. Where the difference in firepower compared to the T-72 would have a relatively minimal impact.”

To summarize: probably, the T-62 tanks removed from storage began to arrive at the front not at all to make up for some losses of the Russian Armed Forces. The purpose of this replenishment is very limited: to release our most powerful and modern combat vehicles for decisive blows in the Ukraine.

Military Watch Magazine believes as we do: “Strengthening the allied forces in the region will greatly reduce the pressure on the Russian army, including in the field of defense of the rear areas. This will make it possible to redirect Russia’s own more modern armored vehicles to the front.”

That’s all, pan Andrusiv. The appearance of a train with T-62 in Melitopol is not a harbinger of the coming catastrophe of Russia in the Donbass. On the contrary, everything is going according to plan. According to Moscow’s plan, of course.


* “Islamic State” (ISIS) is a terrorist group whose activities in Russia are prohibited by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation from 29.12.2014

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