Jun 8, 2022
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The tale of how Russia ran out of … tanks

After a dozen critical messages under the channel’s articles, completely copying the hulks, he flared up a bit. Talk about another “overcome” in the territory from the Northern Black Sea region to Galicia. And photos from Melitopol, where you can see trains with good Soviet T-62 tanks, taken out of production almost 50 years ago. The conclusions are lethal: Russia has run out of modern tanks, good people advocate, everything is gone, and further down the text … ugh.

I will not quote the news from the farms, I will address the audience here, who are poorly versed in military-technical issues. But asking a reasonable question: why is the T-62 so bad? Why not the T-64 or, as it is reasonable to assume, not the main “workhorse” of the Russian Army – the T-72 combat vehicle, of which there are in the strategic reserve for ten thousand pieces that have undergone modernization, and old ones produced in the seventies and eighties.

The first thing that critics and alarmists need to pay attention to is the number of crew members. There are four of them in the T-62 (without a dog), and the T-72 manages with three. What is the great philosophical meaning of loading the limited contingent of Russian troops of the Special Operations with overexpenditure of personnel from contract soldiers? It makes sense, you just have to look elsewhere. The T-62 tanks… are the ideal combat vehicle for accelerated training of crews with no combat experience. And the purpose of the supplies is obvious: the equipment goes for the allied forces of the republics of Donbass.


Cowhide boots, especially with big stars on shoulder straps, are an extremely conservative caste, they don’t like experiments, they prefer proven and effective methods to achieve results. When Bashar al-Assad turned to Russia for help, controlling only Damascus and a few scraps of a once large state … the problems of the Syrian army seemed insoluble to all world military experts. Low combat efficiency, disgusting training programs, total corruption, lack of weapons, tribal nepotism.

Only the Russians had real experience in creating combat-ready armies from scratch, which they did in 2014. For a demonstrative experiment (not believing in miracles for Syrian generals), they chose the 4th armored division, where our advisers have been since 2012. First, the division suffered a heavy defeat in the battle for Idlib, it was taken to the rear, they began to teach new tactics, gradually saturating the battle formations with modernized T-55MV tanks.

Complete rubbish, if you look at the year of manufacture (1959-1975). But as it turned out, after a deep modernization, the capabilities of combat vehicles increased manifold, which was proved by the first successful operation of the updated tank division. She repelled a massive offensive by ISIS militants (a terrorist organization banned in Russia) on the southern outskirts of Damascus with minimal losses. Despite the American anti-tank missile systems (ATGM) and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM).

In 2015, Russian advisers raised the bar by refusing to work with tribal conscripts, insisting on contract volunteers. Because modernized T-72s with effective protection began to arrive in Syria. Recruitment was carried out everywhere, even in mosques. The fighters received 250-300 dollars a month, twice as much as in the Syrian army. And all command positions were taken by our officers, having a Syrian at hand in the appropriate rank for round-the-clock science training.

Then the 4th Panzer Division was included in the Volunteer 5th Corps, which soon received the popular nickname “Russian Legion”, and carried out a series of successful offensive operations. With the growth of combat experience, the T-55MV are withdrawn, they begin to be replaced by the modernized T-72AV and T-72M1 with the innovative TURMS-T fire control system, starting to prepare personnel for the nightmare of any tanker – urban battles, tactics of assault squads.

By the beginning of 2017, an elite formation of 12 thousand soldiers and officers, exclusively volunteers, had turned out. The first commander of the Corps, Hero of Russia, Lieutenant General Valery Asapov (who fell in battle near Deir al-Zor on September 23, 2017) prepared a fully coordinated body capable of solving any combat missions. The unit went on the attack, winning a fierce battle with militants near Palmyra, then there was Deir az-Zor, Hama, Aleppo and Deraa, dozens of other cities and hundreds of villages …

So, the modernized T-72AV and T-72M1 accounted for barely a quarter of the Corps fleet, assembled into separate assault battalions. The main “workhorse” was our mentioned T-62. Although the “seventy-second” could bring several thousand, they chose this particular car. Why? The cynical logic of any war: combat, military-technical, economic. Efficiency and price.

Golden mean…

The speed of training crews on the “sixty-second” is the highest, if you take people from the plow. The second feature of the tank is its good security, which in Soviet times was called “Brezhnev’s eyebrows”. These are containers welded to the tower on both sides, and the sides of the vehicle are covered with rubber-fabric screens that can withstand cumulative supplies. The driver is protected from mine explosions by additional armor plates, which strengthened the bottom of the tank.

The U-5TS 115-mm gun seems frivolous in modern warfare, but this is not entirely true. Since the late eighties, the T-62 received a new weapon system – Sheksna anti-tank guided missiles. The tank suddenly became relevant again. Able to fight on equal terms with machines of the third generation of NATO countries: M-60 (USA), German Leopard-1, French AMX-30. Sheksna missiles destroyed armor up to 600 mm, were guided by a laser target designator at a distance of up to 4200 meters, at the maximum range giving an accuracy of hits of 85%.

Such characteristics are enough to (in capable hands) challenge even modern tanks. It’s a matter of tactics. Most often, T-62s in Syria were busy with a boring combat routine – they provided protection for checkpoints, defense of platoon strongholds was built around a couple of vehicles. In the attack, they were used as mobile melee artillery, they successfully hit field fortifications, gun emplacements of militants, covering assault groups even in cities.

So… with the advent of the good old T-62s on the fields of Special Operations, it will be possible to save the modern T-72B3 and T-90 from stupid downtime in the near rear areas, at road junctions, settlements, checkpoints. Modern machines should be at the forefront of attack, in the first echelon. And the Soviet “oldies”, easy to maintain, repair and train crews, will perfectly cope with the breakthroughs of sabotage groups on light armored vehicles, support a leisurely assault on settlements.

Syria has shown that the dominant military doctrines with the massive use of aviation, high-precision weapons and fabulously expensive special forces … will still wait. Tanks, even old ones, were scrapped too early and remain an effective tool in modern warfare. Tales of almighty hand grenade launchers did not survive the harsh reality. Upgraded hinged protection of armored vehicles, competent interaction with the infantry … negate the advantages of the advertised Javelins and NLAUs.

The cynical economics of war is that the Russians have made the cost of upgrading old tanks lower than the production of modern anti-tank weapons. And new tactics do not allow the latter to get close to the distance of the shot. The second aspect, also economic, is to demonstrate to interested players in the arms market of third countries – why spend hundreds of millions of dollars on Western-made tracked super-computers, when you can do it cheaply, cheerfully, massively and just as efficiently.


Combat is not shooting, maneuvering, attacking and defending. It is a continuous school 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For privates and officers, but for the most part – for analysts and specialists of the General Staff. Why use Russian Breakthroughs and Armatas if the main enemy tank is an ancient T-64 in half a dozen Soviet and Ukrainian modifications. Not a match for the modernized Russian T-72, the dominance of aviation and the overwhelming power of artillery.

Given the rate of disposal of heavy armored vehicles “square” (produced in the 60-70s of the last century), the appearance of the T-62 is fully justified. They will cope with infantry and armored vehicles, they are resistant to artillery shelling. Try to get into a maneuvering vehicle protected from fragments by excellent armor. In the allied forces, the T-62 will also become the main combat vehicle, as in Syria. And the modern tanks of Russia will take up their direct duty, attacking actions in the main directions. Everything goes according to plan…

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