The Ukrainian counteroffensive in the Kharkov and Kherson regions is exposing the weaknesses of the Russian Army, including its obsolete means.
The northern front at Kherson collapses and the Russians beat a retreat
In the last few hours, Ukraine has made progress on the Donbas, Kherson and Kharkov fronts. Specifically, in the Kherson region the northern front has collapsed, with the Russian Army in retreat and leaving intact material that is captured by the Ukrainians. These captures are highly revealing of the state of the Russian forces. And it is that the enormous material losses suffered by Russia in Ukraine for seven months, which exceed those of the invasion of Afghanistan in ten years, are forcing the mobilization of obsolete vehicles.
Russia turns to old T-62s after losing 1,258 tanks in this invasion
According to the latest data published by Oryxspioenkop.com, the independent website that has been documenting the losses with images from both sides since the beginning of the invasion, the Russians have already lost 1,258 tanks in Ukraine, a brutal figure if we compare it with the 147 tanks lost by the USSR in Afghanistan in ten years. Most of the losses are of variants of the T-72 and the more modern T-80 and T-90. For months now, these losses have forced Russia to pull old T-62s from the 1960s from its warehouses. And Russia is now using them to deal with Ukrainian forces that have more modern tanks.
In these two days of the week, according to Oryxspioenkop.com, Ukrainian forces have captured six T-62M tanks and one T-62MV. The production of the T-62 began in the former USSR in 1962 and came to an end in 1975, so we are talking about tanks that could be between 47 and 60 years old. Russia it is using to deal with more modern Ukrainian tanks, including those captured from the Russians themselves (Ukraine has already captured 427 tanks from the invaders).
Ukrainian forces reach the Russian rear and their T-62s
It had been speculated that the possibility that Russia was using the T-62 to reinforce rear units in auxiliary tasks, as it was too old-fashioned a model to send to the front. In the Kherson region, Ukrainian forces have ended up reaching the Russian rearguard, which is why we are seeing so many captures of old T-62s in the last few hours.
The T-62s are equipped with a 115mm main gun, a smaller caliber than the 125mm guns found on most modern Russian tanks. One of the great shortcomings of this tank on a current battlefield is its poor armor, especially to face modern anti-tank missiles. This is already a problem in most Russian tanks, but in the case of the T-62 it is a critical problem. The T-62M is a modernized version that appeared in the 1980s and was already used by the Soviets in the last years of the Afghanistan War. It includes additional armor on the front of the turret, a laser rangefinder and a more powerful engine, as well as the ability to fire missiles, but it was a late upgrade for a tank that was no longer useful on the front lines in a field. of battle.
A hoax to make Russian soldiers feel safer
Possibly to increase crew confidence, the Russian Army has equipped these old T-62s with anti-Javelin grills like the ones we saw on many Russian tanks at the beginning of the invasion. These racks are purposed to detonate the first of the tandem charges carried by warheads on missiles like the Javelin. That first charge serves to burst the reactive armor plates, so that the second charge penetrates the internal armor of the tank. The problem with the T-62 is that only some have reactive armor plates, and only on the front part of the turret, leaving the rest of the vehicle totally exposed.
It should be noted that those anti-Javelin grills have proven to be totally useless, which is why Russian tanks have been removing them after the first weeks of the invasion. It has been curious to observe its presence again in the T-62. As I pointed out in the previous paragraph, it seems to be thinking simply so that the crews do not feel insecure, even though they really are. In any case, the sending of these obsolete main battle tanks to the front is showing that the Russian Army is unable to replace the losses of more modern tanks. Recall that Russia has a standing army of 2,609 tanks, according to its Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE). The 1,258 tanks lost in Ukraine are almost half of its armored fleet. It is pathetic that a few months after starting this invasion, Russia has to resort to obsolete tanks because it no longer has any other way to replace its losses.
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