Escalating losses drive Russians to deploy aged tanks in Ukraine, with disastrous consequences
The National Guard of Ukraine released the video on their Telegram profile. Their post read: "The enemy attempted to bombard Ukrainian military positions using tanks. However, FPV drones from the Spartan brigade successfully thwarted these plans. Remarkably, within a day, the guardsmen manage to destroy T-72 and T-55 tanks utilized by the enemy."
The T-72 tank, whose production began in 1973, still holds value on the Ukrainian battlefield, even in its earliest variants. Conversely, the T-55 tanks are aging models dating back to 1958. These machines have very weak armor and their offensive capabilities are hampered due to lack of modern sensors and optics, among other factors. They were originally equipped with 100-mm caliber guns.
T-72 and T-55 eliminated with the help of a drone
According to the Defence Express portal, Russians are conscious of the risks associated with deploying such old tanks. Typically, T-55 tanks are deployed for fire support in dugout positions, effectively serving as makeshift self-propelled guns. There have been instances of using these dated armored vehicles as sacrificial units with negligible success.
Spike in the use of old tanks in Ukraine
The emergence of the T-55 in open battleground usually spells doom for both the tank and its crew. As was similarly experienced in this situation. The armor of the tank is insufficient by modern standards, making it not only susceptible to shellings from newer armored vehicles, but incapable of withstanding an FPV drone attack. Tanks with better protection pose a stiff challenge for small drones, as a recent analysis by a Polish expert revealed.
There have been reports of Russians deploying reinforcements in the form of T-55s or T-62s since a few months ago. Interestingly, recent times have seen an increase not only in the transport of such tanks (one such convoy was spotted in Crimea at the beginning of this year), but also in their usage by Putin's soldiers.
This surge could indicate a slowdown in Russian production and mobilization capabilities. A report from the British Ministry of Defence claimed that since the inception of the war in Ukraine, Putin's army has reportedly lost around 2,600 tanks and approximately 4,900 other armored vehicles.