TechRussian charge at Vuhledar. A debacle for them

Russian charge at Vuhledar. A debacle for them

Russian tanks destroyed near Vuhledar.
Russian tanks destroyed near Vuhledar.
Images source: © X (formerly Twitter) | Ukrainian Front
9:04 AM EDT, November 4, 2023

The Russians launched yet another attack on the Vuhledar region, resulting in the loss of several tanks, including the state-of-the-art T-72B3 (2022). We delve deeper into the experiences of these machines.

They launched an intense assault on the eastern front, with Avdiivka being a focal point. Lesser, but consequential, offensives took place in Vuhledar, where in 2022, they suffered catastrophic losses.

In the latter, the Ukrainian 72nd Independent Mechanized Brigade created ripples when they damaged a Russian infantry fighting vehicle from the BMP series and three tanks. Among these were the Soviet-era T-80BW and two 2022 models of T-72B3 tanks.

T-72B3 2022 Tank - The Backbone of the Russian Army

The two diminished tanks were 2022 upgraded models of the T-72B3, in production since 2011. They were high-volume Russian tanks equipped with an advanced Sosna-U fire control system, featuring French thermal imaging cameras Catherine-FC.

This marked a significant advancement over past machines, whose combat effectiveness dwindled at night or in adverse weather conditions compared to their modern Western counterparts. Interestingly, the optoelectronics coupled with a more accurate 2A45M-5 cannon, improvements to the ammo carousel, and an upgraded loading system that accepts new, longer APFSDS-(T) penetrators were the only notable modifications.

The T-72B3 tanks were economically upgraded from the Soviet T-72B, leaving the engine and base armor unaltered. The only action taken was the standardization of the reactive armor on Kontakt-5 for machines still equipped with the older Kontakt-1.

Yet, as Russia's losses in Ukraine reveal, this proved inadequate. The 2022 model came with an extensive application of reactive armor. This included, for example, side skirts fitted with Kontakt-5 reactive armor cubes, with the turret receiving additional Kontakt-1 cubes.

While these changes improved the tank's armor, they also increased its weight. To our knowledge, this was not offset by a more potent engine. Moreover, depending on the manufacturing timeline, the tanks possess either the Sosna-U control system with French thermal imaging or rely upon inferior replacements. Following the imposition of an embargo, France ceased component supplies, leaving Russia with only their stockpiled resources.

Related content