TechRussian equipment is under threat by a new enemy

Russian equipment is under threat by a new enemy

Rats in the 2S9 Nona-S self-propelled gun
Rats in the 2S9 Nona-S self-propelled gun
Images source: © Military, X (Twitter)
3:51 PM EST, December 5, 2023

War is most challenging in winter, with soldiers compelled to confront not only enemy forces but also the harsh forces of nature. Ukrainian and Russian soldiers, in particular, grapple with the cold, the mud, and an unexpected adversary: rodents. These creatures present a threat not just to people, but also to military equipment.

As soldiers conduct military operations, they often disturb the nests of mice, rats, and other rodents. Consequently, these animals are forced to seek alternative shelters. Increasingly, reports suggest they are finding homes in trenches, military warehouses, and even within combat machines.

Combat machines: A new home for rats and mice

A video circulating online presents a stark illustration of this growing issue. The footage shows Russian soldiers battling to evict scores of rodents living inside their armored howitzer, the 2S9 Nona-S. Disturbingly, the video reveals cranking the engine to be an efficient, yet certainly unorthodox, method of disrupting the nest. Most startling, however, is the sheer number of critters.

The issue isn't limited to Russian soldiers. Ukrainian counterparts also grapple with a burgeoning rodent issue. "Rodents aren't fussy when it comes to escaping the cold," commented Rebekah Maciorowski, a nurse with the Ukrainian army.

The significant threat rodents pose on the frontline

Sharing their living quarters with rats and mice can undoubtedly prove distressing for soldiers. Aside from the discomfort, there are real risks involved, such as the potential transmission of diseases like salmonella and the destruction of personal belongings.

Yet, a larger concern looms. The consequences of rodents inhabiting combat machines remain largely unknown, with the possibility of damage inflicted by these creatures an undeniable concern. Particularly worrisome is the risk of mice and rats chewing through electronic systems. Equipment inspections following rodent invasions seem increasingly necessary, potentially leading to an increase in repair requirements due to unexpected intruders.

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