TechUkrainian forces crack the code on Russia's 'invincible' turtle tanks

Ukrainian forces crack the code on Russia's 'invincible' turtle tanks

Russian "turtle-tank" in Ukraine
Russian "turtle-tank" in Ukraine
Images source: © X | NEXTA

6:56 AM EDT, May 16, 2024

Russian turtle tanks have recently emerged on the front line, challenging destruction for a significant period. However, the Ukrainians have discovered effective strategies to combat these formidable adversaries.

A new category of Russian military vehicle debuted on the Ukrainian front in April 2024. Dubbed the "turtle tanks," these units swiftly attracted derision and humor at the expense of the Russian military. Despite their bulky appearance—courtesy of added steel plates to T-62, T-72, or T-80 tanks—their design was far from laughable.

According to Rob Lee from the American Foreign Policy Research Institute, this Russian initiative was far from a crazy adaptation. Though the design faced mockery, it was a strategic response to specific combat challenges, highlighting the Russians' adaptability on the battlefield.

For weeks, there was no evidence of any turtle tank destruction at the Ukrainian front, corroborating Lee's assessment. The unusual modifications seemed to pay off in combat effectiveness. However, a breakthrough was eventually achieved, allowing for the neutralization of these tanks.

Ukrainians now know how to fight the turtle tanks

Forbes reported on the initial successes against the turtle tanks, noting that these vehicles previously advanced on Ukrainian positions with little resistance. Notable tactics included mine clearance, as seen in recent footage of a tank outfitted with mine-clearing equipment. In some instances, the turtle tanks also featured electronic warfare capabilities, disrupting nearby radio and drone communications.

Initially, unmanned aerial drones were the primary countermeasure against the armored behemoths, but the Russian tanks remained a substantial menace to Ukrainian forces due to their indestructibility, as Forbes described. The drones served as a temporary solution to compensate for the lack of artillery ammunition. With the subsequent arrival of American ammunition and other supplies at the front, Ukrainian forces gained the upper hand, increasing their offensive output with more shells and missiles, thereby beginning to neutralize the previously invincible threats.

Small drones had proven ineffective against the thick additional armor of the turtle tanks. However, smaller missiles and artillery shells, capable of breaching the armor and igniting the interior, have demonstrated effectiveness. The welded plates also pose an evacuation challenge for Russian crews in emergencies, further diminishing the tanks' battlefield viability.

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