Old Soviet T-62 tanks can be found in museums around the world, but Ukrainians are increasingly capturing them on the battlefield. This indicates how deep Russia has to dig into its stockpile of old vehicles, and the situation is much worse than you might think.
Many nations, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, only operate one type of tank, greatly simplifying logistics, maintenance, and training. Russia has a patchwork fleet of tanks, a living history of armor development from the rare and valuable T-90M, which only launched in 2020, to the T-90A of the 1990s, to the T-80, which was mainly used in the 80s were produced in , as well as several different versions of the T-72 – modernized and improved, but still based on the 1973 original. There are even some from the even older T-64.
The losses are extremely heavy: the tireless and diligent analysts of the defense website Oryx have logged every single image of a destroyed, abandoned or captured Russian tank, and the scorecard looks like this:
146 other people were so badly injured that they could not be identified.
These numbers show how much Russia relies on older types. But almost five months after the war, something even older emerged: a vintage T-62which was abandoned on the battlefield and ignominiously destroyed by a Ukrainian drone throwing a grenade through an open hatch.
The T-62 should not be in frontline service. Analysts assumed that the T-62s would be used to replenish training and reserve units so that more modern tanks could be sent to Ukraine to replace losses, so an appearance in Ukraine was a surprise.
“Their presence on the battlefield highlights Russia’s lack of modern combat-ready equipment,” the British Ministry of Defense said. establishedreferring to the T-62s.
In theory, Russia has thousands of tanks waiting in huge warehouses and vehicle fleets that can be reactivated. According to Military Balance 2021, cited by the Kyiv Independent, Russia has more than 10,000 tanks in storage, mostly T-72s and T-80s. However, years of neglect and poor storage conditions (not to mention corruption and theft) have meant that many vehicles have been cannibalised to keep the rest going. Some suggest that only 1 in 10 are still running, but it’s hard to say how seriously you should take that number: it’s very likely that no one knows, including the Russians.
But now the lack of modern types forces Russia to resort to T-62s. This type was first introduced in 1961 and the last one rolled off the Soviet production line in 1975, although North Korea continued to produce them for another decade. It has smaller and less powerful weapons than later tanks, so it requires its own unique ammunition. It also has less armor protection, although some captured examples have the useless ‘coping cages’ seen early in the war, frames placed above the turret in the vain hope of causing anti-tank weapons to detonate before they hit the tank.
The T-62 also lacks the automatic loader introduced with the T-72, so a crew of four is not needed, which is a serious headache for an army that lacks trained tank crews. The lack of an autoloader also means it has a slow rate of fire, a critical issue when you need to hit a target quickly or be destroyed.
More importantly, they lack modern electronic equipment such as thermal imaging cameras, laser range finders, and modern ballistic computers. This puts the tank vs. in tank battles.
“It may be good for crushing protesters or suppressing democratic protests in third world countries…but against a highly experienced army fighting with advanced equipment to defend its homeland, it is completely hopeless,” as one military blogger put it.
The presence of the T-62s indicates that despite Russia’s theoretical armor reserve of several thousand tanks, it is running out of T-90s, T-80s, T-72s and T-64s – which are at least three generations old. represent a tank – and scraping the bottom of the barrel now with tanks produced during Gerald Ford’s presidency, disco entered the mainstream and Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded a small company called “Micro-soft”.
More and more T-62s are appearing in Ukraine. The first loss was in July and the second was not logged until then September 16, but thanks to the latest counterattack, the numbers have continued to rise, with 17 recorded so far. It is a small part of the total, but it is growing rapidly.
Even worse, only four of these T-62s were destroyed. The rest – more than 75% – were abandoned or captured, more than likely due to mechanical failure. Although the tanks may have been roadworthy, no vehicle of this age is likely to be reliable, and the knowledge and parts to repair them are likely to be lacking.
Meanwhile, Russia’s much-heralded T-14 Armata supertank is far from service; a recent video a Russian tank from a training ground suggests that there may be problems with the engine.
Seven months into the war, Russia is fielding tanks that are not only very vulnerable to Javelins, but also to much smaller, lighter anti-tank weapons. While the shoulder-launched AT-4 may not be effective against the T-90’s frontal armor, it easily penetrates the T-62’s four-inch armor, and Ukraine has literally tens of thousands of similar weapons. .
Some have suggested that the Ukrainians put these captured tanks into service along with hundreds of other tanks they have already acquired from Russia. However, given the large amount of more modern equipment on offer, T-62s may not be worth the trouble; they could also donate to the museums of other counties as a sign of thanks for their support. However, the Russians will increasingly be forced to use the old T-62s – and eventually abandon them or perish in them.