Recent Russian leaks detail specific tactics against Abrams tanks. One of these involves attacking the tank’s guidance systems and main gun.
In a recent disclosure from Russia, detailed strategies emerged aimed at neutralizing the capabilities of the American Abrams tank in the Ukrainian context, highlighting its use of the Kornet ATGM missile.
Background: The shipment of Abrams tanks to Ukraine
After the announcement on January 25, 2023, about the supply of 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine by the United States, adverse reactions arose from Russia. These concerns alluded to the possibility that these tanks would face consequences similar to other NATO military units.
During his intervention in TASS, Retired Colonel Sergey Suvorov highlighted weaknesses of the Abrams, citing precedents where T-72 tanks and weapons such as the RPG-7 surpassed them. Additionally, he pointed out a weak point in the tanks’ later design: an exposed power plant located behind the turret, vulnerable to 12.7 mm DShK machine guns.
Contrary to claims of vulnerability, Suvorov recognized that the efficiency of the Abrams depended greatly on crew training and the operational context.
Russian guidelines against the Abrams: Vulnerabilities and tactics
Recent Russian leaks detail specific tactics against Abrams tanks. One of these involves attacking the tank’s guidance systems and main gun, using light weapons to disorient and reduce its accuracy.
In the event of a frontal confrontation, the instructions prioritize the area between the hull and the turret, under the gun, perceived as a weak point. The use of the Kornet ATGM is suggested, effective in similar situations, such as the recent downing of a British Challenger 2 tank in Ukraine.
On the other hand, focusing on the lower front part of the Abrams is discouraged due to its notable protection.
Russian strategies against the M1A1 Abrams
A Russian tactic focuses on damaging the fuel tank in the front section of the M1A1 Abrams, seeking to set the engine on fire. However, the Abrams has advanced fire suppression systems to protect this area.
The guidelines suggest evading the armored turret and focusing attacks on the side of the vehicle. It is hinted that the side armor may be vulnerable to grenades, such as those of the RPG-7.
In later attacks, the focus is on the engine and ammunition compartment, identifying the destruction of the ammunition as a method of disabling the tank.
Ambush and formation of specialized teams
Strategies suggest ambushing tank columns, prioritizing drone attacks on the turret roof and using anti-tank mines to obstruct their progression.
The formation of units called “armor piercers” stands out, composed of machine guns and snipers. Your mission: confront the infantry that protects the enemy tank.
Additionally, the strategic choice of ambush points is highlighted, especially in urban areas, positioning teams at different levels of buildings for coordinated attacks.
The real resistance of the M1A1 Abrams
Despite Russian guidelines, the effectiveness of the M1 Abrams is based on several aspects, from crew training to operational context.
Russian sources do not provide a complete picture. Although some Abrams may be destroyed, the crew generally survives due to advanced safety features.
It is relevant to distinguish between Abrams intended for export and those used by the US military. The latter have depleted uranium armor, increasing their resistance. An incident in 2004 in Karbala demonstrated the robustness of the Abrams, withstanding multiple RPG hits.