Secret Western advanced armor has reportedly resulted in only five of the Ukrainian army’s 71 Leopard 2 tanks being destroyed without any crew members being killed.
At least 10 of the German-made tanks have been damaged during the 13-week Ukrainian counteroffensive but have been recovered and repaired before returning to the front.
Experts have stated that the resistance of the tanks is also due to the protection of its turret. Unlike the Russian models, the Leopard 2s protect their explosive shell charges in special containers that prevent the tank from exploding when hit.
The commander of the German troops training in Slovakia, Lieutenant Colonel Sebastian Worgull, confirmed that there had been no casualties among the crew members of the Ukrainian Leopard 2A6 tanks.
This means that each of the four crew members of the five destroyed tanks managed to escape alive after being hit, most likely by hitting a mine and then being attacked by kamikaze drones.
“Both the British Leopard 2s and Challenger 2s are very well protected, which means they can take considerable damage and still fight because the crew is protected, or they can be recovered for repairs,” said Colonel Hamish of Bretton-Gordon. , former commander of a British Army tank regiment.
“They are very well protected against anti-tank guided weapons because they have bar armor and laminated armor, which is very good at repelling incoming projectiles,” he added.
The 69-tonne vehicles are being repaired in factories in Poland and Germany before being returned to the battlefield for further recycling.
“Even the most severely damaged equipment is recovered and taken for repair,” wrote Olexandr Solonko, a Ukrainian soldier, on X, formerly Twitter. “You can replace a piece of metal, even if it is expensive, but you cannot repair a human life.”
Another key element to the tank’s survivability, according to Forbes magazine, is that defense companies KMW and Rheinmetall equipped them with special turret-mounted compartments for their 120-millimeter ammunition that explode outward and away from the crew in the event of impact.
By comparison, the shell loads and ammunition of the Russian tanks are unprotected and very vulnerable to “cooking” and killing the three crew.
“The Leopard and the Challenger have armored cargo tanks, so if the tank takes a hit, it won’t explode, whereas the Russians don’t. “That’s why, when you see a guided grenade fall through the turret hatch, all the charges explode,” explained Colonel de Bretton-Gordon, who commanded the Challenger 2 in the Royal Tank Regiment.
“The Challenger or the Leopard cost more than twice as much as a T72, but they will last three times as long.”
The 14 Challenger 2s donated by Britain, carrying top-secret Dorchester armor, have not yet been damaged or destroyed, although it is unknown if they have seen combat.
Photos of the five destroyed Leopard 2s show open hatches in the turrets and hulls, also suggesting that the crews got out.
The crews have been targets of artillery barrages, anti-tank missiles from Russian helicopters and tanks, as well as mines and drones.
But their presence on the front line has provided Ukrainian infantry assault groups with significant firepower, both up close and at range.
Ukrainian armored brigades, fighting around the key area of the liberated settlement of Robotyne, have some 55 Leopards still in working order out of 71 received from Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.
Another 14 Leopards will arrive in January, followed by 31 heavily protected US M1A1 Abrams. Next year, another 165 Leopard 1 will arrive, although less protected.
Ukraine also celebrated a major success for its drones on Wednesday after six attacks against targets in Russia, including an airfield where four Ilyushin Il-76 heavy transport aircraft were damaged.