Why we need Leopard 2A5 tanks

15 January, 01:35 PM

The most massive tank in Europe, which logistically is the easiest to send to Ukraine

If we talk about Leopard tanks, it is important to specify which version and generation we are talking about. The point is that Leopard differs from Leopard. For example, there is the Leopard 1 tank, which is an old tank that could be called the counterpart of the Soviet T-62 tank. Therefore, the Leopard 1 does not suit us at all.

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And when in 2022 it was said that the German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall was ready to provide Ukraine with a certain number of preserved Leopard 1 tanks, I spoke categorically against it, because this is a tank of the previous generation. But many people told me in response to this that we could hand them over to territorial defense.

So, for example, we recently received 28 M-55S tanks from Slovenia, which are actually modernized Soviet T-55s. First of all, I want to thank Ljubljana, because they are giving what they can. But in reality, I would not take such tanks. Because if I were a unit commander, I would never put my guys in this tank. It’s really a T-55. It may be polished and somehow modern, but up against a T-72B3, T-80 or T-90, it has no chance, and its crew are dead.

So we see that these Slovenian M-55S are not being used for territorial defense or even used as, say, artillery. These tanks are in the combat zone, on the front line. And our guys have to stick explosive reactive armor on top of the armor of this class of modernized tank and install slat armor on the engine compartment. That is, we have to upgrade this tank ourselves.

 But if we receive a tank, then it must be used according to its functional purpose

The situation is the same with the Leopard 1. Therefore, if we’re going to have tanks sent to us, they need to be modern tanks – the Leopard 2, for example. But not the basic modification of Leopard 2A4, but at least starting with Leopard 2A5, which compensates for the shortcomings of 2A4.

The Leopard 2A5 has a completely redesigned, wedge-shaped turret. This is what gives it the shape we recognize Leopard tanks by. In addition, the metal was changed, providing greater protection and more resistance against breakdowns from high explosive anti-tank rounds and other types of ammunition. Moreover, the turret’s wedge shape also significantly reduces the strength of the impact of an incoming round compared to a turret with sheer sides. This significantly increases the protection which the tank provides to its crew.

Of course, we will get what we get. But if we receive a tank, then it must be used according to its functional purpose. This is, first and foremost, for offensive actions. And in offensive actions, a tank must meet all the requirements of modern warfare.

As for why we need these tanks. The fact is that we can liberate certain locations and bridgeheads from the invaders, using, for example, the scenario that was implemented in Kharkiv Oblast. At that time, we used fast, mobile units, primarily consisting of light- and medium-armored vehicles. And the Russian occupiers, who had a numerical advantage, artillery, and the largest armored contingent in the field around Izyum, could not fight back against these forces.

But on other fronts, there are certain bridgeheads and locations where powerful heavy armored vehicles, i.e. tanks, are required for liberation. It is for these bridge-heads that the much-discussed modern Western tanks will be used.

The German Leopard is neither worse nor better than the American Abrams. We can even discuss the British Challenger or the French Leclerc. For example, Leclerc is the most high-tech tank today, which, as they jokingly say, does not actually need a crew. Challenger is the tank with the strongest armor in Europe. By the way, these tanks demonstrated their high survivability during action in Iraq (2003−2010).

We are talking about the Leopard mainly because it is the most massive tank in Europe, which logistically is the easiest to send to Ukraine. Moreover, this tank is the easiest to maintain, repair, and supply with spare parts, tools, ammunition, etc. All this suggests that it would be beneficial for us to get it. Even more beneficial than, for example, the Abrams, Challenger, or Leclerc.

One battalion tactical group (BTG) consists of 11 tanks. So, for the formation and complete equipment of five to ten BTGs, we will need from 55 to 110 tanks. I think we can count on this amount. Perhaps, after some time, this number will increase, because we have to count not only on the formation of new BTGs, but also on the compensation of losses. For example, when a tank is irretrievably lost or damaged and in need of repair, it will have to be replaced. Thus, we also need to take losses into account. A professional crew can quickly learn the basic skills of operating this equipment. Therefore, I think it will take our military between two weeks and a month to master not only the basic skills of operating the Leopard tank, but also to acquire basic knowledge of its maintenance and light field repairs.

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