Russia’s Best Tank Suffers First Loss
Based on the burns and the turret remaining in place, could potentially be a rear of the hull impact.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense confirmed the T-90’s destruction in a statement, saying the tank arrived in Ukraine just days before its demise.
The Russian Army suffered its first loss of their T-90M Proryv-3.
The T-90 is a third-generation Russian main battle tank. It uses a 125 mm 2A46 smoothbore main gun, the 1A45T fire-control system, an upgraded engine, and gunner’s thermal sight.
Western ATGM’s in Ukrainian hands might be the death knell for Russia’s image of producing advanced weaponry in general and capable Armored Fighting Vehicles in particular. However, the endless stream of flat Russian tires has not helped their cause either.
This latest loss brings into sharp relief that no matter how you upgrade it, a T-90 is just in itself a modified T-72 which had already long proven itself vulnerable to Western Anti-Tank weapons in many previous conflicts.
Newsweek first reported the tank’s presence on April 25th.
The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine confirmed destruction of the T-90 tank in addition released the following statement:
“Thus, the image of the Russian army, which many in the world feared, has degraded and fallen over the past two months to such an extent that few could have imagined it.” And that a Ukrainian missile system had, “turned a super-modern Russian tank into a pile of scrap metal.”
Debuting just 2 short years ago, the T-90M became hailed as the next generation of Russian battle tanks. Furthermore, only about 100 have been produced.
There were issues with the tank during its initial production run. India spent billions to purchase nearly a thousand of the T-90M tanks for their military. The Indian government agreed to huge multi-contract purchases, but was delayed because as IHS Jane’s reported, “The program has faced recurring technological problems for several years, especially with regard to the MBT’s 125 mm smoothbore gun barrel, which has resulted in extended delays and cost overruns”.
More disappointing results from the Russian military machine.
What Russian armor or weapons has impressed the world these last 2 months? Certainly not their anti-ship missile defense. See our piece: What Really Happened On The Moskva?
The fact that the T-90 is currently considered to be the most advanced tank in Russian service just second to the T-14 Armata which has yet to see combat. Is not a good show for Russian equipment in general.
Of course many point to the design flaw in Russian tank design. The tank’s ammunition kept in a carousel manner as it’s autoloaded, however, one ignition and it is all kaboom as the rounds are exposed. Whereas the Western tank’s ammunition is stored horizontally with each compartment so when it hits chances is that the ammo section will be blown off (Gas release port in ammo storage). And not exposed to the crew inside where a ‘jack in the box’ situation occurs.
But is it the armor’s fault? Or the Russian commanders administering from above?
Many point to the tactical mistakes of the Russians in the Ukraine War. See our piece: Is The Tank Dead?
Namely not keeping enough infantry to support their tanks and keeping fluid supply and logistics lines running. As strong as any tank is. If left out in the open any tank will face vulnerabilities. Combined arms support wins wars according to many military minds. Not advanced weaponry.
Apparently Russian infantry were afraid to advance on their own and shirked responsibility, forcing the tanks to advance ahead of them. The Ukrainians let the tanks pass, take on the infantry and chase them off, before turning on the isolated tanks.
Combined arms begins with Air Supremacy! See our piece: What Is The Importance Of Combined Arms Operations?
Combined arms defeats an enemies integrated air defenses, attacks the enemy in depth with artillery rotary wing and fixed wing strikes.
Moreover, electronic warfare preps the battle space by isolating units, ISR then locates center of gravities, heavy prep fire eliminates artillery and C2 assets. Furthermore it has the added benefit of demoralizing the enemy. In addition, a coordinated attack by armor focused to maximize their fires by terrain launched. With an aim of being closely supported by infantry to clear terrain of these very threats. Moreover, armor with clear objectives as a target roll forward supported by a logistic plan that matches the planned attack.
One could argue the Russians coordinated none of this, or certainly did not bring all elements into play. Not surprising they are failing badly as missing one element may doom an attack.
Of course as great as the T-90 is, an American Abrams is far superior and 4-5x the price tag. But American tanks will blow up as well if left exposed to the enemy’s fire without proper support and backup.
The myth of Russian military invincibility continually shatters day by day. And lastly, sadly, too many young Russians pay the price for Putin’s global political ambitions.