Is the end of the battle tank in sight in the conflict in Ukraine?

According to open source information, more than 3 Russian and Ukrainian combat tanks have been lost on both sides since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, more than were engaged at the start of the conflict. .

Such losses have significant consequences, particularly on the course of combat and the stagnation of the line of engagement. They even led both camps to move away from the classic doctrines of using the battle tank, inherited from the Second World War, which made the latter the pillars of rupture and decision.

We can, in this context, question the future of the heavy tank, in an environment saturated with drones, mines, and missiles, depriving it of its maneuvering capabilities, and therefore, of a large part of its interest in combat. These would, however, certainly be far too hasty conclusions...

Terrifying losses for Russian and Ukrainian tank units

If we are to believe Oryx website, the Russian armies have lost, in Ukraine, around 2 combat tanks, since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, of which almost 900 are identified as destroyed, 2 captured, and the rest being abandoned or damaged.

Russian battle tank destroyed
The Russian armies have lost around 3000 battle tanks since the start of the conflict. These figures must, however, be taken with certain reservations.

At the start of the Russian offensive in February 2022, analysts estimated that Moscow had massed around 1 to 200 tanks on the borders of Ukraine, while the entire fleet of tanks in service, at within the Russian armies, was estimated at 1 to 400 armored vehicles.

Ukrainian side, the situation is not much better. Of the 1 tanks in service among active Ukrainian units as of February 300, 2022 were reported lost, including 800 identified as destroyed, 550 captured and the remainder abandoned or damaged.

The precision of these figures must, obviously, be taken with certain reservations. On the one hand, these are only armored vehicles that were photographed and then released as open sources. If the exercise could prove effective, when the lines were moving quickly, at the start of the conflict, this is much less the case today, when the lines are relatively fixed, even if the drones provide certain information in this area .

On the other hand, the analysis method applied by the Oryx site, and the means available to this small volunteer team, lends itself more to the analysis of a limited conflict, with losses of a few dozen, perhaps a few hundreds of armored vehicles, rather than for a conflict of this magnitude. Finally, we do not know the number of tanks and armored vehicles identified, destroyed, abandoned or damaged, which were recovered by the forces, to be transported to rehabilitation centers.

Despite these reservations, there is no doubt that tank fleets, both Russian and Ukrainian, have experienced quite considerable attrition rates. The analysis of the attritions identified in recent months also shows that the Russian armies almost no longer align the models that they had initially deployed around Ukraine, suggesting that indeed, the bulk of this fleet was eradicated.

Western tanks as vulnerable as Soviet or Russian models in the Ukrainian conflict

If Russian or Soviet designed tanks, such as the Russian T-72, T-80 and T-90, or the Ukrainian T-64, paid the high price in these battles, they were not the only ones to record catastrophic attrition rates.

Leopard 2A6 and M2 Bradley destroyed
Most Leopard Ukrainian 2A6 and M2 Bradley lost during this engagement at the start of the Ukrainian summer counter-offensive of 2023, were reportedly recovered and reconditioned by the Ukrainians.

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  1. There remains the subjects of mines, which ruin everyone's lives and artillery for which systems like the trophy do not bring any real added value.
    Breaching systems, ok. For artillery… there is nothing

  2. Just one remark: the attrition rate of Western tanks including those of the Leopards 2 is certainly high but the survival rate of the crews has nothing to do with that of tanks of Soviet and even Russian origin up to and including the T90.

  3. We must also not forget the bonuses promised by the oligarchs to Russian soldiers who destroy a Western tank, some returning from leave as soon as the presence of one of them is announced: in this context these tanks become prey and therefore must also face the greed of men. This would not be the case in an HI confrontation with NATO


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