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War in Ukraine: heavy tanks already delivered, promised or hoped for by kyiv


FOCUS - Like London and Warsaw, Berlin is already committed to supplying 14 units to kyiv. Germany, which has Leopard 2, the most widespread tank in Europe, aims to form two battalions. What does this represent in the conflict?

The allies have the required number of tanks

” needed by Ukraine to overthrow enemy troops, President Volodymyr Zelensky said again on Tuesday in his daily address, once again urging Westerners to provide him with heavy tanks.

At the same time, the magazine


announced a spectacular turnaround by Chancellor Olaf Scholz who would have finally accepted the delivery of German Leopard 2 tanks. The chancellery confirmed this Wednesday the dispatch of 14 of them and gave the green light to the allies Ukraine, including Poland and Finland, to send their own German-made tanks in support of Ukrainian forces.

To discover

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Heavy tanks are distinguished from light tanks by their mass - between 40 and 70 tons - and their firepower.

For example, the AMX-10 RC light armored vehicles promised by France, weighing around twenty tons, do not fall into this category.

Major heavy tanks include the French Leclerc, German Leopard, American Abrams, British Challenger and Russian T-72/T-80/T-90.

How many have been promised, how many will be delivered?

President Zelensky said on Tuesday that “

the needs

” were “

greater than five, ten or fifteen tanks


According to the highest ranking Ukrainian army, General Valeri Zalouzhny, quoted by the

New York Times

, at least 300 tanks would be needed to mark a turning point on the front.

Read alsoLeopard 2, Challenger 2, Abrams and Leclerc: discover the tanks that could break the Russian lines in Ukraine

About fifty heavy tanks already promised, and soon a hundred

At this point, the British have already promised Ukraine 14 Challenger 2s, and the Poles 14 Leopard 2s. that it would initially donate 14 Leopard 2s, from Bundeswehr stocks.

It will be the A6 version of this tank, more modern than the A4/5 promised by Warsaw.

Anyway, so that's 52 firm promises of Western heavy tanks.

In addition, Berlin said on Wednesday that it was aiming to quickly form two Leopard 2 battalions for Ukraine.

A tank battalion being made up in Germany of four companies, i.e. 56 units, it would therefore be a commitment of a hundred Leopard 2s.

A Challenger 2 from the British 7th Armored Brigade in southern Iraq, March 2003. ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP

But that's not all.

According to Spiegel


, Washington would also be on the verge of sending Abrams, but no estimate is given as to the number.

An American M1A1 Abrams tank during a NATO military exercise in Latvia, March 26, 2021. INTS KALNINS / REUTERS

The same goes for Finland, which has made known its desire to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev as soon as Berlin has given its approval, without giving any details on the quantity involved. On the side of France and its Leclercs, Emmanuel Macron said Sunday alongside Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor, that "

nothing is excluded

" and that the decision "

is appreciated (was)



Read alsoWar in Ukraine: the three French conditions for delivering Leclerc tanks to kyiv

Several hundred potentially deliverable Leopard 2s

These promises depend in fact on the stocks of heavy tanks of the various States.

What is the state of play in Europe?

The Leopard 2 tank is the most widespread, with some 1,700 operational units in Europe, to which are added around 500 Leopard 1s in reserve.

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Leopard 2s are distributed among the German (284), Austrian (56), Danish (48), Finnish (100), Greek (353), Hungarian (48) armies. , Swedish (120), Spanish (327), Portuguese (37) and Polish (247).

A Bundeswehr Leopard 2 A7 battle tank, in 2019. PATRIK STOLLARZ / AFP

Overall, if 10% of the European fleet were engaged in Ukraine, this would constitute a total of about 200 tanks.

Conversely, the British and French fleets are respectively 200 Challenger and 200 Leclerc tanks, a limited stock which should not allow mass delivery.

French Leclerc tanks deployed as part of the Aigle Nato mission in Romania, December 8, 2022.


Across the Atlantic, Washington has 2,600 operational Abrams M1, some of which are already deployed in NATO countries.

If the arsenal is considerable, the United States cites logistical complexity to justify their reluctance - at this stage - to any delivery.

The Abrams tank (...) requires difficult training, it has a jet engine.

I believe it consumes 11 liters of kerosene per km

”, argued the number three of the Pentagon, Colin Kahl.


It's not the easiest system to maintain


Nearly 300 Soviet tanks already delivered

In reality, the delivery of heavy tanks by neighboring countries is not unprecedented.

From the beginning of the conflict, several states neighboring Ukraine provided the Ukrainian army with Soviet-designed tanks to support its defense against the Russian offensive.

In total, nearly 300 tanks of this type were delivered, including the T-72, the most marketed tank in the world.

By April, Poland had provided some 200 T-72 tanks.

At the end of November, with the support of the United States and the Netherlands, the Czech Republic followed suit with 90 T-72B tanks.

For its part, Slovenia indicated in September that it had signed an agreement to send 28 M55S tanks to Ukraine, a heavily modernized version of the T-55 designed in the Soviet Union in the late 1950s.

Ukrainian armed forces soldiers in a T-72 tank on the outskirts of Bakhmut, December 21, 2022. Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

850 Ukrainian tanks at the dawn of the conflict

When the conflict broke out on February 24, Ukraine could rely on the presence of some 850 more or less modern tanks, knowing that France, by comparison, only has 224.

A Ukrainian T-80 tank on the right, and a T-72 tank on the left in eastern Ukraine on December 29, 2022. SAMEER AL-DOUMY / AFP

According to the independent site Oryx, kyiv has lost some 449 heavy tanks since the start of the war.

Paradoxically, Russia itself happens to be one of its main contributors to offset these losses, with 543 tanks captured from the enemy since the beginning of the conflict.

Conversely, 144 Ukrainian tanks were reportedly captured by the Russians.

These figures, calculated from authenticated images, do not necessarily represent all of the losses.

A superiority in quantity, not in quality for the Russians

By comparison, Russia had

an overwhelming superiority over Kiev at the start of its “

special operation ” with approximately 2,500 to 3,000 T-72s, T-80s and T-90s operational.

According to the Estonian intelligence chief, Moscow also has


about 9,000 tanks in repair and storage sites


, which, in terms of operational potential, could allow it to bring "

at least 3,000 more tanks

" to the forehead.


Which is obviously a very, very large number and constitutes a threat not only for Ukraine, but for all its other neighboring countries

," commented Colonel Margo Grosberg in December.

Read also“Compact.


Easy to park": with humor, Ukraine asks France for Leclerc tanks

However, since February 24, Russia has lost "

60% of its total stock of combat tanks

", estimated at the beginning of January the Director of the General Staff of the European Union Hervé Bléjean.

One thing is certain, Russia has lost at least 1600 tanks, out of the 2500 to 3000 it had at the time of launching its "

special operation


But considerations in terms of quantity are not the only determinants.

The Western tanks that the Ukrainians are hoping for have capabilities that could give them an advantage over Soviet tanks.

The Leopard II is particularly renowned for its ease of use, from maintenance to access to ammunition.

While Russia, for its part, has only a few hundred of its most modern operational tank, the T-90M.

The Kremlin reacted to German promises on Wednesday, reiterating its threats to Westerners.

They “

overestimate the potential that (the tanks) could give to the Ukrainian army

,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.


These tanks will burn like all the others

," he added.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-01-25

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