Attempts at a counteroffensive have become challenging for Ukrainian forces, increasingly drawing attention worldwide. For example, the Finnish newspaper “Suomenmaa” writes that the tanks, “Leopards,” which Kyiv received from Helsinki during the winter, have likely been destroyed by anti-tank missiles. Earlier reports mentioned the country had transferred six Leopards to Ukraine.
The German publication “Der Spiegel” published accounts from Ukrainian tank crews fighting in similar “Leopards.” They speak of significant losses in personnel and equipment, as well as the measures soldiers take to avoid engaging in combat.
Spiegel revealed the tactics Leopard 2 tank crews employed to avoid participating in counterattacks with the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF).
A journalist from the German press publication Spiegel interviewed Ukrainian Leopard tank crews. The tank operators were involved in the June counteroffensive in the Zaporizhia direction. It was discovered that these servicemen underwent training at military ranges in Germany and are now participating in actual combat operations using heavily German armoured vehicles.
Sasha, 55, readily acknowledges that going into combat in a tank is terrifying. The tank commander says the Tank is always the enemy’s top priority. Misha, a 25-year-old gunman, claims he has always been fortunate since the beginning of the conflict, two of his tanks have been destroyed, but he is still alive. A 22-year-old loader with the call sign ‘Gudzyk’ (Ukrainian for ‘button’) reports that some soldiers refuse to participate in the war. Some simulate tank damage to avoid going into battle.
According to the German correspondent’s impression, all three interviewees from the publication did not see anything wrong with such practices. Intrigued by their perspectives, the journalist openly asked each Ukrainian soldier why they simulated malfunctions in a reliable combat vehicle. The response was not pleasant and quite disconcerting: the UAF fighters lacked confidence in the reliability of the armoured protection of the modern German Tank. After the first hit of a Russian projectile on the tank turret, it easily turns into a “pile of ashes.”
These UAF servicemen were honest in their conversations and shared information about the losses of three Leopards that “never saw the Russians” as they ran over mines scattered “everywhere.” The three Leopard tanks ran over explosives that the Russians had “almost everywhere” One of the German tanks is irreparable, another is immobilised, and the third cannot be recovered due to the abundance of mines.
Tank crews from Ukraine commented civilly and called their opponents across the line. On the opposing side, it is not the newcomers who are engaged in combat, but they would have retreated had Leopard fired upon them, said Misha, the gunner, adding that “these B**tards are strong.”
The correspondent summed up the conversation with the UAF servicemen, describing the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive as “costly.”
Russia has released multiple videos depicting the destruction of Leopard 2 tanks by KA-52 helicopters and Lancet-3 drones. In one of the videos, the turret of the Leopard tanks flew high, bringing back memories of the fate of Russian T-72 tanks in the initial days of the war. Footage of a Leopard 2 tank on fire went viral across the globe. Vasily Dandikin, a veteran of combat operations and a retired captain of the first rank, informed URA.RU that the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) are losing a battalion equivalent daily, which is engaged in combat using German-made tanks.
The German armoured vehicles, among the most advanced in NATO, suffered major setbacks since the day they clashed with the Russians. But that’s not Berlin’s biggest problem. Because Moscow has Leopard tanks as trophies, the Germans risk having their heavy armour obsolete. The Russian military will now study it in detail and create countermeasures.
Previously, it was believed that the German Leopard 2 tanks could alter the frontline’s balance of power. This is the most prevalent heavily armoured vehicle in Europe. Over a dozen nations use Leopard 2. The Tank is also extant in Canada and other regions.
More Leopard 2 are on the way
It was reported on June 16 that Ukraine would receive additional Leopard 2 tanks. The company Rheinmetall will carry out deliveries financed by Denmark and the Netherlands.
The countries will acquire main battle tanks to replace the destroyed equipment, as reported by Handelsblatt. The shipment to Ukraine will include fourteen Leopard tanks.
According to sources cited by the publication, the corresponding contracts have already been signed, and the transaction is worth millions of euros. However, Rheinmetall has yet to comment on the Dutch and Danish proposals.
The UAF will receive the first tanks acquired from these nations in January next year. Before that, Rheinmetall must refurbish the Leopard 2 A4 tanks it retrieved from various storage locations.