Old Russian T-62 Tanks Could Still Give Ukrainians Trouble in Combat


  • Russia’s army is dealing with a tank deficit because it rebuilds devices to ship again into Ukraine.
  • As of early June, Russia had misplaced no less than 760 tanks in Ukraine, maximum of them slightly trendy T-72B3s and T-80s.
  • Moscow has tapped its stock of retired T-62 tanks, that have been offered in 1961, for strive against in Ukraine.

Can Russia’s outdated T-62 give you the chance to be helpful in Ukraine? Protection skilled Sébastien Roblin provides us his research:

As combating rages on in japanese and southern Ukraine, with new offensives and counteroffensives kicking off weekly, Russia’s army is dealing with a rising tank deficit because it reinforces or reconstitutes decimated devices to feed again into the struggle.

Imagery confirms Russia has misplaced no less than 760 primary combat tanks in strive against in Ukraine by way of June 7, the bulk slightly trendy T-72B3 and T-80 tanks, regardless that the actual general is indisputably upper.

A video in Might printed Moscow has begun tapping its stock of retired T-62 tanks — a kind offered into carrier in 1961 — handing over a trainload into the occupied town of Melitopol in southern Ukraine.

The T-62Ms and reactive-armor geared up T-62MVs have been later noticed within the adjoining Kherson Oblast, the place Russian troops are at the defensive towards Ukrainian forces making an attempt to disencumber a considerable swathe in their nation.

Any other video presentations an immobilized T-62 damaged down outdoor of strive against. None to this point were showed destroyed in motion.

Soviet smoothbore sensation

Russia T-62 tank

A Russian T-62 tank crosses the freeway linking Tbilisi and western Georgia, August 21, 2008

MARCO LONGARI/AFP by way of Getty Photographs


The T-62 is one thing of the middle-child of Soviet-era tanks, getting into carrier in between the extra a success and ubiquitous T-54 and T-72.

Certainly, the design’s “lumpy” turret makes it strongly resemble the previous T-54, however the longer T-62 may also be outstanding by way of the broader spacing between its 5 highway wheels.

Modestly higher armored than the T-54, the T-62’s key innovation used to be the advent of a smoothbore U-5TS 115-millimeter gun supposed to stay alongside of bettering armor at the M48 and M60 Patton-series tanks.

At the moment, tanks used weapons with rifled barrels which might ship chemical-energy shells (referred to as HEAT rounds) onto objectives extra as it should be. Then again, new varieties of fin-stabilized discarding sabot shells (APFSDS) allowed smoothbore weapons to succeed in better speed, accuracy, and penetration — and changed into extra fascinating through the years as new composite fabrics rendered state-of-the-art tanks way more proof against HEAT munitions.

The T-62 used to be nonetheless an impressive design within the 1973 Yom Kippur Struggle, the place Syrian and Egyptian T-62s with their robust regardless that slow-firing weapons may just reliably penetrate Israeli Patton, Centurion and Tremendous Sherman tanks.

A Soviet-era T-62 tank

A Soviet-era T-62 tank.

Getty Photographs


Then again, awesome Israeli long-distance gunnery and operational acumen led to heavy T-62 losses.

On the Fight of Chinese language Farm, Egypt’s twenty fifth Armor Brigade used to be boxed in on 3 facets by way of Centurion Sh’ot tanks. By means of the top of the day the Brigade had most effective 10 of its 96 T-62s closing, having knocked out most effective 4 Israeli tanks.

Syria deployed 5 T-62 brigades for its assault at the Golan Heights however promptly misplaced 36 tanks to fireside from an Israeli tank corporate, which misplaced most effective 3 Centurions. When Israeli forces counterattacked, Syria’s T-62-equipped forty seventh Brigade used to be overrun by way of a like-sized drive of M51 Sherman tanks, regardless that two T-62 brigades did lend a hand Syria stabilize a line of defense south of Damascus.

Submit-war, Israel refurbished and reequipped many captured T-62s to be used below the designation Tiran-6. They concluded the T-62 had higher aspect armor than Western tanks, and its smoothbore gun had awesome penetration out to a variety of two.5 kilometers.

Then again, they criticized the T-62’s smaller ammunition provide 40 rounds, restricted gun


melancholy

to six levels, and cramped turret, which no longer most effective exhausted crews all of a sudden however made them much more likely to be killed by way of a penetrating hit.

Upgrading the T-62

Iraqi Soviet-made T-62 tank in Kuwait

An deserted Iraqi Soviet-made T-62 tank in Kuwaiti wasteland close to a burning oil neatly, April 2, 1991.

PASCAL GUYOT/AFP by way of Getty Photographs


The Soviet Union constructed greater than 22,000 T-62s thru 1975, 5,000 of that have been exported in a foreign country and utilized in a number of extra wars (Israel-Syria-Lebanon 1982, Libya-Chad, Iran-Iraq, 1991 Gulf Struggle, civil wars in Angola, Ethiopia, Libya, and Syria).

Then again, the T-62 used to be quickly displaced by way of T-72 and T-80 tanks the use of auto-loading 125-millimeter weapons that got rid of the desire for a human loader, permitting a discounted workforce of 3.

Moscow however basically used T-62s for its warfare in Afghanistan, the place formally just about 400 tanks have been misplaced to Taliban guerillas armed with mines, rocket-propelled grenades and recoilless weapons — a complete that will increase to one,340 T-62s when together with “non-combat” losses.

That attrition ended in the T-62M improve fashion bolstered with BDD laminated spaced armor at the turret entrance (30mm frontal plate subsidized up by way of 4 angled 5mm plates) rubber skirts to give protection to the tracks, and anti-mine abdominal armor. Dubbed “Illyich’s Eyebrows,” the sticking out BDD flanges equipped coverage towards HEAT munitions identical to 450mm RHA, up from 240mm.

Different upgrades integrated:

  • Alternative of 581hp V-55 engine with extra robust V-55U (620 hp) engine, or the V46-5M (690hp) diesel engine used at the T-72
  • Capacity to fireside 115mm 9K116-2 laser-guided missiles (NATO codename AT-10 Stabber), which will as it should be have interaction armored cars and helicopters out to two.5 miles. (This used to be neglected from T-62M1 subvariants.)
  • Volna fire-control machine, together with a BM-62 ballistics computer systems, KTD-2 laser vary finder, and M1 stabilizer
  • Further modernized smoke grenade launchers, radios and tracks

There used to be additionally the T-62MV subvariant girded with bricks of Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armor as a substitute of BDD. The bricks are supposed to block the penetration of HEAT-type munitions.

Russia nonetheless used T-62Ms broadly within the 2008 Russo-Georgia Struggle, ahead of in spite of everything retiring the sort in 2013, regardless that loads of T-62Ms have been due to this fact refurbished and bought to Syria to be used in its civil warfare.

Do T-62Ms stand an opportunity in Ukraine?

Russian tank

Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by way of Ukrainian forces on a highway within the Lugansk area, February 26, 2022.

ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP by way of Getty Photographs


It is surely a foul signal for Russia that it is pressured to dip into stock of retired tanks slightly than use higher armored T-72s and T-80s. Additionally the requirement for a fourth workforce member (loader) does not have compatibility with Russia’s present coaching and manning constructions.

That mentioned, Russia is estimated to have round 10,000 tanks in garage, together with 2,500 T-62s, suggesting there are surely 1000’s extra T-72s and T-80s that may but be reactivated. Most likely, regardless that, many have been in too deficient of a situation to be refurbished and deployed as briefly because the T-62Ms dispatched to Ukraine, which appear more likely to be shunted to second-rate pro-Russian separatist forces.

In a head-to-head struggle towards Ukrainian tanks (basically T-64s, but additionally T-72s and T-80s), T-62Ms will likely be at a grave drawback because of inferior sensors, hearth management, armor and armor-penetration. However tank-on-tank battles stay slightly uncommon in Ukraine, and T-62s stays completely able to lobbing 115mm shells downrange to blast infantry, fortifications and lighter armored cars.

In a enhance function, the armor upgrades can give T-62Ms an opportunity of surviving frontal armor hits from lighter and/or older anti-tank guns utilized by Ukrainian infantry, together with M72A2 LAW, RPG-7, AT4 and Carl Gustaf anti-tank guns; and dated however nonetheless in style SPG-9 recoilless weapons and MT-12 Rapira anti-tank weapons.

A Russian tank sits in the streets of Kherson.

A wrecked Russian tank in Kherson, Ukraine.

Courtesy of Igor.


T-62Ms dispatched to Ukraine have additionally been noticed with improvised cage armor over the turret, derisively dubbed ‘cope cages’ on social media as they’re not likely to give protection to towards robust anti-tank guns just like the Javelin or Stugna-P missiles.

Then again, cage armor must lend a hand towards anti-tank grenades dropped by way of civilian-style drones — a well-liked Ukrainian tactic which has had unexpected good fortune — and in all probability degrade lighter anti-tank guns.

Then again, an interviewed Russian T-72 commander said his unit got rid of the improvised cages, noting they inhibited the capability of the turret gadget gun and radio antennas, and avoided workforce from escaping a burning automobile.

Missing ok staff to concurrently assault and protect territory in Ukraine, Russia is making an attempt to lean on its deep stock instead. The T-62 supply thus presentations Moscow is pressured to dig deeper because it exhausts its most current weapon machine in strive against, even if the T-62 is much more prone than the loads of Russian T-72s and T-80s knocked out or deserted in strive against.

That mentioned, even an outdated tank is just about proof against all however specialised anti-armor munitions and heavy artillery, and will ship deadly direct hearth at a distance. If no longer hired recklessly — given Russia’s insufficient use of infantry to display tanks — a T-62 unit may just nonetheless pose a hard impediment to Ukrainian gentle and mechanized infantry at the assault.

Sébastien Roblin writes at the technical, ancient, and political facets of global safety and warfare for publications together with The Nationwide Passion, NBC Information, Forbes.com, Struggle is Uninteresting and 19FortyFive, the place he’s Protection-in-Intensity editor. He holds a Grasp’s stage from Georgetown College and served with the Peace Corps in China. You’ll be able to apply his articles on Twitter.





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