A Ukrainian Leopard 2A4 on the Move

A Leopard 2A4 main battle tank rolls past sporting Ukrainian colors. Much has been made of the decision to donate these vehicles to Ukraine, and these modern tanks are expected to grant the Ukrainians an edge over Russian opponents fielding older and less capable platforms. Moscow condemned the decision by western allies to equip Ukraine with western tanks, and seemingly as soon as these vehicles arrived in country, Russian pundits and milbloggers began concocting stories of slain Leopards. With the Ukrainian offensive apparently underway, it appears that some of these tanks have become casualties on the battlefield. This news has caused many to question the ability of this and other NATO platforms to change the course of the war. Are Leopard A2s overrated and overhyped? The short answer is – no.


First, one must remember that this is war, the largest and bloodiest seen on the European continent in eight decades. The stubborn resistance of the Ukrainians, the support provided them by the West, and the underwhelming performance of the Russian military has transformed what should have been a lopsided fight into a brutal, near-peer slug fest, and in such contests casualties and vehicle losses are to be expected. Even during the 1990-91 Gulf War, coalition forces lost thirty-one tanks, although overwhelming air power and a decisive technological edge ensured that these losses were a fraction of those inflicted on the Iraqi Army. The Ukrainians do not possess air superiority, and given the density of Russian defenses, the Ukrainian high command has admitted that vehicle losses are expected.


It serves the Russian narrative to discount the potential contribution of the Leopard A2 to this fight, and to trumpet the destruction of each NATO vehicle sporting Ukrainian colors, but while the Leopard is not a war-winning superweapon, its presence is one of the many factors that could contribute to battlefield success. A single tank does not guarantee victory, but battalions of tanks, supported by mechanized infantry, and integrating fires to support mauver are essential components of a combined arms system. A battalion of Leopard 2A4s can shoot and move, engage targets with sophisticated thermal sights, and offer protection to crewmen, who have a much higher probability of survival than their Russian counterparts. Leopards, Bradleys, Marders, Strikers, and other systems will undoubtedly become casualties in the coming weeks, but it remains to be seen whether the Ukrainian army can absorb these losses and still achieve decisive effects.


About the Author

Author's Photo

Cam

Cam served as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps, deploying to the Horn of Africa and participating in combat operations in Iraq. He currently works in the maritime industry and in the defense sector as an instructor of combined arms planning and operations. An avid sailor, Cam founded and directs a nonprofit that supports veterans and first responders through sailing.

Published 8 months ago

A Leopard 2A4 main battle tank rolls past sporting Ukrainian colors. Much has been made of the decision to donate these vehicles to Ukraine, and these modern tanks are expected to grant the Ukrainians an edge over Russian opponents fielding older and less capable platforms. Moscow condemned the decision by western allies to equip Ukraine with western tanks, and seemingly as soon as these vehicles arrived in country, Russian pundits and milbloggers began concocting stories of slain Leopards. With the Ukrainian offensive apparently underway, it appears that some of these tanks have become casualties on the battlefield. This news has caused many to question the ability of this and other NATO platforms to change the course of the war. Are Leopard A2s overrated and overhyped? The short answer is – no.


First, one must remember that this is war, the largest and bloodiest seen on the European continent in eight decades. The stubborn resistance of the Ukrainians, the support provided them by the West, and the underwhelming performance of the Russian military has transformed what should have been a lopsided fight into a brutal, near-peer slug fest, and in such contests casualties and vehicle losses are to be expected. Even during the 1990-91 Gulf War, coalition forces lost thirty-one tanks, although overwhelming air power and a decisive technological edge ensured that these losses were a fraction of those inflicted on the Iraqi Army. The Ukrainians do not possess air superiority, and given the density of Russian defenses, the Ukrainian high command has admitted that vehicle losses are expected.


It serves the Russian narrative to discount the potential contribution of the Leopard A2 to this fight, and to trumpet the destruction of each NATO vehicle sporting Ukrainian colors, but while the Leopard is not a war-winning superweapon, its presence is one of the many factors that could contribute to battlefield success. A single tank does not guarantee victory, but battalions of tanks, supported by mechanized infantry, and integrating fires to support mauver are essential components of a combined arms system. A battalion of Leopard 2A4s can shoot and move, engage targets with sophisticated thermal sights, and offer protection to crewmen, who have a much higher probability of survival than their Russian counterparts. Leopards, Bradleys, Marders, Strikers, and other systems will undoubtedly become casualties in the coming weeks, but it remains to be seen whether the Ukrainian army can absorb these losses and still achieve decisive effects.


About the Author

Author's Photo

Cam

Cam served as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps, deploying to the Horn of Africa and participating in combat operations in Iraq. He currently works in the maritime industry and in the defense sector as an instructor of combined arms planning and operations. An avid sailor, Cam founded and directs a nonprofit that supports veterans and first responders through sailing.

   Return Home

This video has been flagged by our users, and contains mature content. Log in or create an account to verify that you are 18+

My Subscriptions

Search Funker530