Direct Hit! Russian T-72 ‘Knocks Out’ US-Made Abrams MBT In Tank-On-Tank Battle Near Avdiivka- RuMoD

Russia’s Ministry of Defense (RuMoD) said a T-72B3 main battle tank destroyed an American M1A1 Abrams in a direct engagement near Avdiivka on March 5-6. 

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The first tank was destroyed on February 27 around the same region by a Piranha FPV kamikaze drone, where many Russian-friendly social media handles circulated the video. The RuMoD, too, later made the claim.

The video of the elimination of the second tank first surfaced on Vladimir Solovyev’s Telegram channel, a channel for Russian journalists and talk show hosts.

This was followed by a RuMoD statement on March 4 reporting the destruction of the second Abrams on March 3. This destruction was captured in another video that surfaced on social media, in which an M1 Abrams of the 47th Mechanized Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) was destroyed by an Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) fired by personnel of Russia’s 24th Separate Guards Brigade.

Tank-On-Tank Battle!

According to the RuMoD, the latest hit involved a direct duel with a Russian T-72B3. “A T-72B3 tank crew destroyed a US-made Abrams with the first shot,” the RuMoD said. The destruction happened as a part of a larger engagement where Russia’s Tsentr Group of Forces was clashing with the AFU in the “Avdiivka direction.”

However, it is not clear if this Abrams loss is a fresh one or an earlier unknown engagement, details of which are officially released now.

AFU “assault detachments” had “launched three attacks” near Leninskoye and Novgorodskoye, as well as nine counter-attacks near Berdichi, Tonenkoye, Pervomayskoye, Orlovka, and Vodyanoye (Donetsk People’s Republic), which Russian units “repelled.” This was when the Abrams was “wiped out” by the T-72B3 in the “first shot.”

File Image: Destroyed Abrams

In the overall battle for Avdiivka, Russian units “took more advantageous lines and positions.” “Losses were inflicted on manpower and hardware of the AFU 23rd, 42nd, 47th, 53rd, 61st, 92nd Mechanised Brigades, and 59th Motorised Rifle Brigade near Novopokrovskoye, Ocheretino, Novosyolovka Pervaya, and Toretsk (Donetsk People’s Republic),” the RuMoD said on March 6.

The AFU losses amounted to up to 460 Ukrainian troops and “two tanks,” with one of them being the Abrams. Russian forces also destroyed “one Buk self-propelled air defense system, four infantry fighting vehicles, two armored fighting vehicles, and five motor vehicles.”

The fighting that day also saw “counter-battery warfare,” in which Ukrainian artillery systems were targeted. “One Msta-B howitzer, two US-made M119 howitzers, one US-made HIMARS MLRS, and one US-made AN/TPQ-50 counter-battery warfare radar station were neutralized,” RuMoD said.

Western Armor Suffers In Ukraine?

The RuMoD has not released a video of the T-72B3’s engagement with the Abrams or any post-battle visual evidence to prove the latter’s loss. It is possible that the RuMoD’s media and publicity personnel must have been engaged elsewhere, and the tanks must have clashed in a chance encounter in a rapidly evolving, fluid tactical situation.

These losses indicate that Western armor has been ineffective in countering the Russian war machine in Ukraine. Over a dozen German Leopards, for example, were destroyed in Ukraine’s mid-2023 counter-offensive. They were lost to artillery fire, land mines, ATGM hits, and strikes by Russian attack helicopters like the Kamov Ka-52 Alligator.

File Image: T-72 Tank


The T-72B3 is an “overhaul and upgrade of existing T-72B tanks,” according to Weapons Systems. It has a new gun, stabilizer, and fire control system; improved sights for the commander and gunner, including thermal night vision equipment; Kontakt-5 Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA); an additional Relikt ERA and slat armor in the B3M upgrade; an improved and powerful engine for enhanced mobility despite the increase in weight and a new intercom and radio.

It has an updated 125-mm 2A45M-5 smoothbore cannon that provides greater accuracy than the previous generation and can fire modern APFSDS-T projectiles. Russia has over 1,700 existing T-72Bs that have been overhauled to B3 and B3M standards.