With the recent confirmation of the United States delivering all the pledged US-made tanks to Ukraine, Russian tank crews are now gearing up to hunt for Abrams tanks on the battlefield.
A decorated Russian tank battalion commander holding the Order of Courage and the Medal for Courage, Captain Sambu Khutakov, was quoted saying that the information regarding the supply of US-made tanks to the Ukrainian army has sparked significant interest among Russian tankers.
These Russian tank crews, stationed near Rabotino, are actively preparing for a hunt to encounter American Abrams tanks, added Khutakov.
Captain Khudakov has been stationed in the “special military operation” zone since the start of 2023. Before this assignment, he undertook various missions in Syria and served with the Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.
During the summer and autumn, he reportedly successfully thwarted the Ukrainian counteroffensive, earning the Order of Courage and the Medal for Courage for his exceptional bravery and valor.
The Russian tank battalion commander explained that when foreign equipment arrives in their direction or any of the special military operation zone zones, all tank crews closely monitor it.
“You can’t imagine how much excitement there was among the tankers — who was supposed to be the first to catch this “Leopard,” “Bradley” even to catch these “Abrams.” That is, we are waiting for them!” Khutakov said.
The commander further mentioned that they anticipate the arrival of the first American M1 Abrams tanks by the end of this year or early next year. But they stand prepared to encounter them at any moment.
He further elaborated on the high enthusiasm among his tankers, expressing that they will take immediate action once they are given the go-ahead. Should the tanks not arrive as expected, he noted that the tankers might resort to using RPGs to be the first to confront the tanks.
Kremlin’s Response To Supply Of Abrams To Ukraine
The United States has recently confirmed that all 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks, pledged to Kyiv by the Biden administration, have now been delivered to Ukraine.
On October 16, Colonel Martin O’Donnell, a US Army Europe and Africa spokesperson, confirmed that all Ukrainian personnel who had undergone training on the tanks alongside US forces in Germany had returned to Ukraine. This return also included the transportation of ammunition and spare parts for the tanks.
However, experts have pointed out that some time may elapse before the Abrams tanks are deployed to the battlefield.
Ukrainian troops are taking necessary precautions to ensure that they have all the essential support elements in position, and they are carefully strategizing when and where to utilize the tanks to achieve the most significant impact against Russian forces.
O’Donnell also noted that the Abrams tank is an exceptionally formidable armored vehicle, yet it should not be considered a guaranteed solution to all challenges. Ultimately, the determination and resilience of Ukraine’s forces will play the most critical role in achieving their objectives.
Meanwhile, the Russian military had commenced preparations to counter these US-manufactured tanks in Ukraine as soon as the announcement of the Abrams supply was made earlier this year.
Pro-Kremlin groups and experts released manuals and videos providing detailed information on neutralizing an Abrams tank effectively.
These materials instruct attackers to target specific vulnerabilities, such as damaging the optics and communication systems on the turret’s roof using large-caliber weapons.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has consistently stated that the transfer of Abrams tanks will not alter the fundamental nature or outcome of the special military operation.
He emphasized that no single weapon is capable of shifting the balance of power on the battlefield, reiterating the Kremlin’s stance that even Western weapons can be vulnerable.
Russian Tanks Superior To US-made Tanks?
Following the US announcement of tank supply to Ukraine, Russian experts have regularly highlighted the advantages of Russian tanks compared to the Abrams.
In September 2023, a Russian Armed Forces serviceman, known by the call sign “Zhuk,” asserted in an interview with Russian state media that they were well-prepared. Regarding various criteria, Abrams tanks fall short compared to Russian tanks.
This is due to their weight and the specific terrain conditions, particularly the likelihood of muddy terrain, which he believes would impede the Abrams tanks. In contrast, Russian tanks are more adept at traversing such soil conditions with incredible speed and power, Zhuk added.
The Russian soldier pointed out the vulnerable areas of the Abrams combat vehicle, including its sides, the hatch between the primary and upper parts, and the rear of the turret.
He noted that the larger size and weight of the Abrams, compared to Russian tanks, make it more susceptible to sustaining significant damage.
Zhuk also shared a strategy for effectively engaging the Abrams combat vehicle, suggesting that the key is to approach it from angles where the enemy is less likely to spot you. Attacking from the sides or the rear provides a higher chance of successfully targeting these tanks with Russian weaponry, according to Zhuk.
In a similar line, Russian Military expert retired Colonel Anatoly Matviychuk previously told Lenta.Ru that the Russian T-90 Proryv and T-14 Armata tanks are superior in their characteristics to the American Abrams, which were transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).
He contended that a 120-millimeter smoothbore gun, basic rolled armor, simple electronics, and the absence of active protection systems characterize the Abrams tank.
According to Matviychuk, these tanks saw extensive use by the American forces during the Iraq campaign, and there is evidence to suggest that the Iraqis managed to disable them using Chinese-made RPG-2s.
In his assessment, “This tank is unremarkable, except that it burns magnificently. Probably even longer than the Leopard because they have more diesel fuel.”
The Russian expert further asserted that the Abrams tanks utilize a gas turbine engine that offers decent traction but is vulnerable to dirt. He noted that the Abrams was designed as an expeditionary tank and was not well-suited for the conditions in Ukraine.
In comparison, he pointed out that the non-modernized T-72 tank and, significantly, the T-90 Proryv outperform the Abrams in mobility and firepower, with the T-14 Armata being vastly superior. Therefore, he concluded that the 31 incoming Abrams tanks hold minimal significance for Moscow.
Nevertheless, utilizing the T-14 Armata tank in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine appears to be relatively limited.
Despite reports in Russian media indicating the deployment of this advanced Russian tank in the war, there has been minimal documented evidence of its actual presence in Ukraine.