Leopard-2 Tank: Russian Official Credits ‘Critical Intelligence’ Behind Defeat Of Germany’s ‘Terrifying’ MBTs

A Russian intelligence official has revealed that Russian troops had critical intelligence about the German-made Leopard-2 tanks – that now adorn a Russian war museum in Moscow along with other war trophies — even before they entered the battlefield.

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Russia is holding an exhibition featuring an array of weapons and military equipment seized by its military in Ukraine, in Victory Park on Poklonnaya Gora in Moscow. The exhibition opened its doors on May 1. It will be on for a month, offering visitors a rare glimpse of a collection of over 30 samples of military hardware from NATO countries.

A Military Intelligence veteran, Vyacheslav Kondrashov, told Russian News Agency RIA that Russian military intelligence officers received information in advance about the vulnerabilities of German Leopard tanks.

“There are heavy tanks at the exhibition of trophy equipment, including the German Leopard. They were hit by our soldiers. They knew where to shoot, how to shoot,” Kondrashov said. However, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has not officially acknowledged these claims.

The veteran also drew a comparison of the ongoing combat against the Ukrainian Leopard-2 and the tanks fielded by Nazi Germany during World War II.

The veteran told the agency, “I want to recall the story when fascist Germany decided to unexpectedly use the heavy tanks “Tiger,” “Panther,” the self-propelled gun “Ferdinand” on the Soviet-German front. There was a massive use in 1943, but Soviet soldiers already knew about these tanks, knew about their vulnerabilities, and knew where to shoot… Now, we are proud of the work of our predecessors, and the current generation of Russian military scouts also obtained data on this Leopard in advance… on all these other “predators” and “beasts.”

Kondrashov recalled that Soviet military intelligence operatives stationed overseas had gathered intelligence on new armored vehicles during the Great Patriotic War (a term used in Russia and some other former republics of the Soviet Union to describe the conflict fought from June 22, 1941, to May 9, 1945, along the many fronts of the Eastern Front of World War II, primarily between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany).

File:Leopard 2A6, PzBtl 104.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Leopard 2A6 – Wikimedia Commons

“It was one of the illegal immigrants who received accurate and reliable information from the territory of fascist Germany. He informed Moscow in advance about the work on the production of heavy tanks and even gave the specifications of these tanks. And, of course, front-line intelligence and military intelligence worked, which got us a lot of information,” said the veteran.

The officer also said that even though the “Tiger,” with its strong armor and powerful armament, posed a major threat, the USSR had all the secrets in hand, and the soldiers were informed in advance to make preparations.

Tiger 131 – Wikipedia

Among the tanks from World War II, the Tiger I was, perhaps, the most well-known. The Tiger became legendary in its era owing to its formidable armor, potent firepower, and enormous stature.

When it first appeared in 1942, it terrified the crews of Allied tanks. However, despite its capabilities, the Tigers faltered when fighting the Soviet Red Army.

A similar reputation was accorded to the Leopard-2 tanks before they were deployed to Ukraine. However, in both cases, crucial intelligence about the tanks may have played its part in defeating the German tanks.

As for the Leopard-2, the first few of them were destroyed in a failed Ukrainian counteroffensive, which was attributed to poor strategy rather than the weakness in the armor of the German tanks.

Destroyed Leopard Tank

Leopard-2 Tanks In Ukraine

Ukraine has so far lost at least 18 Leopard-2A4 tanks and 11 Leopard-2A6 tanks, as per the Dutch open-source intelligence site Oryx, which tracks equipment losses in the Ukraine war. Of these, multiple tanks were captured by Russia after being abandoned by Ukrainian tank crews.

While the Russian forces have captured quite a few Leopard-2 tanks, they have displayed the Leopard-2A6, which was retrieved last month from Avdiivka, largely unharmed. Explosives had to be used to clear its tracks to tow it out of the combat zone. It was repaired and transported to Moscow for the exhibition.

Ukraine has received several dozen Leopard 2 tanks from several nations, including Poland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Canada. Germany supplied a minimum of 18 tanks. In March this year, Spain announced a plan to ship at least 19 more Leopard-2A4 tanks to Ukraine by September.

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In January this year, a prominent German lawmaker and key decision-maker in defense budget allocations, Sebastian Schäfer, claimed that only a limited number of the modern Leopard 2 tanks supplied by Germany to Ukraine were operational. He stated that the primary cause behind this operational shortfall was the scarcity of essential spare parts needed for repairs.

“Unfortunately, it has to be noted that only a very small number of the main battle tanks delivered can still be used by Ukraine,” the politician said.

Ukraine has also deployed US-origin Abrams tanks against Russia but met a similar fate like the Leopards. Russia is displaying the US MBT at Victory Park alongside the Leopard-2A6 as a ‘war trophy’

Several Russian commentators have joined the chorus against the Leopard-2 and Abrams. Reports in Russian state media have gone so far as to say that while the West projected their MBTs as “one of the best tanks in the world,” these could not cope against Russian weapons and the Russian spirit.