Smoke Them Out! – NASA Astronaut, US Army Veteran Share Tricks Online To Sabotage Russian Tanks

Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and a retired US Army Officer, Mark Hertling, have posted a ‘how to guide’ for sabotaging a Russian T-72 Tank.

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Kelly, who was an International Space Station (ISS) commander, has been a critic of the Russian government and its aggression in Ukraine.

The former astronaut is known for getting into heated exchanges on social media with the Chief of Russia’s space agency, Dmitry Rogozin has previously narrated his experience with Russian cosmonauts who he said had been “brainwashed” into supporting the invasion of Ukraine.

“What surprises me is that, at least from an appearance perspective, most of them are far down the rabbit hole, you know, believing that this was a necessary action to prevent Nazis and NATO from destroying Russia. And I know this because some of them have told me this,” Kelly had told Newsweek in April.

Kelly had approached Mark Hertling, a former tanker who had served in Iraq and retired in 2013 as the Commanding General of the US Army, on how to sabotage the Russian T-72 tanks, which have been fielded in Ukraine.

Destroyed Russian T-72 Tank (Telegram: Land Forces of Ukraine)

Hertling told Kelly about various ways in which the tank can be damaged or rendered inoperable. Kelly, who has Russian contacts, posted the information in Russian in a series of Twitter posts on May 5 under the title “How to Sabotage Your Russian Tank: Instructions for Beginners.”

Instructions To Sabotage Russian T-72 Tank

Meanwhile, Hertling also posted the instructions in English.

One of his tweets reads, “1. Pour a lot of dirt, sand, or sugar into the fuel tanks to clog the lines. 2. Drain the oil in either the engine or transmission, and it will eventually burn to outburn out either system. 3. Since the T-72 runs on a “Christie” track/suspension, it’s easier to sabotage the road wheels just by not greasing them… they’ll eventually lock up.”

Other methods proposed include causing powder fires or clogging the tank’s gun from the outside. However, Hertling cautions that these could lead to injury.

Hertling concluded, “A final recommendation: Put a white flag on the turret, turn the gun tube to the rear, point it skyward, and drive toward Ukrainian lines. That’s the universal sign among tankers to surrender.”

Russian Tanks Suffer Embarrassment In Ukraine

With the onset of the Ukraine war, images and videos of destroyed Russian tanks have proliferated on social media, leaving the Russian Army red-faced.

As EurAsian Times has reported earlier, the Russian T-72s took a hit because of their ‘jack-in-the-box’ flaw, where the turret of the tank gets decapitated from the main body.

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In addition to that, the Ukrainian military destroyed Russia’s most advanced tank, the T-90M Main Battle Tank (MBT), in the north-eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv Oblast on May 2. A few days later, the images of the destroyed T-90M surfaced, taking social media by storm.

Russian T90M Tank Destroyer in the north-eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv Oblast on May 2. (Twitter)

According to the latest estimates, Russia has lost more than 600, out of which more than 300 have been destroyed.

This has largely resulted from the anti-tank weapons provided by the western countries to Ukraine, including Javelin missiles by the US, NLAWs, and first-ever Starstreak missiles from the UK.

Furthermore, the US has also supplied 100 Switchblade anti-tank drones to Ukraine; the first evidence of its use appeared on May 6.

Based on the analysis of the images depicting the destroyed Switchblade 300, experts suggest that the kamikaze drone has most probably fulfilled its purpose by either blowing itself up or hitting and blowing up the target.

Reports suggest that these images were captured in the Kharkiv Oblast region, where the Russian forces discovered the drones.

Ukrainian Civilians Using Molotov Cocktails

Also, Ukrainian civilians have been reported as using homemade ‘Molotov Cocktails’ against the Russian tanks and other armored vehicles.

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Molotov Cocktails are made by pouring flammable liquid into a glass bottle and stuffing it with a cloth that acts as a wick. When enemy troops or armored vehicles enter the range of handheld weapons, the wick is set on fire and the cocktail is thrown at the enemy, ideally by many people at once, saturating a target area and increasing the likelihood of real damage.

Once thrown, the bottle breaks on impact, shattering the glass and spreading the liquid within. The fiery wick then ignites the fluid, creating a self-sustaining fire.

While not as effective as American-supplied Javelin missiles or British NLAW anti-tank rockets, Molotov cocktails have proved effective against armored vehicles, including most heavily-armored tanks, in their unique ways.

Residents prepare Molotov cocktails, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, to defend their city, in Zhytomyr, Ukraine. (Reuters)

All tanks have crew hatches, vision slits, exhaust ports, and other apertures. If a Molotov cocktail impacts on or near an open aperture, burning liquid can flow through, causing panic, injuries, and even a fire inside the vehicle.

The fire creates smoke, turning into a choking hazard for the crew and restricting their vision outside the vehicle. Molotovs are also effective when thrown against the grills of air-cooled engines, causing them to catch fire.

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Social media is swarmed with instances of Ukrainians using Molotov cocktails to fend off Russian troops. There are images and videos showing groups of Ukrainians preparing a large number of Molotov cocktails.

That said, the how-to guide released by Kelly and Hertling may add to how the Ukrainian civilians can resist the advances of Russian armored units.