With Russian attacks on Bakhmut and other cities in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine gathering steam, Russian troops have captured M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) vehicle provided to Ukraine by the United States.
A volunteer scout told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that Russian reconnaissance officers had seized a US-made M113 armored personnel carrier from Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk region where intense combat was taking place.
According to the Russian source’s account, a military vehicle was destroyed during a nighttime attack. The crew of this Ukrainian vehicle tried to escape but was fired on. Upon closer inspection, it was found to be an American M113 APC.
The volunteer, with the call sign “Hans,” said that the captured vehicle would be made operational and used by Russian troops as they had already started to fix it. He said, “They pulled the caterpillar and are working on the engine.”
According to recent reports and videos that surfaced on social media, these vehicles are being operated alongside the newly received Leopard-2A4 tanks.
Leopard2 A4 tanks and M113 armored personnel carriers somewhere in Ukraine.
Thankful to our Allies!
Glory to our Heroes! pic.twitter.com/gKL3L8bUXm
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) April 22, 2023
This is not the first time that troops from Moscow have gotten their hands on the M113 APC. An unspecified number of these US-made vehicles have been captured, including one seized earlier this month, as per video evidence published on social media. In one of these videos, the fighters of the Wagner PMCs could be seen parading the M113 as a trophy sporting a ‘Z’ symbol.
Both Russian and Ukrainian troops captured each other’s weapon systems during the conflict that started more than a year ago. In August last year, Russia published a video showing the weapons it had captured from Ukraine and called them “trophies” collected during the war.
— Middle East Update (@islamicworldupd) April 10, 2023
In addition, there were reports that Russia had placed captured Ukrainian tanks and armored vehicles in a World War II museum outside St. Petersburg ahead of the expected opening of the exhibit. However, Moscow was mocked for failing to show US or NATO equipment like HIMARS on its so-called exhibit.
Even the M113 APC captured by the Russian troops as a “trophy” is an ancient US battle vehicle delivered to Kyiv’s forces in substantial numbers as military aid.
On its part, Ukraine has captured several Russian tanks and armored vehicles that it has fielded against the Russian troops on the battlefield.
Military experts and followers of the war have noted that the MANPADS and other arms captured by Russia paled in comparison to the number of tanks and Infantry/Armored vehicles captured by Ukraine’s forces.
Moreover, the development comes when Russian attacks on Ukrainian positions have intensified to advance further into Ukrainian territory. Russia’s defense ministry said its forces had taken control of four blocks in northwestern, western, and southwestern Bakhmut.
M113 Armored Personnel Carrier In Ukraine
The M113 APC is an archaic US vehicle with light armor that entered service with the US Army several decades ago, in the 1960s. However, Ukraine’s vintage Soviet-style army needed better Western equipment when the Russian troops entered the country in February last year.
The M113 APCs were readily available and were donated to Ukraine in subsequent months. For Kyiv, it was a desperate situation. It would briefly make do with whatever it could access as the Russians attempted to advance deep inside the Ukrainian territory.
The 13-ton, tracked M-113 is a multi-use armored personnel carrier with an aluminum hull and a 275-horsepower diesel engine. It transports mortar crews, engineers, medics, and soldiers. It is the foundation for other specialized vehicle types used for artillery observation, air defense, and other roles.
Due to the M-113’s spaciousness, reliability, and ease of operation, which can carry up to 15 passengers and two crew members and is extraordinarily versatile, it has taken Americans decades to develop a suitable replacement.
The vehicle’s fully encased armor, which is built of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy 5083, is one of its key design elements. The majority of the vehicle’s parts are made of light alloys. The APC is built to protect the driver from small gunfire and large artillery shell splinters.
The M113’s primary armament is typically a single 0.50 caliber M2 Browning machine gun. Additionally, the armored vehicle can mount a 40mm Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher, 7.62mm M60 machine guns, anti-tank weapons, and 20mm to 105mm high explosives in cannons. Also, the M47 Dragon missile system can be placed on it.
A Forbes report published in December 2022 noted that since February, Ukraine had received commitments from its partners for no less than 4,500 wheeled and tracked vehicles, including more than 1,500 M-113s.
These numbers are expected to have swollen since, as military aid continues to pour in. On its part, Ukraine is believed to have replaced the BMP-1 and BMP-2 with the M113 Armored Personnel Carriers. The M-113 is less strongly armed than the BMP-1 and BMP-2, equipped with 73-millimeter and 30-millimeter guns, respectively.
The M-113 is as protected as the BMP-1 but somewhat less protected than a BMP-2 due to the aluminum armor’s resistance to heavy machine gun fire. However, compared to either Soviet vehicle, the M-113 is simpler to drive and operate.