Videos from eastern Ukraine show Russian tanks equipped with strange canopies welded onto the tanks’ turrets. With similar, albeit somewhat less improvised cages, which were supposed to protect the most vulnerable parts of armored and tracked vehicles, the Russians went into battle already in the spring. What is this modification for?
Recently, footage of vintage Soviet T-62 tanks appeared, with which the Russian army is trying to replace the lack of modern technology. One of them has a kind of roof welded on the tower, maybe it is even two connected tables. It’s not exactly obvious from the photo. In any case, it is most likely a similar protection that we could see in a number of photos a few months ago.
With an improvised solution, the Russians are trying to protect themselves from the anti-tank missiles of the Ukrainians. They are armed not only with American javelin missiles, but also with other effective Western weapons. And although some people laugh at it, such a solution can really have an effect. The turret, which also contains ammunition, is one of the most vulnerable parts of Russian tanks. However, if an anti-tank missile explodes after impact before contact with the armor itself, it does not have such a devastating effect on the tank and its crew. This means that the explosive power will be reduced.
A possible explanation could also be that the Russians are increasingly worried about Ukrainian drone attacks dropping bombs on them, and the Russians often don’t even know about the presence of drones, so they leave the turret hatches open. At the same time, the Ukrainians hit Russian equipment with ever greater precision, which we can see from the many shots directly from the front.
But it is not a purely Russian invention. Cages protecting belts and other delicate parts of equipment were already used by British soldiers during the war in Iraq as protection against artillery.
From the information from the front, it does not yet appear that the structures welded to the Russian tanks would fundamentally affect the development of the battles. At the end of August, Ukraine continued its offensive in the south of the country against Russian occupation troops, British military intelligence said today. However, more details about the operations of the Ukrainian armed forces are not available. According to analysts of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the reason is the prudence of Kiev, which relies on deception operations in battles against a more numerous enemy.
At the same time, according to ISW, the Russian Ministry of Defense launched an information operation to portray the Ukrainian counter-offensive as a failure. Several prominent military bloggers – including those who have previously criticized the Kremlin – have joined the campaign. According to others, the West pushed Kyiv to counter-offensive too soon, or on the contrary, too late.
Russian official media is also spreading unsubstantiated information about the civil-military conflict between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Chief of the Ukrainian General Staff Valery Zaluzhny, ISW reports. According to the Russian-language BBC server, there is currently no evidence that the Ukrainian operation was affected by internal political divisions.