Expensive Toys: NATO Tanks Struggle in Ukraine’s Real-Life Battlefield


by Jeff Childers

Uh-oh. Sour grapes alert. Last week, the state-run Kyiv Post ran a whiney story while this fantastical headline:

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The sub-headline explained, “Considering how much kerchief-twisting there was about it in the first place, and how they are doing in the war right now, handing over top-end NATO tanks to Ukraine doesn’t look like a great idea.” It turns out that NATO’s fantastically-expensive, heavily armed and heavily armored, high-tech, top-tier battle tanks — like the US-made M1A2 Abrams — are not, apparently, doing so well in real life.

Here’s how the Ukrainians described it in the article’s opening paragraph:

By a long shot, the enduring image of a NATO-standard modern main battle tank in the Russo-Ukraine War is a video of a stopped vehicle getting hammered by cheap FPV drones, before it gets set on fire and burns down to a six-million-dollar hulk.

Almost a year later, the Ukrainian army mostly uses advanced Western tanks as expensive artillery pieces, lobbing shells at the Russians from a long distance. They stay away from the front line.

In other words, $200 drones are taking out our ten million dollar tanks. Whatever battle our high-heeled generals imagined they were designing the tanks for existed only in the generals’ fevered, DEI-fueled imaginations. The tanks aren’t fighting each other in massive tank battles. Here’s how the Kyiv article described what is really happening on the battlefield:

Tank shootouts in Ukraine engagements are practically unheard of. State-of-the-art optics, depleted uranium armor-piercing shells, a world-beating main gun, thermal sights, wind sensors and fire control computers able to adjust for the rotation of the Earth undoubtedly would make tanks deadly in a one-to-one fight, but some operators said since battles like that aren’t happening, much of that high-tech kit is really just dead weight.

At 64 tons, the tanks are too heavy to cross most Ukrainian bridges or cross soft ground without getting stuck in the mud (where they are sitting ducks for drone strikes).

Did the tank designers ever consider tanks having to cross bridges? Or be used in the mud? Or were they just designed for giant sandboxes, to impress politicians driving in circles around the desert in Nevada?

The Ukrainians are basically saying thanks, but they don’t need any more tanks. This story is a perfect metaphor for the problems facing our modern army. Short of nuclear war, our fascination with expensive, fragile, internet-connected, high-tech toys is not working out well in real battles.

Biden’s war tanks are getting stuck in the mud. Biden’s polls are getting stuck in the mud. And the “Get Trump” effort is getting stuck in the mud. What’s going well for Biden?

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