One of Russia’s most modern main battle tanks, a T-90, was captured of video losing a face-to-face duel with a Ukrainian Bradley Fighting Vehicle, a far lighter-armed and armored U.S. made troop carrier whose design dates to the Vietnam War.
Drone footage released on social media channels captured fighting that is said to be on the outskirts of the city of Avdiivka, as two M-2 Bradleys took on a Russian T-90, the most advanced and modern tank in the Russian armed forces. And as the video shows, the Bradleys essentially ran circles around it, even though the T-90 got to shoot first.
The Bradley — which we cannot stress enough is not a tank — is lighter armed and lighter armored than a T-90. But in the shoot out captured on drone video, the Ukrainian armored vehicles manage to outmaneuver it, hitting it with a constant, accurate barrage of rounds from their 25mm guns.
Notably, the Bradleys appears to deliver near-perfect hits on the T-90 even though the Ukrainian vehicles are moving over uneven, snow-covered ground — an example of the vehicle’s fire control software and equipment, which automatically adjusts the aim of the M242 Bushmaster to account for both the Bradley’s movements and its target.
The 25mm cannon may not sound like much compared to the 125mm main cannon on the T-90, but the Bradley’s M242 can fire 200 rounds per minute of armor-piercing ammunition. The Bradley fires are sabot rounds, which have depleted uranium cores, making a bullet hard enough to penetrate so-called “light armor.”
The swift maneuvering, coordination and accurate fire of the Ukranian vehicles also suggests well-trained crews.
The Russian tank, on the other hand, misses with its shots and does little to evade its predictment, suggesting its crew was not particularly prepared for combat. Eventually the heavily damaged tank crashes into a tree. The video appears to show the crew, still alive, abandoning the tank.
In a move befitting the anachronistic weaponry and tactics of the war in Ukraine, these older vehicles duked it out with the help of modern aerial drones as spotters, and air support. The drones also fired on the tank.
Video of the fight spread online on Friday, Jan. 12, including being shared by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
The war in Ukraine has been devastating for Russian tankers. Hundreds of tanks have been destroyed or disabled — and in a classic Uno reverse card move, Ukrainians have captured and fielded some of those tanks against the Russian invaders — and the brutal slog of the conflict has led to some desperate moves. With the more modern T-90s in short supply, Russia has fielded T-72 and T-54 tanks, pieces from the Cold War. And that’s not counting the haphazard pieces of artillery Russia is using, such as naval guns turned into mobile cannons.
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That’s not to say that the Bradley itself is a spring chicken. It’s been in service since 1980, reaching troops after a development process that dragged on since early in the Vietnam War. The American military is currently trying to replace the aging armored personnel carrier. However, with its anti-tank weapons and cannon, it was a perfect piece of “old” gear to send to Ukraine. Ukraine’s Mechanized 47th Brigade has been using the U.S.-supplied Bradleys for months and is fighting around Avdiivka.
Although much of the war remains in a stalemate, particularly with the onset of winter, Russia has been renewing its efforts to take Avdiivka. Its latest large-scale campaign on the city started in October. Casualties have been heavy, particularly for Russian forces, with drone footage from December capturing corpses and bombed out battlefields.
Still, the engagement shows that even with heavy losses and having to pull decades-old museum pieces into the field, Russia still is capable of deploying more modern armor and still has several T-90 tanks.
Well, it has one less now.
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