Helion & Company- War in Ukraine Vol. 5
Main Battle Tanks of Russia and Ukraine, 2014-2023 — Post-Soviet Ukrainian MBTs and Combat Experience
Author: Wen Jian Chung
60 Pages, 8.3 x 11.7 in, 70 color photos, 12 color profiles, 2 maps, 3 diagrams, 1 table
In volume 5, we look at the second part of the two-book series on Russian and Ukrainian MBTs. For a review of the first part in Vol. 4 where the focus was more on the T-64, T-72, and T-80 , head here:
This particular book in this series within the series centers on main battle tanks developed and modernized by Ukraine since its independence in 1991. At that time, Ukraine inherited thousands of MBTs from the Soviet Union, in addition to the Malyshev tank factory and the associated Kharkov Design Bureau for Machine Building. This left Ukraine with great potential for armor protection. Sadly it was frittered away over the last few decades between government corruption and underfunding- where much of these tanks were then put into storage. The start of the current war and losses incurred by each side have seen both countries taking out their older tanks from storage for use again in the front lines after modernization. The book is broken down by the following-
- 1- Ukrainian Post-Soviet Tanks
- 2- The Opposing Forces
- 3- In Combat
- 4- The Future
- Appendix 1-- which provides a table of 125mm projectiles likely to be seen in use with either side
- Appendix 2-- describing the various types of explosive reactive armour (ERA) used by both sides
The first chapter delves into the modernized versions of Ukrainian tanks and how they address 4 key priorities that the Ukrainian Armed Forces (ZSU) learned during the Donbas War- situational awareness, protection, lethality (firepower), and mobility. This chapter focuses on specific examples of modernized tanks- including the BM Bulat version of the T-64B or T-64BM2. The T-84 Oplot and modernized T-64BV, T-80BV, and T-72AMTs are also showcased in chapter 1. The aforementioned priorities of situational awareness, firepower, protection, and mobility are addressed as well with in-depth looks at the various thermal imaging, turret and armor thicknesses, and the like.
In the center of the book are 12 color profiles of the various Ukrainian tanks used from 2014 to present done by artist David Bocquelet.
Chapter 2 on the Opposing Forces looks into how tank forces from both sides organized and trained prior to the 2022 invasion. The ZSU and VSRF (Russian Armed Forces) approached the use of their MBTs in similar ways considering their common heritage and the brief chapter searches the differing training techniques for each side-- from tank biathalon races for the Russians with friendly nations like China, India, Iran, and others competing. On the other side, NATO style training has helped the ZSU.
Chapter 3 delves into the two sides armoured forces in combat in various engagements, including the Donbas War (2014-2015), Lohvynove (8-12 February 2015), the 2022 invasion, and Chernihiv (24 February- 4 April 2022).
The Future chapter holds little clues to how things will progress at the war in Ukraine continues. With Russia's economy crippled by Western sanctions and restricted access to advanced Western technology, it has negatively affected its ability to produce more modern tanks like the T-90M or T-72B3. Ukrainian tank factories and repair facilities are still functioning and Western MBTs have also arrived and been put into ZSU service. There are still many open questions to be answered, but there is no doubt the important role MBTs play for both sides in this war and beyond. Appendix 1 provides an excellent table listing the various 125mm projectiles being used and Appendix 2 looks at three types of ERA- Kontakt-1, Relikt, and Nizh & Duplet.
This second volume in the MBT series within this War in Ukraine series is a valuable addition to those looking to learn more about how modern armor is being used in current conflicts. I know the couple Ukrainian tanks in my stash will benefit from the detailed photos and profiles within this volume and provides a much more interesting overview of how Ukraine is using their armored forces to great effect in the current conflict.
Highly Recommended for those interested in learning more about the armor being used in the current war in Ukraine.
Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishing for this review sample.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves
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