Not in the lead? Leopard tanks for Ukraine – but they have a drawback

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The German Leopard battle tank is a secret weapon in the Ukraine war. Germany also provide old model. However, this may not be suitable for frontline use.

The first Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks debuted last week Ukraine receipt. After the delivery of the later Leopard 2 series tanks, Ukraine will also receive those versions that were developed a little longer ago. But there must clearly be problems with the battle tank, as a media report now indicates.

According to Forbes, the Leopard 1 armor is not suitable for front-line combat. Anything beyond heavy machine gun fire would be fatal to the Leopard 1 tank crews. Ukrainian forces must now therefore face the dilemma of which brigades to equip with German tanks.

The Leopard 1 was first built in the mid-1960s and modernized in the 1980s. In 1984, series production ended, but existing tanks continued to be upgraded. From 1980 the Leopard 1 received a modernized fire control system for more accurate projectile firing and night vision equipment, and in 1987 improved armor was added.

Deployment is not directly in front?

The Bundeswehr decommissioned Leopard 1 in 2003. However they slept in Germany And Denmark Old stocks are still in warehouses that should go to Ukraine. In general, both Germany and Denmark want to supply at least 100 Leopard 1A5 pieces. According to the schedule, the handover should be completed by the end of 2024.

However, it is questionable how useful the weapon systems were in a bloody war of attrition against the Russian occupiers. Even high losses France The delivery of the AMX-10RC infantry fighting vehicle apparently made the Ukrainian Armed Forces doubt the effectiveness of the Western weapon. The AMX-10RC also has relatively thin armour, which does not adequately protect its occupants from Russian mines and other fire. A battalion commander told AFP the tanks were “unsuitable” for use on the front lines because of their thin armour.

The Leopard 1 has frontal armor that is 70 mm thick. The shells of the current generation of Russian tanks can easily penetrate them. For comparison: depending on the model, the next generation Leopard 2 tanks are equipped with armor from 350 to 620 mm in the same place.

The Leopard 1’s side walls are only 35 mm thick. The Leopard 1’s turret and hull provide little protection in today’s battle. Instead, the tank scores with high mobility and firepower.

So the Leopard 1A5 may not be deployed in the front line as part of the current counterattack, but rather in deep terrain, i.e. a few kilometers behind the actual battle line.

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