So the Ukes are finally getting their Leopards, their Challengers and their Abrams. Will they get enough, and will they be in time? Who knows? Most important, will the Ukrainians get the training they need to operate these sophisticated machines? Remember, a tank isn’t just a fighting vehicle. It is part of a system of connected technologies that deliver these tanks to the front line, first by rail, then by transporter (big off-road vehicles that carry the tanks to the battle). Then there is the supply, the maintenance, the recovery and repair operation that follows the tanks to battle and keeps them fighting (and all those guys need specialized training too). Then there is all the other specialized vehicles that follow the panzers; bulldozers, tractors, supply vehicles, fuel tankers, scouts, infantry fighting vehicles and others used to support the MBTs.
Then, to fully utilize these weapons to best effect, strategy and tactics have to be worked out and adapted to the enemy’s capabilities and the terrain. Communications protocols have to be developed and drilled. The Ukrainians are very, very good, brave and motivated, but that’s a lot to ask of any army, especially one that is exhausted after almost a year of constant combat and heavy casualties against an overwhelming enemy. Tanks do not operate on their own; they have to coordinate with recon, motorized infantry, aviation, air defense and artillery units as well. Intelligence has to be processed especially for their needs and capabilities. NATO is very good at this, but how long do we have before the Russian offensive gets underway? Remember how long it took us to get ready in Iraq? And what will the weather be like this spring?
Then, you have three different types of armor here, each with different maintenance, capabilities, vulnerabilities, communications, spare parts, munition and fuel requirements. That alone is a logistical nightmare. If we were smart, we would have been training the Ukes already for months, but I doubt anyone thought that far ahead. The Russians have not been very effective up to now, but they’ve had plenty of time to reflect on and correct their mistakes. We can’t count on their incompetence indefinitely.
I have a very bad feeling about all this.
“My men can eat their belts and fight with their fists, but my tanks need gas.”
Gen George Patton