NewsUkrainian forces capture elusive Russian 'Tortoise' tank in Donetsk

Ukrainian forces capture elusive Russian 'Tortoise' tank in Donetsk

"Tank-turtle" of the Russians in Ukraine
"Tank-turtle" of the Russians in Ukraine
Images source: © X | NEXTA
Norbert Garbarek

17 June 2024 20:47

Two months after the appearance of the so-called Russian tortoise tanks in Ukraine, the defending army managed, for the first time, to seize one of these machines from the aggressor as a trophy. This equipment remained elusive for an extended period, and despite unflattering comments regarding its appearance, it fulfilled its function.

The changing situation on the front forces both sides of the conflict to improvise in modernising military equipment. Therefore, it is not surprising to see constructions such as the combination of an MT-LB carrier with a naval missile artillery system or the hybrid of the old T-62 tank with the modern T-90M Proryv.

Both of these constructions are attributed to the Russians, who recently introduced a machine peculiarly at the front. This is the so-called tortoise tank, which was first spotted during battles in mid-April 2024. Internet users quickly ridiculed the gigantic machine. Still, shortly afterwards, emotions were cooled by a US expert who pointed out that the tortoise tank indeed fulfils its function, and, most importantly – it remained elusive to Ukrainians for a long time.

Ukrainians captured a Russian tortoise tank

According to photos shared on social media, Ukrainians finally managed to capture the Russian "tortoise." This achievement is credited to soldiers from the 22nd Mechanised Brigade, who seized this specific tool from the Russians in the Donetsk region.

This is a valuable capture for several reasons. First and foremost, acquiring the tortoise tank will allow the Ukrainians to familiarise themselves with the technology used on this construction. They will be able to examine what the Russian Federation hides under the massive structure and how to combat this potential weapon or electronic warfare measures.

Furthermore, the Ukrainian armed forces will be able to examine the tank's armour more closely. This will allow them to determine what specific ammunition is capable of penetrating it.

Another reason the trophy in the form of the first captured tortoise tank is important for the Ukrainians is that it is a construction with significant battlefield capabilities. This was explained by the expert as mentioned above from the American Foreign Policy Research Institute, Rob Lee, who stressed that "sacrificing observation and turret rotation in one tank for the benefit of a platoon that can simultaneously disrupt many drones makes sense."

Tortoise tanks are likely equipped with electronic warfare systems inside the massive structure. The Russians have ensured that among several (or more) vehicles in one position occupied by the aggressor's army, the tortoise tank is responsible for jamming potential threats coming from the air, such as the popular kamikaze drones at the front.

A jammer-equipped tank is difficult to destroy due to its armour. The overall offensive capabilities of the tortoise tank also remain significant. The thick armour does not easily succumb to small-calibre fire, which allows the vehicle to move relatively safely on the front.

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