A Russian Drone Knocked Out One Of Ukraine’s Best Tanks. But When The Russians Tried To Fetch The Tank, Ukrainian Drones Intervened.

The Strv 122—a Swedish modification of a German Leopard 2A5 tank—is one of the best-protected tanks in Russia’s 25-month wider war on Ukraine. So of course the Russians are eager to get their hands on one. If not to inspect it, then at least to show it off for propaganda purposes....READ FULL ARTICLE

And they almost nabbed one of the heavyweight tanks—until Ukrainian drone-operators intervened.

Sweden donated to Ukraine 10 of the 69-ton, four-person Strv 122s with their thickly-armored turrets and 120-millimeter smoothbore guns. All 10 tanks equipped the Ukrainian army’s 21st Mechanized Brigade, which defends a sector of eastern Ukraine around the Kreminna Forest.

In a year of hard fighting, the 21st Brigade’s Strv 122 company has taken a lot of hits—mostly from mines, explosive first-person-view drones and anti-tank missiles—and has lost at least one Strv 122.

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According to Oryx, six other Strv 122s have been damaged, and the 21st Brigade at least temporarily abandoned five of the damaged tanks on the road and fields around Kreminna.

It’s standard practice for Ukrainian engineers to recover the damaged tanks and ship them off to Lithuania for (very slow) repairs. The most expedient way for the Russians to capture a Strv 122 is to immobilize the tank and tow it away before theUkrainianscan tow it away.

The Russians got their chance in the last week or so. On March 10, a Russian FPV drone struck a Strv 122 a mile east of the 21st Brigade’s main garrison in Terny. The Strv 122’s crew bailed out, putting the damaged tank up for grabs.

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Russian engineers got there first. On or before Tuesday, a pair of BREM recovery vehicles—daisy-chained nose to tail—winched the Strv 122 and began dragging the tank east toward Russian lines, roughly a mile away.

They got halfway there before the Ukrainian 3rd Assault Brigade—which has been fighting around Avdiivka, 65 miles to the south, but apparently has detached one of its drone teams to support the 21st Brigade—spotted them.

The 3rd Brigade’s drone-operators first targeted the lead BREM, circling a quadcopter FPV around the 45-ton vehicle until the explosives-laden drone had a clear shot at the BREM’s rear-mounted diesel engine.

Two FPVs struck the lead BREM around its engine; a third FPV hit the trailing BREM onitsengine compartment. A fourth FPV circled the now-immobilized train of vehicles, surveying the damage.

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The Russians didn’t get very far with their prospective prize: maybe halfway across the no-man’s-land separating Ukrainian and Russian troops east of Terny.

It’s possible the 21st Brigade aims to retrieve the Strv 122. It’s worth noting the 3rd Brigade’s drones targeted the BREMs towing the Strv 122 but took pains tonothit the tank itself.

But the Russian’s own failed effort to fetch the tank underscores how dangerous a retrieval operation might be. Not to mention, the Ukrainians themselves lost a BREM while trying to recover an immobilized Strv 122 back in December.…READ FULL ARTICLE

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