National Security

Russians Hurt So Bad In Ukraine They Are Using 60 Year Old Tanks


Image Credit: Shutterstock

With Ukraine getting up to date equipment from the West, the Russians fall farther behind the power curve, as they are forced by armor losses to take out of mothballs early 1960s era T-62 tanks.

FNC: “Russia has deployed Soviet-era T-62 tanks to support the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The machinery, far outdated, has deep vulnerabilities to exploit, according to British intelligence.

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense reported Friday that Russia has recently begun deploying the 50-year-old tanks from deep storage.” The Soviets first deployed the tank in July 1961. The reference to a 50 year old date of service is mistaken.

According to Thin Pinstriped Line, “The Russian Army has taken such significant losses of materiel that it has been forced to pull vintage T62 tanks from reserve, and commit them to front line operations. This statement makes plain just how costly the Russian advances have been in the Donbas area, and raises questions about what, if any, value, there is from retaining a war reserve of vehicles and equipment.

Do you support individual military members being able to opt out of getting the COVID vaccine?

By completing the poll, you agree to receive emails from LifeZette, occasional offers from our partners and that you've read and agree to our privacy policy and legal statement.

It is difficult to get an accurate picture on just how disastrous the Russian losses have been so far in the war, but most estimates suggest that at least 700 tanks have been destroyed, with many more damaged or captured. Each loss represents not only a small reduction in combat capability to Russia, but usually a far more valuable, and irreplaceable crew.

With huge reserves of people, no constraints on space or spending, and a mentality of ‘stores are for storing, not scrapping’, Russia has long kept ancient and utterly obsolete equipment in storage depots long past the point of being of any meaningful value. It is almost certain that there are still Russian Army depots out there with WW2 era equipment waiting for a recall to the colours if required.

The challenge facing Russia though is that due to the rampant corruption, the inability to hold units to account and ensure that readiness is tested, and just the sheer scale of the stockpile, most of the vehicles in their arsenal are probably not combat ready, and have probably been cannibalized beyond repair. Despite having thousands of T72 and T80 in service and storage, it seems that they are not deployable.

This poses a real challenge for Russia on two fronts – firstly, to bring the T62 out of retirement and into front line service as attrition reserves poses a significant support challenge. The vehicle is not compatible with later models of Russian tanks, so will require bespoke logistics support – placing further pressure on the already creaking supply chain.

Additionally, although simple to operate, it still requires crew to use it – with four, instead of three crew needed, this poses an additional headache for the Russian Army, which will have to find 25% uplift in tank crews to operate them properly. At a time when the Russians are low on people, and have churned through a significant proportion of their main army, it will require extraordinary efforts to find bodies to crew these tanks.” Ouch.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

Join the Discussion

COMMENTS POLICY: We have no tolerance for messages of violence, racism, vulgarity, obscenity or other such discourteous behavior. Thank you for contributing to a respectful and useful online dialogue.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
pa l
pa l
1 month ago

More D K gibberish….NO tanks are safe in a hi tech missile-drone battlefield. Using a cheap tank to make the opponent use very expensive hardware is logical, especially if the old tanks do the same task as more modern ones….maybe just as well if not .better, they are simpler, less prone to breakdown.
Recall simple Allied Shermans and T34’s versus more complex,. expensive Axis Tigers and Leopards

1 month ago

Russia has made significant advances in the Donbas yesterday and today. The Ukraine has been in a controlled retreat. But if equipment is that thin, drones and special teams could devastate them.

30 days ago

I am making $92 an hour working from home. i was greatly surprised at the same time as my neighbour advised me she changed into averaging $ninety five however I see the way it works now. I experience mass freedom now that I’m my non-public boss. that is what I do..

Last edited 30 days ago by Sara
Nafar Poteet
Nafar Poteet
29 days ago
Reply to  Sara

Sara – learn to speak proper English!