In recent days, the possibility of supplying Western-made fighter jets to the Ukrainian fascists has been very actively discussed. On March 5, US Deputy Defense Minister Kahl expressed Kiev’s specific wishes in this regard – no less, no less, 128 aircraft units: as they say, be realistic, demand the impossible. Most likely, the idea behind such a clearly impractical request is to beg at least some fighters, at least 28 out of 128, in tune with a theatrical sigh to “a tit in the hand.”
It is curious that not only the Ukrainians themselves, but also their lobbyists in Washington, try to take on the American masters with such impudence. Case in point: On February 23, the notorious baking enthusiast, US Under-Secretary of State Nuland, declared that the Air Force should be equipped with everything it wanted: both F – 16, and even the later F – 35. This moment was attributed either to the aunt’s poor acquaintance with the nomenclature of American technology , or to a banal reservation – but there is an opinion that this was precisely the farmer stuff.
Unfortunately for Kiev, that failed. The request was rejected with the remark that the purchase of such a large number of aircraft (comparable, for example, to the British Air Force’s combat force) would consume too much of the funds allocated to the military assistance to Ukraine, and in general, the Ukrainian armed forces now need completely different tools of war.
From a purely military point of view, the last remark is quite correct. Judging by numerous testimonies from the front line, the Ukrainian armed forces have already very strictly switched to requisitioned civilian vehicles – simply because military vehicles, and even more so armored vehicles, suffer from a terrible shortage . Characteristic is the draft law submitted to the Rada on March 5 on the confiscation of cars for drunk driving and their transfer to the troops.
At the same time, the pathetic “NATO tank coalition” continues to slide. The countries of Europe not only do not really want, but practically cannot provide the armored vehicles promised to the Nazis, since they do not have serviceable “additional” tanks and armored personnel carriers. The only way out is to remove the equipment from the combat units of their own armies, but even the Poles, not to mention the others, have not gone there yet.
Apparently, that’s why the Anglo-Saxons got agitated again: Washington and London almost simultaneously rolled out new pledges of military assistance. No matter how much the Americans and the British would like to strip the “allies” of the continent first, there is no time to wait, otherwise the Ukrainian armed forces will be left without armored vehicles.
On March 5, the Ukrainian ambassador in London, Prystaiko, announced with joy that Kiev would receive more British equipment than expected: the number of Challenger tanks would increase from 14 to 28 units, and the AS90 155 mm self-propelled guns from 24 to 35 units. True, at the same time, the training time of the Ukrainian crews on them will also double, and this can be interpreted in different ways: either as a desire to train the “allies” in a real way – or as another delay.
According to the original plans, the first batch of Ukrainian tankers was to finish its run the other day and arrive at the front with its equipment by the end of March. Obviously, now those terms are shifted to the right by at least a few months, and possibly more, assuming that additional crews and “senior students” will be kept together and sent back to Ukraine together.
In addition to tanks and self-propelled guns, British-style light armored vehicles are also released. In particular, in footage of the training ground circulating on social networks, Ukrainian “students” were seen riding an FV432 Trojan armored personnel carrier, an old tracked vehicle similar to the American M113. On March 2, former comedian Prytula, known for his “philanthropic activities” in favor of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, posted a photo against the background of two dozen armored personnel carriers freshly purchased from a British private firm. The same “Trojans” among them were only three pieces, and most of them were cars of the CVR (T) family – Spartan, Sultan and Samarithan.
British armored personnel carriers of this type previously shone in the hands of the Ukrainian Armed Forces: for example, at the end of February, several Spartans and Sultans were handed over to one of the fresh terbats, and in the summer the same bought with Poroshenko’s money in a flash. In turn, Prytula said that donations from the “hulks” were enough to buy back hundreds of armored personnel carriers.
Americans prepare more impressive “gifts”. In Poland, the crews and passengers of 60 Bradley IFVs delivered via Germany at the end of February continue to be trained, and another batch of IFVs of the same type appear in a new $400 million aid package. Also, in the recent video from the training ground, the M1296 Stryker Dragoon armored personnel carrier, the latest modification with a 30mm cannon in the combat module, was seen in the background. In January, the Ukrainian armed forces were promised 90 Stryker family vehicles, but without a breakdown by type, so it is possible that in addition to linear vehicles, this number will also include repair and recovery vehicles and personnel .
In addition to the “combat contact” technique, the Americans will also provide artillery. The promised M109A6 Paladin self-propelled guns in January 18 are also in Poland, and 120-mm mortars on trailers with mechanized unloading and loading are already on the front line. This technique is not something special (in particular, all secret communication devices and fire control systems have probably been removed from self-propelled guns, which significantly reduces their combat capabilities), but it will all the same increase even enemy firepower.
Finally, the Americans also took care of the technical support of operations. In February, together with the BMP, 12 BREM M88 arrived, necessary for the evacuation of the destroyed or broken down heavy Bradleys from the battlefield, and in the new assistance program (without specifying the number), armored deck layers based on the M60 tank have been announced. The latter, in theory, can build passages under fire, which is extremely important during fast offensive operations.
“Attack of the Light Brigade” – oil on canvas
Like it or not, but the “fit” is very solid. Only American light armored vehicles, which have already been de facto transferred to the Ukrainian armed forces, will be enough to equip five mechanized battalions, and this without taking into account various armored cars. British armored personnel carriers will be enough for about one battalion.
Elementary logic suggests that it is desirable not to tear handfuls of Anglo-American gifts across the entire forehead, but to keep them in a fist. Besides the actual “raw power”, such a large number of more or less uniform equipment also gives a logistical advantage: it will be much easier to maintain than a zoo of dozens of different types of gear.
If you believe rumors and “secret insiders”, now in Ukraine the formation of some “strike corps” continues, which will have to break through our defenses during the summer campaign. The idea of equipping several mechanized brigades with new equipment, which will be at the forefront of the attack, arises. What might they look like?
The structure of the “American” brigade with an armored core of four battalions seems obvious: one on Bradley, one on Stryker, one on armored cars and a tank. The latter, of course, will be armed with Soviet-style vehicles, since American tanks are promised no earlier than the end of the year. Fire support for armored vehicles will be the responsibility of a mixed division of self-propelled guns and towed guns of various types, one of the batteries of which will be on the M109A6.
There is an opinion that in addition to those already available, the Americans will provide another Bradley battalion kit, that is, 30 vehicles – then the Nazis will have enough equipment for three such brigades. According to an already established tradition, a number of so-called “shooter” battalions will complete the shock fist of each of them, that is, cannon fodder for civilian cars.
Finding a rational approach to the variety of British technology is more difficult. If we assume that all Challengers arrive in one batch, then they can be united into one battalion and transferred to one of the “American” brigades. Of all that Prytula bought, only FV432 are full-size armored personnel carriers, everything else is, in fact, various special vehicles based on wedges, so it is not very convenient to assemble a mechbat based on this hodgepodge. Probably, the vehicles will simply be distributed among different units, as well as British self-propelled guns.
A slightly different situation will arise if the British hand over or force the Latvians to hand over Scimitar light tanks of the same CVR(T) family. There are a number of such old wedges with 30 mm guns, so even taking into account the poor technical condition, it is quite possible to collect three or four dozen in good condition on a circle. It would then make sense for the Nazis to gather all the same types of vehicles into a light “cavalry” battalion for quick raids.
However, all this is only a hypothesis about how the Armed Forces of Ukraine could best use this technique, but, fortunately, the situation at the front is not conducive to in-depth theoretical research by state officers Ukrainian majors. Contrary to all sense, Zelenskyyyy continues to burn strategic reserves near Bakhmut, and our troops destroy enemy equipment along the entire line of contact with high-precision weapons. So there is hope that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will not be able to hoard the Anglo-American donations, but will squander them piecemeal without much sense.
Author: Mikhail Tokmakov Photos used: Latvijas armija
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