Answering a question “How many tanks does Novorossia have?” Russian Wikipedia says that it has 34 captured tanks.
Is that all? Taking into account Russian propaganda about the absence of any Russian weapons supplies, that should be it. Now let’s look at the facts, which are a rather more serious argument.
The provence of the first ten “Novorossia” tanks has already been laid out – those are old Russian T-64 and T-72 pieces. Should we add them to those 34? Of course not, since Wikipedia covers only captured tanks. And, using videos published on the Internet showing tank columns with tanks bearing numbers 34-38, we can assume that the last number of separatists’ tanks would have to be 47 (37+10). And here is when a miracle occurs: at the same time that people noticed columns of 30 tanks moving to Ukraine from the Russian direction, they included a tank with a number 65! No matter that was a T-72, it was also said to be a captured “Novorossia” tank. Moreover, looking at available pictures I have an impression that all of the numbers of the 50th and 60th series were painted only on T-72 tanks, which, as it is known, have never been captured from Ukraine. Wrong number, wrong tanks. It is not the first such mismatch and of course not the last one (or two)..
Moreover, during the fighting for Ilovaysk, other surprises from the Kremlin appeared on the stage – tanks T-64 bearing 100 series numbers! 101, 102 (Krasnoyarsk), 105 and 108. That is more than three times more than the stated number of captured tanks.
A non-standard situation occurred with tank number 121.
It seems that it used to be tank number 2. Then it was captured by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and National Guard. This tank could possibly be non-transportable. And in such state it was really captured and has received number 121. Do you think that this tank joined the armed forces after it was captured? No! Another filming of separatists’ tank reparation enterprise demonstrate us this tank staying inside the plant
You can look at the picture of the T-72 with the number 122. The difference can be seen very well.
If anybody remembers, I was reporting that the number of “Novorossia” tanks was over 300 in October. Later, that guess was confirmed by Ukrainian officials. Moreover – they announced that the number of tanks in Donbas had exceeded 400 in November. Taking into consideration that no matter the statements made by Russian President, Russian Foreign Minister, Russian Defense Minister and other officials, the supply of heavy equipment was not suspended for even an hour, then this progression of tank numbers in Donbas is natural. And so in late 2014 and early 2015, PM Arseniy Yatseniuk announced that the presumable number of “Novorossia” tanks had reached 511 (!). This resulted in statements from the Russian side “This cannot be true! How can this happen?” I can afflict some news upon both the Prime-Minister of Ukraine and those who believed that his statement is not true: by Autumn, the terrorist army of the so called Luhansk People’s republic already had tanks with numbers 704 and 706!
It is possible that the difference of 200 tanks could be explained by attrition and with the fact that these numbers were put with regard to all available tanks, including those which are unfit for action. Those numbers are not final, either. However, keeping such a mass of tanks on the territory of two incomplete regions is a rather insecure thing. What if they get under fire? That’s why a part of “Novorossia” group remains on Russian territory together with the regular Russian army equipment, ready for the direct invasion (when a need to use Russian tanks on Ukrainian territory arises, numbers written on the equipment are erased). That’s why from time to time we see new tanks in front of the camera. In particular, one of the stormings of Donetsk airport was accompanied by the emergence of T-64 tanks bearing the 200 series, which are assigned to the “Somali” group: 210, 214, 215, 216, 217 and 248. This dispersion of numbers probably means that the rest of the tanks did not get into the frame yet.
It is possible that captured tanks are added to the whole number of “Novorossia” tanks. But we absolutely do not know the state in which these tanks get into separatists’ hands, and whether they are restored or brought in for spare parts. That’s why Russian footprints will lead to the main supply of new T-64 tanks to the Russian troops in Donbas. I think Ukrainian authorities should thank the Russian TV Channel “LifeNews” for its constant supply of priceless video materials proving the Russian participation in combat in Eastern Ukraine.
T-64 tank number 210. Kivi from Somali. H0200. Russia
As practice shows, you can’t count on any success by the restoration services of “Novorossia”. The terrorists have neither the forces, nor the equipment for the adequate restoration of tanks. As those video materials allow us to estimate the success of those who restore tanks, they can only start the engines of those tanks which are still able to move. I have not seen any completely restored tanks yet. And I do not believe in the restoration of a modern tank that was damaged in a battle, with only spanner and hammer in one’s hands. The fate of one such “captured” T-64 is exemplary. During one of the usual shows from the “tank base of the militants”, the cameraman chose a perspective which became unsuccessful for terrorists themselves, because it showed the letters “DPR” on the tube of a “drowned and abandoned Ukrainian tank”. This tank was then noticed in a tank restoration manufactory. It was not restored.
The life of the tank number 17 was hard. Firstly, a story dedicated to the tanks of “Zaria” battalion told that the battalion commander was killed in this tank. By looking at its state, we can assume that the tank remained in working condition. However, after a short period of time it received such damage that could well have been decommissioedn for scrap.
Tank number 27, which entered Luhansk together with a “parade” column in July 2014 did not last long, either.
And now I will try to find out who this equipment was “captured” from.
Starting from 11th to 50th
Number 12 was given to a captured tank of Armed Forces of Ukraine “Bulat”
I do not know whether this was the first tank in terrorist’s hands which received this number. But I know for sure that the look of this tank, which was really captured in a fight, is visibly different from the parade look of other separatists’ tanks.
After separatist tanks number 16 and 22 participated in a photo session in the fields of Rostov Oblast in Russia, it would be strange to talk about “captures” as the main source of supply for Russian aggressors on the territory of Ukraine. Numbers 15, 16, 17 were in the same column with the armored personnel carrier “Lavina”, which does not prove their independence. Tanks numbering 34-38 were going together with an UAZ military vehicle that had Russian tactical signs on its doors. InformNapalm has already provided the information about these facts.
The inscription “Ural”, which is present on the side of tanks number 15 and 18, does not correspond with separatist “Novorossia”, since the Ural region is not included in the ATO zone yet. Besides that, number 18 is pictured close to an absolutely Russian T-72BM, what also contradicts the version that they were “captured”.
So, the image created by the first 10 tanks has not changed much. Among the other 40 tanks, nearly all numbers were noticed in pictures, too. Some of them were even captured after they were destroyed! For example, in the episode about the first tank of the Leshyi unit there is a phrase that a captured Ukrainian tank was the first tank of this battalion. Meanwhile, few seconds before the demonstration of the captured T-64, a video shows another T-64 with the number 23, and it seems that it is destroyed. The speaker does not say a word about this tank. They probably wanted to show it as a Ukrainian tank, but they failed.
There was an interesting story with numbers 40 and 41
They were shown on the ORT Russian TV channel as tanks which were recently received by terrorists’ units. Meanwhile tank number 41 had already been noticed in the same column of T-64s with number 30! ORT lied again. I have gotten tired counting their failures.
The story of number 31 was not less funny. In a TV story about an optimistic commander with the nickname ‘Irishman’, this representative of restoration PR assures viewers that he receives equipment in this condition. “This tank was captured. Really captured!” At the same time number 31 has not a hole in any block of its active armor and and no burns on the engine transmission compartment. It also has no engine
You, Irishman, have your brains hit, not a tank. It would be OK if we could not see the number on the tank, but your cameraman showed us the number! And we could find out that not so long ago this tank was one of the most equipped tanks of the “Novorossia” group and a danger for all local lawyers.
After these lies I am not surprised by anything even when I hear the same fairly tale, performed by a “cossack” regarding another tank.
“This equipment was captured from Ukrs…” – thanks, that’s enough, we already know this tale. ‘Irishman’ does not need to continue. Then the story says that those stupid maintainers from “Novorossia” can not “bring back to life” even those tanks which only have their hoses cut! It was much easier for them to ask for another T-72 from Russian instead of this one!
Remember, ‘Irishman’, it is hard to sit even on two chairs with only one butt, much less two tanks. So any conclusions about successful maintenance of tanks in Donbas could be thrown away or left for Russian TV, which, by the way, means the same.
Tank number 29. There is an inscription saying H0200 – the tank is Russian (no comments)
And finally about the end of this 40s series I would like to demonstrate tank number 32. From the one point of view this tank has nothing special: it also has some strange flags above, it shoots from behind the bushes just the same way
But if we look closer, we can notice those special numbers on its side which link it to Krasnoyarsk Tank Base in Russia!
So the person who makes statements about 34 captured tanks among the terrorists’ units will have to work hard on making up photo documents: the number of really captured tanks among 700-800 Russian tanks illegally fighting on the territory of Ukraine, is too low. By the way, the maximum number of separatists’ tanks is determined not by the economic abilities of “Novorossia” or successes of Donbas heavy-equipment industry, but only by the availability of battle-worthy tanks within the Russian army, or within storehouses of that same army and by the wish of the Russian authorities.
Finally, I propose you to make a short trip back in history. I am sure that there are a lot of people among our readers who can hardly imagine what could be the capability of a group consisting of 700 tanks. That’s OK. History is needed just for such cases. This example was taken from the history of World War II, which was studied by us so well. So, as of June 21, 1941 the number of tanks in the German tank group “Gotha”, which was included in Army Group South and which was concentrated against South-Western district (for the most part present-day Ukraine) made 789 tanks. That was all! These tanks were concentrated in 5 tank divisions. Only 100 of these tanks were Panzer-4. The other side had 8 000 tanks, nearly 1000 of them were T-34 and KB tanks (which is more than the whole German group). Do you remember where Germans were till the end of summer 1941? Compare this historical fact with the present events in Ukraine and you can estimate the abilities of the Russian generals and bad-commanders-in-chief. An example is a little bit of different size, but it gives an overall impression about the level of armament and professionalism of the Russian occupation group in Ukraine.
Translated by Maksym Sviezhentsev
Original article by Al Gri