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Ukrainian Soldiers Describe First AMX-10RC Combat: Once Again About Why It's Not a Tank

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Illustrative photo: AMX-10 RC of the French 4th Chasseurs Regiment / Photo credit Ministère des Armées
Illustrative photo: AMX-10 RC of the French 4th Chasseurs Regiment / Photo credit Ministère des Armées

The very first combat showed why AMX-10RC is not the "light tank" as it is often misunderstood but more like an APC, according to a Ukrainian operator of this vehicle

After Ukraine announced in January this year that it would receive French AMX-10RC reconnaissance vehicles, the "light tanks" as they were often called by officials and media, it gave a boost for the other countries to step forward and greenlight the heavier vehicles. First, the Challenger 2, then the Leopard 2 were provided. However, the AMX-10RC was never a tank and was never supposed to be one.

In an interview to the RFE/RL, a Ukrainian operator of this vehicle with a nickname Casper says, the AMX-10RC is closer to an armored personnel carrier of all things, not even an infantry fighting vehicle: "Light armor but everyone thinks it's a tank because of the gun. The gun is 105mm caliber, a good one, shoots accurately if sighting-in is done correctly."

Read more: AMX-10RC is Not For Offensive: Why is That So and What it Really Has to Do in Ukraine's Army

He had his very first tank combat on this vehicle. His AMX-10RC was engaged in the role of a tank at distances 2 to 3 kilometers. Having fired all ammunition, the crew found a place to hide and reload

Ammunition is placed inside the vehicle in a carousel around the gunner and on a special shelf
Ammunition is placed inside the vehicle in a carousel around the gunner and on a special shelf / Screenshot credit: RFE/RL Ukrainian office

The AMX-10RC keeps 12 high-explosive shells inside the main compartment near the loader and 26 more in a separate stowage accessed when a turret is at a particular angle. But once the reloading was done, they noticed the wheels were all flat, pierced by fragmentation.

Another crew member Bakh says it happened due to russian mortar fire and anti-personnel mines. Driver Filin adds that in this war, the war of artillery, this can occur anytime:

"The weakness of this tank is the wheels. Fragmentation cuts up all the wheels in an instant. It impacts the speed, the maneuverability, all the advantages of this tank are instantly gone."

Damage caused to one of the wheels by an anti-personnel landmine
Damage caused to one of the wheels by an anti-personnel landmine / Screenshot credit: RFE/RL Ukrainian office

The AMX-10RC crew of four had to train for a month in France in order to master the AMX-10RC. Fellow French colleagues told them it usually takes half a year to finish the training program.

RFE/RL journalists detailed that the assault these soldiers described was on russian-occupied positions in eastern Ukraine, in the direction of Berdiansk. On Defense Express note, Berdiansk is an important port city and logistical hub Ukraine lost in the first month of russian full-scale invasion and strives to recapture as part of the ongoing counteroffensive.

According to the latest data as of July 21st from Ukraine's General Staff, the Ukrainian forces continue to steadily advance in this direction as well as in the direction of Melitopol. Both are regarded as the southern component of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

AMX-10RC combat units participate in the counteroffensive actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the south
AMX-10RC combat units participate in the counteroffensive actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the south / Photo credit: RFE/RL Ukrainian office
Read more: The AMX-10RC: Specifics of This Wheeled Tank, Its Place On the Battlefield