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Ukrainian Soldiers Destroy First russian T-55 With Cage Armor (Photo)

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russian T-55 tank, destroyed somewhere in Ukraine, summer 2023 / Photo credit: NMFTE on Telegram
russian T-55 tank, destroyed somewhere in Ukraine, summer 2023 / Photo credit: NMFTE on Telegram

The russians throw their Khrushchev-era tanks into battle with the bare minimum of restoration and modernization

During the battles against the russian invasion forces, the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed a T-55 main battle tank equipped with a cage of slat armor. An explosive made of an RPG-7 grenade and dropped by a drone stuck in between the bars but another weapon managed to hit the tank, apparently, in the upper hemisphere and immobilize the vehicle.

The photo effectively confirms the loss of a T-55 by Ukrainian forces. And although there have already been at least one earlier recorded by Oryx as destroyed, it was, in fact, just an unmanned "suicide tank" whose only purpose was to deliver six tons of explosive to the destination point.

Read more: ​russians Creating Makeshift Suicide Tank Based on Khrushchev-time T-54/T-55 Vehicles to Burn Them in Ukraine
russian T-55 tank, destroyed somewhere in Ukraine, summer 2023
russian T-55 tank, destroyed somewhere in Ukraine, summer 2023 / Photo credit: NMFTE on Telegram

As we can see in this photo, the T-55 underwent only basic refurbishment with no modernization or additional equipment, like, for example, Kontakt-1 reactive armor. The cage on top is hastily made, too, yet robust enough to protect from the grenade.

Basically, all this fits the russian approach of viewing tanks as vehicles with a "limited lifespan" anyway.

As Defense Express earlier reported, the Ukrainian military General Staff saw russians willing to start mass refurbishment of aging T-55s since at least March 2022. However, the first efforts to do so were first spotted only a year later, in March 2023. The T-54/T55 tanks were taken from the 1295th Central Reserve and Tank Storage Base and transferred via rail.

T-54 or T-55 tanks, and most likely T-62M, too, in the vicinity of temporarily occupied Berdiansk, April 2023
T-54 or T-55 tanks, and most likely T-62M, too, in the vicinity of temporarily occupied Berdiansk, April 2023 / Open source photo

Then in April, these combat vehicles were seen carried by trucks moving on the roads of the occupied territories of the south of Ukraine. This sequence of events became prompted an assumption that it takes five weeks to train personnel working on this outdated equipment and send it to the battlefield.

In May 2023, the British think tank RUSI established that at that time the russians already needed them as "assault guns" for fire support of the infantry on the ground.

Read more: ​How russians Will Fight After Losing 200,000 Soldiers, 11,000 Armored Vehicles in Ukraine