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​Captured T-62 Tanks Have (Not) Found Their Place in Ukraine's Military

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A Ukrainian T-62M, formerly belonged to the russian invasion forces, now helps the Ukrainian Army / Photo credit: 154th Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
A Ukrainian T-62M, formerly belonged to the russian invasion forces, now helps the Ukrainian Army / Photo credit: 154th Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Seized russian equipment can be used in a variety of ways but sometimes they come with pitfalls quite challenging to overcome

Press service of the 154th Mechanized Brigade has shown a rare sight: Ukrainian tank crews honing their skills while operating at least one T-62M main battle tank captured from the russian invasion forces. Standing out with its characteristic "eyebrows" — metal plates covering the frontside of the turret — the old Soviet tank is easily distinguishable among its peers.

The Brigade doesn't specify, and it's difficult to say from the photos whether the tank was engaged in the tactical maneuvers and shooting or it acted as a self-propelled exhibit for educational purposes.

Read more: ​Ukrainian partisans say russians Have Problems with Equipment and Increasingly Use Outdated Weapon Like T-62 Tanks
A Ukrainian T-62M / Defense Express / Captured T-62 Tanks Have (Not) Found Their Place in Ukraine's Military
A Ukrainian T-62M, formerly belonged to the russian invasion forces, now helps repel the Ukrainian Army / Photo credit: 154th Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

T-62s were mostly seized by Ukrainian forces during the counteroffensive campaign that resulted in the liberation of Kherson in fall 2022. It was the time when, paradoxically, more T-62 tanks were abandoned by russians than lost in battle: as of summer 2023, the Oryx OSINT community had recorded 22 destroyed russian T-62s against 44 captured by Ukrainians.

T-62 tanks abandoned by russians in the Kherson region in the fall of 2022 / Defense Express / Captured T-62 Tanks Have (Not) Found Their Place in Ukraine's Military
T-62 tanks abandoned by russians in the Kherson region in the fall of 2022 / Photo credit: Ukraine Weapons Tracker

That said, some of the obtained vehicles were damaged on retreat or in prior fightings, so the actual number of units that could be repaired and put back into operation under the new flag was fewer.

Another important detail is that the T-62s are equipped with 2A20 115mm smoothbore guns. This caliber is not standard for the Ukrainian Army, so ammunition is in extremely short supply. Sometimes, proper tank rounds were found alongside the vehicles but it was far from enough to make full use of the archaic yet combat-capable tank.

One interesting option was to reforge the tank with an alternative turret, the so-called BMPV which combines tank chassis with an autocannon from an infantry fighting vehicle. One of those was previously seen near Ukrainian battlegrounds, and a similar solution was introduced for the T-64 chassis, too.

The Ukrainian BMPV tank/IFV with a 30mm automatic gun from BMP-2 on top of a T-62 chassis / Defense Express / Captured T-62 Tanks Have (Not) Found Their Place in Ukraine's Military
The Ukrainian BMPV tank/IFV with a 30mm automatic gun from BMP-2 on top of a T-62 chassis / Photo credit: Roman Sinitsyn, military branch head of the Prytula Foundation

The hybrid seen in the photo was produced in June 2023 thanks to a charity fund but apparently, it did not become a common practice, possibly due to a lack of spare IFV turrets.

These pitfalls explain why the captured T-62s are so seldom to be seen in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and even if they are, they only appear as equipment for practice and tactical drills or ad hoc combat vehicles.

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