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How Ukrainian Forces Use M1 Abrams Tanks Near Avdiivka, Insights from Soldier and Analyst

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M1 Abrams of Ukrainian Armed Forces in battles against the russians in the Avdiivka operational direction, February 2024 / Still frame credit: Press service of the 47th Mechanized Brigade
M1 Abrams of Ukrainian Armed Forces in battles against the russians in the Avdiivka operational direction, February 2024 / Still frame credit: Press service of the 47th Mechanized Brigade

About the tactic and factors that define the role of this tank on the battlefield

American M1 Abrams shown in service with the Ukrainian 47th Mechanized Brigade, made headlines in late February 2024 because it was the first time Abrams faced the russian army but it lacked a crucial piece of information: how it actually performs. But now we can start to put the pieces together.

Defense Express' Chief Editor and Director Serhii Zghurets asked the question to the warrior of the 47th Brigade, during an interview hosted by Espresso TV channel. Oleh, call sign Azimuth, said that both M1 Abrams tanks and M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles continue to contribute to combat operations in this brigade's area of responsibility, namely the Avdiivka operational axis in eastern Ukraine.

Read more: Why Western Tank is No Jack of All Trades in Assault But a Very Specialized Vehicle
M1A1SA Abrams in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, fall 2023 / Defense Express / How Ukrainian Forces Use M1 Abrams Tanks Near Avdiivka, Insights from Soldier and Analyst
M1A1SA Abrams in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, fall 2023 / Open-source photo

However, frontal engagements became a less viable option ever since the russian forces occupied the Avdiivka Coke Plant. Having installed anti-tank weapons at high points of this vast industrial facility, russians gained an open all-around field of view of surrounding territories, so Ukrainians had to become more careful in their use of equipment, including American combat vehicles. Particularly, use them from a larger distance than before.

Avdiivka Coke Plant: general view and one of positions of russian anti-tank units / Defense Express / How Ukrainian Forces Use M1 Abrams Tanks Near Avdiivka, Insights from Soldier and Analyst
Avdiivka Coke Plant: general view and one of positions of russian anti-tank units / Still frame credit: Press service of the 47th Mechanized Brigade

The issue of Abrams' application by Ukrainian forces was also analyzed by a Polish author writing for the Defence24 website, Marcin Gaweda. According to his observations, Ukrainians gather Abrams and Bradley alongside other armored vehicles into "tactical groups" tasked with providing fire support to the infantry, both in defense and counteroffensive. Moreover, Gaweda states that quite often Abrams tanks deploy alone.

Defense Express does not possess evidence that either supports or refutes those claims but they should be noted down for the future.

M1 Abrams delivered by rail to the German Grafenwer training ground / Defense Express / How Ukrainian Forces Use M1 Abrams Tanks Near Avdiivka, Insights from Soldier and Analyst
Delivery of American M1 Abrams used for training soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine by rail to the German Grafenwer training ground, May 14, 2023 / Photo credit: US Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Tylon Chapman
Read more: Two Bradley IFVs Neutralized a russian T-90M Proryv Tank in Combat Near Avdiivka