20 FEBRUARY 2023
In a conversation with foreign journalists, a Ukrainian soldier compared German Leopard 2 main battle tanks to a Mercedes, saying he hoped the tanks would bring about a breakthrough in the war.
Quote from the soldier: “It is crucial that we use this modern weapon wisely, it will bring the breakthrough and we will win in the end.”
Details: The 57-year-old soldier is one of dozens of Ukrainian soldiers that Germany trains on Leopard 2 simulators, and then on the tanks themselves at its largest military training ground, in Munster, before sending them to Ukraine.
When asked about the difference between Western and Soviet systems, he said: “Can you imagine the difference between a Mercedes and a Zhiguli [a Soviet car brand – ed.]?”
The German tanks, manufactured by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, weigh more than 60 tonnes, have a 120-millimetre smoothbore cannon and can hit targets up to four kilometres away.
Last month, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he expected to receive between 120 and 140 Western tanks, including the German Leopard 2, as part of the “first wave” of deliveries from a coalition of 12 countries.
Another soldier, who was trained on the Marder infantry fighting vehicle, said that the Western systems were not that far removed from the Soviet-built vehicles used by Ukrainian troops: “We have experience with similar weapons systems… The logic is the same, sometimes we don’t even need the interpreters to understand the instructors.”
Reuters said that this statement was made by a 33-year-old Ukrainian who, like his colleague, was wearing a scarf pulled up over his face and orange-tinted ballistic glasses to hide his identity.
German defense Minister Boris Pistorius said he was impressed by the Ukrainian military: “Talking about a war is different from looking into the faces of people who… came here directly from the frontline, and who will go back there with the tanks once they have completed their training.”
Soldiers work 12 hours a day, six days a week.
“They are highly motivated and eager for knowledge… They know that they will be back at the frontline in five weeks’ time,” said a German lieutenant-colonel who is responsible for the Leopard training and only gave his name as Peter.
Both soldiers must return to Ukraine by the end of March.
Asked about how they tackle their fear, the 57-year-old said troops had to adapt to it: “Fear? Yes, everyone is afraid. But it is crucial how you handle your fear – and how to fight on despite [it].”
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“Another soldier, who was trained on the Marder infantry fighting vehicle, said that the Western systems were not that far removed from the Soviet-built vehicles used by Ukrainian troops: “We have experience with similar weapons systems… The logic is the same, sometimes we don’t even need the interpreters to understand the instructors.”
That’s very good. This will speed up the learning process. I hope that the Leopards and Marders will live up to their reputation.
Ukraine to receive 4 Bradley Fire Support Team vehicles.
On the M7 BFIST, instead of the TOW anti-tank missile, target identification equipment is installed. This vehicle can detect targets at a distance of up to 20 km.The M7 has a built-in combat control system with GPS and an inertial navigation system. It determines the location of the vehicle on the map, as well as the coordinates of the targets.
The M7 BFIST transmits information to nearby artillery units using a digital control system.The vehicle can direct fire at the target with standard 155-mm artillery shells. In the case of guided munitions, the target is illuminated by a laser beam, so it is easier to find and hit. In addition, the armored vehicle can adjust artillery fire while moving.
We don’t need Mercedes, we need Toyota.
Easy to maintain, never breaks.