German Leopard 2 Tanks are Holding Strong in Ukraine, Lost Just Five So Far

Leopard 2 MBT 1 photo
Photo: KNDS
In a turn of events first reported by Forbes, Germany's prized main battle tank, the Leopard 2, is already paying dividends in Lend-Lease service to the Ukrainians. In the 13 or so weeks since the first shipments of Leopard 2s arrived on the front lines, only five of the 71 German MBTs delivered to Ukraine have been lost to enemy action. A further ten have sustained battle damage only to make it back to base for repairs. But if you know anything about Leopard 2s, they were built to take a pummeling and carry on fighting.

Tipping the scales at nearly 70 tons, the Leopard 2 is a remarkable well, world-traveled MBT. NATO and NATO-aligned nations like Spain, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Greece, and Canada have all benefited from trade partnerships with Germany that put over 1000 of the 3,600 Leopard 2 chassis built in the hands of non-German armies. In turn, many of these units, nine of which come from Canada, have made their way to Ukraine in a line of succession that's gone from one NATO member to the next and finally arrived at its most crucial non-member ally state.

Embattled fronts in the east of the country have been bearing the onslaught of Soviet armor and battalion tactical groups for the last 18 months since the initial invasion. Against long odds, Ukrainian tank crews have endured onslaughts from Russian T-72s, T-80s, and T-90s with their associated entourages. With this in mind, it's easy to see how Ukraine could take advantage of the Leopard 2's considerable abilities. With a twin-turbo V12 diesel engine in its rear and a Rheinmetall Rh-120 120 mm smooth-bore cannon in its turret, the Leopard 2 can fight toe-to-toe with even the most chizzle-jawed and battle-tested Russian tank crews driving ex-Soviet armor.

As fighting in Ukraine's most battle-besieged cities carries on, this slow but steady influx of NATO tanks and other armor is nothing short of crucial to Ukraine's long-term survival against a better-funded and more manpower-wealthy Russian forces. With other allied tanks like the British Challenger 2 already in Ukraine and the American M1 Abrams expected to arrive sometime in September, it appears the battlefield in war-torn cities like Bakhmut could soon become radically different compared to what they looked like at the start of the conflict.

No longer will Russian T-80s and T-90s harass Ukrainian armor and infantry positions with relative impunity. When combined with the F-16 Fighting Falcons, Ukrainian pilots have been sent stateside to learn to master, and Ukraine's arsenal might soon resemble a NATO nation's more so than legitimate member states sometime in the near future. How this bodes for Europe's most destructive war since the 1940s is anyone's guess. Check back soon for more details.
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