Ukraine to receive 31 Abrams tanks

| January 25, 2023 | 65 Comments

Joe Biden approved of sending 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. The United States will also be providing training and supplies to help operate these tanks. Biden states that these tanks will help enhance Ukraine’s capacity to achieve its strategic objectives. The Pentagon did previously warn that these tanks were not suited for fighting in Ukraine.

From ABC News:

In a major increase of U.S. support to Ukraine, President Joe Biden has signed off on sending 31 M1 Abrams tanks to the war-torn country as concerns mount over a new Russian offensive this spring.

“Secretary [Lloyd] Austin has recommended this step because it will enhance the Ukraine’s capacity to defend its territory and achieve its strategic objectives,” Biden said on Wednesday in remarks from the White House’s Roosevelt Room, flanked by Austin, the defense secretary, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly appealed for more tanks, with a harsh winter and the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion approaching.

The political maneuvering had muddled Ukraine’s plea while Russia is thought to be preparing for a spring offensive.

For weeks, Pentagon officials said publicly that the Abrams tanks weren’t suited for the fight in Ukraine, including because of the fuel they need to operate. But officials also did not rule out the vehicles as a potential long-term possibility.

The U.S. transfer of Abrams tanks seemingly spurred Germany to authorize the transfer of German-made Leopard 2s to Ukraine — and allow the 12 NATO countries that have Leopard 2s to send them to Ukraine, with the most vocal of those countries being Poland.

“We remain united and determined as ever in our conviction and our cause,” Biden said at the White House. “These tanks are further evidence of our enduring, unflagging commitment to Ukraine and our confidence in the skill of the Ukrainian forces. As I told President Zelenskyy when he was here … in December: ‘We’re with you for as long as it takes, Mr. President.'”

Thirty-one Abrams tanks is a specific number, a U.S. official told reporters in a conference call earlier Wednesday, as it constitutes one Ukrainian tank battalion. “So we are specifically meeting that requirement.”

Biden said that the U.S. is also pledging to train Ukrainians so they are prepared to integrate the Abram tanks into their defenses, though U.S. officials separately acknowledged the new vehicles won’t arrive for months.

The transfer of European tanks is set to be more expedient.

ABC News has more information.

Category: Biden, Russia, Ukraine

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Hack Stone

Some guy called in to WMAL this morning and said that a GI does not qualify to set foot in an Abrams until they have completed 3 years of training. Now granted, the last time that Hack Stone was with a Tank unit was 1986, but three years to train up a tank crew member seems like an awfully long time. Just time in service alone, they would all be graduating school as Corporals. They hit the fleet, and now there are no PFC’s to pick up cigarette butts.

Full disclosure, Hack Stone is fully aware that for some illogical reason, the Marine Corps decided that after almost 80 years of performance to draw on, tanks just don’t fit in with combat supporting firepower. Will the U of Kraine’s be getting our old USMC tanks?

USMC Steve

No one agreed with that but our current excuse for a Commandant. And his logic as to why is absolute shit.

Steeleyi

M1s weigh 70+ tons; no room in the USMC operating concept for them because there is no way to move them or sustain them, and they simply aren’t useful in the battles the Marines want to fight.

Keep an eye on the Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower project; the Marines might be interested.

timactual

“…the battles the Marines want to fight.”

Since when does any military get to choose the battles it wants to fight?

Anonymous

Exactly. Must be nice.

steeleyI

I’m not judging, I’m just telling you what they are doing.

The Marines had an identity crisis following 15 years of fighting in two landlocked countries given that their Title 10 role is “The Marine Corps shall be organized, trained, and equipped to provide fleet marine forces..” “for service with the fleet in the seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and for the conduct of such land operations as may be essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign.”

So, they are optimizing for littoral operations in the Pacific theater. 70 ton tanks don’t have much of a role in that concept.

The Commandant had to make trade-offs. The Marines had a total of two AC tank battalions with limited utility in his vision, and he wanted to buy advanced fires and AD systems.

Meanwhile, the Army has 10 Armored Brigade Combat Teams on Active duty, each of which has more tanks and other fighting vehicles than the entire USMC.

MustangCPT

Except for 1 thing, the Marines had the last batch on M103 heavy tanks after the Army decided that the platform wasn’t going to work for them. The Marines have traditionally held that they would have their own artillery, tanks, and aircraft so that in the event that they needed support, Marines would support Marines. Hey, I make crayon jokes all the time, but I have cousins who are currently serving in the Corps, one of whom is an Artillery officer, and I have to ask…how the fuck are you going to do your Marine thing without artillery support? ANGLICO only goes so far.

steeleyI

The Marine Corps, within the Department of the Navy, shall be so organized as to include not less than three combat divisions and three air wings, and such other land combat, aviation, and other services as may be organic therein”

One of the reasons the Marines insisted on control of their own air was because there is no guarantee of tube artillery support during amphibious or littoral operations- they have relied on it as fire support.

In this case, the Marines are going back to their history and forming what are essentially modernized Marine Defense Battalions. No role for tanks in the concept.

steeleyI

In WWII it was Advanced Base Operations (the Battle of Wake Island, fought by 1st Marine Defense Battalion).

The MDBs were mostly coast and air defense artillery with machine gun companies for beach defense.

The new concept is Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations, and although machine guns, coast artillery, and AAA are replaced by ship killing rockets and MSHORAD, the idea is basically the same.

steeleyI

In other words, they are there to seize small islands and atolls and deny entire chunks of ocean by sinking ships and downing aircraft.

An M1 weighs 70 tons can only be flown via C-17 (1 or 2 depending on the distance), and even the newer landing craft can only carry one or two.

An M1 one burns something like 20 gallons of fuel an hour while at idle, and closer to fifty when moving cross country. This would place an incredible burden on a Marine unit- even Army light infantry units cannot support even an Abrams company without a lot of augmentation (HEMTT fuelers, recovery vehicles (which are also very heavy),etc

poetrooper

“Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower project”

In plain English: Light Tank for infantry support.

New Army light tank under construction (yahoo.com)

steeleyI

Well, sort of. The name comes from the requirements document- we need firepower that is mobile and is protected, not necessarily a tank.

They looked at a bunch of off the shelf options to include LAV-25s and Strykers (which, by the way, the Rangers use). Remember the Armored Gun System and Mobile Gun System?

And this would be more along the lines of what the Marines need, although at 40 something tons it is not necessarily light…

Hack Stone

70 tons? I need four Marines for a working party.

Mick

Re: our old USMC tanks, I wonder if the U of the Kraine’s corrosion control bubbas are fully up to speed on their corrosion control procedures?

They’re gonna need to be if they get our old USMC tanks that have been splashing around in salt water. Ooooooh boy!

Saved round question for Hack: A total of 31 M1 Abrams tanks? What’s the odd “1” for? To park in front of the U of the Kraine VFW in Kyiv?

Claw

Mick, the odd “1” tank is a pull behind cannibalization point until every spare part down to the track pads has been re-purposed and then it gets dumped somewhere as a “non-recoverable combat loss”. / s

Hack Stone

That 31st tank is for The Big Guy.

MIRanger

Do the Math. The BN Commander has to look like he is in charge, can’t have him in an M113 or Bradley!

poetrooper

“…a GI does not qualify to set foot in an Abrams until they have completed 3 years of training.” 

What? They training to be armor astronauts…? 🚀 

Steeleyi

19K OSUT is 15 weeks long, but it takes years to train a competent gunner (E4/5) and even longer for a tank commander (E6). The real issue will be PLs and company/battalion commanders that understand combined arms maneuver and logistics- 5-7 years for a decent company commander, 15-17 for a battalion commander. Of course, we are assuming all the right loggies, intel, and common guys are in place.

Steeleyi

>Commo<

MIRanger

Pretty shure they will go to already trained Tank crews/units and they will just need the 40hr block on where to put the round and which button is the map light!

Last edited 9 days ago by MIRanger
Anonymous

Well, they have to be airborne qualified and it takes so long to have enough people make it jumping with an Abrams…

steeleyI

Little known fact, but the Abrams is air-droppable.

Once.

MustangCPT

As my late Air Assault brother said…Anything is air-droppable…once. He told me a story about the surreal feeling he had when he saw a Chinook crew cut sling on a D3 bulldozer. He was on ground watching this piece of equipment fall from the sky and then hit the ground.

steeleyI

I watched the cut sling on a howitzer, and I have seen more than one HMMWV and an Avenger burn in. This is why the heavy line goes in first, and why it is so disconcerting that the estimated landing point for the first jumper to exit is called the PPI- Personnel Point of Impact…

Hack Stone

It would make a lasting impression on the countryside, much like what Daniel Bernath did.

rgr769

I have read it takes almost a year to fully train an Abrams crew to effectively fight this tank. So how can these tanks have an effect on the battlefield when there are no trained crews to operate them for at least six or more months after they arrive.

timactual

“I have read it takes almost a year…”

I suspect that is an exaggeration. I sincerely hope so. I have read that it takes two years to build a competent infantryman. I would bet that that is also an exaggeration.

Of course a definition of “fully trained” would be helpful.

steeleyI

Fully trained in individual tasks is one thing, Table 8 in a tank or a night maneuver combined arms live fire is something else.

An 11B coming out of 22 weeks of OSUT going to a unit in the training phase of the readiness cycle can expect about 90 days of unit training. He’ll qualify on his assigned weapon, then do squad through company live fires and a battalion CALFEX, with a lot of force on force in between, all culminating in a BCT level exercise, most likely at a CTC (NTC, JRTC, etc).

Assuming leave, training holidays, etc., it can be at least 9 months from meeting his Drill Sergeant to being considered fully trained and ready to deploy- longer if he arrives in the support/force modernization phase.

timactual

“…company live fires and a battalion CALFEX, with a lot of force on force in between, all culminating in a BCT level exercise,”

Most of that is for the NCOs and officers. Us enlisted swine really don’t get a lot of additional benefit out of batalion, brigade, or even company level training. I know Napoleon said every soldier carries a marshall’s baton in his knapsack, but that doesn’t mean every soldier needs to be trained as a marshall in order to be a well-trained soldier. Being a soldier ain’t rocket surgery.

Steeleyi

Well, yes. It’s kind of important to have good NCOs and officers, don’t you think? One of the reasons the Russians are losing is because their NCOs and officers suck.

Not to
Mention that collective training at the higher tactical level (~battalion/brigade) has been the hallmark of every dominant land force since WWII

MustangCPT

Quiet, you. You’re making too much sense.

Hack Stone

They wil get to qualifying on operating and maintaining those tanks once they complete their Diversity Equity and Inclusion training, which is paramount to the success in combat.

steeleyI

Well, that’s assuming all of their DEI officers and coordinators are trained, certified, and on orders. Once again, you jump into the tactics discussion without understanding the big picture.

I really don’t even want to know if they have all the required posters and signage up around the latrine facilities, and something tells me they are not at all prepared for all the observances in February.

Someone is going to write their Congressmen and this war will take a nasty turn

USMCMSgt (Ret)

I know for a fucking FACT it doesn’t take 3 years to train a Marine before one is allowed in a tank. That caller was speaking out of his ass, obviously.

MustangCPT

They’ll be allowed in a tank, but it does take a while until they’re actually good at their job. That’s true in any field of endeavour. 3 years? Maybe not that long but a year or two is reasonable.

5JC

I am shocked that people still call radio stations. Secondly I am surprised that people still listen to people calling in radio shows. Why can’t they just spread their misinformation on the internet like everyone else?

Hack Stone

Like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram? As long as the ruling party approves, otherwise the person commenting gets thrown in Virtual Jail, or real jail if some politicians have their way.

Sapper3307

Putting the band back together?

download (5).jpg
Sapper3307

Conscripts from Moscow.

download (6).jpg
KoB

“…Pentagon did previously warn that these tanks were not suited for fighting in Ukraine.” Seems pretty simple to me. A professional tells someone “Hey, this ain’t what you need”, the someone should listen. How much dirt does Zman have on gropey man? And with all the other nefarious activities that gropey has done, will the revelation of what Zman has on gropey make any difference? Nah, don’t think so either. I’m wondering how much longer before the ChiComs cut the Norks loose on SK and then jump on Taiwan?

We have simply got to quit thinking “How stoopid can gropey’s handlers get?” They’re taking it as a challenge. Almost as if this is all part of a plan.

KoB

I’ll just stick this right here;

I have said already in the last days, we have to do more on Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more on tanks. But the most important part, and the crucial part, is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe, because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.

 Annalena Baerbock, Foreign Minister, Federal Republic of Germany, 25 January 2023

timactual

“we are fighting a war against Russia ”

Lovely. At least its in the open, now. So what happens when Russia decides to fight back? We are doing everything to kill Russians except pull the trigger ourselves. The Russians seem to think we are out to get them. Can’t say I blame them. If the Russians can find a way to hit back, they will. I would. We are less “neutral” than Cambodia and Laos were in the Vietnam war and have no moral or legal claim to be treated as neutral.

As someone once said, “Payback is a bitch.” Perhaps Russia will decide to help out some anti-US terrorist groups like the USSR used to do. Anyone remember the support Bader-Meinhoff, the Red Brigade, etc. used to get from the Soviet bloc? Semtex from Czechoslovakia, sanctuary and training from E. Germany, etc.? Perhaps some pilot training for Al Qaeda et al. now that US flight schools are no longer available to them?

poetrooper

So do these 31 M1 Abrams not have this super-secret armor?

M1 Abrams Tanks In U.S. Inventory Have Armor Too Secret To Send To Ukraine (thedrive.com)

timactual

If there is a need to remove all the super-duper-secret-stuff from the M1 before sending them to Ukraine, why not just send old M-60s? I would bet that M-60s would be almost as effective as de-armored and de-fire control systems M1s.

The whole point of an M1 is its super-secret armor and whiz-bang fire-control system.

MustangCPT

Do we even have any M60’s in storage? I think we sold or gave them to other countries. I think the Turks had the largest fleet of M60’s.

timactual

I have no clue. Perhaps our close friends and allies the Turks could donate their old M60s to use against their old friends the Russians. Taiwan also has a bunch, I think.

If not, I think the Brazilians or the French or Italians would be more than happy to produce and sell their own Osorio, LeClerc, or Ariete tanks to Ukraine.

Steeleyi

Soviet and Russian modeled armies have battalions of 31 tanks or fighting vehicles: companies have 3 platoons of 3 tanks, and one for the commander makes 10 per company. 3 companies make 30 in a battalion, plus 1 for the commander makes 31.

I don’t know for a fact, but my guess is they will send some very old M1s with the original
Armor and electronics or M1A1Ms or other variants designed for export (they won’t have the classified armor, sights, or network capabilities). This means they almost certainly won’t be old USMC Tanks, which while not as good as the Army’s tanks, would not be exportable without major retrofit. We probably have thousands of M1s sitting around depots that could be prepped for export.

The problem will of course be logistics (only amateurs talk tactics). The fuel and ammo alone will be a huge burden, not to mention the ability to get it to where it is needed. Not to
Mention keeping them running.

RGR 4-78

Armor and electronics or M1A1Ms or other variants designed for export “

Were these the type the Iraqis used and lost several of to ISIS?

Steeleyi

Yup

Steeleyi

That said, tanks are not ideal for urban counterinsurgencies especially when crewed by reluctant and underpaid soldiers fighting to save people
They don’t much care for

RGR 4-78

Thanks.

5JC

This isn’t a good idea.

Steeleyi

On the plus side that’s 31 less heaps of rusting metal that we have to pay contractors to maintain

5JC

I’d rather send them to a willing ally that has heaps of old Soviet Armor sitting around and have that ally ship their old Soviet stuff off to the recycle bin that is the Ukraine.

Steeleyi

The old Soviet/Russian stuff would be a better fit. Simple machines built for a peasant/conscript army. Our systems were designed for literate and motivated Soldiers to fight, maintain, and sustain. Even the M16/M4 (and NGSW) were designed with a smarter Soldier in mind than the AK.

A Proud Infidel®™

I simply wonder how quickly some mole in the Ukrainian Army will sell all he knows about the M1 he learns to the Russkies as well as a Tank itself, let’s not forget that corruption is a way of life in that nation.

Prior Service

We could only hope there was a conversation like this: “look, Z. I’m only providing these so the $#@ Europeans will grab their balls and provide Leopards. I’m not giving you ammo or fuel. Or training. You park these in the far west of your corrupt country, and you give them back after you get your Leos.” But there wasn’t.

Old tanker

As I told President Zelenskyy when he was here … in December: ‘We’re with you for as long as the money laundering kick backs keep flowing into my accounts, Mr. President.’”

Fixed for accuracy

Old 1SG, US Army (retired)

Here we go again… same ‘ol sh*t again!

Headlines, Moscow: Mother Russia captures US built tanks and shares secret squirrel technology to Chinah…

QMC

I hope the “81 million” voters that helped installed this jackass Administration know where their local Armed Forces recruiting station is.

MCPO USN

Be great to have all that shit we left in Afghanistan back now.

DocV

Looks like the Ukraine should be getting their new Mk VI patrol boats soon, too.

https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2021/10/safe-boats-contracted-for-six-more-mk-vi-patrol-boats-for-ukraine/

MustangCPT

And how much moolah will end up in Ensign Hunter Biden’s nose? Fucking shitbag family…

Deckie

Gender ideology training and PowerPoints MUST be completed and checked off before one can officially crew an M1 Theybrams Tank.