Home News What makes the M1 Abrams so critical to the Russia-Ukraine war?

What makes the M1 Abrams so critical to the Russia-Ukraine war?


The tank’s heavy armor protects the automobile and its four-person crew from small-arms hearth, shell fragments and even some direct hits. It will possibly ford waters as much as 4 ft deep.

“The elemental mission of the tank platoon is to shut with and destroy the enemy,” reads the primary sentence of a 2019 coaching doc for Military and Marine Corps tank commanders.

The Biden administration may announce as quickly as Wednesday that it’s going to ship dozens of Abrams to Ukraine to assist Kyiv’s forces retake territory from the Russians.

Named for Gen. Creighton Abrams, a World Struggle II tank commander, the primary Abrams entered service with the U.S. Military in 1980. Meant initially to combat the Soviets in Germany’s strategic Fulda Hole, the Abrams has been up to date a number of instances with a bigger cannon and enhancements to its armor, transmission and drivetrain. Through the years, the Pentagon has bought greater than 7,000 of the tanks in numerous configurations, based on the Congressional Analysis Service, a analysis arm of the Library of Congress.

The Abrams first noticed motion within the Gulf Struggle, the place it gained large reward from commanders, crews and upkeep employees for its killing energy and toughness within the face of enemy hearth, and pace, based on a 1992 report by the Authorities Accountability Workplace.

The tanks helped the U.S. army overpower Iraqi forces through the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and supported raids and different operations in Fallujah and elsewhere. The tanks additionally served in Afghanistan, the place a Marine Corps armored firm deployed in 2011 and suffered solely a single wounded in motion throughout its tour, regardless of taking 19 IED strikes, based on an article within the Military journal Navy Evaluate.

However all through its service, troopers and battle planners have been involved in regards to the tank’s big gas consumption and restricted vary, and the lengthy logistics and upkeep practice that follows the Abrams into fight. These, amongst different elements, made the Pentagon reluctant to ship Ukraine tanks.

A battalion of 58 tanks requires dozens of assist autos and a whole bunch of troopers to maintain it working—a method identified in army circles because the tooth-to-tail ratio. These may embody armored ambulances, command autos, upkeep vans, and vans to tow disabled tanks. The vans should haul gas, ammunition, lubricants, engine oil, hydraulic fluid, and very heavy spare elements.

“All the pieces that’s related to the tank is heavy,” mentioned Dan Grazier, a former Marine Corps tank officer.

Even with all that, a tank battalion can solely function for 2 or three days within the discipline with out resupply from a logistics battalion, mentioned Mr. Grazier, who’s now a researcher on the Mission on Authorities Oversight, a nonpartisan assume tank.

“If we gave the Ukrainians tanks and we didn’t give them the whole lot they should assist them logistically, then we might hardly be doing them any favors,” he mentioned. “There’s an entire lot that should drag behind a tank to maintain it shifting.”


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