Further details have emerged on the destruction of the UK-supplied Challenger 2 tank in Ukraine, about which I wrote recently.

At the time, I speculated that it had probably run over a mine and thereafter had been hit by artillery fire or by an anti-tank missile.

It transpires that this was not too far off the mark.


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Those with access to better sources than mine agree that the tank did hit a mine and was thereafter abandoned – wisely – by its crew, who knew what would be coming next. 

As we have seen elsewhere in the conflict, the disabled vehicle was then targeted by other weapons systems, which led to its destruction. I thought it might be by smart, precision-guided artillery rounds (which the Russians have, too) or an anti-tank-guided missile.

The consensus now seems to be that the immobilised Challenger was hit by a Russian Kornet missile whose tandem charge warhead defeated the tank’s armour. These can also be configured to attack the top of the vehicle where the armour is thinnest. The UK tanks supplied to Ukraine do not have the explosive reactive armour (ERA) or active protection system (APS) which might have protected them against such an attack.

It’s not quite clear whether the Challenger caught fire after the mine explosion or after the missile strike, but the billowing clouds of black smoke witnessed suggest a fuel fire, possibly after the fire suppression system was disabled.

What has come to light, however, and despite all the schadenfreude over past months about Russian tanks exploding and hurling their turrets into the air, is that exactly the same may have happened to “our” tank. Scrutiny of new photographic evidence indicates that the Challenger turret may have been dislodged.

This can only be the result of the tank’s ammunition exploding. So, despite the armoured charge bins which protect the combustible element of the tank round, it has gone up anyway, which means the charge bins have been overmatched and failed in their job. 

Which all goes to illustrate that, despite all the jingoistic crowing about Challenger being the best protected tank in the world (which it may still be), it is not invulnerable. All tank men will have known that, and now the rest of the population does too.  

The other news flash this week is that the USA has said it is going to supply depleted uranium (DU) tank rounds with its M1A1 Abrams tanks which it hopes to supply to Ukraine by the end of this year. 

Cue the usual suspects doom-mongering about nuclear weaponry being sent to the battlefield, the dangers of radiation, and the threat of escalation into full-scale nuclear Armageddon.

All of this is total hysteria. As I wrote back in March of this year, DU has been used in modern ammunition natures for some time now, it being two and a half times the density of steel and half the expense. Configured as a dart-like long rod penetrator it’s just the ticket to penetrate modern tank armours.

The important point is, though, that it is not “a nuclear weapon” as we would normally understand it. Yes, it may give off some radiation into the atmosphere when it hits its target and you’re advised not to inhale or ingest it, but it’s hardly the most dangerous aspect of being on the Ukrainian battlefields.

Many modern armies use DU ammunition; the Russians do, and we do and supplied it when we sent our Challenger tanks to Ukraine. That the Americans are going to do the same should come as no surprise. We should note in passing that the US also uses DU in its tank armour packs, but I suspect they will have been replaced in their Ukrainian export version.

So, much ado about nothing much I would say. Much more worrying is that currently, the US plans to supply only 31 of its tanks to Zelensky, perpetuating the criticism that the West has consistently sent just enough weaponry to prevent Ukraine losing the war but not enough for it to win it.

This may be part, and only part mind, of the reason that the war drags on. Ukraine does not yet have the wherewithal to defeat Russia in the field, and it now looks as if, barring some dramatic change in events, that the war will now stretch well into 2024.

This is not good news for Ukraine, or for the West and NATO, or indeed for Russia and the Russian people. Perhaps it’s time for the West to put up or shut up where military support is concerned. Sending small drib-drabs of tanks, aircraft, guns and supplies only acts to prolong the agony.

Lt Col Stuart Crawford is a defence analyst and former army officer. Sign up for his podcasts and newsletters at www.DefenceReview.uk

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Stuart Crawford was a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. Crawford attended both the British and US staff colleges and undertook a Defence Fellowship at Glasgow University. He now works as a political, defence and security consultant and is a regular commentator on military and defence topics in print, broadcast and online media.
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Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago

“This can only be the result of the tank’s ammunition exploding. So, despite the armoured charge bins which protect the combustible element of the tank round, it has gone up anyway, which means the charge bins have been overmatched and failed in their job.” Thanks for a very interesting article. It may well have been the ensuing fire that set off the charges. This isn’t surprising as a fierce protracted fire will overcome pretty much anything? The main this is that the charge protection bins allowed the crew to safely exit and would probably have saved the tank had there… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Supportive Bloke
DRS
DRS
2 months ago

Does the chally have any rollers that it can push ahead to set off mines? Say something like this Mine roller – Wikipedia or similar (some weights from the gym?)

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  DRS

That is one for the tankers on here.

I thought the demising vehicles that UK had were based on an older hull?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago

Demising? I am guessing demining. The Trojan AVRE does far more than demining. It also carries fascines for filling smallish gaps such as ditches and small streams. It has a hydraulically powered excavator arm which can dig or excavate, it can tow Python which can explosively clear a 7 x 230m path through a minefield. It has Chobham armour. Far from being older than CR2 gun tank it is newer, being built around 2003/4, and is of course based on CR2. Together with the Titan AVLB it was the last tracked AFV to be fielded by the British Army up… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I was thinking of Chieftain AVRE – thanks for the correction.

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  DRS

There is a mine plough I believe that can be attached, also functions as bulldozer blade.

https://imageio.forbes.com/specials-images/imageserve/6477b577c0e20e3459a62ddf/A-Challenger-2-with-a-dozer-blade-/0x0.jpg

farouk
farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Dern, Whilst the dozer blade can be used in which to allow MBTs to clear their own path the problem with a straight edge is it simply piles any captured mines in front of the vehicle. (Not saying its doesn’t work as the IDF, use heavily armoured Caterpillar D9s for that very purpose. But the Israelis do have the advantage that the enemy they face is always heavily outmatched by themselves. (Even the advance into Lebanon in 2006)) The mine ploughs fitted to MBT are usually angled so as to push the spoil (and any mine) to the side ,… Read more »

farouk
farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Dern, Whilst the dozer blade can be used in which to allow MBTs to clear their own path the problem with a straight edge is it simply piles any captured mines in front of the vehicle. (Not saying its doesn’t work as the IDF, use heavily armoured Caterpillar D9s for that very purpose. But the Israelis do have the advantage that the enemy they face is always heavily outmatched by themselves. (Even the advance into Lebanon in 2006)) The mine ploughs fitted to MBT are usually angled so as to push the spoil (and any mine) to the side ,… Read more »

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  farouk

It’s OK, we’ve all been there.
I’m pretty sure no trojans have beren sent yo Ukraine though (however I’ve definitely seen pictures of challengers with the trojan mine plough as well as the dozer blade.
Tbh the dozer blade should’ve been sent with the ukranians because they’d at least be able to deal with some of the mines with that.

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Usually fitted to AVRE but could be used by a gun tank

https://www.pearson-eng.com/product/route-opening-mine-plough/

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Full width mine plough usually used by Trojan and Titan but also can be used by a gun tank.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/75387893@N03/14279887730/in/photostream/

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

In British service in an armoured regt, all Sqn 2ICs tank are fitted by default with a dozer blade to cut tank scrapes for the sqn. It is not regarded as a mine clearance device.

Ian M
Ian M
2 months ago
Reply to  DRS

Pearson mine plough

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian M

Seen vids of the 1st Troop of Ajax on
deployment at SPTA. HCR I think? Looking good.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago

Great to hear. We should now look on Ajax favourably.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

To be fair, I always have. Even if the process has been chaotic. CVRT is gone and its needed, badly!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago

Have you heard anymore about Warrior being used as an interim replacement for Scimitar? Until Ajax gets issued in numbers. I just heard there was some driver training for the RAC guys done many months ago but that was it. Some mods must have been done to the vehicle by now. I think it would have been cheaper and easier for Scimitar to stagger on for another year or two, though.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The only regiment where I read that this has happened for certain is the Royal Lancers. Article “British Army Review Summer 23” has several pages on the idea and concept behind the DRSB and how it will deploy on operations and the three BGs its cavalry element will form. It states that the Royal Lancers have converted to Warrior.

The other Armoured Cav Regiments I’m unsure.

Graham M
Graham M
2 months ago

Thanks Daniele.

Ian M
Ian M
2 months ago

Hi Daniele, yup, it’s HCR out to play for a few weeks. It’s a ‘getting to know you’ event.

Frank62
Frank62
2 months ago
Reply to  DRS

In the 1st Gulf war we were treated to a demonstration on tv of our mine clearing kit, deplying an explosive cable ahead of the AFV if I remember rightly. If UKR isn’t being equiopped with such like, we really aren’t doing our job as friends & allies. Charging troops & armour forward across mine fields covered by artilliary & machine guns etc is WW1 folly.

farouk
farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

The US has supplied the Ukraine with the M58 MICLIC, Which is 107 metre tube filled with high ex attached to a rocket . Plenty of videos on line showing it in use.

In other news South Korea has just revealed that they have gifted the Ukraine with 2 K600 Korean Combat Engineering Vehicles (which is currently been touted by the media as a mine clearing vehicle)

farouk
farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

The US has supplied the Ukraine with the M58 MICLIC, Which is 107 metre tube filled with high ex attached to a rocket . Plenty of videos on line showing it in use.

In other news South Korea has just revealed that they have gifted the Ukraine with 2 K600 Korean Combat Engineering Vehicles (which is currently been touted by the media as a mine

farouk
farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

The US has supplied the Ukraine with the M58 MICLIC, Which is 107 metre tube filled with high ex attached to a rocket . Plenty of videos on line showing it in use.

In other news South Korea has just revealed that they have gifted the Ukraine with 2 K600 Korean Combat Engineering Vehicles (which is currently been touted by the media as a mine

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

Seen drone video of them employing this standard technique. However it has advantages and disadvantages the most obvious being that while quicker and effective it creates a relative narrow route to follow while informing the enemy you are coming and where so they can target you. And if you don’t exploit the gaps soon they can be resown via fires. So horses for courses methinks.

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

Ukraine has MCLICs, plenty of videos of them in use too. But as ever not enough, and the minefields the Russians have laid are apparently massive and horrifically dense which is slowing a lot down.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  DRS

We tend to use engineer tanks fitted with Pearsons mine plough, ie the Trojan AVRE. But we didn’t gift any of those, so UKR should have used their own engineer tank. We have in the past also used the Aardvark flail equipment, not sure if that is still in service. In British tank squadron, the 2ICs tank has a dozerblade fitted but for cutting tank scrapes rather than clearing surface laid mines. Not sure why UKR did not de-mine the route before CR2 used it. Was it a surface laid or buried mine? On a track or in open country.… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I would hate for us to give UKR Titan, Trojan, or Terrier. We have too few as it is as they’re key capabilities. Not the same as handing over Tanks we are reducing.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago

I fully agree. I think we could have spared more than 14 Challys but not the sapper kit you mention.

Caribbean
Caribbean
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I think one of the issues is that Russia can to re-mine an area after it’s been cleared, using mine-laying rocket systems. They have used this to great effect, particularly overnight

Graham M
Graham M
2 months ago
Reply to  Caribbean

Yep. War is complicated. I had not heard of this Russian capability before so thanks for the ‘heads up’.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
2 months ago

Crawford has built an entire post-army career knocking the Chally and it’s excellent rifled gun, mainly because when he was in, he wanted the MoD to buy the German Leopard. As you can read above, he’s still doing it

I have never been impressed with his writing and I shall not be subscribing to his podcasts or his newsletter

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I’ll add that, although a lot of speculation has been made about the Challenger tossing it’s turret, if it did, it didn’t go very far. The turret definietly isn’t sitting properly in it’s ring but it’s very much on top of the tank. Not the stratospheric rugby try conversions that Russian Tanks seem to manage regularly.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Precisely – it’s worth noting that we dont know exactly what armour the lost tank was supplied to UkR with. Chobham and/or Dorchester may not have been, for obvious reasons

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

TBF probably wouldn’t matter if it had. Every account I’ve read has stated that the CR was mobility killed, and then some variant of artillery, denial, or ATGM finished it off. If it was mobility killed, anywhere near the FLOT, and not recovered it really was only a matter of time before something destroyed it.

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Agreed – also if it had been given a TES upgrade like a UK tank would have had it might have survived… But the Ukrainian’s were given no extra armour or anything…

I cannot help but thing HMG just used these tanks as token offerings just to draw in the more numerous Leopards and M1s. Why bother giving a TES to a token force!

It makes me mad to see politics costing folk their lives. The moment I saw those basic armoured tanks going to Ukraine I knew they had been screwed bythe plliticians.

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

There are only a limited number of TES sets! Now imagine the uproar if god forbid our own tanks need them and it was said we gave them to Ukraine🙄

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

We don’t have enough TES kits to equip all our tanks so there were none spare for UKR.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

If the Chally ran over a mine, it is of course very risky to the CRARRV crew to recover it, until mine threat is dealt with. I have never heard of recovering a tank in an active minefield. Why lose the CRARRV as well? Worth bearing in mind that the CRARRV only has CR1-era armour.

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Because if you’re waiting to clear the minefields in Ukraine before attempting recovery then you’ll be waiting until the wars end. Zaph Oblast is going to have a mine problem for decades.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Not all the minefields just a lane behind the dead CR2.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Exactly, trying to make it a black and white argument is totally duplicitous and ignorant. Equally not many months ago the Chally’s ‘outmoded’ gun actually won an international shoot out, it’s still a damn good gun just incapable of exploiting modern ammunition types and also as a side effect increasingly more suitable for taking out hard points than defeating other tanks armour. The Ukranians indeed have praised its effective gunnery, I would presume there’s a whole load of hard points to be taken out.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
2 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

The Challenger II was designed to engage and destroy Russian cold war tanks. The highly accurate rifled gun does so at a greater distance than many other tanks. And on the move. The ammunition available is quite good enough to defeat the T72 on the UkR battlefield.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Stuart seems never to want to talk about CR2s better survivability compared to Leo2.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago

Yes sounded like MK wrote that bit. There is no absolute protection so to say the bins didn’t do their job is ridiculous and at the very least an unknown, when their main job is fundamentally to delay a catastrophic effect before the crew can escape or to protect as long as possible when an internal fire gets out or control.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
2 months ago

ah but would the tank be recoverable if the fire and explosion had taken place in a turret bustle with blow-out panels?

I think if this is the case, given our supply of tanks is very finite, the added cost and complexity could be worth it.

That said I’m wondering how often tanks are recovered in Ukraine or if one of the new lessons is that it’s usually impossible to recover something being watched by a cheap quadrotor with a mortar round strapped to it..

Last edited 2 months ago by Tomartyr
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

Tank would have been recoverable. Very few tanks are unrecoverable. But it may not have been repairable.

David
David
2 months ago

Looks like from what can be seen, the Kornet may have hit and penetrated the hull. I have read that the Challenger 2 hull itself isn’t protected by Chobham armour but only the turret. Not sure how accurate this is however. The Kornet is by all accounts a very nasty ATGM and gave the Merkava 4 trouble in Lebanon in 2006 and same for Saudi Abrams in Yemen (although they were the weaker export variant). I wonder if the wreck was recovered? I would love to see the analysis of what truly happened and if the Chobham armour really was… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  David

It is irrelevant if the Abrams was export variant or not. An hit outside turret front face and there is not enough armour.

The only part of a tank that might resist it is the front turret faces – note there might also be vulnerabilities from the turret front: ring, mantle etc. – , assuming a direct hit.

Last edited 2 months ago by AlexS
Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

That is a good point and why an immobilised tank is a dead tank. After all even a 30mm cannon will go through the side of many MBTs.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Abrams?

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

M1 Abrams

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

I thought the article was about Chally2, hence my query.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  David

This picture suggests that the CR2 Hull does indeed have ‘Special Armour’ https://www.tanknet.org/index.php?/topic/41402-uk-surges-ahead-with-challenger-2-upgrade/page/65/#comments

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Fascinating Paul – thank you for sharing! Just a couple of observations – and I am by means an tank armour expert – but here goes:

1) The orientation of the slats/spaced armour at the front right hand corner would suggest it’s designed for frontal attack, not side impact.

2) The damage is on the opposite side from the mine strike and Kornet ATGM impact. Would be interesting to know how that damage was inflicted.

Again, I could be as far out as the lighthouse in my observations but still, great information Paul and thank you.

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Hi Paul

Thank you for sharing – great article!

Bill Bloggs
Bill Bloggs
2 months ago
Reply to  David

The Kornet anti-tank missile hit the Challenger II just below the turret.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Bill Bloggs

Which would account for the turret being no longer straight and level on its turret ring. In a crappier tank the turret would have been blown off by the Kornet strike.

Cathulhu
Cathulhu
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

the hit below the turret indicates, that the ammunition charge bins have been struck and detonated, wich lifted the turret out of its cradle and ripped out the commanders cupola and loaders hatch from the turret roof.
that requires quite a violent explosion.
and considering that Challenger 2´s turret s almost double the weight of a t-72 turret, if obviously does not fly that far or high.

Graham M
Graham M
2 months ago
Reply to  Cathulhu

Do you know where the Kornet missile struck?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  David

Having invented Chobham/Dorchester why would we not fit it to the hull of CR2? If the tank was hit by an Overfly Top Attack weapon then it may have penetrated the hull rear ie engine decks, which amounts to nearly 50% of the top plan area, especially if the turret bustle was not covering it. Engine decks are highly vulnerable as armour is standard, thin and louvred. Turret bustle and turret roof are clealy not going to be the best protected part of a tank. It would have helped if the tank had not driven into a minefield to start… Read more »

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham, I would tend to agree but it seems to be common knowledge that the front glacis plate is just 70mm of steel – no Chobham. The pictures in the link that Paul provided above do seem to show what we can assume to be the Chobham armour exposed. I am certainly no expert on tank armour but my observations are as follows: 1) The layout of the spaced layers seems to suggest it offers protection from frontal attack – not from the side. 2) This exposed armour is on the opposite side of the mine strike and kornet… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  David

I am still bound by the Official Secrets Act so can only cover Open Source material, and I am somewhat opposed to guessing games. A rather poor US website with a strong anti-British bias and a stronger anti CR2 bias stated the precise armour thicknesses to the mm of every part of the hull and turret and included that claim of 70mm for the upper glacis plate. No way is that detail in the public domain and must be speculative. Those who think CR2 only has Chobham/Dorchester on the turret seem to be referencing some speculative articles about Shir 2… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Because there is need of some density and space to be effective, plus the weight it implies, so you cannot have armour like that all around.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Yep. Very true.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
2 months ago
Reply to  David

As I understand it the hull front has Chobham down to where the ROMOR ERA and later applique Chobham sits, basically the driver is protected from head to knee.

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
2 months ago

Regards “putting up or shutting up” on arms supplies to facilitate a conclusion, does this not suppose that the current situation of attritional warfare is not the desired outcome? People are making a lot of money out of this and nobody that matters to these people are being killed or injured.

Last edited 2 months ago by Luke Rogers
Marked
Marked
2 months ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Glad I’m not the only one suspecting this. Particularly the US who does not have this war right on their doorstep. Hell, the whole Vietnam war served only to feed billions upon billions into their arms industry.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Marked

Vietnam war might have stopped Thailand and Malaya fall into Communism.

Duker
Duker
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

That was never true , even at the time , the US lost and the North prevailed remember
Vietnam is still ‘communist’ but even Cambodia which was communist for a while no longer is
Laos was heavily used by North to bring supplies South, and became communist after the war ended and remains a old communist style government

You can work out how it turned out for Thailand and Malaysia

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Duker

Thailand and Malaysia did not fall in Communism. Since we don’t know the conterfactual we can never be sure but might be the resistance done in Vietname that made impossible for those resources spent by Communists fighting South Vietnamese and Americans were not spend elsewhere mede the difference.

There were Vietnamese in both sides. it was not only USA that lost. A million Boat People escaped their own country and that was not at time of war but with Communist “peace”.

Duker
Duker
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

What counter factual ? Everyone else knows the North won the war and the whole south became communist in the 1970s – exactly what you the war was about and its ‘spread’ The trouble with your claims is the communists in the surrounding countries were locals not Vietnamese. Laotian communists , Khmer communists , even Malaya had its local insurgency in the 1950s , which Britain, Australia and NZ helped defeat. I seem to remember even the Communist Vietnam invaded Cambodia to other throw the Khymer rouge extreme communist government. After 1993 the modern government took power under UN agreements… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Duker

The conterfactual is not having the US intervention so Communists take over Vietname much earlier without much costs and can have those resources to spend.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago

Good post specially the irrational talk of super challenger when a track hit means a mobility kill or the fact that the turret have a very flimsy top armor and the engine deck, rear and lower side hull too. Even the low front.

There is a reason that Israelis went to APS. They understood that you need to protect the tank 360º and missiles overmatch the armour or make mission kills even if not penetrate the crew area.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

A mobility kill caused by track damage does not have to mean the loss of a tank forever. The problem with this tank was that it was left in situ and suffered further damage by Kornet ATGM and possibly artillery fire too.

We do need APS though – it is long overdue.

farouk
farouk
2 months ago

“”Which all goes to illustrate that, despite all the jingoistic crowing about Challenger being the best protected tank in the world (which it may still be), it is not invulnerable. All tank men will have known that, and now the rest of the population does too. “”   The tank was disabled by a anti mine on the Forward edge battle area (FEBA) the crew all survived , so the tank did the job of protecting its crew, (Unlike Russia armour) A disabled tank at the coalface is going to garner a lot of attention , and its suits those with a political bent… Read more »

farouk
farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  farouk

The link

Marked
Marked
2 months ago

The US will keep the war raging as long as possible whilst their arms industry is profiting.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Marked

So there is not a Russians arms industry?

Fascinating Marxist thinking blindness.

Marked
Marked
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

When the f### did I say there wasn’t a Russian arms industry princess? Your words not mine.

The Russians are throwing all they have at the war regardless of cost, albeit with increasingly limited success. Hopefully they reach the point where there’s nothing left to throw other than meat.

It’s the opposite of blindness, I have my eyes wide open when it comes to seeing how the US works…

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  Marked

This war was started by Russia nothing to do with u.s arms manufacturers

PaulM
PaulM
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Hear, hear.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Marked

So Russia starts the war but it is Americans armament industry that is at fault…

Douglas Newell
Douglas Newell
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

I’d argue the we in the west started the War back in 2014 as that is when the current hostilities actually started.

Anyone who thinks the US Government acts in an Altruistic way on the world stage is totally blind to facts.

Simon m
Simon m
2 months ago

The important point is not that the ammunition exploded but when it exploded. If it exploded several minutes plus after being hit then the design did it’s job by not invoking a catastrophic explosion. If there’s a fuel fire that burnt for sometime they’ll surely be only x amount of time ammo storage can prevent ignition. Diesel fire can reach 800°C storage surely has a time limit. As far as I can tell the Kornet also came in from the rear aspect. Leo2 or M1 couldn’t cope with a Kornet penetration at the most vulnerable points – Leo has shown… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  Simon m

Exactly and any objective writer without an agenda would know that. If this is typical of the sort of debate that goes on during procurement then no wonder we get it wrong so often, hardly helped by those with a grudge forever thereafter. Entitlement over objective and rational thought.

Peter S
Peter S
2 months ago

Given how few Challengers have been supplied to Ukraine and the time that Russia has had to prepare in depth defences, the tank was probably used in one of the riskiest ways- trying to break into deep defences in small numbers. Even the best armoured tanks are vulnerable in such operations. It is better to use them to break out not break through, something learned at high cost in Ww2. And they perform that role best when deployed in large numbers.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
2 months ago

The thing that baffles me when viewing videos of immobilised tanks being attacked with drone dropped munitions is that they all seem to have their hatches left open.

Dern
Dern
2 months ago

I’m going with a crew training issue/survival instinct. If a tank has been imobilized it’s probably under fire, or soon to be under fire and a big stationary target (assuming it’s not actively in danger of self immolating). It’s a very calm crew that will pause to close their hatches before putting the maximum distance between them and the rather large ammo dump they’ve just left behind.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago

Yes I mean if I were leaving an immobilised tank I would take the time to close the door myself. Only polite.

DH
DH
2 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Yep, made me giggle ☺️👏👍

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago

It’s like they are in a hurry to leave a vehicle that could go BANG spectacularly any minute isn’t it ?🙄

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
2 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

No, not really. I’m talking about tanks that have been immobilised, not ones that are already on fire. If they were in that condition then no-one would bother using a drone to drop more munitions on them.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago

Is there any talk of actually salvaging this tank at all? Is it totally beyond repair, and do they have any recovery vehicles able to do this anyway?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

We supplied two CRARRVs with the 14 CR2s, so that is one CRARRV with the tank company and another for back up/attrition replacement. Of course we also trained the UKR to operate and maintain CRARRV. From what I saw of a brief video clip the tank is likely to be BR. Some say that HMG insisted that any CR2 that was disabled should be recovered rearward so that the enemy could not overrun the site, seize the tank for propaganda benefit and maybe glean some secrets. Who knows? Not a great idea to recover the tank until the mine threat… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago

It may be opportune to point out that not all Challengers are created equal. Whenever UK Challengers have gone into combat the threat against them is assessed. Given the threat assessment a Theatre Entry Standard (TES) of protection is applied. TES almost certainly includes extra armour, ECM etc. This is partly why we never lost a Challenger because we did much to mitigate the threat. The Ukrainian Challengers were basic models with no upgrades – this in itself is a scandal we gave them tank we knew were inadequate for the threat environment. This basic model element should be highlighted… Read more »

Duker
Duker
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

and land mines underneath ? Whats the add on armour for that

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago
Reply to  Duker

In the Gulf a CH2 lost its track and was stuck in a ditch – the crew stayed inside their up-armoured tank. It was hit by multiple RPGs, heavy machine gun and a TOW missile. The crew were ok, the tank was recovered and after some minor repairs returned to service. The point is the tank was adequately protected so the crew did not need to abandon the vehicle. As the Challenger in Ukraine lacked proper protection for the threat environment the crew did the right thing and got out. a mobility problem need not be the end for a… Read more »

Duker
Duker
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Thanks for that , but its not the answer to what add on armour is for land mines as seems to be the case here. Im assuming now there is none. Other sources say the hits in the disabled tank in Iraq were just RPGs , and another was hit by a mine blast underneath, so is that even comparable , dep[ending on which CR2 you chose . It seems to me that the CR2 is a fine example of the type Ukraine is also getting some quite old Leopards 1s. So they dont need the latest tanks with the… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago
Reply to  Duker

Yes there is a lot of sending old kit. The Leopard 1 is a case in point. It was replaced by Leopard 2 because it was overmatched by better Soviet tanks. Yet it is being sent to face those same tanks’

Duker
Duker
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Thats war for you . Complicated and maintenance hungry latest models arent allways needed for a society thats still 30 years behind the west. Did they not learn from Afghanistan and Iraq about the outside contractor heavy modern equipment
I hear that Russia is recycling plenty of its older tanks too

Graham M
Graham M
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

The Ukrainians will take anything. I believe they have some ancient CVR(T)s of ours.

David Barry
David Barry
2 months ago

If the blokes escaped, the tank did good; they’ll be a crew who’ll need a tankie version of the Martin Baker ejector seat – and they may be more fearless next time knowing they’ll live.

Russia is on a hiding to nothing and ultimate defeat.

Just Me
Just Me
2 months ago

Every Challenger lost – 1x training accident, 1x friendly fire and this one, has popped it’s turret.

OldSchool
OldSchool
2 months ago

Look on the bright side. Russia ko’d a Chally……we (as in Storm Shadow) got a sub. Reckon I know who won that exchange 😁.

Duker
Duker
2 months ago
Reply to  OldSchool

It was in a dry dock… a sitting duck is the term.

Sooty
Sooty
2 months ago

Excellent contribution, thanks.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
2 months ago

given the economic effect of the Ukraine war on the West I wonder how much money we could have saved by giving more

Ian
Ian
2 months ago

Depleted uranium is (by definition) less radioactive than ordinary uranium mined out of the ground. The main hazard it poses is that it is somewhat poisonous- much like lead and many other heavy metals. That’s a better reason not to inhale the dust than any concerns about about radiation.

Douglas Newell
Douglas Newell
2 months ago

So regarding the Depleted Uranium rounds: “Yes, it may give off some radiation into the atmosphere when it hits its target and you’re advised not to inhale or ingest it” the rest of the Lt Col’s sentence was pointless twaddle.

Geoffi
Geoffi
2 months ago

I work with a Ukrainian who is keeping close tabs to events through friends on the front line, and knew about the C2 loss before the media cottoned on to it. The description above is very close to what he heard. His friends believe that if the UK hadnt stripped off the reactive armour before supplying, the hull wouldnt have been lost. In that sense I dont consider this a “real” C2 loss.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  Geoffi

With respect to your friend, in this case I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any Reactive Armour to strip off in the first place. CR2 that have the ability to mount the TES Extra Armour kit’s have some welded on brackets on the Turret sides and are easily identifiable, I’ve not seen any pictures of the Ukrainian examples with them on.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
2 months ago

AFAIK Chobham armour only covers the frontal section of the tank, hence tankers are trained to stay ‘hull down’ towards the enemy as much as they can.

Wondering if TES (Dorchester ?) as fitted to the CH2s fielded in Iraq would have stopped the Kornet ?

I read the CH3 will get a new generation of Armour known as Epsom and Farnham.

Not sure about Ammo stowage on CH3 ,adapting the Abrams system would be good.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bringer of facts
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago

Tankies have always generally adopted ‘Hull down’ when in defensive position since turreted tanks were first fielded, to reduce the visual signature and so attempt to remain undetected. Nothing to do with hull armour possibly being weaker than turret armour- which it may not be!

The tank in question must have been motoring as he went into a mined area, and so is unlikely to have been in a defensive hulldown position.

Don’t think M1 gives us any survivability lessons! Many lost to enemy fire over the years.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Apparently, the Kornet was fired at the rear of the tank AFAIK, so somehow the Russian ATGM operator flanked the disabled CH2, my point is if Kornet hit the front Hull / Turret the tank would probably still be intact.

Again with the M1, I refer to the “blow-out panels” in the ammo bustle which will save both the crew and the rest of the tank in the case of an ammo detonation.

Graham M
Graham M
2 months ago

M1 of course has one-piece ammo and it makes sense to store most of it in the turret bustle given the weight of it. In this case armoured door and blow-out panels make sense.

CR2 of course with two-piece ammo can adopt a totally different storage plan, propellant charges being below the turret ring in protective containers (charge bins).

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

I know CH 2 has 2 piece ammo, but I am curious as to what the ammo stowage will be like on CH3

George asbury
George asbury
3 days ago

I’m not a tanker but it’s seems once disabled it’s a easy as any other tank, the bins may be a weak point but as long as the crew can get out is the real bonus, I’ve seen 4 challengers distroyed now since the filming of the 1st one, there has been mods by the Ukrainians but see how they fair, these tanks in question are just basic, now if they were supplied as fully combat ready with passive armour, i wonder what the outcome would be, but Turkey and Saudi had similar problems in loses of tanks already, these… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by George asbury
George asbury
George asbury
31 minutes ago

Up to 4 tanks now distroyed since the film was made have photos of both disabled and brunt out