One of the world’s largest armies is failing.
After more than a month of war, the Russian military has faced debilitating casualties fighting an enemy one-third the size. With imported weapons, many from NATO countries, the Ukrainian army has so far denied entry by Russian forces to nearly all of Ukraine’s major cities while destroying Russian tanks in the process.
During the past few weeks, the internet has been flooded with videos of Russian tanks bursting into flames. The Ukrainian military is destroying tanks with a variety of weapons, including land mines, Stugna-P guided missiles, and shoulder-fired missiles like Javelins and NLAWs.
In less than one week this month, the US and NATO armed Ukraine through Poland and Romania with more than 17,000 anti-tank weapons, The New York Times reported.
Combat in Ukraine is revealing that advances in guided missiles are making it much easier for combatants, even inexperienced volunteers, to destroy tanks. Of the 2,840 tanks in Russia’s active arsenal, at least 340 had been destroyed in Ukraine as of Tuesday.
These seven videos appear to show various ways the Ukrainian army is taking out Russian tanks at a rate even experts have found surprising.
A land mine is a device that is placed on or under the ground and is designed to explode when a person or vehicle passes over it. Causing indiscriminate damage, land mines can lie dormant for years before being triggered and often pose issues to civilians long after combat has ended. First deployed in World War II, land mines have been used in many conflicts, including the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and the first Gulf War. (As the video below notes, it’s unclear exactly which weapon was used.)
#Ukraine: The complete destruction of a Russian T-72 variant by the 25th Airborne Brigade of Ukraine.
It is not clear how the tank was destroyed (an anti-tank launcher or mine), but the subsequent detonation of ammunition is clearly visible. pic.twitter.com/TBhnGRUdbw
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 15, 2022
The Javelin is a portable anti-tank missile system that can be carried and launched by a single person. With a range of 2 ½ miles, it traces its target’s thermal picture and is useful against tanks because it can strike from the top, like the track-and-field spear that shares its name. The Javelin is a “fire and forget” system, in which self-guided missiles let troops take cover or reload immediately after firing. Designed by the US companies Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, the Javelin was first deployed in 1996.
— BlueSauron👁️ (@Blue_Sauron) April 2, 2022
Designed and produced in Ukraine, Stugna-P is an anti-tank missile system. At 200 pounds, it is heavier, less portable, and cheaper than the Javelin, but has proved extremely effective against Russian tanks. It can be set up on tripods and camouflaged, allowing operators to hide before discharging the missile via remote control. With a firing range of 328 feet to 3.1 miles, Stugna-P can be manually guided using a remote control or left to be guided by its own laser in fire-and-forget mode.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) March 23, 2022
#Ukraine: The Ukrainian troops successfully hit a Russian tank using an anti-tank guided missile , which led to the complete destruction of the vehicle. Presumably, a Stugna-P ATGM system was used. pic.twitter.com/TRyOVlOD4q
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 4, 2022
Footage shows a #Ukrainian Stugna-P anti tank guided missile operator making a direct hit on a moving #Russian tank, resulting in the tank's catastrophic destruction #UkraineWar pic.twitter.com/kjQV3h1AGa
— FUNKER530 (@FunkerActual) March 28, 2022
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 11, 2022
Like the Javelin, the NLAW is a portable anti-tank weapon that can be launched by a single person on foot and uses the fire-and-forget method. The weapon uses “predictive line of sight” technology, calculating the target’s distance and speed. The NLAW can hit moving targets 20 to 400 meters away and stationary targets up to 800 meters away.
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) February 27, 2022