When the Leopard 2A4 tank appears on the Ukrainian battlefield, it will become the Russian Army’s top target for destruction.
Recent agreements between NATO nations and its allies to transfer main battle tanks (MBTs) to the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU). The German Leopard 2, British Challenger 2, American M1 Abrams, Italian C1 Ariete, and French AMX-56 Leclerc are anticipated to appear on the Ukrainian battlefield in the first half of 2023.
The German Leopard 2 is regarded as the best MBT in the West, it should be underlined. These tanks have undergone numerous changes, and the Kyiv will have numerous varieties that are Leopard 2A7 or 2A4 versions, in addition to a few unique modifications made by NATO members and non-members.
The German government announced the transfer of 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks to Ukraine on January 25, 2023, and also authorised the supply (reexport) of Leopard 2 tanks from other nations.
Soon after, a large number of other nations also declared that they would “transfer the name” to Kyiv; in particular, Poland confirmed this with 14 Leopard 2A4; Norway, with 8 Leopard 2A4; and Portugal, with 4 Leopard 2A6. The Leopard 2A4 will represent a significant share of the delivered tanks, not the more contemporary models, according to reality.
When faced with the possibility of taking on the Leopard 2A4, Russian military experts designed strategies to obliterate this potent combat vehicle right away.
The plan states that it was initially essential to disable the crew’s ability to steer and fire correctly, or to effectively “blind” the MBT by destroying its turret’s optics.
This can be done with shells of the 3BM42 Mango or 3BM59 Svinets type, and with a single hit, the vehicle loses its combat effectiveness even if the armour is not pierced.
The commander’s panoramic viewfinder, which needs to be destroyed with any weaponry at hand, is located on top of the turret, Russian analysts note. Remember to use the gunner’s sight, which is close to the tank’s cannon, as well as any Russian tank grenade launcher and shell to “shot it down.”
Additionally, the tank can be attacked from above by the drone pilot. It is necessary to strike the flanks of the tank and from the rear, where the armour resistance is only 490 mm or less, if utilising Kornet anti-tank missiles (ATGMs) with a penetration of more than 500 mm. But even 30mm calibre bullets fired from a distance of no more than a kilometre can penetrate some locations.
It should be noted that the Leopard 2A4 has several “blind spots,” even the high-end and significantly heavier models. If a soldier is 50 metres distant from the tank, the tank crew will not be able to detect him. Additionally, up close, there are a few difficult-to-see areas on the front and even the side.
However, this is doubtful given that they can only be carried out in battle circumstances in confined spaces and that the aforementioned tanks were not built for this purpose.
As for the aforementioned Kornet ATGM, it can hit the tank from 5.5 km away, but this is in theory. Although the Leopard 2A4 is large, its camouflage is very good and can blend into the terrain on its own.
For example, we can recall the Turkish military operation “Olive Branch”, carried out in 2018 in northwestern Syria in the Kurdish-inhabited Afrin region.
There, the missile operator can secretly maneuver in the mountainous area to take a favorable position for the ambush, but in fact only 1 Leopard 2A4 was shot down by anti-tank missiles.
But obviously any tank can be destroyed. So we will soon know how the Leopard 2A4 and other MBT models of the Western military-industrial complex will perform in front of the Russian Army.