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German Leopard Tank

Ukraine Conflict > Weapons > Leopard

German Leopard Tank

Photo: A German Army Leopard 2 tank, assigned to 104th Panzer Battalion, moves through the Joint Multinational Readiness Center during Saber Junction 2012 in Hohenfels, Germany, Oct. 25, 2012. Photo by Specialist Markus Rauchenberger, U.S. Army.

The Russian war against Ukraine has been a huge conventional fight utilizing large numbers of tanks, APCs, and artillery. It has seen the largest use of tanks in a conflict in Europe since World War II. Up to now, Soviet-era tanks have been used in boths sides of the conflict.

Diplomatic Pressure. For over a year Germany has been resistant in sending military equipment and war material to Ukraine in significant numbers; as compared to its NATO allies. It has long refused to provide Leopard 2 tanks and resisted in allowing other nations to provide the tanks to Ukraine. That changed in January 2023, when under tremendous diplomatic pressure it agreed to send the Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allow other nations to send their tanks as well.

Characteristics of the Leopard 2. The German tank, there many variations, weighs about sixty tons. It has a 120-mm smooth bore main gun with an effective firing range out to 8 kilometers. The tank has a crew of four.

Training. The training of Ukrainian tank crews that will operate the Leopard 2 will take place in Germany. This also applies to technicians that will repair and maintain the tanks as well as work the logistical and support system that will keep the tanks supplied with fuel, ammunition, and spare parts. An important aspect of training provided will be the strategy and tactics used when employing the German tank - whether in defense or offense.

Leopard 1. Germany has decided to send an older model of the Leopard to Ukraine. The older tanks were produced from the 1960s to the 1980s. They would need refurbishing before they could be ready for combat. They may also have an ammunition shortage. The numbers of how many of the older Leopards will be provide range from 29 to 88 tanks. Ammunition for the Leopard 1 has been produced in the past by Brazil and Switzerland. Brazil is reluctant to provide aid to Ukraine and Switzerland has some strict neutrality policies about providing weapons and ammunition to conflicts.

References for the Leopard Tank

Leopard 2 - Wikipedia

News Reports about the Leopard Tank

March 11, 2023, "Leopard 1 Tanks Will Arrive this Spring", The Warzone. The collection of refurbished Danish, Dutch, and German Leopard 1A5s will outfit a couple of Ukrainian tank battalions.

March 9, 2023, "Poland already sent 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine", Euromaiden Press.

February 3, 2023, "Germany adds older Leopard 1s to the list of tanks for Ukraine", The New York Times. An older model than the already approved Leopard 2, the tanks will need refurbishment and could face ammunition shortages.

January 27, 2023, "Germany Releases the Leopards", IntelBrief, The Soufan Center.

January 27, 2023, "Leopards Into the Fray: How will German tanks affect the battlefield balance in Ukraine?", by John Amble and John Spencer, Modern War Institute at West Point. Germany has thus far taken a back seat in supporting the Ukrainians with war material; letting many other NATO allies take the lead. But now, with the introduction of the German Leopard 2 into Ukraine, one of Europes most powerful countries is finally stepping up.

January 26, 2023, "Ukraine faces logistics hurdles ahead of tank deliveries", The Washington Post.

January 23, 2023, "A Look at Leopard 2 tanks that could soon be sent to Ukraine", AP News.

January 16, 2023, "300 tanks for Ukraine: who could give it the gear to beat Russia?", Euromaidan Press. This article articulates the need for modern tanks so that Ukraine can push back the Russians from occupied territories. It identifies the German Leopard 2 and US M1 Abrams as the best tanks to fill this need.



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