Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Dad’s Army: List Of Russian Army Equipment Deployed In Ukraine Older Than Our Parents

By Stijn Mitzer, Joost Oliemans and Kemal
Those expecting the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine to be a spectacle of Russian military might were soon left sorely disappointed. Yet the degradation of its combat abilities has continued apace, and one year into its war the cracks in the Russian military machine are starting to widen into chasms. Sustaining losses that meanwhile number over 1800 tanks and more than 2000 IFVs, the Russian Army has already reached the point at which it is no longer able to replace lost equipment with armament that is at least roughly equivalent to the combat worth of the equipment lost. [1] In order to replace its lost T-72B3 Obr. 2016s and T-80BVMs MBTs, the Russian arms industry hasn't churned out any of the much anticipated T-14 Armatas, but rather begun introducing hundreds of refurbished or upgraded variants of the antiquated T-62 MBT and even 1950s-era T-54s in an unmodified state. [2]
The situation is hardly any better for other components of the Russian Army, with 1950s and 1960s-era BRDM-2 AFVs and BMP-1 IFVs and BTR-50 APCs finding their way to frontline units as Ukrainian forces are starting to take delivery of advanced Leopard 2A6s, M1 Abrams MBTs and M2A2 and CV90 IFVs from partners in the West. While Russian tank repair plants busy themselves upgrading ageing equipment to feature additional protection so that they can theoretically stand a chance on the battlefields of Ukraine, the brunt of its reactivated relics is sent to the front in a virtually unmodified state, save for an oil change.
This emerging makeshift military has meanwhile included a hodgepodge of other antiquated materiel, including howitzers from the 1940s, AFV-mounted naval guns from the 1950s and even Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifles that have been noted to be in service with Pro-Russian forces of the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics since 2022. In order to continue to supply its freshly drafted or recruited forces, the Russian MoD will undoubtedly be forced to look into yet more forgotten corners of military storage depots to keep the gears of its army from grinding to a halt. The resulting decay of combat efficiency is likely to accelerate as poor equipment and complicated logistics lead to an uptick in casualties, the requirement for additional arms increases again, and consequently the need to reactivate even more obscure remnants of the Soviet ghost exacerbates.

A row of MT-LBVM AFVs fitted with 12.7mm 2M-1, 14.5mm 2M-7 and 12.7mm DShK naval gun mounts. These originally equipped ships dating from the 1950s.

As the average age of the authors of this (tongue-in-cheek) article is 25, we thought it would be illustrative (and frankly amusing) to list every equipment type currently spotted in use with Russian forces in Ukraine that predates our parents. For those reading this that have themselves managed to survive the 70's – rest assured, much of this equipment has undoubtedly weathered the ages far worse than you have. We only consider equipment sufficiently archaic to be included here if it entered service prior to 1970, which should mean that to all but the senior among our readership it was properly outdated by the time they came of drinking age.

(Pro-)Russian forces that appear to be readying themselves for a WWII-reenactment rather than for 21st century warfare.

This list only includes vehicles and equipment of which photo or videographic evidence is available. This list will be updated as additional contenders are sighted.

(Click on the numbers to get a picture of each equipment type)


Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Infantry Fighting Vehicles

Armoured Personnel Carriers


Armoured Recovery Vehicles

Towed Artillery


Multiple Rocket Launchers

Anti-Aircraft Guns


Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Guns


Naval Guns (Installed On MT-LBVMs and ATS-59Gs)


Trucks, Vehicles and Jeeps


Military Gear

[1] Attack On Europe: Documenting Russian Equipment Losses During The 2022 Russian Invasion Of Ukraine
[2] From Hibernation to Humiliation? Russia Brings T-54 Tanks Out of Retirement
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