Monday, 20 March 2023

Russia’s Wars: Listing Equipment Losses During The 1992 Moldo-Russian War

By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
Transnistria owes its existence to a brief war in 1992 between Moldova and Russian-backed separatists who feared that Moldova would become part of Romania after the collapse of the USSR. The war ended when the Russian 14th Army, stationed in what was then the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, intervened on behalf of Transnistria and defeated the forces of the newly independent Republic of Moldova. Despite the fact that armed conflict ceased the same year, the situation in Transnistria remains extremely complicated, with the breakaway state wishing to join the Russian Federation while remaining reliant on Moldova for exporting the limited produce its economy outputs.
The Transnistrians began preparing for war already before the fall of the Soviet Union, establishing a number of self-defence militias in the summer of 1990. In 1991, these militias were merged to form a unified fighting force known as the Dniester Guard. Around the same time, hundreds of Russian Cossacks arrived in the region. Alongside local Transnistrians, the Cossacks began raiding weapons depots of the 14th Army and started arming themselves. In one instance, a crowd of Transnistrian civilians succeeded in blocking and later surrounding a unit of the 14th Army that was returning from firing exercises, capturing ten T-64BV MBTs and ten BTR-70 APCs in the process. [1]

After Moldava entered what according to the Moldovan government was and still is Moldovan territory in June 1992, urban warfare ensued in and near the city of Bender. The Transnistrian side deployed several T-64BVs earlier taken over from the 14th Army, marking the combat debut of the T-64. Two T-64s were quickly destroyed by 100mm MT-12 anti-tank guns when they attemped to advance on Moldovan-held parts of Bender however, while four more were damaged or captured. The conflict also witnessed the widespread deployment of DIY armour as civilians struggled to master their freshly seized weaponry, which even included BM-27 Uragan MRLs and MiG-29s on the Moldovan side.

A list of the destroyed and captured vehicles of both sides can be seen below. This list only includes destroyed vehicles and equipment of which photo or videographic evidence is available. Therefore, the amount of equipment destroyed is higher than recorded here. Trucks are not included in this list.

(Click on the numbers to get a picture of each individual captured or destroyed vehicle)


Transnistria (10, of which destroyed: 5, damaged: 4, captured: 1)

Tanks (6, of which destroyed: 2, damaged: 3, captured: 1)

Armoured Fighting Vehicles (1, of which damaged: 1)


Improvised Armoured Fighting Vehicles (2, of which destroyed: 2)

Infantry Fighting Vehicles (1, of which destroyed: 1)


Moldova (9, of which destroyed: 7, captured: 2)

Armoured Fighting Vehicles (3, of which destroyed: 3)


Armoured Personnel Carriers (2, of which destroyed: 1, captured: 1)


Towed Artillery (1, of which captured: 1)


Anti-Aircraft Guns (3, of which destroyed: 3)

[1] Боевое применение танка Т-64БВ в боях за г. Бендеры