T-62 Tank: Russia’s Soviet-Era Fallback in Ukraine

As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “particular army operation” to “liberate” Ukraine handed its third month, experiences arose in late Might 2022 of trains transporting new tanks to Melitopol. On June 5, extra turned up at Mykolaiv and Kryvyi Rih. On June 5, extra turned up at Mykolaiv and Kryvyi Rih.

Truly, whereas these tanks might not have been seen in Ukraine earlier than, they have been something however new: They have been M-62Ms and T-62MVs, unexpectedly upgraded automobiles relationship to the Nineteen Sixties.  


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Designed by Aleksandr Morozov and present process first assessments in 1959, the T-62 was the survivor of plenty of competing designs for a extra highly effective successor to the T-54 and T-55 predominant battle tanks. It was longer and wider, was protected by as much as 100 mm of armor. Its V-55 12-cylinder four-stroke diesel engine was the identical as that of the T-55, producing 581 horsepower, to propel its 5 pairs of aluminum, rubber-tired highway wheels on a torsion-bar suspension. Most highway velocity was 31 mph (25 mph cross-country), and vary on the highway was 280 miles. 

The principal advance within the T-62 was its predominant weapon, the primary smoothbore cannon mounted on a manufacturing tank. Recognizable by the bore evacuator halfway down the run as a substitute of up entrance, the 115 mm U-5TS “Molot” changed a rifled shell with a fin-stabilized excessive explosive armor piercing spherical, which whereas not as correct, provided a ten% to twenty% higher muzzle velocity. Its efficient vary was 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) by day and 800 meters (2,600 toes) utilizing night time imaginative and prescient gear. Operated by a four-man crew, the T-62 supplemented its predominant gun with the same old 7.62 mm PKT coaxial machine gun and a 12.7 mm DShK machine gun flexibly mounted on the solid turret. 


Coming into manufacturing in July 1961, the T-62 proved a doubtful mainstay for the Soviet military by the point the final of some 20,000 got here off the meeting line of the Ural Vagon Zavod in 1975. At 42 tons, the T-62 was heavier and fewer maneuverable than the T-54 sequence it was meant to exchange. It was additionally on the zenith of improvement for the Christie suspension, eschewing the usage of return rollers, used so efficiently on the T-34, because the T-62’s longer monitor size had a persistent behavior of throwing treads off in a decent flip.

Though examples have been bought to quite a few international locations and took part in equally quite a few wars — together with the Center East conflicts and the Soviet-Russian campaigns in Chechnya, Afghanistan and South Ossetia — just one nation exterior of the Soviet Union constructed the T-62 underneath license as a result of its efficiency didn’t surpass the T-55’s fairly sufficient to justify its being twice as costly to provide (The only real exception was North Korea within the Nineteen Eighties). 

No Scrapyard But

As has been the case with so lots of its contemporaries, the T-62 was not scrapped en masse after a brand new era, led by the T-64 and T-72, took its place within the first line of Soviet armor. The explanation for such frugality has come to gentle because the Russian military advance into Ukraine has was a slow-moving slaughterhouse.

Upgraded and assigned to order battalion teams, they’re apparently being positioned in a secondary function, serving to to consolidate the good points of the principle Russian assaults or being assigned to crews of pro-Russian jap Ukrainians. Extra lately, in June 2022, T-62s have turned up within the markings of South Ossetian Battalion “Alana,” combating alongside the “Republican Ukrainian” items within the Donbass area.

Among the many upgrades to the T-62s tv imaging and an evening sights succesful sighting targets at as much as 2,000 meters. Apart from segments of energetic armor on the hull and turret, the tank has been fitted with the kind of grid armor added to the T-72s, T-80s and T-90s, supposed to prematurely explode rocket propelled grenades or antitank missiles. Given such nicknames as “rooster coops” and Ilych’s eyebrows” by the Ukrainians (with attainable settlement from a number of the Russian crews), the grids trigger extra bother than their protecting properties are value, akin to enlarging the tank’s radar silhouette, interfering with the motion of the turret machine gun or shorting out the radio aerials, main many crewmen to discard that supplementary armor. As an additional commentary on the T-62’s effectiveness, some have been seen being buried to function native pillboxes.

One ultimate ironic word on the T-62 — for now — is that enormous numbers of the tank have been produced within the then-Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic on the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Constructing Design Bureau. Refurbishing their provides, the Ukrainians have given what they designate the T-62AG a 125 mm KBA-101 cannon and a 5TDF 700-hp diesel engine. As an alternative of sending this ostensibly improved mannequin to the entrance, nevertheless, they’ve been providing it on the open market, evidently preferring to lift the cash to buy one thing higher. 

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