Ah yes, the Russian forces. Once touted as one of the world’s best militaries, exposed by its neighbor to have severe weaknesses and deficiencies. From faulty communication systems, bad planning, and even worse logistics, the war has revealed another Achilles’ heel of the Russian forces – their domestically made Russian tanks.

We all know that the Russians haven’t had the best military performances in Ukraine, losing almost 30,000 troops in the four-month-old war. Another statistic that is outrageously high is Russian tank losses in Ukraine, which SOFREP has followed quite closely over the past few months.

Recent US intel reveals that some 1,00 Russian tanks have been destroyed or inoperable due to Ukrainians sending their turrets into low Earth orbit with their anti-tank and anti-armor weapons. This number is on par with Ukrainian estimates that 1,330 tanks have been destroyed in Ukraine. Open source military data collector Oryx puts this number at 733 as of this writing, so the numbers are not that far from each other, given how difficult it is to verify losses in an ongoing war. Orvx uses open-source data like photographs of destroyed tanks to come to its numbers, but they would not include tanks destroyed inside Russian lines. The US and Ukraine would be relying on reports from the field by units on the ground, signals intelligence and images from drones and satellites.

A decapitated Russian T-80BVM tank in Donetsk Oblast (Rob Lee/Twitter)

This is not surprising as the Russians have not faired well with their tank units. Their so-called “elite” 4th Guards Tank Division unit had been obliterated in Trotsyanets some 15 miles from the Russian border, the 1st Tank Army had been reported to incur massive losses of some 308 armored vehicles, and most recently, the Russians lost an entire tank battalion trying to cross a river in Donbas.

Rebuilding tank losses of that magnitude are no simple task, have no doubt about it. Losses of a thousand or so tanks are tough to rebuild as it takes an extravagant amount of money, time, and effort – all of which the Russians do not have. Before the invasion, Russia allegedly had some 12,420 tanks in total, with 10,000 tanks in storage (plus other vehicles) and allegedly 2,800 – 2,900 tanks in active service. So, if they had already lost a thousand or so, they should have a ton of tanks left to throw at Ukraine in Donbas, but this does not seem to be the case.

SOFREP previously reported that the Russian forces are scraping the bottom of the barrel as they were deploying very old and outdated Russian T-62 tanks to the frontlines. If you had more advanced tanks such as the  T-72s, T-80s, and T-90s, then anybody with a brain wouldn’t send out their old tanks to fight a war with Ukraine – who are armed with the world’s best anti-tank weapons. In all honesty, it looks like Russia is sending their T-62s to the chopping block. It seems to us that they are literally calling for the Ukrainians to come hit them with a Javelin or those Stug-buggies they have, with the words “Hit Me” painted on the sides of the tank. That Russian “Z” and other symbols are eventually going to be used as the main targets for these anti-tank weapons.

For an army already having morale problems, Russian troops will not be thrilled at the idea of going into battle with tanks that are relics of the 1960s.

Furthermore, the war in Ukraine has also exposed one fatal design flaw of the Russian tanks that have been taken advantage of by the Ukrainians. If you haven’t noticed yet, photographs of tanks surfacing from the frontlines reveal that the Russian tanks have been suffering from the “jack-in-the-box effect” as their turrets are blown completely off. Just a quick search on Google or social media about Russian tanks in Ukraine would give you a flurry of photos showing destroyed tanks without their turrets.