Russia, with all of its bravado and confidence when they started attacking Ukraine, has been experiencing a lot of mishaps in the battlefield. The latest one is their elite tank unit “tanking” mid-battle (yes, pun intended).

The 1st Guards Tank Army (1st GTA) of the Russian military is supposedly one of their most elite and important forces in their current arsenal. They are an armored corps that specializes in combined-arms warfare, specifically defending against enemy armored assaults. The 1st GTA was formed in 1941 and played a key role during the Great Patriotic War, defending Moscow from German advances towards the city. Since then, it has taken part in various operations including the Soviet war in Afghanistan and Chechnya as well as providing defense for Russia’s eastern border. However, these tanks, probably because of little-to-no maintenance, are starting to break down even as Russian fighters are using them in the middle of battle.

The 1st GTA is currently deployed along Russia’s defensive line in the Luhansk Oblast region of Ukraine, where they have suffered heavy losses due to clashes with Ukrainian forces. However, despite being well below its usual strength of 25,000 personnel, the MoD has ordered a new wave of Putin’s conscripts to help patch up these losses and replenish the ranks for future battles.

(Source: 270862/Flickr)

The primary purpose of the 1st GTA is to protect Russia from potential armored invasions on any front. As such, it is equipped with some of Russia’s best battle tanks such as T-90A main battle tanks and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles. In addition, they also carry out reconnaissance missions using motorized infantry units alongside drones and other aerial surveillance capabilities to provide intelligence on enemy movements or possible targets.

The importance of this army lies not only in its physical presence but also its psychological impact on enemies when resisting invasions or conflicts on Russian soil. As a result of its victories throughout history during World War 2 and later conflicts such as Chechnya, this unit has earned a fearsome reputation among those who would oppose them or threaten Russian security. This fear was even reflected by Nazi Germany’s General Heinz Guderian, the Father of Blitzkrieg who acknowledged the strength of the Russian tanks infantry.

Overall, The 1st Guards Tank Army (1st GTA) was expected to play an integral role for Russia’s military by providing protection from potential ground invasions while also instilling fear into enemies due to their past successes over decades of service. However, despite its deep history and magnanimous representation in the media, the 1st GTA has suffered staggering losses in the war that they’re now being pulled as reservists.

Intelligence officials also noted that the army division has had multiple failed missions including the recapture of Kyiv and Kharkiv. The 4th Guards Tank Division (GTD), still part of the elite group of Russian ground forces, also failed to isolate Kharkiv because of their “hesitant and amateurish” conducts, according to intelligence officials. All-in-all, it is estimated that the 1st GTA failed to recapture 6,000 sqkm of territory during their deployment.

During Ukraine’s Independence Day, the authorities also paraded broken Russian tanks that were caught in battle. Then in July, two other tanks where showcased in Warsaw’s Castle Square, the T-72 and the 2S-19 self-propelled howitzer were on display, with mud and broken features.