Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hasn’t gone according to plan as the Kremlin envisioned it, to say the least. With an estimated 200,000 casualties, 10,000 pieces of armor, and an accelerated demographic collapse, Moscow’s future as a major world player is uncertain.

At the start of 2022, the world feared Russia’s military prowess—until it didn’t. The introduction of early Cold War-era tanks are signs Moscow is suffering from a plethora of problems in weapons production. With ever-growing battlefield losses and sanctions, the nation is slowly becoming a European North Korea.


The T54s-T55s are the oldest tanks Russia has brought out during the War in Ukraine thus far. Manufactured for service in the late 1940s, they were standard amongst the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact for several decades.

The T55s were notorious for being the tanks that crushed protestors during the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and Prague Spring in 1968. When communist revolutions occurred, they became one of the main sources of exports for Moscow.

These Tanks have Caused Catastrophic Military Defeats

The T54-55 variants were used in several wars throughout the Middle East to poor effects. During the Six Day War, Israeli tank crewmen were easily able to maneuver and close against these tanks. Only a year later, at the Valley of Tears during the Yom Kippur War, a single Israeli tank brigade shredded the advancing Syrians, destroying upwards of 260-300 T55s and T62s.

During the Gulf War, the Baathist Iraqi military used brigades of these variants against American forces at the Battle of 73 Easting. During the battle, the M2 Bradley shredded several dozen of the T55s, and over 160 tanks were destroyed by coalition forces.

Sanctions Are Starting To Feel Their Effects

Compared to the Soviet Union, the modern-day Russian Federation has had to rely on Western companies to reinvigorate its military after the collapse of the USSR. Western components have been found inside a wide variety of Russian weaponry and armor that have been destroyed and captured by Ukraine.