Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

What this old Russian tank tells us about the invasion of Ukraine

Task and Purpose

One of the simplest explanations for Russia’s military strategy in Ukraine can be found in a large unassuming warehouse full of tanks.

The U.S. Army Armor and Cavalry Collection at Fort Benning, Georgia, houses tanks from the Army’s first M1 Abrams, all the way back to the oldest armored vehicle in the service’s inventory.

Nestled among the rows of armored behemoths, right next to an American M60 main battle tank, is a Russian T-62 which still looks exactly like it did when it was captured from the Iraqi Army in 1991, according to collection curator Rob Cogan. While a great educational tool for new armor branch soldiers at Fort Benning, the tank also serves as a reminder that history can, and often does, repeat itself.

During a tour of the collection on April 6, Cogan explained that in the past, Soviet doctrine was to focus on the attack, not defense — “the attack is your defense,” he said of their thinking. Stopping for something like refueling was not a priority. Whereas the U.S. military has an intricate logistics network that would ensure everything is getting fuel when it needs it, the Russian military doesn’t exactly think that way, and hasn’t for some time.


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