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Ukraine’s Best Tank Brigade Has Won The Battle For Chernihiv

Rogue Valley

Putin = War Criminal
DP Veteran
Apr 18, 2013
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Ukraine’s Best Tank Brigade Has Won The Battle For Chernihiv


When a Russian tank army swept southwest from the Russia-Belarus border region into northern Ukraine on the morning of Feb. 24, a single Ukrainian tank brigade stood between it and the eastern suburbs of Kyiv. The Ukrainian army’s 1st Tank Brigade was outnumbered—not only by the 10 or so battalion tactical groups belonging to the Russian 41st Combined Arms Army, but also adjacent Russian formations. Incredibly, the 1st Tank Brigade not only halted the larger Russian force in the first few days of Russia’s wider war in Ukraine, it swiftly transitioned to an active defense and, for the next five weeks, protected the city of Chernihiv, 60 miles northeast of Kyiv. The Russians surrounded and cut off Chernihiv, but the 1st Tank Brigade and an assortment of reserve and territorial units held out. Today, the Ukrainians retook the first of several main roads connecting Kyiv and Chernihiv, lifting a month-long siege and shifting the momentum along this front toward the Ukrainians for the first time since the Russians attacked. The 1st Tank Brigade is one of the best of Ukraine’s 20 active brigades. It includes three tank battalions with the latest locally-produced T-64BM tanks as well as a mechanized infantry battalion with BMP fighting vehicles. Each battalion on paper includes 40 or 50 vehicles and around 400 troops.

The brigade’s supporting troops include three artillery battalions—one each with 2S1 and 2S3 self-propelled howitzers and BM-21 rocket-launchers—plus air-defense troops with Strela-10 and Tunguska tracked missile-launchers and guns. Higher units, including nearby air-defense and artillery brigades, provide additional firepower, including heavier rockets and howitzers and longer-range air-defense systems. The 1st Tank Brigade concentrated its forces in time to intercept the 41st CAA barreling toward Chernihiv, a city of 290,000 and a key strong-point for Kyiv’s outer defense. On the first full day of major ground combat, the 1st Tank Brigade halted the 41st CAA’s advance. Soon the 1st Tank Brigade and its associated reservists and territorials were alone in Chernihiv. For the next three weeks, they defeated every Russian attempt to capture the city and clear a wider path toward Kyiv. What’s next for the 1st Tank Brigade is unclear. Kyiv undoubtedly will shift forces east in an effort to relieve Kharkiv, reinforce the front line through Donbas and, hopefully, lift the brutal siege of Mariupol along the Sea of Azov coast. What role the 1st Tank Brigade plays in this next phase of the war probably depends on how much time the brigade needs to rest exhausted battalions, repair battered tanks and intake replacement troops and vehicles.

Slava Ukrayini!

For the last few years, Ukraine has done well in the annual battle tank competition games held in Germany.
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