The war in Ukraine has decimated Russian President Putin’s armor forces to such an extent he has been forced to send old T-54 and T-55 tanks that sport World War II technology.
What happens next in this conflict? How many more tanks and armored weapons will Putin see destroyed in Ukraine?
We know one thing for sure: social media will capture it all for us to see.
The War in Ukraine: The Footage Is Shocking
A Ukraine war video shared on social media back in March showed the destruction of a Russian MT-LB northeast of the city of Staromykhailivka in the Donetsk Oblast.
The Kremlin vehicle was reported to be carrying 100mm ammunition for MT-12 Rapira anti-tank guns.
The 42-second-long clip had been posted by Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons), and has been shared countless times and keeps racking up views.
It showed a drone loitering over the heavily-camouflaged Russian-tracked vehicle, which appeared to have attempted to take a low position off of a dirt road.
It is unclear if any crew members were inside the MT-LB when the drone dropped its deadly ordnance, which struck the vehicle resulting in a chain reaction that set off its cargo of ammunition.
The Soviet-designed, low-profile MT-LB (“Mnogotselevoy tyagach legky bronirovanny,” literally “multi-purpose towing vehicle light armored”) first entered service with various Warsaw Pact nations in the early 1970s. As its name suggests, the tracked armored fighting vehicle can serve in a number of roles.
However, because of its fairly thin armor, which is just 14mm at its max, and its light armament – typically an NSV or Kord machine gun or 30mm autocannon – it has largely been relegated to use as a mortar carrier and ammunition carrier.
It was in the latter role that the vehicle was reportedly employed to and was bringing 100mm anti-tank ordnance to the frontlines.
The social media posts suggested it was carrying ammunition for the MT-12 Rapira (2A29), a Soviet-era smoothbore towed anti-tank gun – a weapon that has seen considerable use in the ongoing war.
The MT-12 is an improved version of the 100mm T-12 anti-tank gun that entered service in 1961 and proved quite successful.
The MT-12 features a wider track and more robust suspension, which allows it to be towed by the tracked MT-LB.
As noted, the video didn’t seem to show any casualties from the drone attack. However, striking an APC version of the MT-LB would have been an even bigger victory for the Ukrainians as the vehicle has a crew of two but can also carry up to 11 troops to the frontlines.
The area around Staromykhailivka has been the scene of fighting since April 2014, when pro-Russian separatists captured several towns in Donetsk Oblast.
#Ukraine: A Russian MT-LB carrying 100mm ammunition for the MT-12 Rapira AT gun was destroyed by the Ukrainian 59th Brigade using a drone-dropped munition near Staromykhailivka, #Donetsk Oblast. pic.twitter.com/GDUrDaFgle
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 11, 2023
It was liberated by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine later that same year but has been under the control of pro-Russian forces since October 2016.
The fighting in the Donbas region, including in Donetsk, has remained among the most intense of the more than year-long war. Both sides have lost significant numbers of troops and armored vehicles.
Throughout the ongoing conflict, Ukraine has relied on asymmetrical warfare – which has included the use of drones – to target and destroy Russian vehicles behind the frontlines.
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.