The ‘Turtle Tank’: A Desperate Measure in the Face of Adversity

Christian Baghai
2 min readApr 18, 2024

The conflict in Ukraine has brought to light a series of unconventional tactics, with the recent emergence of the Russian ‘turtle tank’ being one of the most peculiar. This armored vehicle, covered in makeshift armor plating and equipped with drone jamming equipment, has been met with both bewilderment and criticism.

A Mockery of Modern Warfare

The ‘turtle tank’, as it has been mockingly named by Ukrainian forces, is a clear sign of desperation from the Russian military. The vehicle, which was spotted leading an armored attack on the town of Krasnohorivka, has been ridiculed for its bizarre appearance and questionable functionality. The tank’s heavy shielding, which resembles a metal tent, has become a meme-like fascination online, symbolizing the improvisation and last-resort tactics that have come to define Russian efforts.

Ineffectiveness on the Battlefield

Despite its intended purpose, the ‘turtle tank’ has shown significant drawbacks. The added metal sheets not only hinder the tank’s mobility but also limit the turret’s traverse, compromising its combat capabilities. Critics argue that such modifications are unlikely to protect the crew from drones and may even render the tank ineffective in battle.

The 5th Motorised Rifle Brigade: Controversy and Inefficiency

The troops of the 5th Motorised Rifle Brigade, who have been operating near Donetsk city, have been associated with this unconventional armored vehicle. However, their involvement has not been without controversy. Reports suggest that the brigade has faced setbacks and inefficiencies, casting doubt on the effectiveness of such unconventional tactics.

Russia’s Unsustainable Losses

The introduction of the ‘turtle tank’ and other unconventional armored vehicles is a response to the unsustainable losses Russia has faced in its regular vehicle fleet. Cities like Bakhmut and Avdiivka have become graveyards for Russian tanks, prompting a shift towards these makeshift solutions.

Ukraine’s Effective Countermeasures

Ukraine has demonstrated a remarkable ability to counter these unconventional threats. Their strategy has effectively neutralized the effectiveness of Russian tanks, including the ‘turtle tank’, through the use of anti-tank weapons, drones, and strategic planning.

Conclusion: The Uncertain Fate of Russian Innovation

The ‘turtle tank’ is emblematic of a Russian military struggling to adapt to the realities of modern warfare. While innovation is crucial in times of conflict, the execution and practicality of such inventions are equally important. The ‘turtle tank’ may be an interesting footnote in the history of military engineering, but its impact on the outcome of the war remains to be seen.