The Turkish Army has already lost at least 10 Leopard 2A4 tanks during their offensive on terrorists’ positions near the Syrian city of al-Bab.
According to the recent report of the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the Saudi Armed Forces have lost about 20 Abrams М1A2S tanks in Yemen, the Zone Militaire information website reported. In its turn, the Turkish Army, which has been conducting the so-called Euphrates Shield operation in the north of Syria since August 2016, has faced with the same problem with the German-made Leopard 2A4 tanks.
So, according to information from social networks, the Turkish Forces have lost at least 10 Leopard 2A4 tanks during their offensive on terrorists’ positions near al-Bab city. The losses were confirmed by the Die Welt newspaper, which wrote about the tank, manufactured by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann company and considered ‘invincible’ before.
The tank (practically of all variants of its modification) was sold to 18 countries, including Turkey, which bought 354 tanks from the Bundeswehr. All the purchased tanks were upgraded by the ASELSAN company in 2005.
But it is obviously that the tank was not designed for fighting in urban areas, despite the fact that at the time of its passing into service German engineers were looking for a compromise between its defense, weapons and maneuverability on the battlefield. As a result, the emphasis was placed on the frontal armor, but suddenly the Leopard 2 has demonstrated its vulnerable points on its sides and on the rear side of its tower. And terrorists showed a good knowledge of these weakened zones, which they targeted with the Russian Kornet-E anti-tank guided missile launcher. However, ‘fighting in urban areas’ is too ‘loud’ word for describing the situation near al-Bab. What would happen with these tanks if they operated in Aleppo or Mosul, where we can see fighting in real urban areas?
In addition, unlike the later modifications, the Turkish Leopard 2 tanks do not have an explosive-reactive armor that reduces negative effects of hitting with ammunition.
Another reason of the losses is also a lack of experience among Turkish crews, as well as a lack of a normal doctrine of tanks’ usage in urban areas.
In any case, this may explain, at least partially, difficulties of Turkish troops and Ankara-backed militant groups during the battle against terrorists near al-Bab city.