Reasons of Losses of Turkish Leopard 2A4 Tanks in Syria – Report

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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.

Reasons of Losses of Turkish Leopard 2A4 Tanks in Syria – Report

Photo: arthaber.net

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.

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  • Simon Abruzzo

    Tanks without countermeasures are food for ATGM’s.

    • Pavel Pavlovich

      A “modern tank” that does not have modern defense systems.
      What a joke. And they are amazed this model suffered so much…

      • bugstomper2

        The couldn’t have installed an APS on them. No! The ATGMs would lose the element of surprise then.

    • Zionism = EVIL

      Especially if operated by Turkeys.

      • Castedo Douro

        You know what they say: how can you soar with eagles when you live among turkeys.

        • Alan J P Davilla

          Lol! Too true!

    • Bob

      Turkey and Saudi Arabia, both in northern Syria and northern Yemen, also show a distinct reservation to put any infantry around their advancing tanks. The tanks sit out in open – flat landscapes – with no advance scout units or entrenched infantry to disrupt or neutralize enemy ATGM teams. ATGM teams are mobile and make for low silhouette so hard to spot from ground but scouting infantry will disrupt and limit their scope for activity – something Turkish and Saudi infantry seem very reluctant to get out and do.

  • John Whitehot

    The tank is fine for the kind of combat missions it can perform in Syria, the losses the Turks have had seem more indicative of 1)Lack of doctrinal hence tactical coordination between combat and recon assets – that said, they are a NATO country that trained with that organization and has a high number of drones at its disposal, and also some co-in experience accumulated by fighting Kurds inside their country. This brings us to 2) – to explain the above one cannot but guess that because of the “coup” against Erdogan a significant quantity of experience and know-how has been subtracted from the army by purges to its officer corps.

  • greg

    the 2A-4 was never intended for urban warfare. that design is pretty old compared to the much newer ATGM’s its facing. it was ment for long range warfare. it does not mean its a bad tank.with some miner upgrades it could be made urban warfare ready. the 2a-7 and 2a-6 models with urban warfare packages would do a lot better . lets look at the M-60 with Israeli upgrade package that the turks are using . they have rotated these to the front lines ,because the Israelis have a lot more urban warfare combat experience. This article is pretty accurate the crew training is also easy to solve. contact the company for a maintenance contract to retrain the crews. send off the leo 2a-4’s for a urban warfare upgrade . however I doubt that will happen since turkey is fitting out its own design.

    • Pavel Pavlovich

      Isisrael has experience with urban warfare…
      not good experience, I would guess?

      • Brad Isherwood

        2006 Lebanon,….Hezbollah soldiers positioned in cross fire killing zones.
        They were not afraid to run toward a tank with RPG,…
        The Vietnamese were this in the late 60s and 70s.
        You can really chew a tank up by getting close to it with a RPG.

        Israel got its nose busted good by Hezbollah

        Hezbollah of today has years of extreme close contact combat,…Drone,
        Real time com up link, ….
        They know ATGM,MLRS,ARTY,Mortar,allong with ballistic missile.
        Rumor is they have Russian counter battery radar experience .
        Israel gonna kick chairs now : )

        Hezbollah,Certain Syrian Army groups. ..and IRGC….are solid under fire
        No jittery run and panic. …solid.
        Israel and Empire now face high calibre soldiers who are better skilled : )

        • dutchnational

          Funny.

          This article in NOT about Israel in any way and not about them facing anybody.

          Bad medicine?

          • DaveLDN

            He responded to a comment on Israeli experience in this sort of warfare. So it is a fair comment.

    • Bob

      The Israeli’s use the Sabra M-60 as second line tank – it stays behind the Merkava in offensive situation.

  • Drinas

    Reason No.1: They are operated by Turks.

  • Barba_Papa

    I’m surprised the Turks kept sending tanks that have received no ATGM protection upgrades whatsoever into Syria. All M60’s and Leo2’s straight out of the 80’s. Its not like they didn’t knew there weren’t any ATGMs in Syria. After all, they helped flood the place with them. It’s like at no point in time whatsoever did they every conceive the idea that these might actually be used against them.

    Then again that seems to be a failure of all countries supporting Jihadists. Like they expect to hand them back in after they have won the war, all nicely accounted for.

  • Brad Isherwood

    Direct contact with no space/milliseconds time gap….equals plasma jet lances into turret and ammo locker.
    The effectiveness of the plasma jet is reduced by open space…
    Hence why Syrian military junk yard bodge metal lattice screen over BMP , Tank etc.
    It works…

    Israel has modular armor on Merkava and other mechanized.
    These modules open up after ATGM hits. …the opening is rather large.
    A second hit by ATGM or armor piercing round vs cast foundry metal of turret.
    Hit one more time here……and it’s all she wrote for tank and crew.

    It’s all about plasma jet Lance time and distance over milliseconds.

    In my 2 decade + career in oil/nat gas Fabrication ,
    Was a Senior burner ,allong with CNC underwater cut plasma gantry ( Cryogenic Nitrogen)

    We used oxygen/carbon tip Lance to blow holes in 12 inch and greater high carbon steel.

    Gouging rod is similar…

    US Abrams tanks are large area plate weld.
    If not cut thru by impact….they are broken on the weldment and require extensive downtime
    To repair.

    The ATGM is the great equalizer for soldiers .
    Air Attack has lots of muni’s which can Lance thru tank armor.

    How you move your tank and position it for combat counts big.
    The Turk Saudi tanks were stationary targets…..
    Thermal scope can locate a tank just like binocular to a reachable distance,
    You see it….. you can kill it.

    Tanks are a risky place to be,

    Ships too : )

    • PZIVJ1943

      Great info. So good defense against ATGM is spaced armor. The welded on lattice used by Syrians may work well. As you said, it would be better to keep tank out of view! Looks like the crews are not well trained (move and shoot, and move again).
      ISUS appears to use Kornets mostly?
      What is up with reactive ATGM system on T90, do they mess up signal to launcher unit and/or confuse seeker head?

      • Brad Isherwood

        Several defense formats to defeat optic,lazing,wire guided line of sight attack ATGM.
        TOP attack is more difficult as pr ballistic trajectory,…hence why air attack can drive
        High velocity muni of lesser tnt value right thru the heart. ..as they say.

        IMHO…..a Syrian T 62 can be an artillery platform via Forward Controler,
        Can bust thru Burm or walls…
        Is a Surge shield for troops following on close.
        Fit it with Thermal targeting as Russian tech side can do. …
        This old tank can rule on the battlefield.

        It’s really about how you fight your equipment.
        There are some Vids of Syrian tanks with no lattice protect bust into city with
        Takfiri shooting at them from every direction.
        These tank drivers and commanders were like Ballet dancers,
        Posted one video over on Syrian Perspective before.
        Turn the tank on a dime with other tanks covering movement.
        It was amazing to see…
        No Israeli tank crew has this kind of combat experience… .nor skill in movement attack in city confines.

        Syria’s going to have one hell of a skilled teacher base for its future military,
        So to…..for Hezbollah : )

        • abuqahwa

          Excellent comments, your quote : ” It’s really about how you fight your equipment. ” says it all. Time and again superior morale, leadership, tactics and battlefield improvisation beat NATO boasting their ” state of the art/fifth generation/hi-tech weapons platform ” etc..

          • Brad Isherwood

            https://youtu.be/fLK_Stj6h24

            Syrian Armor in Jobar…
            There are several different Vids of this opp to follow on YouTube.
            Considering what an ATGM or RPG can do to a tank,
            Going into hi rise zones is balls to the wall bravery.
            The Jobar opp had Syrian forward controllers on high vantage point
            Walking the tanks up to contact zones.

            Syrian,and IRGC/Hezbollah…. have close forward controller battle experience.

            This is what Israel and Empire fear…
            The ability to reactive move.. on contact

      • Zsolt Antal

        Modern MBTs usually have APS (active protection system) and these leopard tanks weren’t equiped with any of that, APS is a very effective protection against ATGMs, these are extremelly fast automatic … well pretty much flak guns that automatically shoots at missiles heading towards the tank and so it can activate their fuse way before impact. APS has some limitations tho, it can only carry a few rounds and if the missile comes from close range it wont be able to lock on the missile, most T-90 models have some sort of APS equiped. There is passive protection system in the other hand and that is not really effective against modern ATGMs, but on paper it should jam the missile before impact and try to change its direction. Btw i think you’ve got the wrong idea about ATGMs. Very few models controlled via some sort of lock on technology, beacuse usually that can be countered rendering it useless, most of them controlled in real time by the launcher usually via some type of signal.

        • bugstomper2

          Once APS takes out the ATGM or RPG-7 warhead. The ‘element of surprise’ is lost and the tank will have the ‘upper hand’.

      • Bob

        The only problem with the sorts of homemade-retrofitted-welded on lattice steel we see on armor in Syria by all parties is that in urban warfare the bulky straight lines of these spaced add-ons are easily torn off on signs and buildings when in narrow streets. It is cheap and reasonably effective improvisation on exposed older vehicles like BMP’s but also has drawback of adding very boxy and visible straight lines to the vehicles profile silhouette – in contrast modern vehicle’s reactive armor is mounted on chassis and maintains the lower chassis profile.

      • bugstomper2

        Were the **** is the infantry that supposed to be between the tanks, spotting targets that the tank crew can’t see?

    • bugstomper2

      Sandbags between the ‘caged armour’ and the tank work well too.

      • Brad Isherwood

        https://pictures.abebooks.com/isbn/9780891417224-us-300.jpg

        This is an excellent account of WW 2 armor .
        http://cdn.historynet.com/wp-content/uploads/image/2012/MH/07%20JUL/600x500xHandTool.jpg.pagespeed.ic.VtJsdCHhmZ.jpg

        RPG ( Wiki)
        Studying German and US anti-tank rocket designs, in 1944 the Soviets began development of the RPG-1 with the goal of combining the best features of the German Panzerfaust with the US Bazooka. Propelled by a 30 mm cartridge, the 70 millimetres (2.8 in) HEAT round could penetrate about 150 millimetres (5.9 in) of homogeneous armor.[2]

        The recent years Movie …Fury** …with Brad Pitt …absolute realistic.

        My Uncle … Was Sherman Tank Brigade…..D Day + 6…
        Inside of a few months….they were decimated by German anti tank guns and the
        75mm or 88mm tanks which survived the Allied air attacks.
        Dedicated history journals/magazine reveal what mainstream teacher history does not.
        Like bomber crews in the US 8th Airforce during 1943…..you were lucky to survive 10
        Missions…let alone….make it to 25.

        Tanks….we’re death traps.

        • Derek Gomez

          US Army documented a 1% Death rate in Armored Force in Northwest Europe…British Army twice that, and that didn’t indicate if they were in or out of the tanks when hit.

      • Derek Gomez

        US Army Ordnance tested that in WW2 and found it made the Panzerfausts work better. Also only the 12th Armored Division Did that. The three things that worked best were, Combined Armed Tactics, Add On Steel Armor, or Bar/Cage Armor.

    • LORD_PHANTOM2003

      Yeah…. older variant+inexperienced Turks…… yeah that’s why even older leopards operated by the Germans works better against ATGMs

      • Brad Isherwood

        The Syrian conflict has proven the import…. that Recon triumphs on the Battlefield.
        Sun Tzu …..Art of War.

        Airpower with real time night thermal targeting,…or real time Sat up link to what’s positioned.
        Tanks and Blitzkrieg still effective ….when Recon works the math.
        http://www.chinatopix.com/articles/112061/20170302/new-syrian-army-infrared-jammer-protects-tanks-vs-tow-atgms.htm

        Syria’s junk yard bodge Bird nest ATGM jammers work…
        To bad they did not Lattice their mechanized and mass produce the Sarab Jammers with say….Iran or China’s help.

        Costly war…..Many 1000s died because of Area awareness/Recon assessment.

        Syria has lots of Artillery…
        Drones,…Russian Sat coverage. ..
        They should have just pummeled ISUS and FSA with Arty….turn the landscape into the moon surface.
        Make ISUS and FSA move……take away the pre set ATGM kill zones.

        Uncle Shlomo will of course be pissed off….all that planning gone to shit : )

  • Zionism = EVIL

    Tanks operated by Turkeys, never a good idea.

  • Khang Tiger

    The reality in the battle field prove that Russian T90 is the best

  • Tyrant Fashister

    Sorry but the A4 is from the beginning of the 80s and i dont have seen catastrophic kills with A4 tanks cooking off and turrets gets blown up.The losses are most likely mechanical problems(mobility kills) after receiving hits because of chaotic kebab logistical infrastructure.I rather be in a Leopard than in a T-72.

  • #jesuisahmet

    Turks are stupid,this is the main reason.

  • Random guy

    Reminded me of Soviet invasion of Finland. Stalin executed most of military officers by 1937, leaving the army with no experience. As a result Soviets faced comparatively enourmous casualties.
    Erdogan also locked up most of the officers in summer 2016.

  • Bob

    No matter, Germany currently has big batch of surplus older model Leopards to flog off – Turkey can buy up more obsolete models and repeat this whole process all over again. Consider Turkish armour as useful target to exhaust ISIS’s ATGM supply – they captured a lot when overran Iraqi supply depots – more ISIS fire at Turkish tanks less they have to hit SAA T-72’s.

  • Lynx Fēlēs

    Who sold Russian guided missile launchers to terrorists, and where did they purchase them?

    • Bob

      ISIS got large amount of Kornet ATGM’s when they turned away from Syria and attacked Iraq and overran Iraqi military depots. The US post-invasion/ restructured Iraqi army bought the Kornet ATGM’s for new inventory. ISIS’s top echelon contains numerous ex-Iraqi military officers – who were all summarily fired by US post-invasion – but they still knew where to go and what to target to get Iraqi military hardware.

      • Brad Isherwood

        Syria has captured TOW and ATGM reload packs.
        Kurds probably have some too.
        Iran version of copy R&D TOW is effective.
        RPG 29 with tandem warhead for contact/delayed plasma jet …to defeat
        Reactive armor or spaces.

        Ugly as is….Lattice screen is the best way to counter most strike weapons,
        Except Top down attack.

        During WW 2. ..Falaise gap post D Day
        Bombing raids and dive attacks of Hawker Typhoon and other. ..
        Decimated German armor.
        Tiger Tanks and other heavy tanks were flipped upside down by the bombing volume.

        Had the allies not had** the air mobility domination,
        It’s doubtfully the measly landing force would have survived vs numerous tank
        Regiments.

        Syria…unless US,Nato or Turk attack them….do not have the problem of air attack.

        This war has challenged operational doctrine and made real time info…King of Battle.

        Russian Airforce did rescue Syria.
        Russian Sat coverage and communication are what defeats Empire.

        Putin and Assad ….Smile : )

      • bugstomper2

        Yeah, it was crazy! Iraqi soldiers outmanned Daesh/ISIS twenty to one, and they ran away, leaving all the Amercan military hardware behind. Go figure?

  • Paulo Romero

    The Germans won’t be selling any more Leopards any time soon. Perhaps they should offer them with a 5 year 100000km motorplan and an “ATGM hit buyback” scheme??😂😂😂😂.The issue here , is not so much the vehicles but the reluctance of Turkish infantry to fight ‘toe to toe’ on foot with the Daesh. Take away the infantry’s G3’s and give them Akm’s , PK’s,RPG’s and RPOA’s. Let them close in with Isis , instead of waiting to be fried in tanks and MRAPs with poor visibility. Issue more mortars and deploy more spotters for artillery and sniper teams. Go through holes blasted in walls or from roof to roof , instead of streets. The missiles used on the tanks were supplied by the Turks themselves in exchange for oil stolen by Isis. Even the Captagon pills that Isis uses to keep it’s psychos high and fearless comes from Turkey. Time for the Turks to eat the shit sandwich they supplied and it’s “hmmmm good”!!.

  • Joachim Schreiber

    Well…Who asked them to interfere in Kurdistan in the first place…

  • bugstomper2

    Tanks are supposed to be on the move, the Germans demonstrated that in WW2. Not ‘sitting ducks’ waiting to get hit.

  • WRECKIT8
  • bruce wayne

    Hi

  • Deniz Arslan

    Numbers are wrong, reasons are wrong and the result is no KIA… just the weakness of leo2a4 and wrong tactics

  • Tolga

    Reasons?
    1-We don’t have reactive armor or Active Protection systems because from sight of goverment, these men’s life are cheap. Thanks to our religion death is just like breathing in nowadays. (I am not making compliment about this!)
    2-ISIS using human shields, Guarilla warfare,traps , mines , explosives , tunnels … etc.
    3-We sufered few loses but operation was succesfull. Now North Iraq Kurdish separatist don’t have connection in north Syria . They made election for becoming independent last week. But it’s useless now , they don’t have border with outside .
    4-(That line is for racist pigs) ISIS mostly focused to us now, you should be really glad and grateful. Muslims killing muslims. Just eat your popcorns and keep watching, it’s easy to talk from your warm homes via Keyboards. Just flying from 5000 Feet and dropping some bombs don’t mean you are fighting with TERRORISTS. Land warfare and land invasion with minimum Airsupport (Russian plane crisis),you need balls for doing that. But i am so proud of you, you are at least 2000 km away from ISIS and acting so brave in your warm beds or in front of Computers . Whoaaa .
    You are all closed your borders when few Syrians came :D:D adsadasads you are damn brave. Just shut up and put flags of facebook in your profile picture :( .