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mpow66m
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 they are working out the solution on the fly without a lot of real world experience with a diving ATGM such as the javelin- they are proceeding from a logical motivation, and the fact that they would improvise something- however effective or ineffective- at least shows they anticipated a real threat. it is of course a part of the process which evolves everything. you have to start somewhere, although the learning curve in this case is unforgiving, but both sides will study what happened and will continue the never-ending work of trying to 'beat the game' (the west will also have to figure out the next move to protect from loitering drones and missiles eventually if not the russians first). again, i think the russians need to come to grips with the end of life cycle of the t-72 and not just shoehorn cage armor to a tired generation of vehicles in order to solve their problems. ukraine too would eventually need to update their weapons, because recent developments  are showing the war is evolving again, and now the narrative is changing a bit to a serious development for ukraine as the russians have delivered a shellacking on ukrainian armor attempting to maneuver out in the open similarly as the russians have already experienced. you really have to sort through all the propaganda on both sides to draw any sense out of it though.

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I don't think that these cages were ever seriously considered as stopping a Javelin, because they clearly can't, and it's not as if the flight profile or the missile design are a big secret. I also don't think that the Russians lost a lot of sleep over the prospect of Ukraine buying a few hundred missiles (which was the status when these cages were first documented, IIRC). As far as I understand it, at least in the opning first three weeks of the war the vast majority of tanks was neither lost to Javelin nor even the more numerously shipped NLAW. The biggest single source were abandonment by crews (due to lack of fuel, or surplus of mud), followed by artillery fire, then NLAW and other RPGs, then Stugna, and finally also Javelin.

The focus on Javelin and the dismissal of these field modifications as "'cope' cages" appeared to me as a badly informed ad-hoc speculative explanation that reflects more on the prejudices and shallow understanding of the average internet commenter (even if interested in military topics rather than, say, "make-up unboxing life hacks"). And it's not even much of a topic anymore, anyway.

 

But as cage armor for an anticipated constant but low level threat to tanks in urban environment (after "kicking the door in" and replacing local mayors with 'cooperative' puppets), these contraptions sound a lot more plausible to me.

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2 hours ago, Ssnake said:

I don't think that these cages were ever seriously considered as stopping a Javelin, because they clearly can't, and it's not as if the flight profile or the missile design are a big secret. I also don't think that the Russians lost a lot of sleep over the prospect of Ukraine buying a few hundred missiles (which was the status when these cages were first documented, IIRC). As far as I understand it, at least in the opning first three weeks of the war the vast majority of tanks was neither lost to Javelin nor even the more numerously shipped NLAW. The biggest single source were abandonment by crews (due to lack of fuel, or surplus of mud), followed by artillery fire, then NLAW and other RPGs, then Stugna, and finally also Javelin.

The focus on Javelin and the dismissal of these field modifications as "'cope' cages" appeared to me as a badly informed ad-hoc speculative explanation that reflects more on the prejudices and shallow understanding of the average internet commenter (even if interested in military topics rather than, say, "make-up unboxing life hacks"). And it's not even much of a topic anymore, anyway.

 

But as cage armor for an anticipated constant but low level threat to tanks in urban environment (after "kicking the door in" and replacing local mayors with 'cooperative' puppets), these contraptions sound a lot more plausible to me.

 

i honestly have nothing to go on but to speculate- like the average internet commentator, that is all i have. in fact there is almost zero thought process in it, because there isn't much to go but for the most obvious reason that that these cages are placed on the tops of the vehicles, suggesting that top attacks are anticipated- which also points to top attacks from open the open floors of buildings as you say. i do not see why they are mutually exclusive if they were the result of initiatives taken by nervous crews at the unit level, that is, if you had one purpose in mind, it might fulfill the other purpose as well. i personally wouldn't feel comfortable with improvised cages on top of my t-72 like that either for either purpose, but maybe for self confidence reasons an ignorant crew might think, we have the scrap, something is better than nothing; otherwise you would have to know what the russian strategy was in the beginning, this is where it gets squirrely.

 

- the cages appear to be a unit modification rather than a directive handed down from the top, which might suggest that planners were not terribly concerned with either javelins or urban combat because they weren't as widespread even in the beginning, when supposedly there was going to be urban combat in kyiv; if it was the plan to to fight in kyiv  i would presume they would not look so ad hoc and varied depending on the unit carrying them. the question is who ordered or suggested that their tanks should install these things- did it start somewhere as a field modification like iraqi tank crews might have been prone to do, and just sort of inspired other units to pick up on them? or perhaps an order from like the general staff might have insisted that all units carry them and i would assume there would be a more commonality in them in design, performance, and appearance if they were an 'issued' item (then again, the russians never struck me as disciplined and structured as western militaries, or at least the united states military, and to the degree the us takes losing government issued equipment losses seriously, which may be either good or bad depending on how flexible you want your army to be).

 

- how much were the russians expecting to win the war by conquering kyiv in the opening days is a matter of debate. if you listen to the ukranian and western press, that was their intention and they blew it when heroic ukranians sent them packing (which they are still using as a pretext for russia's failure to win the war- even as the russians changed the scope and objective of the war and now even ukraine seems to have changed their tune at what's going on as they are losing control of the situation in donbas). were the russians really expected to cause zelensky's government to surrender in a week, or is that what someone wants you to believe. if that was the original plan, someone did not plan for it very well, or they didn't prepare kyiv with artillery, the russians were rather merciful there than compared to other cities they expected to conquer. i'm not sure the russians were planning for much urban combat in kyiv- if that was the intent, it looks as if they thought it would be done bloodlessly without much combat at all, the shock of the russians showing up so soon would have been the key ingredient and making actual fighting unnecessary. i speculate though.

 

-  the russians losing more tanks to fuel shortages or other reasons is incidental. you can always lose in a way that was unexpected, which does not mean they weren't originally purposed to do what they were intended to do, it just means something else stopping them in their tracks ironically made their preparations a moot point

 

i have found it difficult to even look at technical facts separate from some kind of PR narrative- even looking for technical details often comes attached with some form of propaganda. i have been looking to see if ukraine have been able to move armored units into a counterattack in donbas and what types of vehicles may have been involved, which it seems they have done to some extent, but all of the press is usually about russians blown up at river crossings- nothing about their own movements. understandable that they do not want to deliver information to the enemy, but for that reason, it's difficult to sort out any operational reasons for anything anyone is doing, because to know that you would have to know the intentions of either side- which both are concealing.

 

there is such glaring examples of this that it's difficult to understand what either side really thinks of the situation, with conceits on both sides which are equally preposterous, for example, russian officials claiming that western weapons are having issues with russian tanks, with ukranian officials standing firm and saying that they will not give up sievierodonetsk, but admit having to retreat if only to preserve their forces to attack again- and then you go on an read in ukranian press that the russian front has collapsed while at the same time pleading for more help because the surrounding towns are encircled and have been mauled. going back to the russians again, they are doing that thing they do from world war 2- attack everywhere and reinforce the success where it occurs, and then suggest that is what they intended to do all along- which is very convenient, because they never 'lose' in that respect, it was always going according to plan. this shows that they are either very flexible either way- either absorbing punishment and amending the plan and develop a better opportunity, or spin the narrative- to what extent is either happening is difficult to separate, they seem to go together in russian strategy as politics is a continuation of battlefield results. ukraine at the same time mocks the failures of russia when it is convenient, begs for aid and weapons when they can no longer deny that their country is being destroyed, flip the narrative either way on and off.

 

i understand the perceived need to control information by either side, but it's simply impossible for me to separate the purpose of the cages from the wider narratives being spun, because to find any information without some kind spin on the why's and hows is rather difficult. you are left to speculate, you don't get someone from the top coming right out with press conference as to why they were there but gone now, and it seems they weren't 'official' anyway but whomever had the idea seems to have determined they have either failed or they are irrelevant now

Edited by Captain_Colossus
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1 hour ago, Captain_Colossus said:

the cages appear to be a unit modification rather than a directive handed down from the top,

 

Crews adapt, learn lessons, get rdy for the next deployment with this knowledge, rinse, repeat, such as the life as a

crewman.

why they were there but gone now,

 

You may want to consider that the vids/photos that showed the units with the cage mod , were in the start of the SMO, generally after a time these units would be rotated back from the engagement line to, refit, rest etc. 

 This is a answer to "now their gone".

 

Sometimes the simplest answer has the highest probity on the scale.

 

Unit rotation is a thing :) , implemented during heavy combat to preserve units to engage at a later date/loc.

 

They may appear again, who doesn't like T tanks with cages.....Hint to ESim, Cages for all...:)

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separate the purpose of the cages from the wider narratives being spun

 

Humans are strange, but somewhat predictable: Imagine if you would (Outer limits voice) a crew in combat on the planet in the 20-21st century who sees first hand a fellow tank return with a enemy anti-tank warhead stuck in a cage . 

 

Does he mimic this, as a way to survive, or disregard the memory of the last tank he saw with the turret exploding into the air......Sir, I'd like a cage please is what I would predict . 

 

I may be wrong on this  :)

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you could very well be right: what we do not have are press conferences where the the russians explain what is going on to the press like the way the western press corps would grill pentagon officials on why the cages are there in the first place or do not appear to be working.

 

without that, you may infer a number of things. it is probable in my view that they are unit modifications (to what extent a higher echelon HQ acknowledges, endorses recommends, ordered- including taking them down- no idea there). even before the results came back when i looked at those things just before the start i thought they were a joke, something in my gut told me this wasn't normally going to save you from anything- a javelin or an RPG, and if it did, you beat the odds and got lucky, but results would not be consistent; perhaps a 10 or 20 percent chance to defeat a HEAT warhead is better than nothing at all, but given the reputation of the t-72, it tends to be an 'unlucky vehicle'; much in the way iraqi units with field modifications tended to be 'unlucky' - more for morale purposes than technical 😁

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I think that the engineers at Nii Stali are no idiots. They saw how others adopted cage armor, understood how it worked (and against what threat), conducted their own tests for confirmation. Then someone higher up gave out a recommendation for a field modification, and the repair shops of the different regiments spun into action. But they took what was available, and not all of the results actually follow the underlying logic. It may be another example of how corruption destroys an army from within, that some people simply gave a shit, or that the crucial details got lost in communication ("They want what? Some cage top? Allright, whatevs - I'll make them something.")

 

On the topic of corruption, I thought this video describes the various effects well:

 

Note that it's not an exclusive feature of the Russian Army, but it's a particularly good illustration case.

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13 hours ago, Ssnake said:

"The threat in this case was RPG 7" - yeah, duh, because cage armor is defeating only RPG-7 (which is not so bad as it may sound, being the most widely proliferated RPG in the world) ... where the deformation of the copper liner is at best a secondary function in performance reduction, but not outright defeat. RPG-7 is unique in that the electric circuit connecting the piezoelectric nose fuze with the HEAT charge's base detonator is formed by a wire and the aerodynamic aluminum casing of the round. As it wedges itself between two metal bars, the casing is crushed inwards and shortens the fuze wire before it can trigger the base detonator.

The rest of the video is fine (although I do think that the cages were intended as a countermeasure against RPG top attacks in low intensity urban combat.

The war turned out to be entirely different than anticipated, so the cages were removed, and here we are. That's at least what I'm seeing, YMMV.)

...well, ad tarp to it, and it becomes a nice shade/wether protection for the TC 😉

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4 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

...until it rains RPGs...

Last wether forcast there was its mainly raining RPG-3 with attached fins. Don't know that this cage does against them

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