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Destroying your AFV.


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Reading current accounts of recent events in Ukraine.

The shear number of captured Russian equipment is staggering.

I can not understand why retreating crews do not destroy there vehicles.

Rather then see them captured.

Even under pressure to move quickly you could simple drop a grenade in the turret  

And run like hell.

I know in WW2 this was the case.

Do individual armies have different rules or such an action.

And can soldiers get in to trouble for destroying there own vehicles.



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War is chaotic. Some armies are more chaotic than others. Professionalism and morale also play a role.


For the Bundeswehr, a strict protocol was to be followed - Remove the crypto module from the radio. Dismount MGs. Dismount tank with personal gear. Maps and a timed thermite charge into the breach.

This served several purposes,

- the tank is reliably out of action

- as little intelligence into the enemy's hands as possible

- all captured tanks have the same problem, so you can't repair with parts from the other

- there's a standard repair method, if you re-capture a lost tank; Breech and gun tube need to be replaced, everything else might still be intact


I know that the US Army has a similar protocol (even though more often than not they seem to simply blow their lost tanks with one or several Mavericks or Hellfire missiles, which is much less of a "strict protocol"). I would suspect that even the Russian Army has such regulations. But then the questions is, are the crews issued thermite charges? Are they trained in standardized demolition? Are they rewarded for such action, or do they face penalty for damaging their own equipment?

Much also seems to hinge on the officers, there is no meaningful NCO corps in the Russian Army. Well, then you only have one platoon leader to ensure that standards are being followed. And that one lieutenant is probably in over his head and has a gazillion other problems to deal with.


Fixing such cultural issues during a shooting war is, if not impossible, at least very very difficult.

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