The Ukrainian Rebels’ New Weapon Is a World War II Tank
Today, we advance on Kiev—tomorrow, Berlin
Ukraine’s anti-government rebels have been getting help from Russia. Now they may be getting help from Josef Stalin.
Or rather, a JS-3 Stalin heavy tank dating back to World War II.
The Stalin tank in question is a museum piece in more way than one. It’s actually sitting on a pedestal, apparently as some kind of monument in Ukraine to the Great Patriotic War.
In this Youtube video, released by a group called Anti-Maidan, white smoke billows from the tank’s engine.
“Today local MacGyvers from Kostiantynivka, Donetsk People’s Republic have taken [a] World War II-era monument JS-3 heavy tank and brought it back to life,” according to video caption. “Good Soviet engineering is still able to serve today, and will serve in fight against [the] Kiev junta.”
Unfortunately for the Donetsk People’s Republic armored corps and its talented mechanics, the tank doesn’t seem to do much. In the video, it remains solidly on its pedestal as it belches white smoke, raising the question of whether the rebels plan to resort to chemical warfare by asphyxiating their enemies with carbon monoxide.
Even if the tank were able to move—and move under its own power—there’s the small matter of finding ammunition for its 70-year-old cannon.
And while anything named Stalin is not to be trifled with—the Nazis certainly didn’t enjoy the output of that big 122-millimeter gun—we must point out that the Ukrainian government tanks it will face will not be Tigers or Shermans from 1945.
The 50-ton JS-3 has a maximum of around 19 centimeters of armor, and the quality of World War II Soviet armor plate wasn’t sterling. A Ukrainian army T-80UD is somewhat lighter at about 45 tons, but it has closer to 100 centimeters of high-tech armor plate plus explosive armor to detonate anti-tank weapons.
Which also reminds us that quite a few Russian heavy tanks fell victim to Nazi Panzerfaust rockets, which suggests that the venerable JS-3 would not last long against Ukraine’s modern RPG-29 rockets.
On the other hand, the Youtube video solicits Paypal donations for Anti-Maidan. So perhaps the Stalin need only sit imposingly on its pedestal and belch hot air.