Teresa Diaz |
Madrid (EFE).- Lieutenant General of the Army Francisco Gan Pampols warns that Ukraine is not going to win the war with tanks alone, so he believes that once they are achieved they represent “one more step” for subsequent requests by Ukrainian President Valodimir Zelensky.
This soldier in the reserve analyzes for EFE the decision of a group of allied countries, including Spain, to send battle tanks to Ukraine in response to Zelenski’s request and how this new material can influence the course of the war.
Gan emphasizes that the tanks are not decisive by themselves and predicts that from Ukraine there will be “a cascade” of requests for weapon systems that accompany these armored vehicles, such as self-propelled artillery, sapper combat vehicles, etc.
300 tanks to break a battlefront
How many tanks would it take for a decisive action like breaking a battle front?
According to Gan, it will depend on the type of front and how the defense is organized. “On a typical front, of about 40 kilometers, around 300 tanks would be needed plus the rest of the accompanying vehicles such as artillery, sappers, etc.”
When asked what number of cars Spain could donate without jeopardizing the capabilities of our Army, he replied that it is a question that he cannot enter into.
“Both the risk that is assumed and the amount of aid that is to be provided are political decisions,” he says.
A complex shipment
In his opinion, sending the allies is “complex”, in view of the models that are going to be donated (German Leopard 2, British Challenger 2 and American M1 Abrams). “It’s not that they arrive tomorrow on a train and that’s it.”
They use different types of fuel and some weapon systems would not be compatible since, despite the fact that in two of them the caliber is the same, the ammunition setting is different. And then there is the problem of the language in which the computers or the instructions are programmed.
The way of using the allied cars is different from that of the Russian tanks with which the Ukrainian army was training. For this reason, he asserts: “You have to think in long terms of time.”
Tune up deprecated Leopards
Gan explains that the fifty disused Leopard A4s stored in Zaragoza and that, as reported by the Defense Minister, Margarita Robles, would be the ones that, in principle, are sent to Ukraine are subjected to a dehumidification process.
It means that they have been brought to a zero-humidity situation, all circuits have been emptied, and major parts, such as weapons or transmission systems, have been disassembled.
To fine-tune them -he explains- we would have to do the reverse process. “That consumes a lot of time and, furthermore, after such a long break they are going to present bugs that will have to be corrected through trial and error.”
Likewise, it will be necessary to check if there are spare parts because they are vehicles that have ceased to be produced at the end of the 90s. “And all this has a cost,” he indicates.
six months of instruction
Gan recalls that the Ukrainian military has to be instructed in its management and use. Not only do they have to learn to drive them, but they must become familiar with computer-aided shooting systems or know how to act in coordination with other vehicles.
Spain has expressed its willingness to train the Ukrainian military and Defense is in favor of this training being carried out in our country, which is where simulators are available for it.
The general explains that the training program in the Spanish army units consists of three phases: instruction, training and combat, and lasts six months.
In addition, in the case of the Ukrainians, those who are going to take care of the maintenance of the vehicles should also be trained. An activity that is complicated on the battlefield. “It’s not the same as in an industrial warehouse,” he warns.
Are there sufficient stocks of ammunition?
The tanks need ammunition to be effective, are Spain and the allied countries prepared to supply it?
“It will depend on what you decide to contribute”, but “no country in Europe has a ‘stock’ of ammunition that allows it to supply it indefinitely because the level of consumption in this war is very high.”
For this reason, countries that have ammunition factories will have to recover their production capacity.