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As Russia’s Armored Vehicles Get Worse, Ukraine’s American-Made M-2s Destroy Them Faster

In 28 months of hard fighting, the Russia military has lost around 4,000 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles—the two types of armored vehicle that haul troops into battle. That’s around 150 destroyed Russian APCs and more-heavily-armed IFVs a month, on average, that the analysts at Oryx have visually confirmed.

Ukrainian losses are much lower: around a thousand APCs and IFVs since Russia widened its war on Ukraine in February 2022.

Last month, Russian losses spiked—to a staggering 288 APCs and IFVs, according to analyst Andrew Perpetua, who also tallies vehicle losses in Ukraine. “This is only what we could see and count,” Perpetua stressed.

It’s apparent what’s happening. Around the ruins of the eastern city of Avdiivka, one of the most violent sectors of the 700-mile front line in Ukraine, the Ukrainians are deploying better vehicles, while the Russians are deploying worse vehicles. When the Ukrainian and Russian vehicles clash, the Russians get beaten—badly.

A pair of videos that circulated on social media over the past month graphically illustrate the vehicular imbalance. In both cases, Ukraine’s American-made M-2 Bradley IFVs took on Russian APCs—and demolished them. Potentially dozens of Russians died in the two skirmishes.

In the first fight, on or just before May 2, one of Russia’s aging MT-LB armored tractors—pulled out of long-term storage and fitted with cage armor to deflect explosive drones—speeds toward Ukrainian lines west of Avdiivka with around half a dozen infantry riding on top. An M-2—one of more than 300 of the 1990s-vintage vehicles the United States has donated to Ukraine—rolls out to meet it.

It’s an unfair contest. The 13-ton MT-LB was designed to be a support vehicle. With its thin armor and lack of heavy armament for its two crew, it was never meant to carry troops directly into battle. But after losing thousands of heavier BMP IFVs, the Russians had no choice but to press the tracked tractors into front-line service as APCs.

By contrast, the 34-ton M-2 was designed for direct combat. It’s got an accurate and fast-firing 25-millimeter auto-cannon and effective armor for its passengers and crew.

In the video, the M-2’s three crew detect the MT-LB and open fire. The Russian infantry leap off their MT-LB right before the Bradley’s 25-millimeter rounds chew up the vulnerable tractor. “M-2 Bradley shows how it’s done,” the Ukrainian defense ministry boasted.

A month later on or around Sunday, something similar happened. Two Russian BTR-82 wheeled APCs rolled toward Ukrainian lines outside Avdiivka, dozens of infantry sheltering under their anti-drone cages.

The 15-ton BTR-82 is newer than the MT-LB, and more heavily armed—but nearly as vulnerable in a direct fight with a tracked M-2. A Ukrainian drone spotted the BTRs, an M-2 took up an advantageous position for an ambush and, when the Russian vehicles rolled into an open area devoid of cover, the M-2 crew opened fire.

In the video of the engagement, the 25-millimeter rounds slice into the infantry riding on top of the BTRs. Something cooks off on one of the vehicles—a smoke grenade, perhaps—sending bodies flying. Survivors scatter as the M-2 peppers the BTRs and the infantry cower in shell craters.

“We demonstrate once again that only modern technologies and skillful use of American equipment are a significant advantage on the battlefield,” the 47th Mechanized Brigade stated on one of its social-media accounts.

It’s true. Since getting its first of more than 300 M-2s starting early last year, the Ukrainians have lost around 40 of the vehicles. The average loss rate—around two Bradleys a month—has remained steady as the Ukrainians have gained experience with the type.

So far, the 47th Mechanized Brigade is the only Ukrainian operator of M-2s. But after getting a fresh batch of a hundred or so of the vehicles last month, the general staff in Kyiv might be able to equip a second brigade. That would double the number of sectors where Ukraine could have a vehicular advantage over Russia.

And there’s no reason the Americans can’t send a lot more M-2s. The U.S. Army no longer uses the model of the Bradley that Ukraine uses—and there should be around a thousand of them sitting in the U.S. Army’s sprawling storage sites, including one in California currently holding around 500 of the vehicles.

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1. Oryx:;;

2. Andrew Perpetua:

3. Ukrainian defense ministry:

4. 47th Mechanized Brigade:

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