Terrifying Video Shows How Powerful a Tank Really is

The number of tanks knocked out in Ukraine by artillery and anti-tank guided missiles has led some commentators in the West to suggest that the tank has become obsolete in modern warfare. Amid the speculation, some may have forgotten just how powerful these war machines can really be. A terrifying video that has recently emerged from Ukraine shows a tank instantly destroying a group of at least a dozen infantrymen with one shot from its main gun.

Mistaken identity incident proves fatal

As with many combat videos, there is minimal context available for the footage, but a few things are immediately apparent and some smaller details can provide more hints.

It’s unclear why the incident was filmed at all, but the cameraman is located at a short distance from what appears to be a roadblock and a stuck or abandoned vehicle surrounded by a group of Ukrainian soldiers.

A tank (likely a T-72B3) approaches from the other side of the roadblock and one of the soldiers raises a hand, either in greeting or gesturing for the driver to stop.

The T-72B3 then fires its main gun at point-blank range into the group of infantry, immediately creating a gruesome cloud of smoke and viscera as the cameraman sprints away from the scene.

While the tank itself is only partially visible, the blue armbands worn by Ukrainian troops can briefly be seen. Footage allegedly showing the aftermath implies that they were indeed Ukrainian soldiers inspecting an abandoned Russian BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle.

The T-72 can be heard firing a second round from its main gun and a burst of machine-gun fire, but the first shot was such a direct hit that it is unlikely anyone was left alive to receive the second.

Tank does what it was designed for

The Ukrainians evidently believed that the approaching tank was one of their own, perhaps because they could not see the large white letters that Russians paint onto the sides of their vehicles.

Failure to distinguish between Russian and Ukrainian armor and the fact that the group is standing close together and distracted by the BMP and their phones may mean that this was a group of reservists somewhere behind the front lines.

This would explain why they did not expect to encounter Russians. Experienced soldiers should know that carelessness in a war zone can very easily be fatal, but Ukraine has mobilized huge numbers of citizen soldiers with limited opportunities for training.

The Russian tank commander may have been similarly confused about the identity of the soldiers or he may have intentionally advanced to point-blank range before opening fire, ensuring that the first shot would do as much damage as possible.

Either way, the footage vividly demonstrates the power and the continued relevance of the tank in 2022. Armored vehicles face new hazards on the battlefield but they remain fully capable of obliterating enemy infantry when the opportunity arises.

It is easy to see a smoking wreck or a blown-out turret and begin to think of tanks as impotent dinosaurs in the 21st century; footage like this is a reminder that they remain extremely capable of fulfilling their intended role.

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