Moscow’s 1st Guards Tank Army could take years to rebuild following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, a report has claimed. The unit is believed to consist of at least 500 tanks and other combat vehicles.
Footage from Ukraine appears to have shown Russian tanks either burned out or being towed away by tractors.
In its recent intelligence update, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) laid bare the woes facing Putin’s troops.
The MoD said: “Elements of the Russian forces withdrawn from Kharkiv Oblast over the last week were from the 1st Guards Tank Army (1 GTA), which are subordinate to the Western Military District (WEMD).
“1 GTA suffered heavy casualties in the initial phase of the invasion and had not been fully reconstituted prior to the Ukrainian counter-offensive in Kharkiv.
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“1 GTA had been one of the most prestigious of Russia’s armies, allocated for the defence of Moscow, and intended to lead counter-attacks in the case of a war with NATO.
“With 1 GTA and other WEMD formations severely degraded, Russia’s conventional force designed to counter NATO is severely weakened.
“It will likely take years for Russia to rebuild this capability.”
According to the Telegraph, 1 GTA was given high-level tasks, including in attempting to capture Kyiv and Kharkiv, during the early stages of the conflict.
Justin Crump, a military expert at security consultancy Sybilline, said: “Poor junior leaders, lack of mounted infantry, poor communications, weak integration with artillery and aviation, all added to the ‘wrong mission, wrong mindset’ from the start of the army’s mission.
“It got off on the wrong track and never recovered from there.”