Ancient T-54 and T-55 main battle tanks are being activated by Russia, apparently

Reports from CIT and Twitter appear to indicate that Russia is mobilizing its old stockpiles of post-WWII T-54 and T-55 tanks.
Christopher McFadden
T-54 and T-55 tanks spotted apparently being mobilized.

Vitaly V. Kuzmin/Wikimedia Commons 

Recent tweets and reports from the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) indicate that Russia is putting its old T-54 main battle tanks back into service. This is supported, in part, through released videos of these tanks on trains and satellite imagery showing the recent removal of T-54 and T-55 series tanks from the 1295th Central Tank Repair and Storage Base in Russia's Far East.

The CIT obtained photographs of a train transporting the tanks, which may be bound for Ukraine. However, why these outdated tanks are being transported to Ukraine is unknown.

CIT has been investigating Russia's military involvement in Ukraine since 2014 and was forced into exile after Moscow initiated its 2022 invasion. The group has documented shipments of military vehicles from the 1295th Base, including T-62M(V) tanks, which were captured on video in Yekaterinburg in October 2022. The CIT has established that between June and November 2022, at least 191 tanks, potentially including T-62s, left the base, with the most combat-ready vehicles stored in special hangars, making it difficult to determine the exact number of tanks transported.

The Soviet Army adopted the T-54 and T-55 series tanks in the mid-to-late 1940s and 1958, respectively. While outdated, these tanks are still more helpful than having none. Still, they lack modern technology, such as rangefinders, ballistic computers, fire control systems, and gun stabilization, making them less effective. The use of T-54/55 tanks, the removal of BTR-50 armored personnel carriers, and the changes to MT-LB multi-purpose AFVs are all signs that the Russian Armed Forces might have trouble getting enough military vehicles.

"We find it difficult to determine the possible uses of these tanks, but in any case, along with the removal of BTR-50 armored personnel carriers from storage and the modification of MT-LB multi-purpose AFVs with naval anti-aircraft guns, this indicates severe issues with military vehicle supply in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation," explains the CIT.

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