So Much for the Wunderwaffen

Ukrainian armored troops are less than keen about taking their Leopard tanks into battle:

Ukrainian tank crews have been faking malfunctions on their tanks to justify not going into combat against Russian forces, fellow soldiers operating German Leopards have told Der Spiegel magazine. The revelation was part of a frontline report published by the news outlet.

The magazine spoke to three German-trained Ukrainian troops who were among the crew of two Leopard 2A6 tanks provided to Kiev by the Bundeswehr.

The report cites a loader nicknamed Gutsik, who claimed that some crews fake technical malfunctions to avoid being sent to the frontline. He reportedly told the magazine that dodging an engagement altogether was better than entering combat only to pull out after the first shot.

Another said he didn’t blame those who are refusing.

“If they hit the turret, you’re a heap of ashes,” a man identified as Misha told Spiegel.

Remember, this is not a Russian report. It’s a German one directly quoting Ukrainian soldiers. So it’s not propaganda. I expect that NATO pilots, of every state including the USA, are even more determined to avoid flying in the teeth of Russia’s air defenses. What are F-16s supposed to do against air defense systems designed to shoot down planes two generations newer?

It would be like flying Sopwith Camels against Yakovlev Yak-9Us.