Ukraine Getting US Abrams Tanks Seems Like a Foregone Conclusion
The implications of Poland hurriedly building infra to support M1s go beyond Poland
The US has just authorized the sale of up to 116 used M1A1 Abrams tanks to Poland.
This comes on the heels of another deal for 250 new M1A2 Abrams tanks earlier this year.
With over 350 US tanks on the way, Poland will have to quickly build the infrastructure to support them.
Doubtlessly other work is being done to prepare for these tanks as well.
Meanwhile, the German press reports that the US has urged Germany to give Ukraine Leopard 2 tanks. This means that the US has no objections against Western-made tanks being made available to Ukraine, but would in fact like to see such a development. The Germans, however, albeit they have donated weapons to Ukraine such as the Gepard anti-aircraft guns, have resisted calls to allow their territory and facilities to be used to repair damaged Ukrainian-operated equipment. (As this would make them participants in the war.) Thus for example the German-supplied PzH 2000 guns are being repaired in Lithuania rather than in Germany. This makes the deployment of Western tanks to Ukraine tricky since without Germany there isn’t an infrastructure to support them. (Most of American M1 infra is also on German soil.)
But with Poland now rapidly developing infrastructure to support US-made tanks, what is stopping the US and Poland from using this infra, not just to support Polish tanks, but also Ukrainian tanks?
Very soon there will be infra in place to support M1s in Europe without Germany. Especially if the Americans help out the Poles by hiring some civilian defense contractors to work from ostensibly Polish facilities.
At the same time, credentialed Western military analysts keep saying that Ukrainian stocks of ammo for their Soviet-made tanks are running out.
Whether that is a lie or the honest truth, they are getting that information from someone, and that someone has a very good reason for breaking secrecy and placing that information.
The eventual transfer of M1 tanks from US stockpiles seems like only a matter of time. Perhaps as early as 2023 these machines could start arriving with the explanation that Ukraine was otherwise going to run out of tank ammo and cease having combat-capable armor. One thing that could delay their arrival is if the Germans balk on Leopards 2, but that is a long shot.
(There do exist diesel Abrams tanks and Ukraine has some experience operating gas-turbine-powered T-80s, so the different fuel type isn’t an insurmountable problem.)
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