The Anonymous Widower

How A British-Made Missile Launcher Helped Keep Vladimir Putin’s Army At Bay

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Telegraph.

This is the sub-title.

The Anglo-Swedish next-generation light anti-tank weapon (NLAW) has achieved cult status in Ukraine.

But not perhaps in Russia! Unless they worship the devil!

Seriously, though, we may be watching the war, which marks the beginning of the end of the tank.

  • A general of my acquaintance told me about ten years ago, that tanks were a nightmare for army commanders, unless the terrain was very tank-friendly. He should have known, as he’d once run the Army Survey, which gives geographical information to the British Army.
  • Defenders like the jolly Ukrainian in the video in the Telegraph article, will get better missiles and do more damage to tanks.
  • Satellites and drones will get more watchful and intelligent and will direct the firepower of defenders to the inch.
  • Tanks could get bigger, but then they would be more likely to get stuck.

My only worry, is will the death of the tank, make chemical, biological or nuclear war more likely?

April 1, 2022 - Posted by | World | , , , , , , ,


  1. Russian tanks are currently bogged down in Ukraine as it is season. Arrived early due to global warming. When they stay on roads they are sitting ducks for drones.

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | April 1, 2022 | Reply

  2. you might find the following of interest @thinkdefence both his twitter and blog are a good read on this and related topics.

    Comment by PJS | April 1, 2022 | Reply

  3. Well spotted! I do wonder, if the general knew this, as he felt a lot of central Europe would cause a lot of problems for tanks.

    I’d hate to have competed in a motor rally, with Vlad as the navigator.

    Rasputitsa does sound a bit like Putin’s wet dream.

    Comment by AnonW | April 1, 2022 | Reply

  4. I spent the first eleven years of my working life with the Fighting Vehicles Research & Development Establishment in Chobham, later to be amalgamated with Military Experimental Engineering Establishment in Christchurch becoming the Military Vehicle and Engineering Establishment. I also have the questionable benefit of reading graphic battle damage reports from Israeli forces in the Second Israeli-Arab War and Australian armour deployed in Vietnam, plus getting to see captured Soviet armour at Bovington. On that basis I guess I have a fairly objective view about the armoured vehicles.
    There’s no doubt that the events in Ukraine have highlighted the shift in the balance of power of armour as an attacking force versus the defensive capacity of infantry equipped with modern guided ordnance. One must wonder how much more disastrous things would have been for the Russians had the Ukrainians had attack helicopters and fast jets to fly cover. Having said that you have to say that Russian battlefield tactics and combined force application has been appalling, they don’t really seem to have been that successful with their attack helicopters – I can’t imagine NATO forces being deployed in such an amateurish fashion.
    We will still need mechanised infantry vehicles to move troops, so these vehicles will be of value in future operations but the need for Main Battle Tanks must become a specialised requirement. You can see that compared with the 1990s British Army MBT numbers are much reduced. It’s also of note that the US Marine Corps has divested itself of its Abrams MBTs in favour of light weight guided munitions. They still have concern, though, that the infantryman will require armour support in urban environments.
    How do you resolve the issue of protection, well you don’t do it with the equivalent of what we termed Kremlin Mesh, it’s maybe OK for fending off RPGs but it’s not going to stop the kind of warheads fitted to NLAW and Javelin. The Israelis, however believe they have a proven solution, the Rafael TROPHY Active Protection System–j_Jkyhk8k2BTojan_Lcdp-uQIxoCemcQAvD_BwE.
    I think you were referring to the Military Survey which has its origins in the late 1700s. Back in the 1970s TACMAPs were a fascinating insight into the preparations for military operations, but today they’ve moved on massively from physical maps with the advent of Satellite real-time surveillance, and communications data to provide Geospatial Intelligence in the form big data, mobile, cloud and data visualisation. If the Russians made such a pig’s ear of their basic logistics and communications security you have to wonder how far behind they are in Geo Intel.

    Comment by fammorris | April 1, 2022 | Reply

  5. I hadn’t heard of Rasputitsa, but it doesn’t seem the Russians have made allowance for it either.

    Incidentally, one of my project management systems was in the FVEE from around 1980. I never went.

    Comment by AnonW | April 1, 2022 | Reply

    • Must have been the PERT software that Hunting plc our project management consultants were introducing at the time.

      Comment by fammorris | April 2, 2022 | Reply

      • Hunting were customers and were using it on the Chevaline project, which few people have heard of.

        Hunting were having trouble with the resource scheduler, so one night I took, a scrambled version of the project home to sort it.

        I could obviously unscramble it and needed to be able to, to test it.

        Had I signed Official Secrets Act? Nobody at Hunting ever checked! I hadn’t and I still have never signed the Act.

        Hunting were worried, that Russians might be able to find out details by recording the electromagnetic radiation from the VDU with a laser or some other sneaky method.

        So I suggested that they put the machine in a lead-lined room, with Mr. Chubb’s best locks on the door.

        Comment by AnonW | April 2, 2022

  6. As we’ve been talking about the problems of modern day experience of armoured vehicles protection in the Ukraine I thought digging out this video example of trials carried out during WW2 would be of interest, it actually makes a brief reference to explosive relative armour

    Oh, on a strange coincidence Dr Richard Beaching, yes that one who cut the Railways in the 1960s was heavily involved with weapons testing, the site of these trials at Shoeburyness.

    Comment by fammorris | April 3, 2022 | Reply

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