The first German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks have already arrived in Ukraine, Der Spiegel reports, citing its own sources.
What the Leopard 2 battle tanks are capable of
Leopard 2 is the main battle tank of the German army, designed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s. It was used on the battlefield in Afghanistan and Syria.
Yevhen Martyniuk, a Ukrainian member of a tank crew that had been trained abroad, told ArmyInform about the special features of this tank. It starts faster than the T-80 and has a 1500 hp engine, which is why it’s so impressively dynamic. The Leopard 2 is equipped with a very sensitive automatic gearbox. Its speed is up to 70 km/h on roads and 50 km/h off-road, with a maximum reverse speed of 31 km/h. For comparison, the T-64 or T-72 tanks have six times slower reverse speeds, which makes them more vulnerable in combat when the tank needs to quickly roll back from its position.
The tank is armed with a 120-mm gun, which, according to Martyniuk’s brief description, is like a sniper rifle able to hit a target up to 5 km away during the daytime and up to 4 km at night, using the thermal imager. The gun’s on-board ammunition supply is 42 complete rounds.
Context. Almost two months have passed since the German government finally adopted the decision to supply heavy battle tanks.
On January 25, the Federal Government agreed to "quickly assemble two tank battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine," both consisting of 31 tanks.
On March 8, 2023, the German defense minister, Boris Pistorius, pledged to deliver the first batch of 21 Leopard 2 tanks from Germany and Portugal at the end of March.