1st Guards Tank Army “will take years to rebuild after being pulverized in Ukraine.”

1st Guars Tank Army

“An elite Russian tank unit formed to defend Moscow and lead any war with Nato has been “severely degraded” by the war in Ukraine, according to British intelligence. 

Moscow’s 1st Guards Tank Army – believed to be made up of at least 500 tanks and other combat vehicles – could take years to rebuild itself as the pride of the Russian military’s mobile ground forces, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday.

From the start of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Western officials and analysts have observed the so-called 1st GTA’s failure to capture cities and territories key to the Russian leader’s aim of toppling Kyiv.

“1st GTA suffered heavy casualties in the initial phase of the invasion and had not been fully reconstituted prior to the Ukrainian counter-offensive in Kharkiv,” the MoD said in its daily intelligence briefing.

And as Ukraine’s armed forces launched a lightning counter-offensive in the north-western region, Moscow’s celebrated tank formation was once again found floundering.

“Elements of the Russian forces withdrawn from Kharkiv Oblast over the last week were from the 1st Guards Tank Army, which are subordinate to the Western Military District,” the MoD added.

“1st GTA had been one of the most prestigious of Russia’s armies, allocated for the defence of Moscow, and intended to lead counter-attacks in the case of a war with Nato.”

Elite ‘bodyguards of Moscow’ unit will take years to rebuild after being pulverized in Ukraine (telegraph.co.uk)

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31 Responses to 1st Guards Tank Army “will take years to rebuild after being pulverized in Ukraine.”

  1. walrus says:

    If this is substantially true, then the Russian Army is lucky that this is an SMO where the consequences of the GTA failure is not catastrophic for the nation, at least not yet. There may be time for a post mortem, reassessment and fast change – treat it as a painful learning experience.

    If not, then more fool Russia.

  2. Fred says:

    Didn’t 1st Tank Guards army get shot up in the initial invasion? What was in doing, sitting on its but in the quite sector for months getting rebuilt? Did it get fully reconstituted? We’ve had plenty of explanation here and elsewhere that the Russians form new units rather than refit the old ones, did something change with this one? Do “prestige” and tanks fight or is it men that fight and prestige aids in the moral that makes those men more combat effective?

  3. Barbara Ann says:

    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark and the 1st GTA is merely one symptom of a much bigger problem.

    To learn what Russians think of the SMO I have taken to reading a Russian military blog which has a convenient machine translated English version; en.topwar.ru. One article today caught my eye: https://en.topwar.ru/201567-odin-vopros-kremlju-i-ministerstvu-oborony.html
    (One question to the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense). The author asks why the Russian MoD is silent on the recent setback (rout) on the Kharkiv front. A quote:Unfortunately, our authorities in the Kremlin, and yet the responsibility lies with them, no matter how Peskov turns away from her, they do not understand that sooner or later trust in them will come to naught. And it’s not a threat, it’s just an analysis. Today, most people who want to know how things are at the front do not go to the reports of the Ministry of Defense, and not to the state media. They go to Telegram to military commissars. There you can learn at least somethingIt is a withering criticism of the MoD and Kremlin’s silence and the warning about loss of trust is ominous. The comments section is equally enlightening. One example:”[explitive] Konashenko” [quoted] They and Shoigu should be court-martialed and hanged like dogs, stripped of all titles and awards. And if Putin does not do this now, then others will do it, but with PutinAlso in the comments are comparative references between Putin and Nicholas II (first time I’ve seen this) and again the disastrous Russo-Japanese war.

    Hardly a scientific analysis, but it supports the opinion voiced by Strelkov (Girkin) that the General Staff and the country’s leadership inhabit a “Planet of Pink Ponies” – i.e. are wildly divorced from reality. Another defeat on the battlefield could yield dire consequences for the planet’s inhabitants I think – a winter of discontent?

    • Barbara Ann says:

      Sorry I messed up the tags for the quoted parts. Back to HTML class for me too.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        If you’re using an iPhone you can watch Strelkov almost but not quite live with real Auto translate from Ru to English. In the YouTube app from the app store.

        Geared wheel icon Urh corner > tap Captions (it will say off, so tap). 3 choices will appear, tap Auto translate and then English in set of choices offered. Return to screen and watch. It can be spotty, I’ve seen embarrassing portions of celebrity interviews stop translation and then continue later on .
        Игор Стрелков (Гиркин).
        Also, I’m not recommending viewing him, I much prefer his Pink Ponies and Unicorns in Cloudland and the plywood marshall of his Swiftian pen. I can’t figure out how ВВП (Putin) in Cyrillic gets rendered into GDP in English by translation bots. It’s funny though. Probably a simple “select case” insertion in the trans bot script by a humorist.Which side would be informative but not really.

    • ked says:

      when’s Strelkov (& his fellow travelers) going to realize (or go public) that it’s worse than Russo-Japan & it ain’t getting better until Putin is the one who “should be court-martialed and hanged like dogs, stripped of all titles and awards.”? after all, he’s the visionary who marshaled the efficient conversion of Russia’s defense industry & military into their burgeoning private mega-mansions & yachts sector.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        They do already. They are deeply patriotic though and are trying to salvage. There are branches off of Strelkov’s channel which are quite unreserved though, and not necessarily in agreement with him or each other. The thing about your Japan War Naval disaster comparison is that for all it’s pinpoint accuracy there are huge, neanderthal age differences, chiefly the sages of Nukus McLucasovitch and associates.

    • Bill Roche says:

      BA Yes to all your thoughts, but then some of mine. Hopefully there will soon be another defeat in Kherson. There is equipment to be had, prisoners taken, and public relations to be exploited. It might be enough to tumble the bolts in Moscow and lead to withdrawal/serious peace talks. B/Y that any talk of Ukraine moving into Russia is silly. Ukraine has wanted, since 1900, her independence. That’s all. But Putin is not nearly done. There are still the possibilities of strategic bombing of L’Vov, Kiev, and Kharkiv, the introduction of N. Korean hired troops (would they even fight?), turning off the gas on all Europe (save the Hungarians and Bulgarians) in September, and tactical nukes on the battlefield. I don’t think any of those will happen. I pray Zelinskyy will play his cards right and bring this war to negotiations allowing Putin to save face “Russia has achieved her announced intentions to remove the nazis from Ukraine, and taken back key terrain in Donetz and Luhansk, and guaranteed the integrity of the Crimea. As per our original plans we are ending this SPO and rtng to Russia”. I don’t think, after 40-50m deaths, the Russian people will buy it but they cant do anything about it. But Putin w/n be long in power thereafter.

  4. Fourth and Long says:

    Scott Ritter said the You Crainiacs have won a battle but will still lose the war. Soon the rains will start, which will reduce all roads to mud and stop any advances. Then the winter will bring exorbitant prices for heating in Europe, which will lead to the fall of several governments and their replacement with ones that will agree to anything to make the prices come down. He also said there can be no peace deal with Sell & Ski.

    — Carey The Perrier Smidgeon

    • Fred says:


      Scottie might want to get beamed up to check with Willard Scott(ie) to see if it will rain on the Russians too. Sadly for the EU-rope-a-dopeans the disaster that Trumpler warned them about with eco-destroying ‘natural’ gas reliance on Putler’s country is happening now and not waiting until the winter of Davos discontent.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        It’s rapidly becoming a moot point; it may very likely be so already. And it has little to do with the pogoda (the weather in Russian, we can do free association after the speech therapy lessons, Mister ah, how you say..Pahresi ..). The Gleason is zimple, Poir Oh, no one will ever likely undertake, or should I say embark on, any substantial project that Carruthers gets it into his little hat rack to pose under after making his selection and seeing if, oh what am I saying, does Carruthers even have a hat rack?

        • Fred says:


          You are right, the point is going to be moot as the German economy will collapse before the end of November.

    • Thomas says:

      If the Russians are relying on the hope that General Winter will save their asses, well, I’m not so sure that it’ll work out the way that they hope it will. They may be damned fools to rely on that hope. Their assumptions so far have lead to a catastrophe for them, why should that trend change any in this war?

      I suspect that the Kremlin hoping that winter will save them will go about as well as Hitler hoping for Steiner to save him. The fundamental problem that Russia has is limited numbers of troops and poor training for those limited troops. They need to mobilize and train up a competent force over the winter. They won’t mobilize because they are terrified of what will happen on the streets in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and unless the Russian army cleans out the rot that evidently infests it, quickly, they won’t produce a competent force. Without that, the Russian army will continue to fail at the tasks assigned to it. That is with, or without, General Winter saving them.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        That’s why I made the case elsewhere that double V Putin is not completely in his right oblast upstairs, elsewhere on this blog. He living in the days of the George and Gracie show and thinks his nukems rebukem. They should, but people are people. 40% IQ < 86. And the smarty pantsier of most of the others become hyenas in this current pack – Crowd Psychology of Mobs – hysteria assuming the outlook and cravings of the lowest elements of the mob. It's even in evidence here.

  5. cobo says:

    At one time I hoped the Russian would accept a limited gain and then stop. Then, I prayed for Ukraine to take back every inch of their territory, stolen by the Russian. Now, it is clear that what is required is, “a collapse of the Russian Federation and its replacement by a multiplicity of non-Russian states.”

    With the forward deployed military outposts of Kaliningrad, Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh, etc., Russia will regroup, learn lessons and seek to dominate its neighbors again, using the same excuses again for liberating its people.

    The Poles are building their arsenals and entering deals where they will rebuild their own defense industries. There is talk of the Eastern Europeans forming their own alliance to complement NATO. Those are good ideas, but it seems clear that what is required is a total loss for Russia. No horse carts in the snow required.

    That means that the war does not end in Ukraine. Despite the constant Russian threats to use nuclear weapons. In today’s world, The US and its allies need to fight in nuclear environments and the leadership needs to keep a steely eye on nuclear rivals. Leaving the choice to our enemies to lose the war or lose their entire civilization.

    • Jovan P says:


      your reasoning explains why this is an existential war for the Russians.
      It lacks even the will to try to understand the Russian position and like in a poker game doubles down until it’s all in, and that’s the nuclear option.
      I’m sure the rest of the planet wouldn’t like living in ,,nuclear environments”.

      • Bill Roche says:

        JP I disagree w/you. This is not an existential war for Russia. I have written b/f and now again… Ukraine d/n invade Russia. Today Russian forces can rtn to Russia (that’s where they were b/f they invaded Ukraine) and war will stop. Ukrainians w/n prevent Russians from leaving nor will they march on Moscow. Russia can go back to the beauties of her culture which I, and others, admire. The only existential thing about this war is that w/o dominating Ukraine, and other Slavic and Baltic neighbors, Russia can no longer “exist’ (there’s your existential) as an empire. Many Russians c/n accept that hegemony over her neighbors is over. How liberating for the average Russian who can now “lay down his Slavic burden of civilizing the lesser Slaves ” (w/apologies to Kipling). The existential part is that the Russian empire will no longer exist. This is not a loss for humanity. It is a loss of ego for some Russians.

        • Jovan P says:


          there is a thin line between ,,Russia will not be an empire any more” and what cobo wrote “a collapse of the Russian Federation and its replacement by a multiplicity of non-Russian states.” I think the Russians felt it in the 90s, and you can’t sell it to them again.

          • Bill Roche says:

            I disagree w/COBO’s remark on the breakup of Russia into several states. This is the west going back to 1918 and doing to the Russian Empire what it did to the Austrian. The problem w/Russia is she can’t accept she is no longer numero uno in the Baltic/Finnish/Swedish/Slavic world. Many Russians agree w/Putin that they are better then their Slavic neighbors. Know any Russians? They are exceptional people. Imagine that nation unleashed from the burdens of running every other Slavic life. The world has never seen what unleashed Russians can do. Instead of Putin insisting Russia go back to 1914 (c’mon man, this is a war to prevent Ukrainian independence) he should turn a benign face to his western neighbors while letting Russians have their shot at the 21st century. Vladi is a one faced Janus; not good for Russia.

        • Barbara Ann says:


          The wider war against Russia will not stop if Russia withdraws from Ukraine, it will be intensified. Russia is a danger to the world and must be punished and neutered, so the thinking goes. Anyhow, whether you and I believe the conflict is an existential one for Russia is of course not what matters at the end of the day. What the Russian leadership believes and what the NATO leadership thinks they believe are of supreme importance.

          It is absolutely clear to me the Russian leadership thinks they are fighting an existential war with the West. This is a leadership which lived through Russia’s near death experience of the early nineteen-nineties and who see NATO’s eastward expansion since as having one ultimate goal – the destruction of Russia. Talk in the West of Russia being pacified and even Balkanized when this is all over does nothing to assuage these fears. The 2014 Maidan coup and NATO-ization of Ukraine were the final straws and what we all though impossible happened; Russia invaded. It was immediately apparent to me that Russia was all in, although the invasion itself looked like a desperate act and made no sense.

          On the other hand it is not at all clear to me that the NATO leadership perceives this attitude of mind in their adversary. In 2018 Putin rhetorically asked why we would want a world without Russia in it. Medvedev quoted the Book of Revelation just yesterday. My great fear is that the delenda est crowd among the neocons with scent blood if Russia loses the conventional war in Ukraine and go in for the kill – economically or militarily. This would IMO be mankind’s terminal act of hubris.

          • Al says:

            BA, Look what transpired following WWI within a devastated Germany that was left to rot.

          • Fourth and Long says:

            Barbara Ann,


            A very interesting take from a prominent Ru historian who compares this with the calamity of Nicholas I warring on the Ottomans and then losing the. Crimean war. 75,000 Fr & Br defeated a Million man Ru army. Similarities abound. Corruption, no one – high and low – really wanted to fight. Nicholas had scared Europe with his talk of a huge powerful army etc.

          • Bill Roche says:

            BA your thoughts on “this aint over” are frightening. Ever try to jump a puddle that was too wide? We all have, kerplop! If Ukraine wins, will she agree to get more Ukrainians killed attacking Russia? Or will the neocons select another patsy … Poland wants revenge, Finland wants land back, Romanians can be fierce. Maybe Germany will march her two divisions of infantry east to slay the dragon. Speaking of dragon slaying, that’s an English thing, right. Go you lads! If not England there’s always Denmark, Montenegro, or Slovakia. You get my point. Neocons may push for Russian breakup but Europe will be filled w/reluctant warriors looking west for that awful carrier of capitalist filth, American, to come do the dying for them. I don’t know Nuland or Blinken, but I will not hold hands w/them puddle jumping.
            What may come out of this? The Russians will go home and make some kind of peace w/Ukraine, who will finally have won their independence. Independent from NATO, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Balts, Ukraine, Slovakia, Czechs, and Romanians will join a EEDA (TTG’s idea). Russia recognizing neither gain nor risk on her west and shore up troops in the east where she will be challenged again in Chechnia and Kazakhstan. But dismembering Russia is “a puddle too far”.

          • Bill Roche says:

            BA your comments always cause me to think. By what measure of hubris does the west decide who shall rule over a country stretching from Bering to Baltic? Let’s pick on Russia for awhile. Since the Romanovs its brought war, repression; in short empire to many peoples. France, Britain, Turkey, Austria, Spain, and China have done the same. While empires withered the Chinese and Russian have remained. Honesty requires me to point out that few (0) in the west care one bit about Russian conquests east of the Urals; the west is obsessed with the west. Since Peter, Russia has brought war to every European country from Bulgaria to Britain, France to Estonia, Romania, to Sweden. Communist Russia was no more than a Czar with the title of Commizar and Russian domination continued. Russian insistence of superiority over her western Slavic and Baltic neighbors continues in Ukraine today. That’s the delenda est angle, Russia won’t give up empire and a Russian Empire in 21st century Europe competes with the European idea of a REALLY BIG EMPIRE headquartered in Brussels. Broken apart, Moscow no longer threatens Brussels. “Careful in the store” my Mom would say. “You break it we bought it”. From Westphalia, to Vienna, to Versailles, to Yalta, to right now I’d remind those who would set the “new world order”. Careful in the store, you break it and the world will have to buy it.

          • Barbara Ann says:


            By hubris I simply meant that the folk who think they can take down this gas station masquerading as a country seem to have forgotten it has enough ‘gas’ to burn down the US and everyone else besides if pushed to the brink. And my reading of the neocon mindset in which new realities are made simply by the exercise of exceptionalist will, is that the brink might very well be where they will push it to.

            Sure the Russians have had their fair share of empire, but it seems unreasonable to single out the Russian as uniquely afflicted with feelings of superiority and the will to conquer – what about Ottomans, Brits, Germans, not forgetting of course the good folk of PNAC and their ilk?

            I am reading a great deal these days in conservative Russian outlets of an awakening realization among the general population that Patriotic War #3 is upon Russian. An argument over who started it is really not useful any more, the past cannot be undone. The strong sense I get is that there is an increasingly widespread belief that Russia cannot simply withdraw from Ukraine and survive (the war is with NATO after all, Ukraine is just providing the venue, so the thinking goes). I happen to agree. She would be made to capitulate utterly on terms that would make the Treaty of Versailles look benign. One thing is for sure, the victors won’t make the same mistake as before and leave the country in one piece so a new Putin can rebuild – no this time the earth will be salted in true delenda est style. At this point I think any Russian leader willing to sign such a treaty would be ‘replaced’ immediately. This dynamic is well known, although the endpoint when a nuclear power feels existentially threatened is new territory and not one I think we should explore.

            Maybe the time will come when Russia is forced into such a position, or maybe sanity will prevail and Russia will be offered some sort of face saving deal. But I do not see it arising from the orgy of Russophobia currently being indulged in by the collective West. IMO those who consider the multicultural Russian Federation as an ’empire’ in need of break up should carefully consider whether they are applying the same ‘404 standard’ they blame Putin for in his views wrt to Ukraine. Also, if revanchism was the sole motivation for the SMO, why did Russia wait 8 years for NATO to train up the Ukrainian military – was Ukraine in 2014 not a sufficient challenge? Anyway, so much for a simple answer to your question.

          • TTG says:

            Barbara Ann,

            What kind of deal should Russia be offered? She should be left alone behind her own border. There should be no effort to topple the government. Nor should there be any immediate effort to resume trade or travel between Russia and the rest of Europe. Let Russia turn eastward. They will have their hands full with reorienting their economy and dealing with the Buryats, Yakuts and Tuvans. Those people are not Russians and they are becoming very aware of that fact. Judging by Xi’s and Modi’s recent manhandling of Putin, the Kremlin will have plenty of conundrums to ponder to the east.

          • Barbara Ann says:


            I broadly agree and of course Russia should not have invaded Ukraine. But we can discuss “shoulds” all day, it won’t change my view of what will actually happen. You and I won’t get to choose the deal that will be offered to Russia, that will be done (IMO) by a bunch of vindictive and hubristic folk.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      If you don’t know that you’ve broken a head gasket there’s google. I’m sure there are maintenance forums for drivers of old buggies. Don’t let it go so far that a valve or ring job is needed. Col Lang forbids ad hominem attacks. So I’ll close with saying that other people live on this planet. My relatives, and millions of actually marvelous Ukrainians and lovely Russians. They need to be saved from the depraved likes of those “who need to pursue wars in a nuclear environment.”

      Good grief.

  6. walrus says:

    Cobo:” That means that the war does not end in Ukraine. Despite the constant Russian threats to use nuclear weapons. In today’s world, The US and its allies need to fight in nuclear environments and the leadership needs to keep a steely eye on nuclear rivals. Leaving the choice to our enemies to lose the war or lose their entire civilization.”

    Please tell us which planet you are going to live on when ours becomes uninhabitable. Nuclear war is a death sentence for most of us……and that includes America.

    Remember Kruschev’s observation.

  7. d74 says:

    A Tank Army, courtesy of MI6 via its blog The Telegraph. No less, a straw!

    It’s seem the Britt are in overdrive mode.

  8. Bill Roche says:

    B.A. The reason Russia waited 8 years after 2014 to smack down the insufferables to their west was because Russia still believed Ukraine liked being subordinate (oh heck, I’ll use it… Untermenschen). Why not smack down all the Balts ‘n Slavs who declared independence in ’91? Hegemony d/n require invasion. With family feelings for Ukraine I hoped the Russians would continue to think those “backward” Ukrainians could be made to come round even if it took another 30 years. Instead we’ve had February ’22. Stones, Lits, and Lats, were easier pickings then Ukraine, why not invade them first; NATO of course. Russia took what she thought she could. Boy did they have an intel failure. I hope Col. Lang is right, the Russian army can’t do any better, and Ukraine will finally win independence. I agree w/TTG. Russian weakness on the ground d/n deny her Nukes in the air. She can still bite! This is not a Prince Metternich moment. Since the Mongol invasion and after Ivan, Russians have been a twisted nation. Do the look west or east. TTG is right. Let them look east. Another TTG idea is a Baltic, Slavic “NATO” foreclosing Russia off from westward adventures. Looking east they’ll find other ethnic groups that don’t want to do Moscow’s bidding. Do Turks have a hankering for a bit of the Georgian coast line? Has China forgotten Russian conquest of “her” territory? What if Kazackhstan thinks it should be really independent. All will not be peaches and cream. But please no salting the earth, no Versailles. Independence for 44MM Ukrainians is a tidal wave in Eastern Europe. Let’s hope the neocons don’t muck it up.

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