Der Speigel is reporting that Scholz has decided to sent “at least” a company (14 tanks) of Leopard 2s to Ukraine. It’s still not official official … but that seems official.
On Tuesday morning, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the United States is “leaning” toward sending M1A2 main battle tanks Abrams tanks to Ukraine, with an announcement expected this week.
The announcement would reportedly come as part of a deal in which Germany would also send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and would include Germany approving the release of Leopard tanks to be sent by other nations. The deal would break the deadlock created when Germany refused to release the Leopard tanks even after the U.K. announced that it was providing a company of its Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine.
The U.S. has previously been resistant to the idea of sending the Abrams, for a long series of reasons, including the difficulties in supporting the tank and its impact of Ukraine’s already burdened logistics. Pentagon officials have repeatedly stated that they feel the M1A2 isn’t well suited to Ukraine, for reasons ranging from the fuel to the long time needed to train on the vehicles to the lack of any nearby facilities to deal with major repairs.
However, Biden reportedly shifted his position following a Jan. 17 call to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. If sending the Abrams is the only way to break through the current roadblock, Biden appears ready to take that step.
Comment: So Scholz finally caved to the pressure, both external and internal. Reuters is saying that Germany will send 14 Leopard 2A6 models as a start. The most likely model the Poles, Finns and others will send are the A4 model. Between the two or more models of Leopards, a company of Challenger 2s and most likely a company of Abrams, Ukraine is going to have a rough time integrating all that into a unified armored force. They will also be getting several different IFVs besides the Bradleys. Yup. This is going to take a while. My guess is that Ukraine will not field a fully integrated, corps sized, combined arms force with all this NATO equipment until after the spring mud season. But I’m also pretty sure some of this new stuff will be on the front line well before the spring thaw.