Supercut: Ukrainian Farmers Stealing Russian Tanks

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February large quantities of vehicles and equipment have been captured or destroyed on both sides. Fighting a war in the social media age means we have an unprecedented amount of first hand footage and of course from this memes are going to evolve. Almost as soon as the war began videos of Ukrainian farmers towing Russian vehicles began to be shared on telegram, tiktok and instagram. Often salvaging abandoned equipment the videos soon made unlikely heroes of Ukraine’s farmers. So much so they’ve been commemorated not just by Saint Javelin merchandise but also an official stamp from the Ukrainian post office.

I’ve collected quite a few videos of the farmers in action over the last few months and Rob Lee over on twitter has been keeping a running thread too. So here’s a supercut of videos showing Ukrainian farmers towing away everything from trucks to Grad launchers to T-80 tanks!


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Bibliography:

Famous for towing captured Russian tanks, Ukrainian farmers step up for war effort, CBC News, (source)

Winning design in Ukraine’s second design contest features tractor and tank, Linn’s Stamp News, (source)

Ukraine Celebrates Its Tank-Towing Farmers, VOA, (source)

Sweden’s KSP-58 Machine Guns In Ukraine

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February we’ve seen a number of FN MAG variants appear in use with Ukrainian forces. By far the most common appears to be the US M240 series. However, in recent months we’ve also seen a number of Swedish KSP-58s appear in imagery from the field.

Sweden has long supported the Ukrainian war effort providing a shipment of 5,000 Pansarskott m/86 anti-armour weapons (perhaps better known as the AT4) back in late February. The transfer of an additional batch of 5,000 m/86s was announced on 2 June. Most recently on 30 June it was reported that Sweden would provide a fresh batch of light anti-armour weapons and also machine guns as part of a transfer worth $49 million. When delivery of this aid was made is unconfirmed but the KSP-58s are reported to have been in theatre possibly as early as July – August.

While the type of machine gun was not confirmed, since the beginning of September we’ve seen imagery of a number of KSP-58 GPMGs appear in theatre. Easily identified by their wooden stocks, grey-green-coloured receiver finish and enclosed front sight. Sweden was one of the earliest adopters of the FN MAG and the Kulspruta 58 or KSP-58 entered service with the Swedish armed forces in the late 1950s and was originally chambered in the 6.5×55mm Swedish round. The KSP-58B was introduced following the adoption of 7.62x51mm. The guns were made under license from FN at the Carl Gustav Stads rifle factory in Eskilstuna.

A KSP-58B in use with Ukrainian troops c. September 2022 (via social media)

These have been seen in the hands of International Legion units and also regular Ukrainian Army units centred around Mykolaiv and Kherson. All the the examples of the weapon sighted appear to be KSP-58Bs, none of the guns seen have the Picatinny rails seen in the KSP-58F. 

Speaking to Kaiser [frontline_view_kaiser] a German volunteer with the Ukrainian Army, he said his unit encountered a “a brand-new, never used KSP with original factory delivered Box and all accessories untouched”. His colleague Yuri [nucking_futs_yuri] has shared some videos filmed in late-August, during a training session he ran on FN MAG variants for various Ukrainian units. Yuri said their were about 20 guns on the range during the training session, with the majority being KSP-58s. Yuri shared a video in mid-September firing a through a KSP-58B, from the hip, filmed after the training session had been completed. 

Yuri with a KSP-58B c. September 2022 (nucking_futs_yuri)

While we can’t confirm that the KSP-58s came directly from Sweden it seems likely. Another potential origin for the weapons may be the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). Sweden gifted an unconfirmed number of KSP-58s to the Baltic States in the 1990s. Today, the guns remain in service with the Latvian Army and National Guard, the Estonian Army and Estonian Defence League and the Lithuanian Army and National Defence Volunteer Force. Both Estonia and Lithuania began searching for a replacement for the KSP-58 in mid-2021. Given the Baltic states’ support for Ukraine the guns may potentially have originated from there, rather than Sweden itself. We have already seen the Baltic States have transferred former Swedish equipment including the PV-1110 recoilless anti-tank gun which were given to the Baltic states in the early 1990s.

It remains to be seen if we’ll see more of the KSP-58s in the field but in future articles/videos we’ll look at other FN MAG variants are in use in Ukraine.

Thank you to Kaiser and Yuri for their input – definitely check them out on their social media!


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Bibliography:

Kulspruta 58, Forsvarsmakten, (source)

KSP-58, Soldf.com, (source)

Sweden to boost military aid to Ukraine, Politico, 29 Aug. 2022, (source)

Sweden to send military aid to Ukraine, Reuters, 27 Feb. 2022, (source)

Sweden assists Ukraine with the Robot 17, SVt.se, 2 June 2022, (source)

Sweden to send more anti-tank weapons and machine guns to Ukraine, Reuters, 30 June 2022, (source)

Estonia to acquire new weapons for EDF, Defense League, ERR, 18 Nov. 2022, (source)

Lithuania buys machine guns for EUR 34 million, Defence 24, 20 Aug. 2022, (source)

RPG-30: Russia’s Dual Tube Rocket Launcher

The RPG-30 is one of Russia’s more advanced disposable anti-armour weapons. Developed in the early 2000s by Bazalt it is designed to overcome reactive armour and active protection systems. It entered service in 2012 and has seen extensive use during the fighting in Ukraine. 

The 7P53 RPG-30 “Kryuk” or ‘Hook’ is a 105mm fin and spin stabilised rocket propelled munition with a tandem HEAT shaped charge warhead. The RPG-30 overcomes ERA and APS by using a 42mm IG-30 decoy projectile, which is believed to be inert, coupled with the main rocket’s tandem warhead. This can be seen in a secondary, thinner tube running along the side of the weapon. The precursor decoy causes premature activation of the APS and allows the main warhead to exploit the gap in the tank’s protection. The theory being that the target’s APS takes some time, perhaps half a second, before it can engage again. The gap between the firing of the two rockets is measured in milliseconds and the lag does not appear to be significant enough to effect the user’s aim or accuracy on target.

RPG-30 (Vitaly Kuzmin CC BY-SA 4.0)

The RPG-30 uses the PG-30 tandem HEAT warhead, similar to the PG-27 used by the RPG-27. It can reportedly penetrate 750mm of rolled homogeneous armour and up to 650mm of rolled homogeneous armour after ERA. Effective range estimates vary with the average suggesting 200m.

The weapon’s sights are simple and consist of a folding ladder front sight and rear sight – there does not appear to be provision for mounting optics. Flipping up the rear sight also cocks the weapon. The disposable tube(s) is made of aluminium with a fibreglass outer layer. Sources suggest it weighs around 10.3kg (22.7lbs) and has an overall length of just over 1m (1,135mm/44.7in). 

A pair of RPG-30s captured in April 2022 (via Social Media)

Unlike other Russian weapon systems few videos of its use have been shared by Russian state media or Russia’s defence exports corporation Rosoboronexport. The ongoing war in Ukraine, however, has provided our first real look at the weapon in action. As soon as the Russian invasion was launched on 24 February, RPG-30s began to be seen in use with Russian forces. By late February and early March imagery of captured examples was shared on social media. 

Russian soldier posing with RPG-30, March 2022 (via Social Media)

The first images of the weapon came from Russian sources in late February, just after the invasion. This was quickly followed by imagery of captured examples, most notably from the column of Tigr-M armoured infantry mobility vehicles in Kharkiv.  A photograph of a further two captured RPG-30s appeared in April, while another example was photographed in Donbas in early May. Later in May a photo of a Russian soldier posing with one was shared on social media and in September significant caches of weapons were captured in Kherson and Balakliya. 

Still of a Russian soldier firing an RPG-30, August 2022 (via Social Media)

In late August we got our first brief look at the RPG-30 being fired in a montage video of VDV weapon systems (see image above). Earlier in mid-August a sort of ‘unboxing video’ was shared giving us a good close up look at some of the packaging the RPG-30s are shipped in and the markings on the side the weapon. Most recently in some further video of the RPG-30 being fired on a Russian Western Military District range also surfaced giving us a good look at the weapon in action.

RPG-30s captured in April (via Social Media)

Of course the weapon is designed to be simple to use, anyone with training on a similar shoulder-fired disposable anti-armour weapon can operate it. While it has been said that its widespread use in Ukraine is somewhat ironic given that Ukraine does operate any APS equipped tanks, the weapon is still useful against less sophisticated tanks. While the precursor might potentially deliver some limited kinetic damage to the ERA block, the RPG-30’s tandem warhead is capable of defeating the ERA fitted to most Ukrainian tanks, though of course, the same can be said of Russia’s other anti-armour weapons which use tandem warheads.

Update 27/10/22:

The Georgian Legion recently shared a short video looking at a captured RPG-30. The video also includes firing footage of the weapon.


If you enjoyed this video and article please consider supporting our work here. We have some great perks available for Patreon Supporters – including custom stickers and early access to videos! Thank you for your support!


Bibliography:

105mm PG-30 Rocket, CAT UXO, (source)

RPG-30 Kryuk (Hook), US Army TRADOC, (source)

Russian Army receives cutting-edge antitank rocket launchers, TASS, (source)