first published on February 4, 2018 by Will
A female Kurdish fighter of the YPJ uses a Russian-made ATGM to destroy a Turkish Leopard 2 tank in the battle for Afrin.
The attack, which killed six Turkish soldiers, has been confirmed by Turkey, and their state news agency gave further details, saying the incident occurred in Aphrin’s northern Şeyh Horoz region.
The video itself was released by the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) and it bears their logo. The description stated that it was a female that operated the anti tank guided missile (ATGM). However, there is no footage of the launcher itself, so the actual shooter cannot totally be confirmed. Based on the audio, a Kurdish woman was operating the camera and the missile was Russian-made.
The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and is the main battle tank of the German Army as well as around 20 other nations.
The tank is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore cannon, and is powered by a V-12 twin-turbo diesel engine. Newer variants have improved armor, yet it’s uncertain if upgraded armor would have helped in this situation.
After rejecting Turkey’s request for Leopard 2 tanks in 1999, Germany eventually caved, and has since sold the Turkish government 354 of the Leopard 2A4 variants.
Judging by the video, the guided missile immediately detonated a fully loaded ammunition compartment. Interestingly, the ammunition is stored in a special magazine in the forward section of the hull, to the left of the driver’s station, which is separated from the crew compartment and is designed with a blow-off panel that is intended to direct the explosion upwards and away from the crew compartment. This blast was so massive, that it seems any countermeasures, such as blast deflection, would be rendered irrelevant as far as survivability is concerned.