A British-made Challenger 2 main battle tank has been destroyed in combat in Russia’s Zaporozhye Region, footage circulating online suggests. The vehicle was hit near the contested village of Rabotino, which has seen intense combat between Russian and Ukrainian troops in recent weeks.
The video, showing a Challenger 2 tank on fire, emerged online on Monday. It was apparently taken by Ukrainian servicemen driving in a car past the tank while it was emitting a thick plume of black smoke. Apart from the Challenger 2, the video also shows a Ukrainian T-64 tank abandoned on the road, a damaged BMP-family infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), as well as several disabled armored and soft cars.
Further evidence of the tank’s destruction appeared on Tuesday, posted online by Russian Telegram channels. Stills from a drone video show the tank completely burnt, with spots of molten metal seen on the ground. The stills also show a pile-up of destroyed Ukrainian vehicles near the tank, namely two Soviet-era BMP-1 IFVs, a US-made M113 armored personnel carrier missing its turret, as well as a soft pickup truck.
The destruction of the Challenger 2 is the first confirmed loss for vehicles of this type in the Ukrainian conflict. Kiev received 14 such tanks from Britain early this year, and the vehicles have reportedly seen limited action.
Moreover, it has apparently become the first-ever combat loss for this type of tank entirely, with the only unit lost in Iraq back in 2003 blamed by the British military on a friendly-fire incident. According to the description of Challenger 2 tanks on the official website of the British Army, these vehicles have been used in “operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Iraq, and have never experienced a loss at the hands of the enemy.”