This week saw the first recorded use and subsequent loss of western-supplied Leopard 2 main battle tanks during combat operations in Ukraine. On Wednesday, Ukrainian forces mounted an attempted armed assault to penetrate Russian frontline positions along the Zaporizhzhia frontline east of the city of Orikhiv.
?Ukrainian forces have suffered losses in heavy equipment, including the first confirmed ??Leopard 2A4 tanks in Zaporizhzhia/Zaporozhye Oblast, Orikhiv direction. pic.twitter.com/vOTG44kq3M
— Military Advisor (@miladvisor) June 8, 2023
Geoconfirmed footage released by Russian forces showed a number of Leopard 2s, backed by American-supplied M2 Bradley IFVs and M113 APCs. The armored vehicles were struck by concentrated Russian artillery fire as they attempted to cross open fields, which lead to several being destroyed.
"Russian aerial reconnaissance footage of Ukrainian heavy equipment used during last night reported offensive actions in Zaporizhzia region. First footage of Leopard 2A4."
Pic 01: 47.523686, 35.930824
Pic 04: 47.500853, 35.931937
— GeoConfirmed (@GeoConfirmed) June 8, 2023
Subsequent footage and photos following the assault show that 1x Leopard 2A6 was lost alongside 4x Bradley IVs and 1x BMR-2 mine clearer. While losses are expected, some Ukrainian sources have criticized them as a tactical blunder due to poor armor tactics and have called for those in command to be held accountable. The presence of the BMR-2 suggests that Ukrainian forces were expecting the fields to be mined, which may have contributed to the armored vehicles bunching up and making them an easy target for artillery.
Additional footage shows 3x other Leopard 2 losses during this assault.