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Ukrainian soldiers under attack of Russian autonomous kamikaze MT-LBs

As reported by Special Kherson Cat on December 21, 2023, the Russian Armed Forces have started utilizing remote-controlled kamikaze vehicles against Ukrainian strongholds, mimicking the WW2 German Goliath. The previously human-operated Russian kamikaze MT-LB, an armored personnel carrier, is now remotely operated and equipped with a VT-40 FPV (First Person View) drone. This drone was mounted on the front of the MT-LB, providing camera assistance for navigation and targeting.
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The Russian Armed Forces have started utilizing remote-controlled kamikaze vehicles against Ukrainian strongholds, mimicking the WW2 German Goliath. (Picture source: Twitter/Special Kherson Cat)

This MT-LB, described by its creators, Russian soldiers from the Sudoplatov detachment, as a self-propelled land torpedo (SST), was filled with explosives. If previous cases of MT-LB kamikazes are relevant, this vehicle was packed with at least 2 tonnes of explosives, probably aerial bombs and/or HE artillery shells.

This kamikaze MT-LB, which is according to Russian sources part of the "Doomsday project," was deployed in an unspecified region of Ukraine, targeting a well-fortified position of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Operating in tandem with a second drone to control its trajectory and be able to continue the mission in the event of failure of the drone attached to the vehicle, the MT-LB struck a mine long before it could reach the targeted Ukrainian stronghold. The mission, in this case, did not fully achieve its intended objective.

Russian fighters have increasingly turned to the MT-LB as a platform for creating kamikaze vehicles. For them, the vehicle's high maneuverability, off-road speed, and capacity to carry significant amounts of explosives make it a particularly dangerous weapon. In this case, the addition of the VT-40 FPV drone further enhanced its capabilities, simplifying targeting and increasing movement speed. The explosion, though not at the intended location, still probably eliminated at least one Ukrainian mine.

This event is part of Russia's ongoing military operation in Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022. The operation, described by Russia as a special military operation to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine, has seen various innovative tactics. Unmanned vehicles are regularly used by the Russian Armed Forces, particularly in the case of loitering munitions. In the future, we'll probably see the use by Russia of an unmanned Main Battle Tank (T-72B3 Shturm) and a robotic variant of the Tornado-S MLRS.

Previously, Russian forces attempted to breach Ukrainian defenses by manually driving kamikaze vehicles loaded with explosives, such as the MT-LB, towards enemy positions. The drivers would maintain the vehicle's speed using the hand throttle before escaping, leaving the unmanned vehicle to continue towards the target. However, these particular MT-LBs often encountered an anti-tank mine, detonating before reaching its destination. This incident demonstrates the extreme measures Russian soldiers are willing to take, using an armored vehicle loaded with a substantial quantity of explosives, potentially sourced from ammunition or shells.

The use of kamikaze-style tactics with armored vehicles is not unique to the Russian military. Historically, similar methods have been employed in different conflicts. ISIS militants, for instance, used car bombs to attack convoys and instill fear. During World War II, the Germans used Goliath remotely-controlled tracked vehicles to disrupt infantry formations and destroy tanks. These vehicles, including models like the Sd.Kfz. 302 and 303, were designed for single-use and carried high explosives.

The adaptation of these tactics in the current conflict reflects a strategic shift by the Russian military, possibly due to a reported shortage of operational vehicles. Instances of using Stalin-era BTR-50 armored personnel carriers, a prototype of BTR-90 from a museum, and Soviet-era T-80 tanks, as well as retrieving almost half of the Soviet-era tanks from a military storage facility in eastern Siberia, highlight this trend.

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The kamikaze MT-LBs are heavily loaded with an array of explosives, including aerial bombs and specialized line charges used by demining vehicles like the UR-77 Meteorit. (Picture source: Russian social media)


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