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“Today I am announcing that the United States will be sending 31 Abram tanks to Ukraine. [Defense] Secretary [Lloyd] Austin has recommended this step because it will enhance the Ukraine’s capacity to defend its territory and achieve its strategic objective.” The Wall Street Journal reports White House Approves Sending Abrams Tanks to UkraineThe White House formally announced on Wednesday that it is sending 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, part of a coordinated move in which Germany and other European nations will also send their own tanks to the fight in time for a coming offensive.The move quashes, for now, the rumblings of dissension within an alliance that formed last year to support Ukraine.German domestic political concerns drove the reluctance of the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz to provide German-made tanks without the U.S. pledging its own tanks first. The issue threatened to become the first significant wrinkle in an alliance which has more or less stayed together since the Russian invasion.Asked by a reporter whether Germany forced him to change his mind on sending tanks, Mr. Biden said, “Germany didn’t force me to change my mind. I wanted to make sure we were all together.” But unlike most of the other weaponry the U.S. has sent to Ukraine, the Abrams tanks will take “months, not weeks” to arrive in Ukraine, because they are being procured through the defense industry as opposed to being taken out of American stocks, the official said.Against Pentagon’s AdviceThe WSJ had an article out the other day noting the Pentagon objected to sending those tanks. That headline, appears to be scrubbed.I did locate this blurb in What Makes the M1 Abrams So Critical to the Russia-Ukraine War?Named for Gen. Creighton Abrams, a World War II tank commander, the first Abrams entered service with the U.S. Army in 1980. Intended initially to fight the Soviets in Germany’s strategic Fulda Gap, the Abrams has been updated several times with a larger cannon and improvements to its armor, transmission and drivetrain. Over the years, the Pentagon has purchased more than 7,000 of the tanks in various configurations, according to the Congressional Research Service, a research arm of the Library of Congress. But throughout its service, soldiers and war planners have been concerned about the tank’s huge fuel consumption and limited range, and the long logistics and maintenance train that follows the Abrams into combat. Those, among other factors, made the Pentagon reluctant to send Ukraine tanks.A battalion of 58 tanks requires dozens of support vehicles and hundreds of soldiers to keep it running—a formula known in military circles as the tooth-to-tail ratio. Those could include armored ambulances, command vehicles, maintenance trucks, and trucks to tow disabled tanks. The trucks have to haul fuel, ammunition, lubricants, engine oil, hydraulic fluid and extremely heavy spare parts.“Everything that’s associated with the tank is heavy,” said Dan Grazier, a former Marine Corps tank officer.  “If we gave the Ukrainians tanks and we didn’t give them everything they need to support them logistically, then we would hardly be doing them any favors,” he said. “There’s a whole lot that needs to drag behind a tank to keep it moving.”Pressure From Germany “If America will decide that they will bring battle tanks to Ukraine, that will make it easier for Germany,” German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck told Bloomberg from Davos on Tuesday.Making Sense of it AllOn January 19, The Hill provided this commentary: US decides against sending tanks to Ukraine in aid packageSabrina Singh, the deputy Pentagon press secretary, told reporters Thursday it “doesn’t make sense” to give Ukraine the tanks at this stage.“The maintenance and the high cost that it would take to maintain an Abrams, it just doesn’t make sense to provide that to the Ukrainians at this moment,” Singh said.It made no sense yesterday, but it does today. Scroll to ContinueDefense NewsDefense News reports  Pentagon officials had balked at sending the Abrams over concerns it would be too difficult for Ukraine to operate and maintain, and the u-turn comes as Berlin dropped its opposition to sending Leopard tanks.U.S. officials told reporters it will take “months as opposed to weeks” before the U.S. can deliver the sophisticated yet powerful tanks. The Pentagon has complex issues to work out associated with supplying the Abrams, including how to deliver the jet fuel it runs on as well as other “equipment Ukraine will need to operate and maintain the Abrams,” one U.S. official said. “We will have to put in place a very careful training program to be able to maintain and sustain these tanks, which do require a good deal of assistance,” the official said, adding that the training will include how to operate them and integrate them with maneuver operations.President Biden Translated“Germany didn’t force me to change my mind. We wanted to make sure we were all together,” Biden said. “That’s what we were going to do all along, and that’s what we’re doing right now.”Translation: Biden told Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to recommended this aid. Then Biden bucked Pentagon advice to get Germany on board.That’s what happened. You may agree or disagree with the decision, but that’s the way it happened.Tanks Deployed When?CNN Reports Germany has 320 leopard tanks. How many of them are operational is a mystery. The German army has 320 Leopard tanks in its possession but does not reveal how many would be battle ready, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defense previously told CNN.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly pleaded for countries to stop squabbling over whether to send the tanks.“We have talked hundreds of times about the shortage of weapons. We cannot go only on motivation,” he said during a virtual appearance at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos last week.In an apparent swipe at Germany’s stalling, Zelensky added: “There are moments when there is no need to hesitate. When people say – I’ll give you tanks if someone else does.”Meanwhile, please note that the Pentagon has purchased more than 7,000 of the tanks in various configurations, yet we can’t spare 31 right away. Is the US or Germany really providing tanks? When?This post originated at MishTalk.ComPlease Subscribe!Like these reports? I hope so, and if you do, please Subscribe to MishTalk Email Alerts.Subscribers get an email alert of each post as they happen. Read the ones you like and you can unsubscribe at any time.If you have subscribed and do not get email alerts, please check your spam folder.Mish 

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