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Marders for Ukraine! Are they any good?

Jan 08, 2023

Marders for Ukraine! Are they any good?

In previous years I was invited by the Panzermuseum Munster and here you can see one of their many Marder infantry fighting vehicles. Before we take a closer look at the the Marder and also take a look a little inside, a short update on the latest news that interrupted my vacation and led to this video. On January 5, 2023, Germany announced that it would send

Marders

to

Ukraine

. According to some sources, around 40 to start with. this comes after about 10 months of repeatedly denying such requests. The situation changed, after France announced that it would send AMX-10-RC. The AMX-10 is either a wheeled tank destroyer or an armored reconnaissance vehicle, depending on who you ask.
marders for ukraine are they any good
It's lightly armored, but has the 105mm that's also on the Leopard 1. Meanwhile, the US has also agreed to send the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle to

Ukraine

. So it's time to look at the Marder and how it compares to similar equipment used by the Forces. Navies of Russia and

Ukraine

, especially the BMP-2First of all, basic information about the Marder infantry fighting vehicle, because of the way Marder means marten in English. Introduced in 1971 to the German Bundeswehr, it was only produced until 1975 and in total a little over 2100 were built. Despite, over the years it was constantly upgraded.
marders for ukraine are they any good
Its basic armament consists of a 20mm automatic cannon and a 7.62mm machine gun. The crew consists of three people, a commander, a gunner and a driver. In addition, it can carry up to six or seven fully equipped Panzergrenadieres, depending on the variant. Compared to the Soviet/Russian BMP-1 and BMP-2, the Marder is more big, heavier and not amphibious, but more on those details later. Now, a question arises which variant of the Marder will be shipped to

Ukraine

, because there are many different variants of the Marder as you can see in this variant tree from Panzermuseum Munster.
marders for ukraine are they any good
Be aware that this tree is only up to the A5, while the newest variant is the A5A1 from 2010/2011. Well, the most likely variant is the A3 variant model according to KampfmitKette or "Ketti" for short. who is one of the leading experts Germans when it comes to armored fighting vehicles. So let's take a closer look at this variant. Nearly all existing

Marders

were upgraded to the A3 variant, a source notes 2097 were upgraded through 1998. “The most important new feature that differentiated the A3 version from the A1 and A2 predecessors was the improved armor. The turret and hull received improved armor protection developed on the background of developing threats.
marders for ukraine are they any good
The new additional armor package consists of RHA steel installed as separate armor elements on the upper and lower bow of the hull, on the sides of the hull, on the rear ramp, on the hull roof and on the turret. The additional armor elements were installed on shock mounts leveled evenly with respect to the basic vehicle armor.” As you can see here, the A1 on the left side does not have skirts or other features that the A3 on the right side does. These upgrades increased the total weight of the Marder by 5.5 metric tons. Now, one might think, that the A4 and A5 variant could be significantly better than the A3, this is only partly correct.
marders for ukraine are they any good
Firstly the A4 is basically just a commando variant of A3 with better communication systems. Secondly the A5 is better as it received several upgrades but only 74 vehicles were upgraded so it is highly unlikely that Germany will get upgraded. separate from them. The A5 has a mine protection system and enhanced crew protection such as splinter liners. Additionally, maintaining could be a hassle as the update contained 3450 new parts, among the updates it was the suspension to weight that was further increased, combined with the drop in numbers this could be a serious bottleneck. Currently, the German Bundeswehr fields about 350 Pumas and about 270

Marders

.
marders for ukraine are they any good
However, in 2013, the Marder A3 was still the mainstay of the Panzergrenadiere: "Until the deployment of the new SchützenpanzerPUMA AIFV, the Marder 1 A3 and its variants will continue to serve as the main weapon system of the Bundeswehr's Panzergrenadiertruppe." So, let's take a look. look at the various capabilities of the Marder 1A3 now.Similar to various other infantry fighting vehicles, such as the BMPs or the Bradleys, the Marder can also be equipped with anti-tank guided missiles.This would generally be the French MILAN, there are variants of the Marder that are equipped with Spike LR, without However, Israel currently does not allow it to be exported to

Ukraine

A main problem here is that the Milan has to be mounted and dismounted from the Marder Commander's Cupola, as vibrations during movement could damage the weapon.This is that difference from the BMP-2, here Missiles can be loaded into the launcher without leaving the vehicle, plus the sight for the missile launcher is also "inside" the vehicle.
Now, the loadout needs a bit of explaining, you'll see the launcher in the center of the turret. It would swing to the side and then up, so the commander or gunner through their hatches could load it without exposing themselves too much, you also need to consider that the hatches open forward, so "in" might be a bit of a stretch, but the charger would not really be exposed. Now the main weapon on the Marder is a 20mm autocannon, that's fine, not great and not terrible. It comes with high explosive rounds and high velocity armor piercing discard sabot rounds.
The latter should be able to penetrate BTR, BMP-1 and BMP-2 frontally up to 2000m, however the more modern BMP-3 should be safe. The main problem with Marder's gun is that it is not stabilized. So shooting while moving might look impressive, but the chances of hitting something are low. Against inexperienced troops it might still create enough repression, against experienced troops probably less. Of course, there are tactics like fire and movement as shown here from my WWII Panzer Tactics video that can mitigate this problem, so that half of the vehicles provide cover against the enemy, while the other half advance and then vice versa.
As previously discussed with Nicholas Moran AKA Chieftain on my second channel, thermal imaging systems are a game changer. And according to my sources, all

Marders

were upgraded with WBG-X thermal imaging systems. This system may be outdated by modern standards, but it's clearly better than having no thermal imaging system. Of course, there are two caveats here, first, it could be that these thermal imaging systems are worn out and in disrepair, the Bundeswehr has some serious problems, like a lack of ammunition. Second, it could also be the other way around, i.e. some

Marders

are already up to date.
Unfortunately, with the newer thermal imaging systems, I couldn't find any information in my sources so far. Also, the German industry could disassemble, upgrade or change those systems. In terms of mobility, the Marder has some drawbacks compared to the BMP-2. First of all, it's generally heavier, yes, it has wider tracks, but according to Tankolad, this can't beat everything: "Its Thin tracks may be a liability for some other platform, but thanks to the compressed design of the BMP-2, it only exerts 0.65 kg/cm2 ground pressure with combat load.The Marder 1, with its much wider tracks, Still I can't get away from the fact that it's about 2 times heavier than the BMP-2.The Marder 1 exerts 0.83 kg/cm2 of pressure on the ground.” Note that this could be even more depending on the Marde variant. r used here as the base reference, the 1977 variant was already 0.80 kg/sq.
Secondly, the Marder, unlike the BMP-2, is not amphibious. Where the Marder shines though is that it's 65km/h top speed. Now the insider might know that this is also the maximum speed of the BMP-2 as well and indeed it is. However, for the Marderesta it is top speed forward and reverse as well. This allows for greater tactical flexibility on the battlefield. Meanwhile, the BMP-2 according to the manual has only 10.6 km/h at 2600 rpm, this means that the maximum reversing speed could be higher, but not by a wide margin, according to Tankolad, it should be 11, 7 km/h.
So in this case the Marder has a clear advantage. Now, unlike the BMPs, the Marder is quite a heavy beast and the A3 was specifically upgraded to withstand fire from a 30mm cannon like that of the BMP-2, BMP-3 or BTR-82. As usual there are a few caveats, firstly this protection was added a few decades so it is likely that modern 30mm ammunition will be able to penetrate. Second, the protection is only sufficient for the frontal armor, as usual, the side armor is quite weak. In addition to these hard factors, there are also soft factors, now that the Marder is designed to carry soft targets, namely Panzergrenadiere Inside, though

they

may disagree about the smoothness, ergonomics as usual is a big factor.
The BMP is shorter, thus having a lower target profile, but this means it is less comfortable. This is not just a comfort issue, as over time this will likely reduce the fighting capabilities of the passengers, as such for longer deployments, the crew and passengers of a Marder are clearly better off than in a BMP. Furthermore, Ketti notes: "Another advantage of ergonomics is a faster dismount (and generally willingness to get into the vehicle instead of riding behind or on top of it), which makes raiding enemy positions quicker." Another related topic here It's visibility. Tankolad made a comparison here: „The commander of the BMP-2 only receives two (!) Measly overview periscopesto complement the ubiquitous TKN-3B from him.
Not only is that less than what the gunner gets, it's also a lot less than what NATO counterparts get from the commander. The commander of the Marder 1, for example, is equipped with a generous array of five periscopes that cover 160 degrees frontally. However, it should be mentioned that the cupola rotates, so unlike the gunner sitting next to him and the commander of a Marder 1, the commander of a BMP-2 can rotate the cupola to see everything 360 degrees around him. It's not as convenient as being able to look in any direction at all, but the overall effect is similar, and at least a BMP-2 commander has a greater field of view than a 160-degree frontal arc." For a general chat about the main differences and philosophies behind the Marder the BMP series, be sure to check out this video with Jens Wehner on my second channel.
Last but not least, we must alsoThink about the dreaded A L M combination, namely availability, logistics and maintenance. Ketti points out that the Marder is available not only in Germany, but also in a few other countries aswell, this is in contrast to other vehicles like the Swedish CV90 or the British Warrior. Those two vehicles were produced in large numbers of around 1000 each, however unlike the Marder there are usually no successor vehicles ready yet. Going back to the Marder, this means that there are large numbers of parts, replacement vehicles, personnel and other skills available to the entire supply chain, as well as training and maintenance.
Of course, since Germany finally decided to send

Marders

, which were built specifically to accompany the Leopard tanks, the question must be asked again, what about the German Leopards for the

Ukraine

? Well, the German Social Democrats already have that "covered": "Meanwhile, SPD defense policy spokesman Wolfgang Hellmich currently rules out German delivery of Leopard 2 tanks. These are attack tanks. What

Ukraine

needs are tanks for the defending'". I mean there is actually not one but three different

Marders

that are quite suitable for defensive tasks and one of them can also be seen at the Panzermuseum Munster but those are Wehrmacht tank destroyers not infantry fighting vehicles then again, some Russian sources claim that this is The Great Patriotic War 2.0 and the German Social Democrats are well known for their empathy when it comes to Russian "sensitivities".
As a final summary, I will quote Ketti again: "The Marder impresses mainly with its numbers, serviceability, mobility, armor and ergonomics. However, it is deficient in its main armament due to its age and in its anti-tank capability due to to the Israeli blockade". As a final note, I'm sorry I didn't livestream as originally planned, but I decided to edit/write a new book during my spare time, more soon. I hope you are off to a

good

start in 2023. Thanks to the Panzermuseum Munster for inviting me. Thanks to Ketti and Tankolad for answering several questions. Thanks for watching and see you next time.
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