Big tree Russian tank fall hard.

That’s what’s going on in the following GIF, as a bunch of Russian soldiers fail to successfully get a 28 ton 2S3 “Akatsiya” tank with a 152 mm self-propelled Howitzer cannon onto the back of a flatbed somewhere in the former USSR.


Speaking of the Russian military, Vox published a damning piece about Putin and his forces, calling it a paper tiger, in a lot more words.

Here’s a snippet:

Today, Russian military might as we know it is halfway between a fact and a psychological warfare operation.

Russian special forces seized Crimea in February 2014 with respectable precision and discipline, and looked the part of cutting-edge soldiers. But they were among the very best Moscow can muster, and faced no opposition.

Russia has been able to turn the tide in Syria — and the politics of that war — with its bombers. But in order to keep up the tempo of operations in Syria, Moscow has had to send its best pilots, and even buy old Turkish ships to supply them. Besides, bombing a disorganized rebel force with no meaningful air defense is hardly much of a test of the new Russian air force.

In Ukraine, where Russia has had units deployed since summer 2014, Moscow has had to send improvised “battalion tactical groups” patched together from the best companies of soldiers across the country. After all, almost half of Russia’s soldiers are conscriptsserving just a single year. Russian officers speaking off the record admit that between their training and their final demobilization month, the majority are only usable for maybe three months of that year.

In order to send naval squadrons flying the flag across the globe, Moscow has not only to accompany them with tugs for when they break down, it then has to put the ships in dock for months after fixing them. And while Russia had great plans for new warships, the gas turbines most would have used came from Ukraine, and so it’s back to the drawing board.

In other words, so far, we have seen the very best of the Russian military in the ideal conditions but not the rest of the force, or how they would cope facing a real threat. It is a little bit like assuming you can judge all of US education by visiting Harvard, or its health care from the Mayo Clinic.

GIF via Foxtrot Alpha