An Obsolete German Tank Seeks a Second Life on Ukraine’s Front Lines

Germany, which is the second biggest donor of direct military aid to Ukraine, has trained 6,300 of the 10,000 Ukrainian troops it plans to train this year. The courses include infantry, sharpshooting, artillery and operating the various major weapon systems that Germany has provided. The German commitment is part of an E.U. program that aims to train 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers by end of next year.

In the current session, the Ukrainian tank commander was identified only by his call sign, Bassist, in keeping with Ukrainian military protocols. He said he wasn’t surprised when he saw older men among his trainers.

“In the end, if someone is a professional, it doesn’t matter how old he is,” he said.

The refurbished tanks that he and his colleagues trained on — a single cohort consists of roughly 50 soldiers and their commanders — were brought to Klietz by the Danes, who also cofinanced the donation of the Leopard 1A5s. Another 132 tanks, including specialized Leopard 1A5s used for salvage and instruction, will be sent to Ukraine in the coming year.

“Ukraine cannot grant us more than six weeks of training for understandable reasons, and we just try to make the best of it,” General Marlow said.

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