Saturday, October 25, 2014

Scrapyard Ukrainia

 The figure of 40 000 armored fighting vehicles has been used to describe what the armed forces of Ukraine inherited from the old Soviet Western Army Group, when the USSR fragmented in 1992. Obviously more tanks than Germany started, or ended, the Second war with, was a few too many for any nation not threatened by an armored onslaught.

 So, for the better part of 20 years what they couldn't peddle to African fighters (or to resupplying new found US allies in Iraq and Afghanistan)  the Ukraine mothballed in gigantic tank parks.  Thank goodness the Ukraine had developed a fairly robust 'refurbishment' for export industry.

  Until this year Ukraine wasn't threatened by anything much worse than the utilities being turned-off for lack of payments. But things change and so, when a threat from Moscow was detected, the Ukraine went into overdrive to mobilize its armed forces - to "defend" itself, and to "defend" itself by putting down an separatist movement in the eastern part of the country. It didn't take long for the natives there to begin to block Ukrainian tank columns, but when they didn't stop,  burning AFV's became more and more common place. In fact, as time passed and actual fighting worsened, they became 'normal'.

 The 'active war' ended in a welter of destruction as 'Russians' attacked and destroyed numerous concentrations of Ukrainian vehicles leaving burned and rusting hulks spread over the better part of two eastern regions.

This past year has made that refurbishment industry probably Ukraine's only real 'growth' sector, aside from flags, politics, entertainment and Public utilities. Sadly the 'new production' centres of the east have largely been removed from the economic picture for the foreseeable future. But that hasn't stopped Kyiv from trying. A recent 'independence day parade' featured the latest models rolling off the assembly line, down the parade route and off to battle in the east. Some of these fell victim to increasingly well-armed rebels in the great August pay-back.

Scrapyard EUkrainia

Cleaning up after all this will cost as least as much as was spent doing it. and unless the price of steel rises significantly retrieving and scrapping the detritus of battle will cost more than the junk is worth. 

There's another object lesson about the value of modern war in all this. It sure isn't like the 'glory' of grandad's day - except to the recruiters. But it is a profit-taking opportunity to savvy investors in the right place at the right time with the right junk to peddle .... as always.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

Just want to say, "HELLO, Bro!"....
Thanks for including the link when you "commented" on the DoD Buzz story about how "Pentagon workers might be ISIS targets"...Of course "Pentagon workers" *might be* space aliens in disguise, so.... Yeah, those massive Ukrainian tank graveyards are very impressive.
They should ship some CONUS. We could fix them up and get them running again. Great for joyrides at the County Fair.
And they'd make great playground equipment for the kids to climb around on. You'd do ANYthing to get more blog readers, wouldn't ya....?
(...that's 3 GI's, a Nurse, and a battleship, but I'm sure you've heard that joke before....