68 Bradley Fighting Vehicles Have Been 'Lost' in Ukraine War So Far

M2 Bradley IFV
February 28, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: U.S. MilitaryBradley Fighting VehicleM2 BradleyRussiaUkraine

68 Bradley Fighting Vehicles Have Been 'Lost' in Ukraine War So Far

Out of 186 Bradleys provided to Ukraine, 68 have been reported as destroyed, damaged, or abandoned, highlighting the intense battlefield attrition.

Summary: Russia has captured a U.S.-made M2A2-ODS-SA Bradley Fighting Vehicle from Ukraine, showcasing it as a war trophy in a propaganda tour across Russia. This display aims to underline the vulnerability of Western-supplied military equipment. The Bradley, known for its armored protection and combat capabilities, underwent detailed inspection and analysis by Russian forces, including testing against 30mm autocannon fire. Out of 186 Bradleys provided to Ukraine, 68 have been reported as destroyed, damaged, or abandoned, highlighting the intense battlefield attrition. This event underscores the symbolic and informational aspects of capturing enemy equipment in contemporary warfare.

Russia Parades Captured Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Propaganda Tour

Captured military hardware has long been a form of a "war trophy" – probably dating back to the first time a returning warrior returned from battle with an enemy's club. Even today there is a serious market for those battlefield souvenirs, something this reporter knows quite well.

Moreover, showing off such items obtained from the enemy during wartime also has significant propaganda value, as it highlights that an adversary's weapons can be overcome and defeated. Kyiv wasted no time in displaying the destroyed Russian tanks that failed to reach the Ukrainian capital nearly two years ago.

Moscow has also shown off the various Western-supplied tanks, and other armored vehicles that were lost on the battlefield – and this month it displayed a U.S.-made M2A2-ODS-SA Bradley Fighting Vehicle, which is being transported on a rail-bound propaganda tour of Russia. As TheWarZone.com reported, "It is an unprecedented and somewhat jarring thing to behold, but one that should come as no surprise."

According to reports on social media, the M2 Bradley arrived in Moscow on February 26.

It also isn't the first time that Russia has hyped up the fact that it captured an intact Bradley in the fighting in Russia. In December, Russia's Channel 1 featured a segment that showed the vehicle being inspected by Russian recovery crews that hoped to glean any information about the platform's vulnerabilities or capabilities.

According to the Defence-Blog, at least one Bradley was subjected to gunfire from the standard 30mm autocannon 2A42, using armor-piercing rounds 3UBR6 and 3UBR8. In addition, the boxy explosive reactive armor (ERA) bricks, known as Bradley Reactive Armor Tiles (BRAT), were removed from the sides of the hull, presumably for detailed analysis.

It is common for military forces to meticulously examine captured enemy hardware, but typically this is conducted behind closed doors – perhaps so that an adversary doesn't really know what is discovered. The Kremlin is clearly going in another direction, and it could be sending a message that it wants the West to know that it knows! But the propaganda value seems to further outweigh any need to hide the effort to examine the captured Bradley.

It isn't clear if the Bradley now on the rail tour is the same one that was the subject of the Russian Channel 1 TV segment.

A Third of the Bradley IFVs Have Been Lost

As of this year, 186 Bradley Fighting Vehicles were provided to Ukraine, and around 100 to 120 are believed to have been actively deployed in operations, with the remainder reserved for parts, training, and replacement when needed.

According to data from the open-source military intelligence website Oryx, in addition to the one known to be captured, another 68 Bradley IFVs have been destroyed, damaged, and/or abandoned. Though not the miracle weapon that some may have expected, the Bradley Fighting Vehicles have taken their toll on the Russian military. In wartime there will be losses – a fact noted by the loss of an American M1 Abrams earlier this month.

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].