Ukraine is Using its Leopard Tanks at Night as ‘Nocturnal Predators’

Wes O'Donnell
7 min readSep 14, 2023

The incredible advantage of night fighting in war

Leopard 2 A7, German Army Training Centre, Munster 2015. Boevaya mashina CC BY-SA 4.0

In a recent video posted by the Ukraine Ministry of Defense, a soldier described how they are maximizing the advanced, German-made Leopard 2A6.

This model of tank is currently the best tracked vehicle on the ground in Ukraine and is even more advanced than the older American M1 Abrams that will be arriving in the coming weeks.

These Leopards have some of the most advanced night vision available on the battlefield.

Unfortunately, these tanks are in short supply: Ukraine only received 21 of the 2A6s from European allies, and no more are due to be delivered.

Future shipments include only the older American Abrams tanks and significantly older Leopard models.

Check out the video:

So, how can fighting at night give Ukraine a huge advantage over the Russians?

Seduced by “Owning the Night”

Historically, night warfare was strictly the domain of saboteurs, spies, and assassins.

The first true night fighters were British and German, as the Brits sought to hunt down German Zeppelins lurking in the night skies over England in 1915.

These lumbering behemoths were sitting ducks in daylight, so they were used primarily after dark. For six months British airmen struggled to find the Zeppelins and shoot them down.

In World War II, night ops evolved into complex bombing operations as technology improved and enabled both sides to hit targets with a small degree of accuracy after dark.

But night fighting wasn’t confined to the skies (or Europe) — the Japanese considered themselves better at night fighting than the Americans, and several notable battles took place under the cover of darkness including the Battle of Guadalcanal (November 13–15, 1942) and the Battle of Leyte Gulf (October 23–26, 1944).

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Wes O'Donnell

Army & Air Force Veteran | Global Security guy at War is Boring, GEN, OneZero | Intel Forecaster | Law Student | TEDx Speaker | Pro-Democracy | Pro-Human Rights