We don’t deliver because the others don’t deliver either – for a long time that was Chancellor Scholz’s stance on Ukraine’s demand for battle tanks and armored personnel carriers. Now there is a reversal. Germany, the USA and France deliver Marders, Bradleys and AMX-10 RC – and thus send a clear signal against Kremlin boss Putin.

The announced delivery of light battle tanks from France to Ukraine has put the German government under pressure. On Thursday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz then phoned US President Joe Biden and both agreed: If France delivers, we will deliver too.

So Scholz wants to send Marder infantry fighting vehicles and Patriot anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine after all, while the United States is supplying Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. The federal government and the White House announced this on Thursday after a phone call from Scholz and Biden. These are the first Western-style armored personnel carriers to be received in Ukraine. So far, only Soviet models have been delivered to the war zone by Eastern European countries.

Marder, Bradley, and AMX-10 RC: These are the three tanks with which Germany, France and the USA want to change the war.

The Marder infantry fighting vehicle was built during the Cold War and has been continuously modernized ever since. He is armed with a 20mm cannon. With 600 hp and a combat weight of 35 tons, it is also well motorized. Infantry fighting vehicles such as the Marder and Puma are not battle tanks according to the definition of the Bundestag. Nevertheless, they are used on the front line and offer almost the same protection. Protected by the armor, soldiers can shoot from the vehicle in battle. The vehicles mentioned in the English Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) are usually equipped with a light cannon and more and more often with armor-piercing guided missiles.

It was initially unclear how many martens were involved. The Düsseldorf armaments company Rheinmetall had already offered 100 of the armored personnel carriers for the Ukraine in the summer. In the meantime, 40 of them are destined for Greece, which is supplying Soviet-designed armored personnel carriers to the Ukraine. So another 60 martens could be handed over to Ukraine.

The delivery from the USA, Bradley, also belongs to the group of infantry fighting vehicles – i.e. an armored tracked vehicle with armament for use alongside armored infantrymen. It has a 600 hp diesel engine with a combat weight of 25 tons. Similar to the German Marder infantry fighting vehicle, the Bradleys have a fully articulating turret with a powerful autocannon. A rapid-fire machine cannon is installed there. But Bradleys can also act as a platform to combat air targets or enemy battle tanks. Here, too, it is still unclear how many tanks are to be delivered.

Macron has described the AMX-10 RC wheeled tank as a “light battle tank”. They are mainly used for reconnaissance, but have a large cannon that almost reaches the caliber of the Bundeswehr’s Leopard 2 main battle tank. The vehicle, which was built from 1976 and was traded as a tank destroyer at the time, is highly mobile with its three driven axles (6×6) on roads and dirt roads such as in Africa and the Middle East, but it is far from a tracked vehicle in open fields, especially in the mud of Eastern Europe inferior. This also applies if an AMX-10 RC with its 105mm gun should hit a main battle tank like a Russian T-72 or the T-80.

The term chosen by Macron after a video link with Selenskyj, that France is providing “light battle tanks” (“chars de combat légers”) with the AMX-10 RC, is more a political signal than a technically correct description. If France wanted to give Ukraine a battle tank (“char de combat”), it would have to supply its Leclerc. If the USA also wanted to give something like the German Leopard 2 to Ukraine, they would have to send their “main battle tank” M1 Abrams to the front. All three tanks are significantly weaker in protection than real main battle tanks, especially in direct confrontation with heavy tanks.