This peice of combat footage was filmed in Syria back in 2013. As a column of T-72 tanks sit stationary in the suburb of Darayya in the Syrian capital of Damascus, one of the tanks is hit with an RPG-29 fired by Free Syrian Army rebels. The tank is devastated and the hatches and main gun erupt into a flamethrower effect. Despite this, one of the crew somehow managed to survive the cook off and flees for his life whilst wrestling with his uniform that’s mangled from the blast.

Despite initially cheating death, It’s not clear if the Syrian soldier who escaped the tank cook off suffered internal injuries and it’s possible he could have been running on adrenaline only to succumb to his wounds later. The attack was carried out by the infamous tank killer, the RPG-29. A weapon which we have covered the devastating effects of more than once on Reaper Feed.

What Caused the Tank Cook Off – RPG-29

Codename ”Vampire”, the RPG-29 was the last rocket-propelled grenade launcher made by the Soviet Union before its demise in 1991. Since then, it has gone on to be a feature of numerous conflicts around the world where it has fallen into the hands of everybody from Sunni and Shia militants in the Middle East to drug cartels in Mexico. In urban warfare, it has been used to the devastating effect upon the high tech tanks of western militaries such as the British Army, the Israeli Defence Force, and the U.S. Army.

Cook off

The weapon is a shoulder-launched, unguided, tube-style, breech-loading anti-tank rocket system and boasts a range of about 500 meters. It has the ability to be carried and used by a single soldier, making it extremely effect in confined operating spaces characteristic of urban warfare.

“The majority of Israel Defense Forces ground troops casualties, both infantry and armored, were the result of special antitank units of Hezbollah.”

– Haaretz report citing intelligence sources

When it is launched, the missile fired by the RPG-29 deploys eight fins which act as a stabilizer for the rocket during flight. In contrast to other Russian-made anti-tank rocket launchers, the RPG-29 lacks an initial propellant charge to place the projectile at a safe distance from the operator before the rocket ignites. Instead, the rocket engine kicks into action the second the trigger is pulled and it subsequently burns out before the rocket leaves the launcher.

During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the RPG-29 was heavily utilized by various insurgent forces targeting U.S. and British military forces. In 2006, it was used in an attack on a British Challenger 2 tank where it penetrated the armor and wounded several of the crew inside. Luckily, the tank was able to return to base.

In 2007, it was used to target a U.S. M1 Abrams tank in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The tank was not as lucky as the attack the year before and took serious damage and casualties. Another attack the following year carried out by Shia militants forced the U.S. military to class the RPG-29 as such a significant threat to their armor that equipping the new Iraqi army with it was out of the question, due to the fear of them falling into the hands of insurgents.

Cook off

In the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) suffered a significant number of casualties due to the RPG-29 being heavily used by Hezbollah insurgents. This led to a spat between Israel and Russia whereby the Russian Foreign Ministry was forced to publicly deny that Russia had directly supplied arms to Hezbollah. Later on, it was viewed that the arms were likely supplied via Syria following their pullout from Lebanon

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Batya (Батя) is the founder of Reaper Feed. He is an international security advisor and a high-risk expedition leader across former and active conflict zones such as Eastern Ukraine, unrecognized post-Soviet states, the North Caucasus, and the Middle East. Batya founded Reaper Feed to provide unprecedented insight into the lesser-seen sides of human conflict and modern warfare. He is from the UK but his work means he is based in various countries around the world.