Formerly a tank under Russian control, Bunny the tank was now firmly under Ukrainian control.
Fighters under the blue and yellow banner had knocked out the tank only two weeks before, and Ukrainian mechanics had restored the tank to its original specs’. Some bright spark had given the tank a name: Bunny.
Bunny was a T80 tank with an operational range of 335 km without external tanks and could travel at 80 km per hour. It had a crew of three.
It was taken out with a Javelin anti-tank missile. The Javelin was particularly effective because it contained two warheads, the first destroyed the tank’s armour and the second destroyed the chassis underneath.
Dmytro was the eldest of the tank crew and his wife and children had succeeded in travelling to Rosslare in Ireland where they had been put up by a hotel, brought back to life by a humanitarian crisis not seen since the Second World War.
The second crewman was Andriy and he was unmarried. His girlfriend was also serving in a military unit. Her name was Anna. Andriy liked being called Andy.
The third crewman wasn’t Ukrainian but had volunteered to help the country when he had witnessed what was going down. He’d served in tanks before in the British Army and he knew his way around. His name was Jones and that was what he liked being called. He didn’t say much with his mouth so they had no idea whether he was married or not.
The Russians didn’t like that the Ukrainians had captured a number of their tanks and that one of them had been nicknamed Bunny. It made them look like fools in the western media and a laughing stock around the world.
Orders came down from the top in Moscow: destroy Bunny at all costs. Drones were deployed but they couldn’t locate Bunny, a tank which kept on the move. Russian fighter jets like the MiG 29 and the SU-25 were on constant lookout but again had to report no trace of Bunny. Bunny was proving elusive.
Ground troops weren’t as keen to seek out ‘Bunny’ as troops didn’t like tangling with tanks, unless there was no other recourse.
As for Bunny itself it was constantly moving throughout Ukraine and fighting Russians wherever they were found.
As well as tank rounds the tank could fire missiles and wreaked havoc wherever it went.
It wasn’t all blood and guts though. The crew could relax at times.
And that’s how they found out about the motivation of Jones. What made him tick?
They were sitting on the tank having a cup of coffee when Dmytro looked to Jones.
“So, Harry, you served on tanks in the British Army?”
He nodded. “Sixteen years.”
Dmytro nodded. “So, why us? Why fight for Ukraine? Do you like war?”
Jones didn’t answer for a very long time and when he did he looked at his two comrades and spoke in their language. They had to strain to hear him. “My wife was Ukrainian,” he explained quietly. “She was killed with her parents and our daughter in Mariupol in the opening days of the war. Shelling.”
There was nothing more to be said.
They drained their coffee cups and climbed back into Bunny.
The fight would go on.
To the bitter end.