ERA Explosive Reactive Armor meme depicting the plates on a star destroyer from star wars.

Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA)

Part of a series on 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine. [View Related Entries]

Updated Apr 19, 2023 at 03:55PM EDT by Owen.

Added Apr 12, 2023 at 08:15AM EDT by Owen.

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Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) refers to a type of reactive armor for military vehicles, predominantly used for tanks and armored personnel carriers (APC), that breaks up a competing projectile upon impact in order to protect the vehicle from being penetrated and keep the crew inside safe. ERA was first designed in Soviet Russia in the late 1900s. ERA became the subject of memes and internet discourse in 2022 and 2023 amid the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, starting with threads on 4chan's /k/ board. At first, the memes made fun of the Russian military and its typical use of ineffective, dangerous and inferior ERA to the Ukrainians. Later, in early 2023, ERA memes were made about the Ukrainian army putting ERA on seemingly everything following the military's acquisition of German-made Leopard 2 tanks from Poland. The memes spread to /pol/ and Reddit's /r/NonCredibleDefense sub where ERA bricks were used as an exploitable, being edited onto image macros and meme templates along with Ukrainian soldier-coded Flork of Cows characters. ERA was also called "Cope Bricks" in reference to Copium and Cope Cages.


Explosive reactive armor (ERA) first surfaced in 1949 in the Soviet Union when Ukrainian scientist Bogdan Vjacheslavovich Voitsekhovsky first synthesized the idea for triggering a directional, counter-explosion to protect an armored vehicle from being destroyed and penetrated.[1] The Russian military failed in their initial experiments, however, the weapon's research was picked up by Norwegians and West Germans, eventually leading to Israel and the IDF's interest in reactive armor.[1] In 1982, the IDF was the first to successfully implement ERA on its tanks during the Lebanon War.[1]

Online discourse first surfaced on 4chan's /k/[2] (Weapons) board about explosive reactive armor on July 18th, 2012. Various threads started on /k/[3][4] in 2012 about ERA, however, reactive armor memes didn't become a notable trend until 2022 directly following the Russian Invasion of Ukraine. For instance, on January 19th, 2022, roughly one month before the invasion, a 4chan user wrote, "Russian tanks covered in reactive armor sitting in a muddy steppe = kino," in a /k/[5] thread when responding to a news headline about Russia's then-likely invasion. In March 2022, discourse surfaced on /k/[6][7] about the speculated poor quality of Russian ERA, including a picture of what looked like cardboard coming out of ERA bricks on a tank (shown below). The same photo was posted to /r/NonCredibleDefense[8] on March 5th, 2022, earning roughly 1,400 upvotes in one year.


Going into late 2022, discourse about ERA continued to surface, such as in a thread started on /k/[9] on September 9th, 2022, that included a photo of a BMP-3 with a Russian Z and minimal ERA on it and a caption reading, "the fuck is this?" (shown below).

179KiB, 1600x1200, wat.jpg View Same Google ImgOps iqdb SauceNAO Anonymous Wed 07 Sep 2022 05:20:06 No.55049187 View Reply Original Report [60/8/53] Quoted By: >>55049200 >>55049207 >>55049251 >>55049254 >>55049492 >>55049704 >>55049737 >>55049740 >>55049753 >>55049772 >>55049851 >>55050076 >>55050080 >>55050468 >>55051605 >>55053881 >>55054922 >>55054970 >>55059734 >>55059745 >>55061897 >>55061942 >>55062015 >>55062040 >>55062778 >>55063520 >>55065263 >>55066841 the f--- is this? View Same Google ImgOps iqdb SauceNAO file.png, 74KiB, 247x285 Anonymous Thu 08 Sep 2022 00:21:45 No.55061942 Report Quoted By: >>55063776 >>55049187 What's the point of these? Do they keep their expired MREs inside? Because they sure as hell don't contain reactive armor this late to the war, not that many did to begin with.

The aforementioned /k/[10] thread also resulted in the first known image to have crudely photoshopped ERA bricks placed on an image (shown below).

100 Z 11

Poland's Leopard 2 Tanks

On January 6th, 2023, discourse surfaced on Twitter[11] and then /k/[12] about Ukraine purportedly requesting Poland to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to them. News outlets like Newsweek[13] started covering the possibility and the reported request soon after. On /k/,[12] the development inspired discourse about the Poland Wojak Pushing NATO Article 5 Button. About a month later, on February 24th, Reuters[14] reported that Poland had sent Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv. On February 25th, 2023, a meme was shared on /k/[15] (that first surfaced in 2021[16]) showing a man rubbing K-1 ERA bricks on his face (shown below).

001001K-1 K1 K1 K1 K-1K1 K-1

Flork of Cows Ukrainian Soldiers

On March 29th, 2023, a 4chan user posted to /k/[17] a photo that purportedly showed ERA put onto a Leopard 2 by Ukrainian forces (shown below, left). The anon wondered how much more protection it could give the tank. The thread ultimately led to many memes about the Ukrainians putting seemingly unnecessary amounts of ERA on their newly acquired tanks. For instance, a user posted a meme to the /k/[18] thread that showed Flork of Cows characters as Ukrainian soldiers (shown below, right). The Flork of Cows meme was originally shared by Redditor SenpaiPingu on March 29th, 2023, to /r/NonCredibleDefense,[23] where it received roughly 8,600 upvotes in 15 days, later spreading to the /k/[18] thread. так? що? ??? Guten Tag Ukrainians i have a gift for you TAKE GOOD CARE OF HER G

The use of the Flork of Cows soldiers continued on Reddit's /r/NonCredibleDefense[19] in April 2023 where the sharing of ERA-related memes became commonplace. For instance, on March 28th, 2023, a meme using Wojak characters was posted to /r/NonCredibleDefense[19] by Redditor SpecificConcrete, gaining roughly 2,400 upvotes in 15 days (shown below, left). On April 6th, Redditor BlackMarine posted a Flork of Cows meme to /r/NonCredibleDefense[20] showing two Ukrainian soldiers putting ERA on a Star Wars Star Destroyer ship, gaining roughly 13,200 upvotes in six days (shown below, right).


Thereafter, ERA memes using the two Flork of Cows soldiers trended en masse on /r/NonCredibleDefense,[21][22] following the same format of the two Ukrainian soldiers unnecessarily putting ERA bricks on any object.

Flork of Cows Makes ERA Canon

On April 10th, 2023, Flork of Cows posted a new comic to Twitter[24] (@FlorkOfCows) that was an ERA-related comic, gaining roughly 12,500 likes in nine days (shown below). On April 18th, 2023, Flork of Cows posted to /r/NonCredibleDefense[25] using his Reddit account FlorkofcowsForReal, writing, "regarding use of my ip in memes." FlorkofcowsForReal encouraged the memes in his post, and in less than a day, the post gained roughly 6,600 upvotes.

this flesh sickens me, I am too weak 广 boys, brick me up immortality. 能

Various Examples

% 1 131 EUL AN Denmark To Donate 100 Leopard Tanks To Ukraine r/NonCredible Defense Posted by u/ACasualCollector 1 day ago 6.2k Ukrainians are selling ERA on eBay + NCD CLaSsIc 4:22 GBB-12M vorontsovantiques (651) 99.7% positive feedback 4c22 BB-12M 5-92-41 $240.00 +$100.00 Shipping or Best Offer Est. delivery Thu, May 4 - Thu, Jun 1 1 of 8 4022 788-42M UKRAINE RUSSIA WAR 2022 Detail Tank T-72B3 dynamic protection 4c22 pvv-12m 6pcs 4322 OBE-12M 1-95-4 ODT IEMjq|qs_in_ WHO THE F--- ARE THESE F------ Î AND WHY ARE THEY BRICKLAYING EVERYWHERE made with mematic

Search Interest


External References

[1] Defense Industry Europe – Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) Evolution and Impact on Tank Warfare

[2] 4chan (via desuarchive) – /k/

[3] 4chan (via desuarchive) – /k/

[4] 4chan (via desuarchive) – /k/

[5] 4chan (via desuarchive) – /k/

[6] 4chan (via desuarchive) – /k/

[7] 4chan (via desuarchive) – /k/

[8] Reddit – /r/NonCredibleDefense

[9] 4chan (via desuarchive) – /k/

[10] 4chan (via desuarchive) – /k/

[11] Twitter – @NOELreports

[12] 4chan (via desuarchive) – /k/

[13] Newsweek – What Are Leopard 2 Tanks? Polish Weapon That Could Go to Ukraine

[14] Reuters – Poland has delivered tanks to Ukraine

[15] 4chan (via desuarchive) – /k/

[16] Twitter – @zbiesu

[17] 4chan (via desuarchive) – /k/

[18] 4chan (via desuarchive) – /k/

[19] Reddit – /r/NonCredibleDefense

[20] Reddit – /r/NonCredibleDefense

[21] Reddit – /r/NonCredibleDefense

[22] Reddit – /r/NonCredibleDefense

[23] Reddit – /r/NonCredibleDefense

[24] Twitter – @FlorkOfCows


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