Hey, there is a tank sticking up out of the street

panther street turret

Starting in the 1944 Italian campaign, the Allies started to bump into German Panther turrets mounted on top of buried concrete bunkers, rather than atop tanks, for which they were increasingly running short of fuel. It actually wasn’t a new idea, as the French had used scores of old FT-17 and newer Char turrets on the Maginot wall and other places.

Abandoned French fortification on the French-German border, May 1940 tank turret

Abandoned French fortification on the French-German border, May 1940

German captured Matilda tank that had been captured and concreted into position to be used as part of the defences of Halfaya Pass, 16 March 1942. A Valentine tank passes by in the background. (IWM E 9320

Germans used this captured Matilda tank and concreted into position, used as part of the defenses of Halfaya Pass, 16 March 1942. A British Valentine tank passes by in the background. (IWM E 9320)

These instant defensive fortifications were usually sited to cover choke points, and being low to the ground was difficult to spot or knock out.

Panther turrets used a fixed artillery positions during the battle of Berlin

The buried concrete bunkers include a generator for power, large supplies of ammunition – much more than a tank could carry – and protected living quarters for the abbreviated turret crew.

Panther turrets used a fixed artillery positions during the battle of Berlin

Panther turrets used as a fixed artillery position during the battle of Berlin

panther turrets Panther turrets used a fixed artillery positions during the battle of Berlin b

panther2These concepts outlasted the War, especially in Eastern Europe.


Soviet IS2 turret placed

Soviet IS2 turret placed



M48 on Golan Wall

M48 on Golan Wall

The Finns even bought 56 surplus T-55 tank turrets (just the turrets, which left the Soviets scratching their heads) in the late 1960s in what was likely the last use of such an idea. They placed them, coated with an asbestos-cork mixture to prevent moisture, along their craggy seacoast as the 100 56 TK (“100 mm, 56 length caliber, turret gun”) system, which was operational as late as 2012. These were arranged in 14 “sea fortresses,” each one equipped with 4 such turrets, linked by a central command and control and spotting system.

100 56 TK coastal artillery gun in Kuivasaari island. This gun is a modified T-55 turret used as coastal artillery

And of course, they were used extensively in the Middle East:

Captured Jordanian or Iraqi T-34-85 was turned into a pillbox in a settlement in Jordan Valley 6 Days War 1967 Jordan Valley, West Bank, Israel via DimaWa photo

One of the most enduring and best-preserved turret fortifications is found at the St.Aubins Fort in the Channel Island Military Museum, a repurposed French S 35 47mm tank turret.

The go-to book for more information on these (even covering Albanian and Bulgarian cold war panzer and T-34 turrets) is Neil Shorts’s aptly named Tank Turret Fortifications. I certainly have thumbed through my own copy several times.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

One response to “Hey, there is a tank sticking up out of the street”

  1. Elizabeth Gordon says :

    Mr. Eger- Looking to see if you have the rights for an image of Lt. Billie Walkabout for an exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian

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