Tag Archives: found tank

Not bad shape for chilling at the bottom of the Don for 75 years

Specialists from the Russian Defence Ministry recently pulled a U.S. tank from the bottom of the Don River where has been since the summer of 1942.

The Russian Defense Ministry on April 29 announced the recovery of the tank, an M3 Stuart, along with a host of unexploded munitions. While the tank’s turret was missing, its hull was still filled with live 37mm shells for its M6 main gun and several intact M1919A4 light machine guns.

From the markings on the vehicle, it appears the tank was part of the Soviet Red Army’s famous 24th Tank Corps, which at the time was fighting the Germans near the town of Ostrogozhsk during World War II.

It is believed the tank went into the water during a withdrawal when a bridge was destroyed by the Germans.

While the Stuart, a 16 ton light tank, was outclassed by the Soviets’ own T-34 designs as well as most of the German tanks it would be pitted against, Stalin accepted no less than 1,676 M3s as part of Lend-Lease from the U.S. — though many were lost in German U-boat attacks on convoys at sea.

Some fought in the Stalingrad campaign and at least one, an improved M5A1 version, is at the Russian Tank Museum in Kubinka in restored condition.

Besides the Stuart, which will eventually go on public display, a ChTZ S-65 Stalinets tractor and the fighting compartment of a German Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) assault gun was recovered as well.

Because this is just what you have in the river in Russia, that’s why

Tank Pulled up Perfectly Preserved

War brings us the most amazing stories. Some of them are only brought to light generations later. In 1944 a young Estonian boy poking around in the woods near his house saw a pair of fresh tank tracks leading to a local peat lake and none leading back out. This boy remembered going to that lake for months and seeing bubbles rising up from the bottom. This clue remained nothing but an odd childhood story until the boy, now an old man, talked to a member of the Russian Otsing group which plays something of a battlefield detective all along what used to be the massive and miserable eastern front in World War Two.

The group dived the site and found something. With the help of a tractor they pulled a Soviet-built T34/76A tank up on Sept 14, 2000. This tank was perfectly preserved in the peat and the engine was still sealed tight. The 116 rounds of 76mm aboard were still live and all markings were clearly readable and visible. Most interesting of all it appeared that the tank was captured by the Germans, who used it, and then sank it to prevent it from falling back into the hand s of its original owners.

Who knows whats in the rest of those wooded lakes along that 900 mile front?