Soviet-built T34/76A tank Recovered in Estonia

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by tetley44, Jan 31, 2007.

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  1. 14 September 2000, a Komatsu D375A-2 pulled an abandoned tank from its archival tomb under the bottom of a lake near Johvi , Estonia .. The Soviet-built T34/76A tank had been resting at the bottom of the lake for 56 years. According to its specifications, its a 27-tonne machine with a top speed of 53km/h.

    From February to September 1944, heavy battles were fought in the narrow, 50 km-wide, Narva front in the northeastern part of Estonia .. Over 100,000 men were killed and 300,000 men were wounded there. During battles in the summer of 1944, the tank was captured from the Soviet army and used by the German army. (This is the reason that there are German markings painted on the tanks exterior.) On 19 September 1944, German troops began an organized retreat along the Narva front. It is suspected that the tank was then purposefully driven into the lake, abandoning it when its captors left the area.

    At that time, a local boy walking by the lake Kurtna Matasjarv noticed tank tracks leading into the lake, but not coming out anywhere. For two months he saw air bubbles emerging from the lake. This gave him reason to believe that there must be an armored vehicle at the lakes bottom. A few years ago, he told the story to the leader of the local war history club Otsing. Together with other club members, Mr Igor Shedunov initiated diving expeditions to the bottom of the lake about a year ago. At the depth of 7 metres they discovered the tank resting under a 3-metre layer of peat.

    Enthusiasts from the club, under Mr Shedunovs leadership, decided to pull the tank out. In September 2000 they turned to Mr Aleksander Borovkovthe, manager of the Narva open pit of the stock company AS Eesti Polevkivi, to rent the companys Komatsu D375A-2 bulldozer. Currently used at the pit, the Komatsu dozer was manufactured in 1995, and has 19,000 operating hours without major repairs.

    The pulling operation began at 09:00 and was concluded at 15:00 , with several technical breaks. The weight of the tank, combined with the travel incline, made a pulling operation that required significant muscle. The D375A-2 handled the operation with power and style. The weight of the fully armed tank was around 30 tons, so the tractive force required to retrieve it was similar. A main requirement for the 68-tonne dozer was to have enough weight to prevent shoe-slip while moving up the hill.

    After the tank surfaced, it turned out to be a trophy tank that had been captured by the German army in the course of the battle at Sinimaed (Blue Hills) about six weeks before it was sunk in the lake. Altogether, 116 shells were found on board. Remarkably, the tank was in good condition, with no rust, and all systems (except the engine) in working condition.

    This is a very rare machine, especially considering that it fought both on the Russian and the German sides. Plans are under way to fully restore the tank. It will be displayed at a war history museum that will be founded at the Gorodenko village on the left bank of the River Narva.

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  2. Bugger me....
  3. COOL!!!!!!!!!
  4. What a find. It looks ready for battle.

    I wonder have there been any similar finds recently of fighting vehicles?

  5. I think this is the one that once they had cleared out the ammo/mud etc swapped the fuel and oil over and it apperently started up! I've seen some more pics of that with the M/G rounds and other stuff being removed from it
  6. Bu**er the tank ....

    where can I get a Komatsu D357A-2?

    19,000 hours without major repairs,

    Handles operations with power and style!

    Gotta have one of them...!
  7. Looks like a captured example

    There is well more stuff out there we dont even know about yet
  8. Apparently the writing on the turret is Estonian for ' Tank for sale: 2 careful owners, full service history'.
  9. Apparently the writing on the turret is Estonian for ' Tank for sale: 2 careful owners, full service history'.

  10. HE177

    Bu**er the D357, get one of these....

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  11. Sadly, I can't see the engine starting with just new fuel and oil. I'm assuming that the crew didn't push it into the lake so I imagine that it went in under power. If that was the case then the engine would not have been at all happy with the sudden rush of (non compressible) water down the air intakes.

    In fact, I'm fairly sure that I remember that one of the recommended techniques for destroying engines (for the purpose of denying the enemy their use) is to pour water down the air intake.

    However, if the tank *did* go in "dead" then, given the apparently excellent level of preservation of the rest of the vehicle, I would be not be too surprised if the engine was runnable !


  12. Wow the Estonian Army is up one tank now!

  13. Yes fcuknuts the Balkan cross on the side of the turret would give that appearance did you bother to read tetley44's post explaining so?

    yes there is more stuff out there lets just hope the shallow end of the gene puddle like you don't find it! do one