WW2 Tank Recovered
September 15, 2006 8:18 PM   Subscribe

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.

Apparently the tank was recovered in 2000, I can't find out anything else about it.
posted by LarryC at 8:19 PM on September 15, 2006

Obligatory William Gibson (Pattern Recognition) shout-out.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:23 PM on September 15, 2006

wow, the ideal boys adventure.
posted by jouke at 8:27 PM on September 15, 2006

cool post!
posted by quonsar at 8:27 PM on September 15, 2006

It's a miracle it didn't rust. Truly the hand of Bog is at work.

(Actually the bog was probably anoxic; they often are.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:29 PM on September 15, 2006

And it runs

posted by eriko at 8:42 PM on September 15, 2006

That is incredible. Peat bogs are amazing.
posted by stbalbach at 9:02 PM on September 15, 2006

Of course it runs. It was built by Russians.

Try that with an overcomplicated peice of junk like a Tiger...
posted by Artw at 9:21 PM on September 15, 2006 [2 favorites]

Excellent post.
posted by a3matrix at 9:25 PM on September 15, 2006

Awesome! I doubt that it would have fared better in a storehouse. Thanks for the post.
posted by Tullius at 9:30 PM on September 15, 2006

Wonderful post. Those russians sure are proud.
posted by anthill at 10:26 PM on September 15, 2006

Actually, from the linked article, the engine didn't work anymore. Everything else does, but a tank without an engine is just sculpture.

Still neat, though. I hope they were able to preserve it properly, since it wil start rusting now that it's exposed to air.
posted by Malor at 10:33 PM on September 15, 2006

Great post! Thanks to simple, durable construction, Russian tanks recovered in good condition from lakes, swamps, and bogs are not all that unusual. Considering the scale of Russian advances through the Baltic states in 1943, 1944, and 1945, there are probably dozens of them waiting to be found.

A Russian tank museum has pictures of a another T-34/76 (in near-running and firing condition) being researched, recovered (from a bog near Pskov in 2003), and restored. They mention 15 other possible sites that may also contain Russian, German, American, and British tanks.

The Geocities site, Military Archaeology, [Coral cache] discusses a Soviet T-34/85 and IS-2 tank recovered from Latvian bogs in 1999.
posted by cenoxo at 10:37 PM on September 15, 2006

Fantastic. What a great story. When I was young, inspired by Airfix kits and Robert Westall's The Machine Gunners, I had similar dreams of finding bits of Spitfires or Messerschmidts in the woods near my parents' house in Kent. Sadly it was not to be...

Of course it runs. It was built by Russians.

Flagged as fantastic.
posted by greycap at 10:57 PM on September 15, 2006

Malor, the second link mentions that the engine has been restored to working condition with almost no parts replacement ("Have replaced only bearings on skating rolls" it says).
posted by hattifattener at 11:00 PM on September 15, 2006

Fascinating! At first I looked at the photos and wondered - how did they think to look there in the first place? The story of the boy who noticed tracks leading into the lake and then remembered those tracks as an old man is great.

Apparently they're going to give tourists rides on the thing. MeFi meetup Estonia anyone?
posted by aladfar at 11:30 PM on September 15, 2006

Oh Hells yeah! I have a couple of goals in life, one is to own a WW2 figher plane, the other is to get my hands on a vintage tank. Things like this lead me to believe that my dreams are not in vain.

[note 1] Anyone with a P40k Warhawk for sale on the cheap, check for my email addy.

[note 2] Anyone who has an old Russian tank that runs... Ok, seriously, lemme know, cause I have all sorts of shit I want to run over. I mean really, every day I look around me and all I see is stuff that needs to be flattened. You know that old expression 'When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail'? Yeah, that's how I see the world, except I don't need a frigging hammer, I need a tank. So call me.

And if I run you over, well... you were probably a nail.
posted by quin at 11:30 PM on September 15, 2006 [2 favorites]

Of coursre figher == fighter. And I didn't give the OP enough love, Thanks LarryC, This was quite the rockin' post.

And as long as I'm re-posting, am I the only one who (after reading several MeFi posts on the subject), kinda wants to be buried in a bog? I mean really, how much closer to a mummy/ zombie can any of us expect to get?

And really, would being a mummy or a zombie be the coolest thing ever? Or if nothing else, you could be a boogie-man.

How awesome would that be? (I mean besides the being dead part).
posted by quin at 11:42 PM on September 15, 2006

who wants to help me lobby the American military/industrial complex on the concept that sinking their warpieces into a bog is the best way to preserve them?
posted by carsonb at 11:58 PM on September 15, 2006

I want me a tank.
posted by Vindaloo at 12:15 AM on September 16, 2006

Where was the key?
posted by sourwookie at 12:31 AM on September 16, 2006

Super interesting post, but I can't imagine diving into a bog, no matter what the hell was down there - it's like the definition of eerie. I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it...
posted by facetious at 12:37 AM on September 16, 2006

Man, those T-34s were built like tanks, weren't they?

posted by chrominance at 1:05 AM on September 16, 2006

Great post LarryC.

Russian tanks? Awesome.

Russian planes? Well, I'd rather be in a T-34 thank you. Some good planes, but some really bad ones as well.

Oh, and, In Soviet Russia, muddy bog-tank drives you!
posted by bardic at 1:40 AM on September 16, 2006

Awesome post. I feel lucky when I find a dollar bill.

As far as being buried in a bog? They're going to be one of the first sources of the inevitable zombie apocalypse, mark my words...
posted by Samizdata at 2:11 AM on September 16, 2006

I'm just glad they found it. I mean, when Hitler's secret zombie army finally rises from the world's bogs, it'd sure be embarrassing if they had a frigging Russian tank on their side. Good thing it's in living hands where it belongs.
posted by neckro23 at 2:28 AM on September 16, 2006

I don't know that I would have handled 60 year tank ammo like they did, but otherwise a wonderful story. Kudos to them for pulling it out and pulling it off.
posted by unixrat at 5:10 AM on September 16, 2006

pulling it out and pulling it off
posted by quonsar at 5:38 AM on September 16, 2006

This is AWESOME! Stalin wins again!
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:47 AM on September 16, 2006

Way cool. They'd better hope the Russian equivalent of James Garner doesn't show up with his son and a misunderstood hooker and go on a rampage.
posted by COBRA! at 5:47 AM on September 16, 2006

And I ended watching that movie only because Police Academy was sold out! God I hated that movie.
posted by Fezboy! at 7:16 AM on September 16, 2006

Anyone find more pictures yet? I am amazed at the overall condition that the tank is in. What is it about peat bogs that preserve so well?
Man to have metal detector over there must be awesome, so long as you aren't breaking any anti-sovenior hunting laws. I seem to recall that they have those in effect in the Stalingrad/St Petersburg area.
posted by a3matrix at 7:37 AM on September 16, 2006

Just in time to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the first use of the tank!

Up armour!
posted by furtive at 7:44 AM on September 16, 2006

They are giving rides? Oh, how cool!

I've always had the fantasy of triple parking a tank in Government Centre, Boston, with a heat seeker on the gun...
posted by QIbHom at 7:47 AM on September 16, 2006

Find a tank in your local pond, and be the first Tank Guy on your block to rampage around. You may get your name up on the silver screen, but things don't usually end well unless you're a big star.
posted by cenoxo at 8:15 AM on September 16, 2006

T-34, the tank that won the Great Patriotic War (with a little help via convoys full of goodies to Murmansk, and in late innings, a minor distraction arranged over in western Europe).

I think the deal with peat bogs is they're anaerobic -- very little oxygen around for rust to develop. Park a T-34 out in a field someplace and wait 61 years, it'll be nice shades of brown, red and orange. Add the 61 summers' worth of sunshine beating down on it, and the ammo for the main gun would be an even dicier proposition -- EOD people would probably prefer denonating it in place, but then there goes your souvenir.

I've read of Guderian's panzers being immobilized by rats and mice that chewed through the insulation in the electrical systems' wires; I wonder if Russian tank troops carted a few cats around with them to keep the rodent problem under control?
posted by pax digita at 8:42 AM on September 16, 2006

Government Center is an actual place? I had no idea - this completely changes my interpretation of my favourite Jonathan Richman song. Uh huh.
posted by Flashman at 9:12 AM on September 16, 2006

Yes, it is, Flashman, and it is bloody hard to park there. Meter maids who do nothing but circle and ticket, and I still had to triple park my cab half the time (which is actually legal in Boston).

Just the kind of place that needs tanks...
posted by QIbHom at 10:13 AM on September 16, 2006

I wonder if Russian tank troops carted a few cats around with them to keep the rodent problem under control?

"Uh, where're the cats?"
"Urp... uh, I don't know."
"Weird, you'd think that without the cats, there'd be rats everywhere, hunh?"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:29 AM on September 16, 2006

sourwookie - up through at least Vietnam (and maybe still), military vehicles didn't have ignition locks. The idea was that they were most always surrounded by people with guns who would try to stop them being stolen. Also, if the guy with the keys dropped them in the mud or got himself blown up, a locked tank would be inconvenient. This led to massive "borrowing" of trucks and such during Vietnam, to the point that if you took a truck to the PX, you were supposed to lock a big chain to the steering wheel and a ring welded to the floor. When there was an IG unit inspection, motor pools at more acquisitive companies looked really empty, because so many vehicles normally parked there were actually assigned to different units, and had to disappear until the inspection was over.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:07 PM on September 16, 2006

The cats would have had better luck than the dogs.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:52 PM on September 16, 2006

Kirth Gerson/sourwookie : we still don't have ignition locks on our tanks (Canada), you have a padlock on one of the hatches on the turret, someone goes in from there, unlocks the rest of the tank so others can get in, and away you go.
posted by furtive at 5:31 PM on September 16, 2006

That is teh awesome.

"Hey dude, watcha doin out here in the woods?"

"Oh, not much"


"lol, Tank!"
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:02 PM on September 16, 2006

That is so fucking cool! Completely and totally awesome.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:28 PM on September 16, 2006

Neat post, LarryC!
posted by jason's_planet at 7:51 PM on September 16, 2006

Apparently this has happened before.
Here is a mention of 2 other tanks found.

I have to say this is one of the coolest posts. I keep coming back to it hoping there is more. I have been scouring for more pictures. If you find any please post them.
posted by a3matrix at 8:48 PM on September 16, 2006

This is fantastic. The photo on the second link where they are hosing it off: it looks like it's just been for a test run out of the factory and got a bit mucky. Amazing.
posted by pivotal at 6:17 PM on September 17, 2006

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.

That's some badass diving.
posted by gottabefunky at 12:00 PM on September 18, 2006

I am afraid to think what or who else might still be hiding in peat bogs.
posted by pracowity at 8:05 AM on September 23, 2006

I'm surprised there's not a lot of military around to deal with the munitions.
posted by Lucy2Times at 2:53 PM on September 24, 2006

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