not often you get to pull a WWII tank out of a lake, especially one that
had been used by the Russians and
the Germans. Even though it had been submerged for 56 years, with a
little "tinkering" the diesel engine started right up.
WWII Russian tank found with German markings after 62 years
II Buffs will find this interesting...Even
after 62 years (and a little tinkering), they were able to fire up the
After 62 Years.
A Komatsu D375A-2 pulled an abandoned tank from its archival tomb under
the bottom of a lake nearJohvi , Estonia . The Soviet-built T34/76A tank
had been resting at the bottom of the lake for 56 years. According to its
specifications, it's a 27-tonne machine with a top speed of 53km/h.
February to September 1944, heavy battles were fought in the narrow,
50 km-wide, Narva front in the north-eastern 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
tank's 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 lak e's 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 Shedunov 's 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 company's Komatsu D375A-2 bulldoze r. 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 active force required to
retrieve it was similar. A main requirement for the 68-ton 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 Narv.
to pull it out.
from the nearby village come to look how it would be done.
D375A-2 is ready to go.
muddy shore of the lake
a mint condition.
off 62 years worth of "muck."
far it has been known, after a small repair and service they were able to
start its diesel engine.
They don't build 'em like they used to!