The battlefields of Eastern Europe hide some quite amazing discoveries. In September 2000, the Estonian battlefield exploration group Otsing recovered a complete T-34 tank from the bottom of a lake in the woods near the provincial capital of Jöhvi (Estonia). After a little cleanup, it runs!
From 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. On 19 September 1944, German troops began an organized retreat along the Narva front.
The T-34 Beutepanzer had been captured by the German and that's why there are German markings army in the course of the battle at Sinimaed (Blue Hills) about six weeks, in the summer of 1944, before it was sunk in the lake. Germans drove this tank in lake when fuel was terminated at deviation in 1944. It is suspected that the tank was then purposefully driven into the lake, abandoning it when its captors left the area. Germans disposed of it in a lake to stop the Russians from reusing it.
The discovery was possible thanks to a local boy thought he saw something near a remote lake in Russia 50 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. The town came together to help him find out what it was.
It laid on depth of 12 meters. Above it there were 6 meters of peat and silt. During two weeks divers of club washed away silt above the tank. Any traces of solar oil or oil on water was not. Has found the tank Igor Sedunov on memoirs of local residents. A technical condition of the tank ideal. Fuel in tanks was not, and oil did not leave the engine.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.
Preparing to pull it out...
People from the nearby village come to look how it would be done.
Here it comes... Up through the muddy shore of the lake
Mint condition... As far as it has been known, after a small repair and service they were able to start its diesel engine.
[All the images via www.rense.com]
The latest news about T-34:
- Have successfully started the diesel engine not replacing any spare part.
- Have replaced only bearings on skating rolls.
- Assembly of the tank will soon come to the end and it will be ready to trial runs.
- It is planned in the following season to carry on tourists and to show it as a working exhibit of our museum.
Yoou can read more about this recovery at: