Thursday, March 15, 2007

Found: WW II tank. Slight water damage.

Even if you're not a military history buff, this is pretty cool.

A World War II T-34/76 tank, captured, repainted and used by the Germans, was driven into an Estonian lake and abandoned by the retreating German army in 1944. A local boy later saw tank tracks leading into the lake, and suspected a tank might be in there. More than 50 years later, he finally mentioned it to the local historical society, which located the tank under 20 feet of water and 8 feet of peat, and then arranged to pull it out. Contrary to expectation, and apparently thanks to being buried in peat, the tank was in excellent condition -- no rust, fully armed and nearly fully functional. The story claims the salvagers were able to start the engine after making some minor repairs.

As an amusing aside, I love the technical obsessiveness with which the article describes the tractor that did the pulling -- noting such details as when it was built and that it had "19,000 operating hours without major repairs."

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