15. A Dark Period in History
World War II is considered to be one of the darkest periods of time in our world’s history. The death of over 6 million Jews still weighs heavily on our hearts. It was a time of fear and hatred, but also a time that still fascinates historians to this day. Despite the horrors of war, the political tactics used during those years are still being studied. While he may have been a monster, Hitler’s rise to power will continue to be studied for years to come.
14. Equipment from the Past
The remnants left over from World War II are abundant. Weapons, clothing and other items used during that time are displayed in museums around the world. Many of these artifacts are still being discovered to this day, and lets just say some of them can fetch a pretty penny at auction. One such relic was recently found in Russia. You won’t believe what these divers found in a river!
13. In the Depths of the River Don
Image: Wikimedia Commons
The River Don is one of the major waterways in Russia. It’s the 5th largest river in Europe and is known for its main city, Rostov on Don. One afternoon, a group of divers decided to search the river to see if they could make any discoveries; however, what they found was much more than they bargained for.
12. World War II Relic Revealed
The group of divers made a discovery of a lifetime–an old World War II tank that had somehow sunk to the bottom of the river. Caked in the mud from the river bed, only the front of the tank was exposed. How did it come to be there? And why had no one noticed it before?
11. The T-34-76
After a close inspection by historians, it was determined that the model of the tank was the T-34-76. This tank was one of the medium-sized tanks designed and used by the Soviets during World War II. In fact, this model tank had quite an impact on the course of future designs for the Soviet troops.
10. Redefined the Field of Tank Design
The T-34 was known for its combination of firepower, protection and mobility. One of its greatest assets was a high-velocity tank gun that held substantially more firepower than other tanks in its class. Introduced on the field in 1941, the Germans have been quoted saying it was “the finest tank in the world.”
9. Constantly Evolved to Meet Soviet’s Needs
Due to the unpredictability of war, the Soviet’s needs were constantly evolving, especially on the Eastern Front. Thankfully, the T-34 could easily be redesigned to see the needs at the time. Over 80,000 units of this model would be produced, all with varying design changes to meet the needs of war.
8. Ultimate Protection
The T-34-36 was considered to be one of the best-protected tanks in the world when first introduced in 1941. The sloped armor provided better protection than other model variants. It’s shape also allowed for reducing the weight by minimizing the surface area. Design-wise, it was one the competition simply couldn’t live up to.
7. Firepower Compromised
Image: The Blueprints
While the T-34 had an amazing amount of firepower, it also was known to be quite slow to find its target. In the heat of battle this could be quite an issue. However, the 85mm gun more than made up for it due to its turret-piercing capabilities. We certainly wouldn’t want to come face-to-face with one.
6. A Flawed Design
Despite being heralded for its amazing design, there was one significant flaw. Due to the outer armor being heat-treated, the tank was at risk for splitting under direct attack. The small crew compartments were also inconvenient in design and resulted in an extremely cramped interior
5. The Tank in the River
With all of its popularity, the discovery of this model tank in the river was perplexing. Why would a single tank be in the river? One theory is that the tank was produced at the Stalingrad Tractor Plant near the river. It was possible that the tank was being transported and somehow fell into the water, thus it was abandoned.
4. A Very Rare Opportunity
Regardless of how the tank came to be in the river, the divers and locals believed it was a rare opportunity and an amazing glimpse into the history of World War II and the vehicles that helped define it.
3. Recovery Halted
The plan was to bring in an armored recovery vehicle to pull the tank from the river; however, recovery was temporary halted because there was worry bodies could be inside the sealed inner-compartment. An investigation was started to confirm there was no human remains inside. Thankfully, the inner-compartments were empty and the recovery process was resumed.
2. A Well Preserved Piece of History
One of the most shocking things about this discovery is how well-preserved the tank was. Despite being caked in thick layers of mud, it only took a good pressure washing to reveal the well-maintained structure underneath.
1. Future Restoration
The plan is to restore the tank to its former glory and house it in a local museum. Patriot Park in Moscow has also been suggested as a final resting place for the tank once the restoration is complete. It’s amazing how you can find a living piece of history in the most unexpected places, right?