T-34 Beutepanzer Recovered in Estonia / T-34 Beutepanzer in Estland geborgen

T-34 Beutepanzer recovered in Estonia.

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.

T-34 Beutepanzer recovered in Estonia.
T-34 Beutepanzer recovered in Estonia.

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.

T-34 Beutepanzer recovered in Estonia.
T-34 Beutepanzer recovered in Estonia.

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.

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