A rare WW2 Soviet tank T-34-76 found on the bottom of the Don River

A rare WW2 Soviet tank T-34-76 found on the bottom of the Don River

This abandoned rare WW2 Soviet tank T-34-76 was found several years ago on the bottom of the Don River (Russia) and was raised to the surface by people from the Ministry of Defense of Russia – more about this in our article.

How the World War Tank T-34-76 was found 

As the participants of the raising of this tank told us (from Котейка): “It all started with a phone call of an old acquaintance in early July – “We found a tank, we will pull it out of the water”. At first I took this news with skepticism – we know these “pullings out”, it’s good if having arrived at the place we could find at least few pieces from the tank, because usually nothing at all is found. Moreover, without various documents and permits it is very difficult to do – although the Russian Ministry of Defense is the legal owner of the tank, it can easily be taken away from those who found it by local authorities, such cases have already happened.”

As evidence, a video is sent to my mail – underwater shooting made by divers.

In the video, through the dark water turbidity, the tank T-34-76 of the Stalingrad Tractor Plant with the tower turned to the right is clearly visible, standing at the bottom and practically not covered by silt! Moreover, the extraction of the tank from the water has already been agreed at the highest level in the Ministry of Defense! Incredible Luck!

The process of extracting from the water/swamp an found abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water an abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

Why this tank is so rare?

The found abandoned  T-34-76 tank was unique – the release of the Stalingrad Tractor Plant, 1942. To date, 3-5 such tanks have survived, but probably none of them can drive.

The process of extracting the found T-34-76 tank from water

The abandoned Tank T-34-76 was located in this place, about 5 meters from the shore, at depth of 7 meters. After clearing the bank of the river from trees and bushes, the process of preparing steel cables begins.

The process of extracting from the water/swamp an found abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water an abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

After preparing the steel cable, the work of divers begins – you need to go down to the bottom of the tank, put loops on the hooks of the tank, tie them with a special wire so that they do not come off, straighten the cable. And all this on a strong course of the Don River and almost to the touch because the visibility in the water is very small!

The process of extracting from the water/swamp an found abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water an abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water/swamp an found abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water an abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

Having hooked a steel cable at one end to a tank in the water and at the other to a military tractor on the banks of the Don River, the team began to pull it out of the water. And after a few hours of work first the muzzle of the tank appeared from the water, and soon the tank itself .

Read: Torn out of the swamp’s tight embrace T34

The process of extracting from the water/swamp an found abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water an abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water/swamp an found abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water an abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water/swamp an found abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water an abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water/swamp an found abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water an abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

And now, after 74 years, the T-34-76 leaves its parking at the bottom of the Don and appears on the surface. Numerous scraps of woods and spinners can be seen on the tower. According to the divers, there was even a dangling cable wrapped around the tower – traces of unsuccessful attempts to pull the tank out in a classic collective farm way. The hatches of the tank are open, which is good, because it means the chances that the crew is inside are getting smaller.

The process of extracting from the water/swamp an found abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water an abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The fate of the tank crew and their personal belongings

No crew remains were found in the T34-76 tank, which means that in 1942, before the tank went under water, the crew managed to leave the tank and hide in the forest, leaving only their personal belongings inside (in the photo).

The process of extracting from the water/swamp an found abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The process of extracting from the water an abandoned rare Soviet tank T34-76

The fate of the found T-34-76 

Now the tank is exhibited in a museum in one of the cities of Russia, restoration work has not yet been carried out, but in the future it is planned to restore the tank so that it can drive and rotate the tower.

Found abandoned Soviet tank T34-76 at an exhibition in the museum

Found abandoned Soviet tank T34-76 at an exhibition in the museum

Video of removing a tank from water:

The T34-76 tank was pulled out by: employees of the Patriot park led by Anatoly Kalemberg (leader and organizer of the expedition), military men from various parts of the Western Military District, a team of divers from Moscow and St. Petersburg, and numerous local assistants

All photos belong to: Юрий Пашолока/Роман Алымов

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