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Where Did All the Tanks Go?

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by Slackerprince, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. Slackerprince

    Slackerprince recruit

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    Hey Everybody-

    New here. Great site.
    So, I was watching Greatest Tank Battles-Kursk, and I was wondering where all the wrecked tanks went after the battle.
    The numbers of tanks on both sides were staggering, but they showed the battlefields today and no sign of any wrecked tanks.
    I wonder how they were removed.
    I'm assuming the wrecks were used for scrap and melted down for other uses.
    Anyone know?
    Thanks.

    S
     
  2. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I believe you have pretty much nailed it, those that could be repaired to fight again were repaired. Those that were beyond repair were toted off and scraped out. High quality steel is a precious thing in war and its aftermath, so probably very few if any were just "left" behind.

    American "gave" away huge numbers of M4s post war to our allies, and only a few of those really survived the war years themselves. Just about the largest collection of really operational "Shermans" was in Yugoslavia, which is the main reason the movie Kelly's Heroes was filmed there. The had operational M4 Shermans, operational T-34s (which stood in for the Tigers), and an assortment of Jeeps and trucks to use.

    Some were kept "running" for American use in parades and stuff, some were made into static displays at city and town parks, and I'm sure more than a few went right to the recycle bin.
     
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  3. Slackerprince

    Slackerprince recruit

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    Makes sense.
    I'm also thinking that a lot of battlefields would contain lots of
    metal souvenirs that you could find with a metal detector.
    Probably gone over pretty well, but it seems like the incredible
    numbers of combatents involved would have resulted in a lot
    of metal objects left behind.

    S
     
  4. Alaskarat

    Alaskarat Member

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    That is true but some of those items can still go boom!
     
  5. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Nearly all the big stuff went to the scrap man many years ago.

    But here's a taster for you...the results of two days' walking in the Falaise Gap area of France......

    [​IMG]

    ....without using a metal detector ! ;)
     
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  6. Marmat

    Marmat Member

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    ... to mention that you had to go without the expected tuffles for supper that evening.
     
  7. 1ST Chutes

    1ST Chutes Member

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  8. 1ST Chutes

    1ST Chutes Member

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    "I had a little spiral notebook in which I would write the date, map coordinates and write the specs on damaged tanks, such as where it was hit, damages and if there were injuries," Cooper said., "Then I wrote a three-line description of every vehicle that was knocked out"

    As a liaison officer with the 3rd Armored Division, Cooper was one of three lieutenants responsible for coordinating the night recovery, repair and evacuation of tanks damaged during daylight fighting.

    Remembering the Death Traps - Belton Cooper
     
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  9. marc780

    marc780 Member

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    In high school in the 1970's, I knew a guy who had friends in Italy. He claimed that there were plenty of old German bunkers that nobody had bothered to fill in, for whatever reason. And that he had seen several large artillery shells etc. that had been made inert and simply left behind as they were now harmless and there was too much war crap to be dealt with or something.
    I know for a fact that in many parts of Russia, and everywhere else in Europe and asia where the massive battles of WW2 were fought, people still occasionally find old ordnance. Sometimes, unfortunately, the hard way (BOOM). I read one account where someone claimed to have found an MP40 sub gun hidden inside the wall of a Belgian house. And according to author James Dunnigan (How to Make War) French farmers still sometimes find left-over land mines from world war ONE.
     
  10. marc780

    marc780 Member

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    but wouldnt he only be interested in American tanks? I would think he'd have EOD with him to destroy any abandoned enemy tanks so they could never be used again - but would he have had them hauled away in wartime?
     
  11. JBark

    JBark Member

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    In the Allied Armor section of the Armchair General forum someone recently posted about a Sherman that was dug up on the grounds of a psychiatric hospital in N.Y. Read here; 1942 M4A3E8 Sherman Tank with the M2 plow

    Don't forget about the tanks that went to the middle east for their unpleasantries, Shermans, PzIV's and various Soviet stuff (going by memory.) A number of Panthers went to France to use post war.
     
  12. freebird

    freebird Member

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    I wonder if there was some poor fellow in the hospital that kept insisting to the staff that he had parked his Sherman tank out front but couldn't find it. :p
    (He's obviously nuts - lock him up... :eek: )
     
  13. Up From Marseille

    Up From Marseille Member

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    And let's not forget about the Shermans that were used by house demolition companies!

    Stock Footage - Civilian contractor uses a war surplus Sherman tank to demolish an old frame house in New Jersey. wonder where that beastie went?
     
  14. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Postwar sales on to other nations dealt with a lot of running tanks and AFVs; Israel got all of the UK's remaining Archer 17pdr SPGs, Syria scoured Europe and eventually fielded a couple of units of PzIVs and StuGs scared up from Spain, Turley and Bulgaria IIRC- wasn't there was one engagement in 1968 when these all fought each other again on the Golan Heights?

    Soviet tanks ended up being passed on to other Warsaw Pact countries or allies; as late as 1973-74 "Colonel Callan" was still knocking out T34/75s taken to Angola by the Cuban "agricultural assistance" :p AND at least one pre-Castro revolution Sherman that was sent!

    South America seems to have soaked up a HUGE number of Shermans etc. postwar, although Argentina bought Britain's Fireflies! The Argies even bought up old Crusaders and turned them into SPGs! :eek: Brazil ended up with a mixed bag of some 230 M3s...and Shermans, as did CHile. Belgium seems to have soaked up a range of U.S. vehicles postwar...Shermans, Pershings, Staghounds, Chafees, M10s, and West Germany got a lot of U.S. Priests - and up to the 1990s their identifiable remains could still be seen on German /NATO firing ranges...

    ...but surely Korea did for a lot of U.S. WWII AFVs after sales to foreign nations???

    The British used their LL Shermans, the ones they retained, into the early 1950s....and some of the remaining runners were turned by Vickers into the two-bogie "Shervick tractors" used in the ill-fated Groundnut Scheme in Africa! There's also a long postwar history of Shermans being converted into various types of industrial or agricultural plant.


    As for the battlefield wreckage - well, you know the centre of Le Havre and so many other towns and cities, that concrete nightmare created to replace the WWII bombing damage? All the rebar had to come from somewhere....
     
  15. hyde

    hyde Member

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    All that is still true for today. I have found various shells and weapon parts with my metal detector here in Finland. No mines yet, but finding them used to be a yearly phenomenon in Lapland. That is why I wear a shrapnel vest and a helmet when I find something large enough to be a bomb.
     
  16. marc780

    marc780 Member

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    i bet you've no doubt found some interesting stuff....wouldn't it be safer though to take up a different hobby?
     
  17. ArcticWolf

    ArcticWolf Member

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    Hi Martin......I'm curious about the book in the picture......does it give descriptive battle areas? Or just basic info?

    The reason I'm curious is the the cover has my Dad's regiment South Alberta's :) Insane!!!
     
  18. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    AFAIK it's the only English-language 'battlefield guide' devoted to the Pocket itself. IMPO it's pretty good ; giving an overview of the battle with plenty of photos and then describing four do-it-yourself battlefield tours ( The Canadians At St Lambert-sur-Dive / The Poles On The Mace / The Americans At Le Bourg-St-Leonard & The Link At Chambois ). With detailed maps and a useful bibliography, I reckon it's a valuable addition to any 'Falaise' collection. I certainly found it very useful when I was in the area.

    It's now out-of-print, but it shouldn't be too hard to find a copy.

    It's : -

    'Battle Zone Normandy : Falaise Pocket' by Paul Latawski ( Sutton Publishing, Gloucs 2004 )
    ISBN 0-7509-3014-4
     
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  19. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Ashchurch in Cheltenham...The stores graveyard....
     
  20. ArcticWolf

    ArcticWolf Member

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    Thx M8!!

    I checked Chapters/Indigo and they can get used no problems. The only diference is they show Americans with a captured Nazi flag.....I'd like to get with the South Alberta's on the front if I can get. I'll have to do a lil more reserch about it.
     

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