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Meanwhile, Down Amongst The Fishes...

In 2000, a Russian tank from the Second World War was discovered in a lake near Johvi in Estonia.

From February to September 1944 there was heavy fighting between the Russians and Germans in this part of northeastern Estonia, with over 100,000 men killed and 300,000 wounded.

During battles in the summer of 1944, this tank was captured from the Soviet army and used by the Germans, this being the reason that there are German markings painted on the exterior. On 19th September, 1944, German troops began an organized retreat. It is believed that the tank was then purposefully driven into the lake to conceal it when its captors left the area.

At that time, a local boy walking by the lake noticed tank tracks leading into the lake but not coming out anywhere. For two months he saw air bubbles emerging from the lake. This gave him reason to believe that there must be an armored vehicle at the lake's bottom. Over 50 years later, he told the story to the leader of the local war history club who organised diving expeditions to the bottom of the lake. At the depth of 7 metres they discovered the tank resting under a 3 metre layer of peat.

They decided to pull the tank out.

After the tank surfaced, it turned out to be a Soviet-built T34/76A tank that had been captured by the German army in the course of a local battle about six weeks before it was sunk in the lake. 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 but even the engine started after a clean and a little tinkering. This is a very rare machine, especially considering that it fought both on the Russian and the German sides.

The restored tank is now on display at a local war history museum.

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