War is a constantly evolving tragedy of the human race, and when armoured vehicles first took to the battlefield, they changed the face of conflict forever. Nothing lasts forever, though, and over the years, these beasts of war have been condemned to the same fate as they brought upon so many soldiers – the grave. Some were simply abandoned where they were switched off for the last time. Others stand virtually destroyed while a small number wait for new life.
(Image: Caters News)
This article explores 10 impressive tank graveyards and abandoned battle vehicles across the world.
1. Kharkov Soviet Tank Graveyard, Ukraine
(Image: Caters News)
About 30 miles from the Russian border is a tank graveyard that’s nothing short of apocalyptic.Rows upon rows of discarded tanks sit in this highly guarded and rather overlooked military scrapyard.
Many of them date back to the 1960s and 1970s, including the T-72, notable as one of the most widely produced tanks of the late 20th century and of the Soviet era.
2. Tanks on the Wreck of SS Empire Heritage
(Image: DrCharlesw via YouTube)
The SS Empire Heritage was a one-time whaling ship that was re-commissioned during World War Two as a transport ship. On September 8, 1944, it was heading from New York to Liverpool and then on to Glasgow; it never reached its destination, though. It was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat off the coast of Donegal, Ireland, sending the entire ship – along with its cargo of dozens and dozens of Sherman tanks – to the bottom of the ocean.
3. The Sierra Nevada Army Depot
The Army depot nestled in the valleys of the Sierra Nevada mountains might not technically be a graveyard yet, but it still may be.
Lined up in the desert of the American west are row after row of M-1 Abrams main battle tanks. The backbone of the military and the most well-known and well-used of the American tanks, there’s more than 2,000 sitting in the desert. Many are still in nearly pristine condition, ready to go wherever they’re needed.
4. Abandoned Tank on Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico
This is another site that can only be loosely labeled a tank graveyard, as there’s only two tanks rusting away in the waters of a Puerto Rican beach. But the story of how they got there is quite terrifying.
While the U.S. Government originally upheld the right of the Navy to use the island for military practice, it was met with massive resistance from its inhabitants and surrounding cities. Threatening to use force to remove the U.S. Military presence from their shores, protests quickly turned to riots and rioting quickly turned violent.
The ruling was overturned, then overturned again…. and so on. Finally, in 1974, President Nixonruled that the Navy would remove itself and its training equipment from the island.
5. Eritrea’s War of Independence Tank Graveyard
(Image: Ilya Varlamov via Live Journal)
Eritrea and its neighboring country, Ethiopia, have never been on great terms. In the 1800s, Eritrea was colonized by Italy and eventually passed under the control of the British after World War II. And in 1962, it was annexed into Ethiopia, beginning a decades-long struggle for independence. Laws were imposed on the nation to ban elements of their cultural identity, including their native language. Armed resistance began immediately, and all-out war started officially in 1974.
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