Military tanks in south africa
Military tanks have always been fascinating to me. I grew up in South Africa in the 1980`s, when we still had an active military, and it was not unusual to see convoys of military vehicles on the roads. Many years later and I still admire them. Mind you, I cannot remember ever seeing tanks on the roads.
Russian Military Tanks at the baltiysk
We had an opportunity to see them up close when we visited the Baltiysk Military Base close to the Baltic sea. Russia was celebrating “Day of the Navy” and we decided to go and watch the preparations for the event. This event draws a lot of spectators and is too crowded on the day of the actual event. So we decided to go one day earlier. Not that we managed to escape the crowds but we did have lots of photo opportunities.
Some people refer to military tanks as “Machines of Death” other people buy replicas in the form of Hummers. Fact is, you either like them or you don`t.
We were walking back to the bus stop when I noticed two old Russian Military tanks. I immediately wanted to go up close and take some photos. I had no idea what kind of tanks these were,how old they were or where they had been in service. It took me a while to absorb the enormity of these steel tanks. They are huge and must weigh at least 5 tons. The steel tracks on the wheels are made to perfection. I remember seeing a video of tanks leaving Red Square in the time of Stalin. These steel tracks must have destroyed the cobbled paving and I am so happy that they are not allowed there anymore!
There were three tanks standing in the middle of the square and we took our time to admire them all. Like I say, there was no information about these tanks, but I suspect they are kept as souvenirs. There is a very famous picture of an old retired soldier that was reunited with his old tank many years after the War. He practically lived inside this tank during WWII. This photo stirs up emotions and it is impossible not to feel for this veteran. I can just imagine what went through his mind when he saw his old tank again.
purchasing a retired military tank
On a lighter note. There are many people who buy ex military tanks. These tanks become redundant and after being kept in storage for some time, they are eventually sold. The military is reluctant to give out any information about the places where the tank was in service and it is understandable. I read an article about a man in the UK who bought a 1974 Sabre light reconnaissance tank from the military. He paid £14,000 (2006) and uses it to drive around in town. He did change the steel track not to destroy the roads. Whenever people see him driving with this 7 tonner in town they smile. Some people bring their children to climb on it or to sit inside. He believes that it brings people together.
I am not sure I want to buy a tank but I would not mind to sit inside one.
Where: Baltiysk,Kaliningrad Oblast,Russia
When: 22 July 2012