Russia’s venerable T-34 tank — the lethal weapon that helped crush Hitler’s Nazi army in World War II — is making a comeback of sorts. The repaired tanks include vehicles that participated in the operation to take Berlin in 1945.
This week, a number of Soviet T-34/85 tanks were spotted on the streets Moscow staging exercises to prepare for the upcoming Victory Day parade, making the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, known as the Great Patriotic War to the Russians.
The Russian Ministry of Defense released a video that highlighted the arrival of the tanks, and announced that servicemen from the 1st Tank Army would be training to create crews for the tanks during the upcoming celebration.
The National Interest news source didn’t state exactly how many tanks will participate in the upcoming Victory Day parade, which according to the Kremlin will not be postponed despite the spread of Covid-19 in the Russian capital.
The event is still scheduled to take place at Moscow’s Red Square on May 9, 2020.
By the end of the war, the Soviets produced 57,339 of the T-34’s – and those accounted for 55% of the entire Soviet Red Army’s tank force. It was the most-produced tank of all nations involved in the Second World War.
In fact, it was just last year that the Russian Federation received 30 World War II-era T-34/85 tanks from Laos – as part of a three-way deal that also involved Vietnam.
Laos had been the last active operator of the T-34/85 anywhere in the world, and with that deal from early 2019, it marked the official end for the tank in active service.
Those particular tanks were provided to Laos during the Cold War, and while the Russian Ministry of Defense had maintained that those were 1944 production models, some military analysts have suggested that these may have been a Czechoslovakian version produced in the 1960’s, the report said.
The tanks from Laos, which the Russian Federation announced were to be used in movies, displayed in museums and for parades such as this year’s Victory Day celebrations, may have also been among the 300 T-34’s that had been supplied to North Vietnam in the late 1950’s according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Asia Times / ABC Flash Point News 2020.