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73 years late - an American tank sent to Stalin is almost ready for first mission on Russian soil

By The Siberian Times reporter
10 April 2018

Rusting Sherman dating from WW2 airlifted all the way across Russia for use in major military parade.

This Sherman tank was part of a consignment of military equipment sent by the West. Picture: Ministry of Defence

The tank was earlier plucked from an icy grave at the bottom of the Barents Sea.

It was this week flown from Murmansk region to Vladivostok - where it will be restored to working order 73 years after it was sent by the US to help the Soviets defeat the Nazis. 

With US-Russian relations at a new post-Cold War low, the tank is a potent symbol of an earlier era when ideology was set aside by Washington and Moscow to crush Hitler. 

This Sherman tank was part of a consignment of military equipment sent by the West to boost Stalin’s firepower to defeat the Germans, but it never reached Russia after the Thomas Donaldson cargo ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat in March 1945.

Sherman delivered to Vladivostok


Sherman delivered to Vladivostok

It was this week flown from Murmansk region to Vladivostok - where it will be restored to working order 73 years after it was sent by the US to help the Soviets defeat the Nazis. Pictures: Ministry of Defence

The tank was brought to the surface last year.

It was flown on an Ilyushin-76 transport plane seven time zones east from the Arctic region of Murmansk to a military airport near Vladivostok on the Pacific coast. 

A video shows the tank being unloaded in the Russian Far East after its epic flight. 

Now it will be faithfully restored before taking pride of place in the city’s Victory Day parade on 9 May commemorating the defeat of the Nazis.  

'An Ilyushin-76 transport plane landed at the Knevichi airbase of the Pacific Fleet to deliver from Murmansk the hull of a World War II US-made Sherman tank,' said Russian military spokesman  Nikolai Voskresensky.

A video shows the tank being unloaded in the Russian Far East after its epic flight. 

The M4 Sherman tank was one of three lifted from the wreck of the Thomas Donaldson.

Another will feature in the St Petersburg parade on 9 May.

The third is already restored and part of a historical platoon in Russia’s Northern Fleet. 

Around 4,000 such tanks were brought to the Soviet Union under the lend-lease programme. 

Thomas Donaldson

Thomas Donaldson cargo ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat in March 1945. 

One officer and three crew members perished in the torpedo attack, while the rest of its 68 officers and crew were rescued by British vessels in the convoy sending equipment to bolster the Soviet war effort. 

The wreck was discovered 13 years ago lying at a depth of about 55 metres in Russian territorial waters near Kildin Island. 

Over the past two years, divers have been on a mission to recover its cargo and bring it to shore for restoration.

The wreck was discovered 13 years ago lying at a depth of about 55 metres in Russian territorial waters near Kildin Island, Barents Sea. Pictures: Hobby Detecting

Sherman as lifted from Barents Sea


Sherman as lifted from Barents Sea


Sherman as lifted from Barents Sea

Comments (2)

Nobody is forgotten, nothing is forgotten
Valeriy, Россия
14/04/2018 12:53
5
0
Bravo to Russia for honoring the WWII partnership. This enormous gesture reminds Americans that Russia still remembers and values these events.I'm sure the living American factory workers who built these tanks are thrilled to see pictures of them again!
Doug Smith, Palmer Alaska USA
11/04/2018 02:36
8
0
1

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