(Image in public domain)
The 20th Century was the most violent in human history, and a decade into the 21st century things are looking ominously similar. So it’s little wonder that abandoned tanks, planes and armoured vehicles continue to litter streets and deserts in the more wartorn regions of the world.
From Somalia to the Middle East, the spoils of war languish on potholed roads that have never been repaired while other scorched remains are strewn across deserts and countryside.
This wrecked tank on Flamenco Beach on the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico, is a remnant of the days when American forces used this peaceful setting as a gunnery range.
Graffitied and corroding, this abandoned T-55 tank is now a prominent feature in Livno Valley, Bosnia and Herzegovina – a reminder of the bloody Balkans War.
The wreck of this T-34-85 tank silently overlooks a misty river valley in Afghanistan, near the tomb of Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud. As this article points out, it’s not the only abandoned military vehicle guarding the grave.
An Iranian man poses on an Iraqi T-62 tank in Khuzestan, Iran, just across the Iraqi border.
In the images above, wrecked allied tanks remain in the spots where they were destroyed and/or abandoned during World War Two, from the Battle of France to Stalingrad.
This gutted American tank looks particularly lonely, abandoned in trees with its tracks completely removed. The gun barrel still looks formidable and the solid remains are testament to a tank’s incredible strength and survivability. Even if the enemy does manage to cripple one, its rusting shell will linger on for years.
Another former American machine, this one destroyed by a landmine during the Vietnam War and subsequently abandoned in the jungle. It’s now a landmark for local people and possibly a tourist attraction too.
It’s not only wrecked tanks that litter former and current conflict zones. Other armoured vehicles, including remote controlled mine hunters and missile trucks, are commonplace in warzones, their bleached shells lying abandoned, transformed into amusements for local children and unusual havens for desert and jungle wildlife. Completely beyond repair with almost zero market for the salvage of their metal, most will linger on for many more decades.