10 Mighty Tank Graveyards & Abandoned Battle Vehicles of the World

Ukrainian Tank Graveyard (Image: Caters News)

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. This article features 10 impressive tank graveyards and abandoned battle vehicles across the world.

10. Otterburn Ranges, Northern England

abandoned-tank-3 (Image: Brett Hughes)

The Otterburn Ranges sit in Northern England; about 23 percent of Northumberland National Park is owned by the military and used as training grounds. It’s remained a public area, most of the time, free of live firing and the final resting place of a number of tanks whose purpose is now training.

abandoned-tank-otterburn-ranges-2 (Image: Steve Boote – @amblekingrat)

Other areas are restricted and used for live firing and training, as they have been since the establishment of the area in 1911. While 29,000 acres is reserved for a combination of dry firing and public use, the rest of the area is nearly year-around training grounds (save a few short breaks for lambing season and Christmas), and the public accessibility of the area provides non-military personnel a unique chance to get a close-up look at the tanks slowly rusting away in the damp English air.

abandoned-tank-otterburn-ranges (Image: Steve Boote – @amblekingrat)

Some are nearly intact, with treads still in place and hulls only starting to show the wear and tear of the elements. Others are extremely badly damaged, with pieces of their hulls missing, guns missing and treads long gone.

Perhaps most fascinating is the history behind the area, and the start contrast that these relatively new machines create on the landscape. The area was occupied as far back as 6,000 years ago, and some of the hills that make up the terrain are Bronze Age burial mounds. There has also been evidence that Roman soldiers used their area as training grounds during their occupation of Britain, much in the same way soldiers continue to train there.

9. Tank Cemetery in Kabul, Afghanistan

tank-cemetery-kabul (Image: Stars and Stripes via YouTube)

When Soviet troops left Afghanistan in 1989 after ten years of fighting, plenty of their equipment got left behind after a 10-year war where there was no real winner. Today, dozens of rusting tanks, originally built in the 1960s and 1970s, sit outside Kabul – and some of them are being given something of a new life.

tank-cemetery-kabul-2 (Image: Stars and Stripes via YouTube)

Some of the left-behind tanks that still run have been drafted into service again – against the Taliban. Afghan troops have been stripping parts from the more rundown, rusted-out of the tanks to use to keep others up and running. Their decades-old technology has proven to be something of a benefit; without the scores of electronics that run more modern tanks, fixing up the old ones requires more mechanical know-how than modern technological know-how. The old tanks have proven well suited to the mountainous, inhospitable terrain, as well; they had been brought to the area first because they could handle the extreme conditions, and it still stands true.

tank-cemetery-kabul-3 (Image: Stars and Stripes via YouTube)

There’s still a very, very big problem when it comes to re-drafting the old tanks into service, and that’s simply parts. There are a finite number of the tanks left, and a finite number of parts means that they’re going to once again be left to rust in the desert eventually.


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About the author: Debra Kelly




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