10 Mighty Tank Graveyards & Abandoned Battle Vehicles of the World

6. Stompie the Bermondsey Tank

t-34-abandoned-tank-mandela-way-london (Image: Eugene Goh, cc-sa-3.0)

It’s a one-tank graveyard for a T-34 Russian tank that wasn’t quite abandoned, but instead, continues to make a very definite statement in a modern-day, miniature Cold War.

The tank started its life in Prague, where it was a part of the bloody events of the Prague Spring of 1968. In 1995, it was imported to England to be used in the making of the updated Richard III, and after its movie appearance it went up for sale. It was bought by a property developer, who stated it was a gift for his 7-year-old son. His intentions might not have been so clear-cut.

t-34-abandoned-tank-mandela-way-london-4 (Image: graffiti4hire, cc-3.0)

The developer was in the middle of a dispute with the city council; he wanted to build a house on his piece of land, they said no. So instead of continuing to bang his head against the wall, he filed a petition asking if he could install a tank on the site. Presumably thinking that he meant something more along the lines of a septic tank, they said “yes”. And found themselves looking at a Cold-War-era tank with its guns pointed in their direction.

t-34-abandoned-tank-mandela-way-london-3 (Image: David Edgar, cc-sa-3.0)

Since then, the tank has been covered and re-covered in graffiti, painted pink a few times, included in travel atlases and used as a landmark by cab drivers. It’s also become something of a symbol for the struggle between the working man and city governments, and continues to send its very clear message to the council… sort of reminiscent of an angry old man telling them to get off his lawn, and if there’s a fitting end for a tank, we’re pretty sure that’s it.

5. Eritrea’s War of Independence Tank Graveyard

tank-cemetery-kabul-asmara-eritrea (Image: Ilya Varlamov via Live Journal)

Piled on top of each other and sitting in long rows partially reclaimed by the sand and cactus are tanks left over from and partially destroyed in the nearly 30-year-long war of independence in the African country of Eritrea. These rusting hulks outside the country’s capital city of Asmara aren’t a reminder of needless deaths, or of failed struggles, they’re a reminder of the sacrifices made to free an entire nation.

tank-cemetery-kabul-asmara-eritrea-2 (Image: Ilya Varlamov via Live Journal)

Eritrea and its neighboring country, Ethiopia, have never been on great terms. In the 1800s, Eritrea was colonized by Italy and eventually passed under the control of the British after World War II. And in 1962, it was annexed into Ethiopia, beginning a decades-long struggle for independence. Laws were imposed on the nation to ban elements of their cultural identity, including their native language. Armed resistance began immediately, and all-out war started officially in 1974.

tank-cemetery-kabul-asmara-eritrea-3 (Image: Ilya Varlamov via Live Journal)

The war officially ended in 1991 with the capture of Ethiopian strongholds within the borders of Eritrea, but relations have never been positive, to say the least. The tank graveyard outside of the capital city are a reminder of the tens of thousands of loyal citizens who gave their lives to free Eritrea, finally allowing it the freedom it had struggled so long for.


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About the author: Debra Kelly




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