Legendary T-34 tank falls from platform during Kursk victory parade

DAILY SABAH WITH AP
ISTANBUL
Published

A legendary tank that contributed the most to the Soviet victory over the Nazis in World War II, was involved in an unfortunate accident after a parade to mark the largest tank battle in history.

The T-34 tank was among the centerpieces in the parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Kursk, in which the Red Army routed the Wehrmacht. With their firepower, armor and engine durability, T-34's showed better performance in general than their peers, helping the Soviet Union to halt the offensive of the largest invasion force in history, which was also famous for its Panzers and Blitzkrieg tactics.

After the parade, one of the T-34's fell from a trailer that had arrived to bring the veteran tank back to the barracks. The tank almost overturned but was stopped by its turret. Luckily, soldiers waiting next to another trailer were quick to escape and no one was injured.

The July-August 1943 battle in Kursk, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) southwest of Moscow, marked the failure of the last major Nazi offensive on the Eastern Front called Operation Citadel and decisively turned the tide of the war in favor of the Soviet Union.

It has been described as the largest tank battle in history, involving thousands of tanks on both sides. The Nazis suffered major losses, from which they never recovered.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also attended ceremonies marking the Kursk victory. He laid flowers at the Unknown Soldier's Tomb in Kursk and talked to war veterans.

The Russian leader also visited the battle's memorial, which features historic Soviet weapons, including the T-34 tank and Katyusha rocket launcher.

Putin told veterans the victory in the battle played a key role in Russia's history.

"It was a definitive turning point in WWII," Putin said.

He also praised activists who helped find and identify the remains of the fallen Soviet soldiers.

"We still know the names of only half of soldiers who died," he said. "We need to do a lot more to preserve the memory of our WWII heroes."

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