M3 Lee and M4 Sherman WW2 Tanks recovered from the Barents Sea

I decided to post this topic for a few reasons:

  1. we are engaged in another World War of sorts against vast hordes of a tiny enemy. Wherein it seems to be following the pattern of most wars. One group of leaders down plays how lethal the enemy is while other leaders exaggerates it. For the usual reason, control of the population. So, why not?
  2. It’s just very interesting to me. Maybe some of you will also find it interesting.
  3. It’s only about 2 weeks till 75th anniversary of German surrender.

About 3 months ago I watched a YouTube video by Nathan Tardiff (the Noodler’s Ink Guy). Titled; “2019 Commonwealth Pen Show”. The video is 15 minutes short of being three hours in length.

Nathan usually makes interesting labels and names for his fountain pen inks and fountain pens. Usually of historic events or people. The names drives some people nuts, but mostly I like them or find them a hoot. :rofl:

For the Boston Pen Show Nathan created five inks with labels named for enemies of fascism.
Naming Audie Murphy, Claire Lee Chennault. Lamenting that most Americans under 30 years old are no longer taught history, don’t know who they were or what they did, and no longer remember them. [Winston Churchill and King Phillip get a quick mention, leaving me not sure which King Phillip he was referring to]

Ending with a description of a label for Lyudimila Pavlichenko. She was a female sniper for the Red Army in 1941 / 42. Nicknamed “Lady Death”.

She was pulled off the battlefield after 309 confirmed kills, sent to the USA in an effort to persuade the USA to attack the Germans from the west sooner rather than later.

She was befriended by Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1946 Woodie Guthrie wrote a song about her, “Miss Pavlichencko”. (that you can find on YouTube) There is also a movie that features her as the main character, “The Battle of Sevastopol”, that follows the usual rule of entertainment movies - romanticized, part fact but with many inaccuracies.

If you would like to see Nathan’s description of his ink labels, open the below link. The bit about the ink labels only runs about 15 minutes untill he moves on to a different topic. [A couple of the links in the video description are rewarding viewing too] The video should start at about 1:05 hour from the beginning:

Anyway, in PM I asked Vladmir if Lyudimila Pavlichenko is still remembered in Russia today?
Or mostly forgotten as the people Nathan highlighted with his ink labels.

Since then Vladimir has pointed me to several very well made Russian war movies. Others I have found myself. Only the ones made while Stalin was still alive are filled with to much propaganda for my taste. {I think film makers knew the tricks for staying out of the gulag}.

One advantage they had in making WW2 themed movies is they have a lot of authentic tanks and other war hardware to use in their movies. Not like most older Hollywood movies where a Sherman tank would have some sheet metal welded on to imitate a T-34, KV-1, Pannzer or Tiger tanks. Today they just create whatever machine they want with software.

In recent years they are finding more WW2 Tanks. Almost in Vladimir’s back yard. :astonished:
One source states the Canada, UK, and USA shipped 22,800 armored vehicles to the Red Army, with 1,981 lost in Arctic convoys. And therein lays a tale.


A few links Vladimir just sent to me: Thank you Vladimir ! :smile:

Восстановленный танк M3 Lee станет участником военного парада сегодня в Мурманске
Restored M3 Lee Tank will take part in the military parade today in Murmansk
https://www.mvestnik.ru/newslent/ Restored M3 Lee Tank Murmansk Parade

Прикоснись к истории страны
Боевые раритеты заслужили право
Touch the history of the country
Military rarities earned the right
https://www.mvestnik.ru/army/ Touch the history of the country

Уже шестой танк «Шерман» подняли со дна Баренцева моря
Sixth Sherman tank raised from the bottom of the Barents Sea
https://www.mvestnik.ru/newslent/ 6th Sherman tank raised from Barents Sea

You may have heard the story that the Sherman tanks were nicknamed “Ronsons”, after the famous lighter with the slogan - It lights the first time every time -

Or read Belton Cooper’s book, “Death Traps”. Which furthered the opinion or reputation the Sherman tanks were of poor design.
[ah, If only my uncle Troy were still living I could ash him. He was in the tank corps in Europe in WW2]

However, Red Army “Tanker” (tankman) Dimitry Loza , who fought a lot in M4 Sherman tanks offers a different perspective:

Dispelling Myths of the M4 Sherman tank:

Со дна моря подняли два танка ШЕРМАН! …
Кладоискатель Белый Копатель!
From the bottom of the sea raised two tanks SHERMAN! …
Treasure Hunter White Digger!

Restoration of the M4 Sherman Tank in Russia.

The Fallen of World War II - Did not embed this 18 minute video. Not sure if his numbers are anywhere near to being accurate. With deaths in 10s of millions historians vary widely on the numbers and causes. Well, you know what is said about lies and statistics. However, it may provide some insight into why post WW2 leaders of countries were hard liners to never let it happen to their country again.
YouTube The Fallen of WW 2


Спасибо Давид! В этом году 75 лет окончанию Второй мировой войны.

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"The USS Thomas Donaldson was part of the JW-65 Arctic convoy when it was torpedoed by Nazi U-Boat U968 near the shore of then-Soviet, now Russian Kildin Island in the Barents Sea, off the Russian shore and about 120 km from Norway, on March 20, 1945.

In the first year of their surveying work, the divers have already been able to retrieve several road rollers, a 100-ton freight locomotive, two US Sherman tanks, an M2 90mm anti-aircraft gun, a 102mm gun, an anti-aircraft machine gun and some small items — artillery shell casings and projectiles."


Arctic Convoy JW 65: USS Thomas Donaldson Salvage
"Owner American Export Lines Inc, New York
Homeport Baltimore
Date of attack 20 Mar 1945 Nationality: American
Fate Sunk by U-968 (Otto Westphalen)
Position 69° 26’N, 33° 44’E - Grid AC 8867
Complement 69 (4 dead and 65 survivors).
Convoy JW-65
Route Gourock (11 Mar) - Murmansk
Cargo 7679 tons of general cargo, including 6000 tons of ammunition, foodstuffs and locomotives and tenders as deck cargo…

"The Thomas Donaldon (Master Robert Headden) was the twentieth ship as convoy formed into one column to enter Kola Inlet and was hit at 13.15 hours on the starboard side by one torpedo about 20 miles from the mouth of Kola Inlet.

The torpedo struck the engine room, killed one officer and two crewmen on watch below and destroyed the engines. Due to her dangerous cargo the master ordered the crew of eight officers, 34 crewmen and 27 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) to abandon ship after 10 minutes. The most left in the two port lifeboats and a raft and were picked up by HMS Bamborough Castle (K 412) (T/Lt M.S. Work, DSC and Bar, RNR), while others jumped overboard and were picked up by HMS Oxlip (K 123) (T/Lt J.K. Craig, RNVR). One man died after being rescued.

The master and eight crew members remained aboard and were later taken off by HMS Honeysuckle (K 27) (T/Lt J.A. Wright, RNR), which took the ship in tow toward Kola Inlet. At 16.30 hours, a Soviet tug took over the tow but the Thomas Donaldson sank stern first at 17.45 hours, one-half mile from Kilden Island in 68°26´30N/33°44´20E."

Arctic naval operations of World War II
Last operations

  • 20 March 1945: U-968 torpedoed Liberty ships Horace Bushnell and Thomas Donaldson from convoy JW 65 and convoy escort [HMS Lapwing ] with a G7se torpedo.
  • 29 April 1945: In the last trade convoy battle of the Second World War, U-286 sank HMS Goodall at the mouth of Kola Bay as convoy JW 66 escorts sank [ U-307 ] and [ U-286 ].

Why the need for freight locomotives, tanks, artillery shells and other heavy weapons from the Allies? May be put into perspective by the Battle of Kursk two years earlier. The largest tank battle in history Involving, including both sides, about 3M troops, and 10,500 tanks.

"… we should understand the Battle of Kursk. It is a battle that many Americans and others know little or nothing about, yet is significant as the largest tank battle in history. The battle was fought over a vast front, stretching out from the city of Kursk in a salient that was 160 miles long on a north-south axis and approximately 100 miles wide from east to west…

The fighting had mauled both sides. The Soviets suffered tremendous losses with more than 685,000 casualties (deaths plus wounded unable to return to battle, calculated by Glantz) compared to an estimated 185,000 total casualties on the German side (calculated by German historian Karl-Heinz Frieser)…

To attempt to capture the titanic numbers and for comparative purposes, students of history should consider that the more than 429,000 casualties suffered by the Soviets in Operation Kutuzov alone is more than the total number of dead suffered by the United States in all of World War II. "



Recommended books:
When Titans Clashed: how the Red Army stopped Hitler, by David Glantz & Jonathan House
Lady Death, by Lyudmila Pavlichenko
Girl with a Sniper Rifle, by Yulia Zhukova

For a German soldier’s view
Sniper on the Eastern Front: memoirs of Sepp Allerberger by Albrecht Wacker
The Forgotten Soldier, by Guy Sajer (he was an odd fit, his native language was French, he could barely speak German. Yet found himself in the German army, mostly after the Red Army was advancing westward until surrender)

It would be interesting to read,
Commanding the Red Army’s Sherman Tanks”, by Dmitriy Loza. But two of his books on Amazon are priced at $56 The 3d one $25.

An interesting alternate title, “Panzer Destroyer: memoirs of a Red Army tank commader”, by Vasiliy Krysov, which is favorably reviewed on Amazon. $18.

However, there are 17 memoirs of Red Army “tankers” on the iremember website:



Остров Кильдин.


Is that a whale in to top picture off Kildin Island? Species and what time of year was the picture taken?
I haven’t seen whales since I lived in Hawaii. Where I saw them a few times off the north shore of Oahu. As I recall they wintered in Hawaii and migrated to the north Pacific during the summer months.

And what is causing the circle on the water surface on the right side of the top picture?

I have seen videos of whales swimming in circles deep in the water, blowing bubbles. That would concentrate krill into a ball above then. Then the whale would swim upwards capturing them and having them for dinner.

I recall reading a book years ago about a couple from, I think Colorado. One of them researched avalanches, the other was a school teacher. Anyway, both of them had their summers off work. And spent their summers traveling along the coast in the far north. Along the Alaskan coast or along the coast in various places in the north Atlantic. Greenland for example. At first they were both in kayaks. Later the woman paddled a kayak and her husband used a rowboat that could carry more gear.

Anyway, they wrote of a couple of interesting events. One day on the water they were separated by several meters when the husband noticed a large ring of bubbles encircling him. He wasn’t sure what to make of it. But his wife had heard of this whale feeding behavior. And advised him to quickly row out of the circles. Sure enough a few minutes later a whole shot out the water surface in the center of the circle.

The other story that stood out was camping on the beach in the far north coast of Alaska, where bears seldom saw people. One morning, or maybe it happened more than once. Bears would come and sniff or even push on the walls of their dome tent. They wrote that they would shout, “Hey Bear. Get out of here!”. Maybe also banging a spoon on a frying pan. Even large bears not being familiar with the sound of a human voice, and the sound of clanging metal, would run off to safety.

However, as I read that story. I wondered ? - How many other adventurers traveling into remote places alone had similar encounters, but the bear did not run away. But stayed, opened the wrapper and ate them for breakfast. And the adventurers never returned home to write a book about their adventure and what they did last summer. :grimacing: :frowning_face:

Anyway, I assume the picture are perhaps near to or over the area where the USS Thomas Donaldson ship sank. Maybe not to far from where uboats ; U-307 and U-286 were also sunk about a month later.

It was sea fishing, May 12, 2018 near the island of Kildin. A circle on the water, this is one of the whales dived.


Среднестатистические потери экипажей в советских “Шерманах”
The average loss of crews in the Soviet “Sherman”
https://rostislavddd.livejournal.com/ The average loss of crews in the Soviet “Sherman”

The Tank Gunpower/Armor Balance in WWII
(Created 2 February 2020)
One of the major points that a lot of people miss about the tank/armor balance in World War II, was that there was an enormous jump in gun power [= Muzzle Energy] by almost all the combatants in about 1942,


From the tables above, the average gun power around 1942 was 1.63 MJ [Megajoules]. A few years earlier, in 1940; it had been around 0.35 MJ.

Was Kursk the Largest Tank Battle in History?

Panzer Aces Wittmann and Staudegger at Kursk – part 1
Therefore, one of five things occurred:
5. The Germans were killing American tanks and claiming them as T-34s (most likely).

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

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. "


"This week local Siberian press reported that a rusting Sherman tank dating from WW2 was airlifted all the way across Russia for use in a major military parade.

Around 4,000 of such tanks were brought to the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease program,…

By the beginning of 1943, 6,179[ Lend-Lease ] tanks had been received in Russia since 1941. By 1945, with a major influx of American [M4A2 Sherman] medium tanks, some Russian tank corps and mechanized corps were equipped entirely with this tank type.

Far more critical to the Soviet war effort was the supply of tactical vehicles from the United States. During the war, Russia produced only 343,624 cars and lorries due to the heavy commitment of major automobile factories like GAZ to armored vehicle production. The USA provided the Russians with 501,660 tactical wheeled and tracked vehicles, including 77,972 jeeps, 151,053 1-1/2-ton trucks, and 200,622 2-1/2-ton trucks.

Jeeps were produced by Willis MB, trucks by Studebaker. During the war and right after the war these vehicles were practically the only vehicles of these types in Russia. The Russian produced a tenth as many Jeeps than the American produced. As a small kid I was sure that Studebaker was the name of all big trucks and all jeeps were called Willies. Of cause we kids didn’t know that these names were American. And I have a feeling that a lot of grown up Russians didn’t know it either.

[[ Who here on the forum remembers Studerbaker cars? When I was very young I remember a friend’s parents owned one. ]]

After the war Soviet sources of information rarely mentioned American help.

The Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov in a confidential interview with the famous writer and wartime correspondent Konstantin Simonov said:

“Today some say the Allies didn’t really help us… But listen, one cannot deny that the Americans shipped over to us material without which we could not have equipped our armies and couldn’t be able to continue the war.”

[Nikita Khrushchev], having served as a [military commissar], and intermediary between Stalin and his generals during the war, addressed directly the significance of Lend-lease aid in his memoirs:

“I would like to express my candid opinion about Stalin’s views on whether the Red Army and the Soviet Union could have coped with Nazi Germany and survived the war without aid from the United States and Britain. First, I would like to tell about some remarks Stalin made and repeated several times when we were “discussing freely” among ourselves. He stated bluntly that if the United States had not helped us, we would not have won the war.”

I found the information about the Sherman tank transported across Russia for participation in the Vladivostok’s Victory Day celebration in the local Siberian press. National Russian press hadn’t covered this event.

EDITOR’S NOTE: [According to Wikipedia], the Soviet Union suffered up to 11,400,000 deaths. The United State lost 407,300."


M4 Sherman in Red Army Service during World War 2

During WW2 the sea ports of the northern coast of Norway, and the Kola Peninsula - the port in Murmansk - were important areas to both the German Wehrmacht and the Red Army. For the Germans shipment of war equipment and raw materials and, for the Red Army equipment shipped in by the the Allies, such as ammunition and the tanks as recently recovered from the sea. The subject of this thread.

Today being VE Day and, tomorrow Victory Day in Murmansk. This documentary movie reenactment of events there commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of the war.

Диверсанты / Subversives. 2 Серия.
StarMedia. Babich-Design. Документальный Фильм
Saboteurs / Subversives. 2 Series.
StarMedia Babich-Design. Documentary

From the video description:
"Subversives is a docudrama using real actors who play the main characters in the reconstruction of actual events. Each episode contains two narrative threads:

  • Thread 1 – Dramatic Reconstruction (65-70% of the episode’s total duration). This contains accounts of real missions performed by intelligence agents and the stories of the lives of these heroes.
  • Thread 2 – Historical and Documentary (30% of the episode’s duration). This provides the narration on the historical background of the depicted events and all necessary reference information.
    The visual solution of this thread employs wartime actuality shots along with active use of 3D CGI elements, different schemes, diagrams and maps.

As told by the Soviet view they wanted told, many details of these events were not known with certainty during the Cold War era due to secrecy and adversarial state, and mostly only the German reports of events there were known in the west.

Episode 2 - The Polar Fox - about 43 minutes
English subtitles if turned on.
[[ one caution - includes some extreme graphic violence ]]

Thanks to Vladimir for link to the 4 part series.

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Сегодня знаменательная дата для нашей страны. Поздравляю с праздником.

wio - War is Over (a good thing for both sides)

WIO Victory Gallaries

http://wio.ru/galgrnd/ Gallery 1

Gallery 2

Gallery 3

What a strange spring thus far this year. There was actually a bit of snow fall at my house yesterday. It was mostly rain, but a bit of snow was mixed in for a little while. It ought to have been gone six weeks ago. A couple of days last week were shorts and tee shirt day. I wonder what the weather was like 75 years ago on this date?

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Odd here for almost mid May, but I had some snow flurries at my house Saturday morning. My wife is at our vacation house four hours away, and about 2,100 feet higher altitude. Where she and her Mom have been for a week to open it for the summer. No one has been there since last November. They had a bit heavier snow fall on Sunday.

It’s an odd spring. The creek in front of my house has yet to show any sign of fish. I’m starting to think they are also following the covid-19 stay at home advice. But like the rest of us probably have had enough of it and are ready to break out soon. To let common sense overrule the overseers.

Anyway. 85 Merchant Marine ships were damaged or sunk on the Murmansk run.



A lot of heavy amour and exploded ordinance remains today in Eastern Russia on westward. The Don River is not leaving all 70+ year old lost tanks to the Barents Sea.