Russian army trains drivers on World War 2 T-34 tanks

The Russian Ministry of Defense on its Twitter account reports on January 11 that in the Moscow region, classes with driver-mechanics on overcoming obstacles on T-34 tanks started. Tankers worked out overcoming anti-tank ditches and mine-explosive obstacles. Also, the servicemen performed maneuvering in high-speed sections and turns.
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In the Moscow region, classes with driver-mechanics on overcoming obstacles on T-34 tanks started.   (Picture source: Russian MoD)

As demonstrated during several military parades in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia for a couple of years, President Vladimir Putin is firmly stessing on the patriotic fiber of the Rusian people and consequently pushes hard to have many Russian-made (but also U.S.- and British-made) World War 2 vehicles splendidly retored in pristine running condition. These great museum pieces are stored mainly in Kubinka and Saint-Petersburg. As they are intended to actively parade, they must be driven by properly trained personnel. No automatic gearbox and « strong » mechanical transmissions demand physical strength and appropriate skills. Hence the current training imposed by the Russian army to the (lucky) selected personnel.

Intriguing is the fact that the Russian MoD’s Twitter account mentions training to overcoming anti-tank ditches and mine-explosive obstacles, skills that are not required in military parades. Army Recognition will remain alert about this unusual training method.

Army Recognition Global Defense and Security news

Late in 2018, Laos transferred thirty T-34 main battle tanks to Russia. Their arrival in Naro-Fominsk, 80km (50 miles) from the capital, had been greeted by an impressive parade. (Picture source: Russian MoD)

Russian T-34 battalion in action

"As instructed by the Russian Defence Minister, the Chief of the General Staff ordered to established the T-34 battalion. The battalion will station in Naro-Fominsk, in the 4th Guard Kantemirov division", stated Vladimir Zavadsky, the commander of the division. According to him, the battalion was to be ready to perform its tasks from March 1, 2019.

These thirty T-34 tanks were in fact manufactured in Czechoslovakia during the 1950's. Until 2018 or not long before, they were on active duty in the Laotian military, almost 80 years after first being introduced into the Soviet military in 1940. The T-34/76 (76.2mm gun), later T-34/85 (85mm gun), was the backbone of Soviet armored units in World War II and beyond. Some 57,000 were built before the Wolrd War 2 in Europe officially ended on 7 May 1945. T-34 production continued into the Cold War, with more than 80,000 produced in all. Thousands were exported around the world. "The equipment transferred by Laos is planned to be used during the Victory Parades in various cities of Russia, for updating museum exhibits, as well as for making historical films about the Great Patriotic War," the Russian Defense Ministry said in January 2019.