Russia forced to import tanks from Laos to use in military parades

Tanks a lot! Russia is forced to import 30 T-34 war machines that helped to defeat the Nazis from Laos to use in military parades after it ran out

  • Russia forced to import Soviet tanks from Laos after running out of vehicles
  • Military running so low on World War II T-34 tanks 30 were shipped from Laos
  • Iconic war machines will be used in military parades and exhibited at museums 
  • Film about the T-34 tank grossed $21 million, selling more than 5 million tickets

The Russian military is running so low on its iconic World War II Soviet tanks Moscow was forced to ship replicas from Laos.

A consignment of 30 Soviet-era T-34 tanks arrived at the eastern port of Vladivostok on New Year’s Day and were taken on a long journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway to a military base near Moscow.

It was thought the military vehicles have been in active service since 1987 until the famous tanks were brought back to Russia and shipped more than 2,700 miles by the Lao People’s Army.

A World War II Soviet T-34 makes its way through Red Square with the St Basil’s Cathedral in background, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow last year

Defence ministry records show that more than 58,000 T-34s were built between 1940 and 1946.

But the Russian military own very few of the vintage machines, whereas the communist southeastern Asian country still holds much Soviet military hardware that was sent to aid their ally during the 1975 uprising.

It is thought the batch of T-34 will be used by President Vladimir Putin to commemorate the Soviet Union victory over over Nazi Germany in World War II.

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‘The equipment has travelled more than 4,500 kilometres by sea and arrived in Vladivostok’, the Russian military told the Moscow Times.

The iconic tank will take a lead role in the Victory Parade in Moscow’s Red Square on May 9 and the machine is viewed by military historians as a ‘war-winning weapon’ for the Soviets against Germany. 

The deal to deliver tanks to Russia was reached in January 2018, when Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu toured Southeast Asia, the New York Times reports.

A consignment of 30 Soviet-era T-34 tanks arrived at the eastern port of Vladivostok on New Year’s Day and were taken to a military base near Moscow

Russia had run so low on T-34 tanks, which is one of the country’s most iconic war machines, 30 had to be shipped from Laos 

It is not known if Russia paid for the tanks or exchanged them for other military equipment, as a number of modernised Russian T-72 tanks were spotted en-route to Laos at the end of December. 

Laos’ defence minister told the Russian media that Moscow was also due to send Yak-130 combat trainers and that ‘several dozen’ Soviet-made T-72B1 battle tanks were delivered to Laos for an unspecified sum last month.

How the T-34 changed tank warfare and helped defeat the Nazi’s

The T-34 is seen as playing a vital role in Russia defeating the Nazi’s in WWII

The T-34 is a Soviet medium tank that changed the way military vehicles were designed and used in the theatre of battle. 

The iconic war machine is seen as playing a key role in defeating the Nazis and became a widely revered symbol of the Russia’s heroism and suffering. 

Introduced into active conflict in  1940, the T-34 had an unprecedented combination of firepower, mobility, protection and durability. 

Boasting a 76.2 mm (3in) high-velocity tank gun it was able to outgun many of its rivals. 

Its sloped armour also made it more difficult to penetrate by most anti-tank weapons of the time.

German general Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist called the T-34 ‘the finest tank in the world’ when he came up against it in 1941.

Heinz Guderian said the T-34 was ‘vast superiority’ compared to the existing German armour of the period. 

Although its armour and armament were surpassed later in the war, it has often been credited as the most effective, efficient and influential tank design of the Second World War. 

Russian TV channel Zvezda earlier said the T-34-85 provided for Laos had been manufactured in 1944 and tank battalion commander, Khampong Tummanivong, told the broadcaster his battalion had 31 tanks. 

A film depicting the feats of a T-34 crew broke box office records for a Russian-made film shortly before the arrival of the tanks. 

‘T-34’ grossed more than $21 million to date, selling more than 5 million tickets. 

The tanks will also feature in military parades, be put in museum exhibitions and used to shoot WWII Russian movies.

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