Pictures and videos have shown transfers of Russian T-54/55 tanks by rail toward the Crimean peninsula, topwar.ru website writes. Comments mention that these old tanks will serve as mobile pillboxes or fire support vehicles.
Ukraine already conducted several drone attacks on various land and naval targets of the peninsula. And it is currently broadcasting humoristic while also threatening videos to discourage Russians to go there for their summer holidays, announcing new attacks of various types as they did in 2022.
Russia facing heavy production troubles in replacing the thousands of tanks lost on the Ukrainian battlefield, it is resorting to digging in old depots, if not graveyards, to refurbish older and older tanks in a way that they can be fielded again but not as frontline war machines: they are committed to secondary roles like fire support or pillboxes as they (and the German army) did in World War 2.
The superbly restored T-34/85s dating back to World War 2, purchased from Laos and used for patriotic parades across the country, are fortunately not concerned. But their first post-war successor, the T-54/55, is surprisingly seen back « at work ». Who knows if IS-3 (Joseph Stalin-3) MBTs will not also reappear? Those tanks arrived too late for the battle of Berlin, in April-May 1945 but took part in the ensuing Victory Parade. None of these tanks were seen in the brutal repressions of the Hungarians and Czechoslovakian uprisings that took place in the 1950s and 1960s, only T-34s and, later, T-54/55s.
The first T-54 prototype was completed at Nizhny Tagil by the end of 1945. From the late 1950s, the T-54 eventually became the main tank for armored units of the Soviet Army, armies of the Warsaw Pact countries, and many others. T-54s and T-55s have been involved in many of the world’s armed conflicts since their introduction in the second half of the 20th century.
The T-54/55 series is the most-produced tank in history. Estimated production numbers for the series range from 96,500 to 100,000. They were replaced by the T-62, T-64, T-72, T-80 and T-90 tanks in the Soviet and Russian armies, but remain in use by up to 50 other armies worldwide, some having received sophisticated retrofitting. This tank ld to the Chinese version called Type 59.
During the Cold War, Soviet tanks never directly faced their NATO adversaries in combat in Europe. However, the T-54/55’s first appearance in the West around the period of the 1950s (then the beginning of the Cold War) spurred the United Kingdom to develop a new tank gun, the Royal Ordnance L7, and the United States to develop the M60 tank.
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