WWII hardware still in North Africa?

Can one still find burned-out tanks and other equipment in Egypt, Libya, or Tunisia?

More generally where can you go to find WWII debris?
I am looking for places that are:
Accessible. Not on the bottom of oceans, although I would like to SCUBA dive in Truk some day.

Primitive, unclaimed, touchable. I.e. not museums.
The Battle of Kursk generated lots of wrecks, but I imagine most have been salvaged. True?

I read an article within the last year or two about how Russian youths like to get together and go digging in places where there were major battles, and they come up with a lot of military hardware.

Was there mention made of people being killed by digging up heretofore unexploded ordinance? (That is, a shell was left on the ground, became buried, and went off when some yokel rammed a shovel against it.)

OT, but I wanna get the “Wwii Ringtone” advertised in the Google Ads…

Somewhere, near the Nashville International Airport, some American P-38 Lightnings are buried.

When the War ended, the treaties required rapid downsizing of airfleets. Many Carriers just dumped their planes overboard. On land, other things were done.

There was a lot of WW2 aircraft production/modification going on in Nashville, & when the word came down to scrap em, they got bulldozers & buried them.

Just where is forgotten.

With Jets coming in, nobody cared.

So, get out your metal detector, & start diggin.

BTW–acceptance of my advice does not make me liable in any way for fees or tresspassing charges you may incur.

But it does me that I’m intitled to 10% of your take for the info!

Coincidentally, I was just flying around the Kursk area - using Google Earth - the other night looking for old tank graveyards. The area immediately to the north and south of Kursk is in high res. However, I was not able to find any tank remains there, nor did it appear had anybody else marked any.

If you’re interested, and have Google Earth, you can find some of the remains of the first Persian Gulf War in Kuwait. There are two large vehicle graveyards just north of the large American military base there.

If anybody does know locations of old WWII tank graveyards, if any exist, I would love to know about them.

It doesn’t take a yokel. Ordnance from WW2, WW1, and even the Napoleonic Wars emerges in France and Belgium with every spring frost-thaw. The French army handles 900 tons a year of the stuff even now, and has lost hundreds of lives to the job.

Don’t know about anywhere else, but back in the late '80s, I rode a taxi into the western desert of Egypt, to an oil well site. The road went through El Alamein. For some reason I thought I’d find the burned out hulks of German tanks littering the landscape, but there was nothing whatsoever to be seen.

Every so often somebody digs up an unexploded Civil War shell, even. I can’t think of any deaths off the top of my head recently, but you occaisionally hear about the bomb squad being called out.

Every now and then comes the story of descendents of airmne lost in WWII finding the reamins of the aircraft their loved ones died in in Indonesia or New Guinea.

Has anyone ever found the wreck of the Bismark?


Say what?

Of course it was Dr. Ballard the one to find it in 1989, almost 5000 meters under the waves. I vaguely recall a National Geographic documentary on the search for the battleship, it was much harder to find than the Titanic.

Enhance, please.

I was once on a tour of Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach, NC, site of a brief Civil War battle.

The guide told us that the Army had used the fort as a coastal watch site during WW2, staffing it with some Guard troops from New York. A few of them found a shell from the Civil War on the beach, and, thinking it was solid iron, put it on the fire to help hold the heat longer. It still had enough potency to shatter, and a few fragments hit two soldiers. “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” was happy to run the item about 2 Yankee soldiers being wounded by Confederate artillery 80 years after the actual battle.

I think you may find that islands in the Pacific are your best bet. There’s lots of scrap iron in a tank. Any WWII wreckage left somewhere accessible will have been salvaged long ago. But on isolated Pacific Islands, there’s lots of stuff just rusting away slowly because the islands are too isolated (and the locals too poor) to clean it up.

I would expect iron would rust away much quicker on a rainy, humid tropical island than it would in some of the isolated battlegrounds in the deserts of North Africa, where wreckage could be covered over by shifting sands for decades. You might need ground penetrating radar to find it, but it would be in much better condition than the same wreckage in the South Pacific.

Iwo Jima still has a lot of stuff floating around, to include human skeletons. I went there many years ago, and you can find stuff all over. If you crawl through the tunnels (amazing by the way), you will come across some smaller items laying around, and there are things throughout the island. When I was there, I came across many little items that seemed untouched since the battle.

The problem would be taking them with you. The Japanese regard Iwo Jima and Mt. Surabachi as sacred ground, even having troops stationed there. The Marines tend to view it as the same and schedule tours/history lessons as much as possible for those stationed in the area.

How’s this:

“Whatcha talkin’ 'bout, Bosda?”

Muy enhanced. :smiley:

When I was a kid, growing up in the Marshall Islands, people came across unexploded ordinance on a regular basis. We knew a family whose 6-year-old kid brough home all kinds of old rusty bits of metal. The mom just figured they were old rusty bits of metal; the worst they could do is give her only son tetanus.

The day a local firefighter saw them, neatly stacked in the kid’s closet, the local administration had a collective freak-out session, and they were disposed of in the usual way - towed out to the lagoon on a raft and blown up. More than one of the old bombs made quite a big bang.

Moral of the story? If it doesn’t kill you when you remove it, it doesn’t mean it’s not dead.

The B-24D LiberatorLady Be Good was found largely intact in the Libyan Desert by British Oil Prospectors in 1958, and the Pacific Islands are chock-full of abandoned equipment, crashed planes, sunken ships, and all sorts of other stuff left over from WWII.


If it doesn’t kill you when you remove it, it doesn’t mean it’s dead.