The amazing Ethiopian tanks and armored vehicles cemetery in Eritrea are symbols of the country’s 30 year bitter straggle for independence from Ethiopian colonization.
By Simone Preuss,
In certain corners of the globe you’ll find the strangest of military cemeteries – places filled not with the bodies of fallen troops but littered with the carcasses of abandoned tanks. These once-formidable weapons of war no longer strike fear into the hearts of opposing forces; their days of rolling inexorably onwards on the teeth of steel tracks are over. Now, the armor of these behemoths is rusting and corroded, their hatches all but sealed from lack of use, and their controls never again to be manned by commanders in battle.
If looking down the barrel of a gun is an unpleasant experience, then staring into the gigantic cylinder of a tank’s cannon must surely magnify the sense of menace tenfold – especially if there is any uncertainty as to whether the weapon is still able to fire its deadly projectile. Braving heat, cacti and other hazards, the urban explorers whose images we have collected have taken some amazing shots of tank graveyards from around the world.
The ‘60s slogan of ‘make love not war’ instantly springs to mind when looking at this cross-section of vehicular cemeteries, located everywhere from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Laos, to Germany, Kuwait and Iraq. Once a war is over, decommissioned and defunct tanks are often simply left to rust and rot. Wrecked or simply forsaken, they stand as sinister reminders of more turbulent times.
Perhaps these war machines have finally found peace. Yet whether the same can be said of the people who remember when these fighting vehicles were still in action is another matter. As we ponder such questions, we accompany these once-mighty tanks on their last mission. Rest assured, though, it’s a losing battle – and one harder than any they may have fought – as decay sets in and nature gains a stranglehold, as if attempting to reclaim what was once her own.
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