This was big news back in 2008 (it only seems like yesterday) – we were all worried that they would end up in the scrapyard being cut up with a gas axe. Well before we bring you the latest news lets have a recap on the news back in 2008……..
Bulgaria to Auction WWII Nazi Tanks
In Bulgaria, the Ministry of Defense is preparing to auction off a piece of European military history, which has been lying forgotten and half-buried in the ground for decades. Collectors of vintage military vehicles are already lining up to bid on some of the more than 40 Nazi German tanks, which were once used to protect Bulgaria’s southern border during the Cold War.
In the rolling farmland of Bulgaria’s southern border with Turkey, 60-year-old Piotr Dmitrov herds a flock of sheep past a hilltop where a half-dozen rusting tank cannons poke out from between the weeds. “The tanks have been there since I was a child,” Dmitrov says. “The government used to make us practice shooting the guns, in case the Turks invaded.
Dmitrov says the tanks have been there since he was a child and that they’re from the Germans. He says the government used to make them practice shooting the guns, in case the Turks invaded. In the dark days of the Cold War, communist Bulgaria fortified this border with Turkey, which was a member of the rival NATO alliance, by embedding scores of Soviet and Nazi tanks in a network of concrete bunkers.
The bunkers have been abandoned for years. Concrete steps into the bunker are littered with twigs and old leaves. A shaft of light streams down from the turret of a tank gun that was half buried in the ground — its cannon facing toward Turkey. In 2004, Bulgaria joined NATO. The old German panzers were left rusting and all but forgotten. Many of them fell prey to scrap metal hunters, who, in many cases, have left little but the chassis of a tank intact. But in the turret of one Panzer IV, you can still see the German label “Leuchtpistole,” amid peeling paint and rust.
This month, the Bulgarian government suddenly announced it was unearthing the vehicles and selling them in an auction. “We see much more interest in the tanks today after one of the most valuable vehicles was stolen. This tank had an inscription, proving it was a gift from Adolph Hitler to the queen of Bulgaria,” says Blagoy Milenov, deputy director of Bulgaria’s National Museum of Military History.
he tanks are being restored only externally: the engines were removed in the 1950s and have since gone missing. Once the restoration work is complete the tanks are due to go on display in the new Museum of Battle Glory in Yambol, Bulgaria.
The Museum of the Battle Glory, a new military museum, was established in the old pioneer barracks at Yambol, where the tanks were stored. Even before the museum was opened, several of the more complete and rare vehicles were sent to an army tank repair workshop for external work. The hulls were sandblasted, primed, painted. The missing elements were taken from the more damaged hulls, some bits and pieces were made new. The final product is brilliant, keeping in mind the budget was symbolic, something like 250 Euro per tank! Now the 7-8 externally restored tanks are in the exhibition of the new museum. The museum takes just a part of the military base, the rest of the recovered hulls and parts are stored nearby, in another part of the base.
From the outside they look fantastic and now for sure if the vehicles where in the UK then they could be restored to full running order.
One Sdkfz 251 Ausf. D, and an assault gun Stug ” Saukopf”, and a Kubelwagen
2 light tanks; Renault UE with racks attached to launch 28/32cm Wurfrahmen (sf) rockets.
Half Track SdKfz251 Ausf D
One Pz V Panther
One A Pz IV Ausf. H or J.