Possible remains of Panther tank found at lake’s bottom

A scientific project aimed at environment monitoring and water purification of the Sulejowski Reservoir, Central Poland, lead to a possible discovery of German WW2 Panther tank’s remains resting at the bottom since 1945.

Echogram showing supposed tank’s cannon (by Sławomir Kot)

Scientists of the University of Łódź and Łódź University of Technology along with Stanisław Kot, yacht designer, conducted measurements of depth and constructed a bathymetric map and a 3D model of the reservoir’s floor. Kot was using an echo sounder device which allowed for non-invasive penetration of the bottom up to two metres in depth. The results allowed to identify numerous wrecks of kayaks, a sailing yacht and what looks like the tower and main gun of a tank. The last find was made at the depth of 4 metres, near Zarzęcin, where once the right bank of the Pilica river was located – before the creation and flooding of the reservoir. A second, similar find was made about 1.5 kilometres away from the first.

Wreck of a German Panther tank by Zarzęcin in 1946 (by Andrzej Kobalczyk)

Researchers believe that these are the remains of German WW2 tanks, that were abandoned during Third Reich’s army retreat in 1945. There were numerous shallow crossings made at the Pilica river but due to flooding and ice cover they were either destroyed or inaccessible to the tanks, which drove the German command to abandon their vehicles at the Pilica river in the area between Zarzęcin, Karolinów, Tresta and Stara Wieś. A graveyard of numerous abandoned military vehicles of the 19th Panzer Division of Wehrmacht, including PzKpfw V Panther tanks,  is well documented in the area. Most of the vehicles were removed after 1945 by the Red Army and later in 1957 by the sappers building a bridge on the Brzustówka river. But as the reservoir was flooded in 1969, it is possible that some of the vehicles or their remains were swallowed by the waters and remain there today. Further study of the finds, with use of more accurate echo sounding devices is planned in near future.

(after Nasze Miasto, Andrzej Kobalczyk & Stanisław Kot)

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