The area around the Ukraine city of Kiev witnessed some of the most severe battles of WWII. A metal-detecting club has been uncovering hundreds of relics from the 1944 battleground.
More than 190,000 Soviet and German soldiers died in the battle for Korsun--most of them on this field. A painting from soon after the battle depicts the carnage that the area witnessed.
The Serpent's Wall metal detecting group doesn't take standard tours with boring guides. Rather, they go out equipped with shovels, metal detectors and plenty of water.
The Sherman's turret was drug from the swamp. The shape of the gun mantlet seems to indicate that this Sherman was one on which the Soviets replaced the US 75 mm gun with their own 76.2mm F-34 gun as used of the T-34. These converted M4A2s were redesignated as M4Ms. The Soviets discontinued the practice when the US assured them of a consistent supply of 75mm ammunition.
Near one village in the Kiev area, German tanks clashed with Soviet tanks in attempt to break through Soviet encirclement of the main German force.
Some marshes in the Kosun area have dried up. Digging is easy because there are no roots, nails, cans or other objects that interfere with using a metal detector. The club delays most digging marshy areas until October to avoid the mosquitoes. This Soviet grenade would have cleaned up to look almost new but the club doesn't pick up any grenades on which the safety pin is not obviously in place. They reburried this one.
There are still plenty of reminders of the struggle left in a Korsun marshes and rivers. The historic name for this place is a "boykove pole", which, in Ukrainian, means "a battlefield." 190,000 Soviet and German soldiers died in Korsun.
Container of Vaseline and an German aluminum spoon and fork set found in the Russian lines. Soviet soldiers often threw away their heavy spoons in favor of using "trophy" German sets like this one.
One of the most remarkable relics is one of nine Sherman tanks that took part in a Korsun operation. The Soviet Union had been receiving Sherman M4A2 Medium Tanks as part of the Lend-Lease agreement with the United States. Dmitriy Fedorovich, a Soviet tanker who operated a Sherman remarked, "We called them 'Emchas' [derived from M4 which, in Russian is "em chetyrye"]. Initially they had the short main gun, and later they began to arrive with the long gun and muzzle brake. On the front slope armor there was a travel lock for securing the barrel during road marches. The main gun was quite long. Overall, this was a good vehicle but, as with any tank, it had its pluses and minuses."
Chassis of the M4A2 is partially submerged in this swamp.
The body of this tank still sits in the marsh. The turret has been been pulled out. The club hopes to drag out the chassis and eventually restore the Sherman.
The red arrow points out where the Sherman was hit.
For more discoveries made by the Russian metal detecting club, visit the Serpent's Wall Web site by CLICKING HERE.