The USSR fortified the island of Shikotan with old tanks that are still there

A Soviet IS-3 heavy tank of the World War II abandoned on a hill in the Kuril Islands

One of the most unknown (and also ephemeral) fronts of World War II took place in the Kuril Islands, in northeast Japan.

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During that conflict, Stalin's regime went from being an ally of Germany to being at war with it after the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941. The Soviets focused their efforts on the European theater of operations , and only focused on the Pacific theater after the German surrender. On August 8, 1945, the USSR declared war on Japan. Around that time, a few hundred Soviet soldiers invaded the island of Shikotan, in the Kuriles.

After the war, in the 1950s and 1960s, the USSR fortified the island using old IS-2 and IS-3 heavy battle tanks, in order to prevent Japan from recapturing it (it is still in use today). Russian hands and the Japanese continue to claim it). Eventually, those tanks were abandoned in place, now forming part of the island's landscape.

In 2018, Russian urban explorer CrossPorcupine posted an interesting Video of one of these abandoned tanks in Shikotan, specifically an IS-3 placed in a protected position on top of a hill. As you can see in the video, surprisingly, its turret and cannon still move. The video is in Russian and you can understand (a little) what the browser says by activating the automatic translation into English in the subtitles:

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