Soviet Abandoned Tanks found on Shikotan Island

Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island ABANDONED SPACES
Browse Abandoned Tanks on Shikotan island photos and images available. The Soviet Union fortified the Shikotan island with old tanks (mainly IS-2 and IS-3 heavy tanks). Abandoned Soviet Tanks on Shikotan Island Next to Japan are still there.
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Shikotan Island

Shikotan is an island in the Kurils administered by the Russian Federation as part of the Yuzhno-Kurilsky District of Sakhalin Oblast. The total land area of Shikotan is 225 km². The island is hilly, averaging 300 meters in elevation. The shores of the island are very indented and covered with oceanic meadows. The highest altitude is 412 m. At the bottom of the Kuril Islands chain, it has been administered by Russia since WWII. Around 2000 people live in the two small fishing villages on the island among the remains of other rusting tanks and turrets left from the Cold War era. An old IS-2 and IS-3 Russian tank rest on Shikotan island, just 60 miles off the coast of Japan.


How To Get to the Shikotan Island

The Kuril Islands are now considered a border zone, which means you have to obtain advance permission to visit this particular corner of the country, even if you’re a Russian citizen. Everything is strict, like in Soviet times.
It takes the MS Marina Tsvetaeva over 24 hours to get from the city of Korsakov to Shikotan Island. 


Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island

History of Abandoned Tanks on Shikotan Island

In September 1945, during the final days of World War II, the island, which had a population of 1,038 at the time, was invaded by 600 Soviet troops. Between the late-1950s and to the 1960s, the Soviet Union fortified the island with old tanks (mainly IS-2 and IS-3 heavy tanks) repurposed as coastal-defense artillery against a possible seaborne invasion, by digging them into the ground and employing them as fixed gun emplacements.

The IS Heavy Tanks family is a successor of the famous KV-series tanks. IS-2 entered service in 1944 and was the most powerful tank of the Allies and Soviet arsenal at the time. In total, 3,854 were built. IS-3 was pressed into service too late and didn’t see combat during the war. The first 25 units left the factory in April 1945.

The locals call this place  “The Tank Hill”. Locals mainly do fishing for their living and can’t scrap the tanks as they are on the island and transportation is not worth it. Abandoned Soviet Tanks on Shikotan Island Next to Japan are still there. One IS-2M m1944 tank was removed from a military area of Shikotan Island and has been placed on mainland Russia as a monument.


Abandoned Shikotan Tanks on Google Maps

Photos of Abandoned Tanks on Shikotan Island

Browse Abandoned Tanks on Shikotan island photos and images available, or start a new search to explore more abandoned places.

Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
Remnants of once well-guarded hills, with their guns pointed towards shores. Photo: Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
The design that shocked Western Allies, when IS-3 was presented for the first time during the Victory Parade in 1945. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
Visible machine gun on top of the turret is DShK 1938, cal. 12,7mm. Photo: Yury Maksimov
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It’s D-25T 1943 cal. 122 mm gun was something to be afraid of. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
The total length of the vehicle – 9,85 m. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
T-54 turret, watching over the coast. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
Armed with a D-10 tank gun. It was originally equipped with SU-100 TD. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
A weight of IS-3 – 46 tonnes. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
Also known as Object 703, the IS-3 was developed in late 44′. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
The sloped armor of the entire front and turret were designed as a result of most though tank clashed ever. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
The design was unique enough to get a nickname almost instantly – “Shchuka” due to it’s resemblance to the freshwater fish (Eng. Pike). Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
The crew of four could drive it with a maximum speed of 40km/h (25mph). Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
The thickness of the frontal armor was 110mm, plus considering it sloped position, the effectiveness was rising when positioned properly. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
There were three major modifications of the tank: IS-3M, IS-3K and IS-3MK. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
The big caliber of the gun allowed to stowage “only” 28 shells inside. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
One shell weighs over 20kg. Photo: Yury Maksimov

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An experienced gunner could fire with an average of 3,6 shells per minute. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
Which means the average cycle took 16 seconds for loading, removing shell, aiming correction, firing, and returning position after the shoot. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
Gun elevation was very limited so positioning was essential, 20° up and  -3° down from level zero. Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
Photo: Yury Maksimov
Abandoned Soviet IS-2 and IS-3 Tanks on Shikotan Island
Photo: Yury Maksimov

Know before you go. Before you come and spend time on Shikotan Island there are tips and advice for exploring abandoned places. We want to ensure that you enjoy your time there.

Know the Dangers When visiting Shikotan Island, the most obvious hazard is falling through rotten floorboards — but there are often much more sinister invisible dangers.
Wear proper clothing and equipment
If you’re going to be exploring, wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind ruining. Choose your footwear carefully too. Besides a camera and any photography props you might need, you’ll also want to bring a flashlight.
Don’t steal souvenirs from Shikotan Island
The artifacts left near Shikotan Island once belonged to somebody, even if they haven’t been there for years. At best, you’re diluting the experience for other urban explorers; at worst, you’re stealing and desecrating a historic site.


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Gregory Hooqe

Expert on Urban Planning and Abandoned Places

Mr. Gregory Hooqe is a highly experienced expert on Urban Planning and Sustainable Development. Mr. Gregory Hooqe has been focusing on Urban Development and Abandoned Places since 2000 and has written extensively on the subject. He was awarded the 2009 Korea Foundation Professional Award for his research on Smart Cities.
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