The Volgograd Tractor Plant, formerly the Dzerzhinskiy Tractor Factory or the Stalingrad Tractor Plant, is a heavy equipment factory located in Volgograd, Russia. It was once one of the largest tractor manufacturing enterprises in the USSR. It was a site of fierce fighting during World War II’s Battle of Stalingrad.
During its lifetime, The Volgograd Tractor Plant has supplied more than 2.5 million tractors to the farming industry, making a huge contribution to the mechanization of agriculture. Also, it used for the production of military vehicles, VgTZ is inextricably linked with the history of Soviet tank building.
The history of abandoned Volgograd Tractor Plant
Until 1961, the plant was called the Stalingrad Tractor Plant named for F. Dzerzhinsky. It was one of the first industrial facilities to be built as part of the planned rapid industrialization of the USSR, which was adopted in the late 1920s. The foundation stone was laid in a groundbreaking ceremony on July 12, 1926.
The new factory was officially opened on June 17, 1930, and the first tractor to begin production on the assembly line was the 15-30, manufactured in the USA by the McCormick Deering company; in the USSR, it became known as the 15/30 STZ (or STZ-1). By April 1932, the Stalingrad Tractor Plant was working at full capacity, with 144 tractors a day rolling off the conveyor.
Tank production began in 1932 with the launch of the T-26 light infantry tank, which was easy to manufacture and operate, and considered to be more reliable than foreign equivalents. In 1939, the first automated machine tool line in the USSR was designed and commissioned at the Volgograd Tractor Plant on the initiative of I. P. Inochkina, a design engineer who worked at the plant for 35 years. By the end of the 1940s, dozens of such lines were in operation at bearing and automotive plants.
By the time war broke out in September 1939, the tractor plant had produced a quarter of a million standard tractors as well as 40,000 tracked versions. During World War II, the plant was retooled to produce military equipment and weapons for the Soviet Red Army, most notably the T-34 tank. The plant became world-famous during the Battle of Stalingrad. When the German Wehrmacht reached the city in the summer of 1942, the tractor plant was their first target, and it was largely destroyed during the fierce fighting that ensued over the next few months. Once the hostilities had ended with the final victory in February 1943, the site was cleared of shells and debris so that restoration work could begin immediately. Full-scale production resumed at the plant within months of the city being liberated.
In 1992, the Volgograd Tractor Plant became a private joint-stock company and entered a period of economic uncertainty with a decline in productivity. The company was floated on the public stock market in 1995 and became an OJSC. By the late 1990s, the plant was producing fewer than 3,000 tractors per year.
In 2003, the OJSC Volgograd Tractor Plant group became part of OJSC Agromashholding, which specializes in the production, sale, and service of agricultural, municipal, and industrial equipment. The OJSC Volgograd Tractor subdivision of the group was declared bankrupt in 2005. The OJSC Tractor Company VgTZ subdivision eventually ceased tractor production altogether in November 2015.
Urban explorers explored almost the entire territory of the plant up and down and did not particularly attach importance to one of the workshops, which each time fell out of sight. After all, it is practically on the border with the remnants of the working territory of the plant, to get too close to which is a rather dangerous idea. But this time I decided to take a chance and get to him, which turned out to be not in vain. There is a lot of equipment left inside the shop. It still literally smelled like a working atmosphere.
Most of the machines have already been disassembled and are unusable. Heaps of bricks, sand, and other materials. There were the remains of small diesel tractors and electric trucks were also encountered.
Inside abandoned Volgograd Tractor Plant there were trucks and agricultural machinery produced by USSR. The view is sad, because soon all this will be destroyed and forgotten.
There was a rusty wheeled tractor VT-130K. Information about this vehicle is not in the public domain, at least I could not find anything. Presumably, it was an experimental model based on the VT-130 tracked tractor, which received the “K” prefix, which denotes the “wheeled” modification. Most likely, this experimental modification of the tractor was released in a small batch but never launched into mass production.