Friday, September 11, 2009

Modern ruins...

Abandoned Russian military cities and fortifications on the Kola Peninsula.

The place is almost as run-down as Detroit.

EDIT: Speaking of military ruins, here's the satellite view of the remains of the KMS Tirpitz. Note the neat circular ponds along the adjoining shoreline, created by stray 12,000lb. "Tallboy" bombs.


Anonymous said...

In detroit all the metal would have been stripped for scrap and the wood places burnt for kicks.

alath said...

I was a student in the USSR in the late 80s, and some of those pictures really stir up memories for me.

Those blocky buildings are so quintessentially Soviet. The funny thing is that I saw a lot of apartment buildings just like those in Moscow that were fully occupied, but didn't look very much better maintained the abandoned ones in these pics.

The armored vehicle in the first pic is a great example of Soviet off-the-shelf engineering. All the suspension parts and drive gear on that thing look to me exactly like the WWII era KV series of tanks. The Soviets kept using a lot of those same parts right up through the 80s. At times, Soviet engineering could achieve a kind of aesthetic transcendence; a state of Crude but Effective Nirvana or Beauty through Brute Ugliness. I guess the AK 47 is the pinnacle of this.

Of course, most times, they were just building a bunch of kludged-together crap.

Fascinating relics of a dead culture. It's almost like looking at Roman ruins, except I never visited Ancient Rome.

alath said...

oops - not the KV.

But I am sure I have seen those road wheels a thousand times, somewhere...

Anonymous said...

It is great when Tam links to one of my favorite websites just after I have placed an order on a book based on her review.

pun the librarian

Weer'd Beard said...

Looks like it would be a cool place to hike into and camp.

Illinois voter said...

Heres a web site with some Russian helicopters. I bet your roomie would even like these. The Russians could always design cool and evil looking choppers.

Lorimor said...

The Tirpitz didn't do much other than be a target.

At least the Bismarck had a song written about it.

Ed Foster said...

Alath, maybe a JSII or some of the bigger self propelled artillery? Definately built for flotation over so-so ground rather than speed on hardpan. I'd hate to have to replace and tension track on that big bitch. The stamped wheels remind me of the cheapo version of the T-62.

From the viewpoint of an engineer, Russian military gear is fascinating. We invented a pen that could write on butter, so our Astronauts could record their thoughts in free-fall. The Russians gave their Cosmonauts a pencil.

So much of their stuff was over-rated crap (I include the AK47, and I know I'll hear about that), but their transmissions and axles are world quality, their helicopters lack only American style fuel efficient engines to also be world class, and in that field (choppers), we've always followed their technology rather than the other way round.

Hmmm... Igor Sikorsky. Wasn't he a Russian army officer when he started designing airplanes?

Still, the drab, shabby architecture is so typical of socialism in general. Everything done to the lowest and laziest common denominator.

I was in Manhattan a few years ago with a Russian friend, and she commented on the protected walkways put up under repair sites, to keep people safe from falling masonry.

Her comment was that back in Moscow the protection would have been left up permanently, as the buildings there continue to shed bricks and cement throughout their existence.

Lazy shallow culture, lazy shallow people. Some exceptions, but they're all either emigrants, gangsters, or politicians. But then, I repeat myself.

Jeff the Baptist said...

"But I am sure I have seen those road wheels a thousand times, somewhere..."

Its an MT-LB. The track design was cribbed from the older PT-76 amphibious light tank. Not sure where it came from before that.

Tam said...

"but their transmissions and axles are world quality"

Well, yes and no.

The much-lauded T-34 (especially the later 85mm-armed versions) of WWII often rolled into battle with transmission rebuild kits or even spare transmissions strapped to the deck.

(QC was pretty typically communist, too: The first intact T-34/85 brought back for study during the Korean fracas had a coolant capacity reduced by several quarts due to sloppy soldering.)

og said...

Sweet link. I love looking at that old stuff. Kingsbury, one of the places I hunt, was an ammo factory during ww2. Surprises everywhere. Way, way cool stuff.

reflectoscope said...

The Tallboy and Grand Slam (the Cloudmaker too, while we're at it) have gone away, but now we have this. Imagine the crater that monster will leave. Or, would leave, considering that anything worth hitting with one would be buried so deep that you wouldn't get much more than a smoking entrance wound.


Butch_S said...

@ Ed: Astronauts started with pencils as well. The "Space Pen" was developed independently, and ended up being used by astronauts and cosmonauts alike.

DevynsDad said...

I was fortunate enough to spend some quality time in Somalia back in the day. We were stuck about an hour and a half outside of Mogadishu at an abandoned Soviet Airfield that had been built during the Soviet-Somali alliance years.

The Soviet buildings in the Horn of Africa could have easily been plopped out of the same jello mold as the Soviet buildings pictured at the linked sight.

The Freeholder said...

During that period, wouldn't it have been the DKM Tirpitz?

Steve Skubinna said...

Freeholder, so far as I know the Kriegsmarine didn't use any sort of designation preceeding their ship names. Many historians will simply tack "KM" in front of the name.

Ed Foster said...

Tam, point conceded on lots of military stuff, especially the "Monkey" versions for export recently to third world countries.

As for WWII, Mr. Stalin supposedly told Anastas Mikoyan "Quantity has a quality all it's own".

But I rode in a Russian APC, not the BMP, the older one with wheels, and it had the smoothest, quietest running diesel I have ever heard. The quality of the welds left something to the imagination, but they sure as hell were big enough.

General Motors was impressed enough with the Russki civilian output back in the 1970's (after Glasnost) that they wanted to have their trannys and diffs made there. Even Russkis can learn sometimes.

On a related note, does anybody know if, after the Government Motors thing, Chevy still owns part of Lada Niva?

Seeing that really excellent little truck rolling off the assembly line with a Chevy bowtie on the radiator was such a hoot. If things go well this fall I might try to pick up one of those "Gray-Market" Ladas from Canada. All the Scandihoovians I know praise the little buggers to the skies.