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The last journey of Valentine 4521

Poland Valentine Mystery 1945

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A_Headless_Chicken #1 Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:18 PM

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THE FINAL JOURNEY OF VALENTINE  4521


In the river Warta; Poland, a few miles from the city of Poznan divers spray water jets at a lump of mud and reeds, at the hoses strip away 65 years of silt and detritus a lone and solitary shape beings to form, first a barrel, then a track link or two, before long a stamped brass plate is found, proudly stating Valentine IX No 4521 Feb. 1943

For 67 years she has sat in the murky gloom, her secrets locked in her empty shell, but what happened to Valentine 4521 and why did she end up in the bottom of a river so far from her homeland, hopefully the information below will help, there are very limited details, and a lot of it is based on research our clan found last night, and some educated logic work, the account below should give a glimpse into the final journey of this plucky little tank.

Like so many stories our begins a few years before her final fate, in the busy industrial city of Birmingham located in the English midlands on what was most likely another damp and overcast day, it was here at the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company or the Metropolitan Cammell Carriage and Wagon Company or the Vickers Armstrong Factory that our valentine rolled out of, the date; February the second 1943.

Some have said that our valentine was made in Canada, and this is the first point of contention, but  the WD number being stamped on her hull Indicates it was British and built as part of batches T122698 - T123157 under order TM6116 in 1943 from here she was due to be shipped out via the Arctic convoy to the USSR, a journey some 2394 valentines had made from Britain and 1388 Canadian vehicles had taken, with 320 being lost at sea. however a lot of lend-lease deliveries to Russia were made through Iran or between Vladivostok and the American West Coast by Russian merchantmen in the Pacific, since Russia was neutral in the Pacific War between Japan and the United States. Which journey our Valentine took is a mystery but from either Murmansk or Vladivostok she was assigned to her proud new owners. It is often said the Soviets were not grateful for the supplies given and the commissariat would tell people they were soviet built, but even the lowliest conscript generally knew better, and one of the few vehicles that was actively asked for and openly welcome was the Valentine.


Spoiler                     

The Tank
The Valentines were originally devised as a private venture by Vickers in 1938 and submitted to the war office that year, there has been some debate as to why she was called valentine, some say it was due to the final plan being presented on 14th Feb 1940, others that Sir John V. Carden who designed many tanks had it named after him, as his middle name was Valentine. Others state it stands for Vickers-Armstrong Ltd Elswick & (Newcastle-upon) Tyne. Whatever the case, it was a very tough durable little tank that fought on for longer than most, and was well liked by her crews.
Originally mounting a 2 pounder 40mm gun, and 64mm or amour with the Mk I: AEC A189 9.6 litre petrol engine she was very adaptable, able to mount larger weapons  than the Matilda; slow but hardy, nicely reliable and when up gunned; able to hold her own for quite some time, she was never built for speed and this was just fine for any infantry that quickly wanted something to hide behind.

Spoiler                     

Some 11 marks and numerous versions of the Valentines were made, with armour and engine upgraded and updated as needed. Our Valentine was a mark IX and is particularly rare, with maybe one other survivor at Bovington. She had a 57mm QQF 6 pounder gun, and more importantly in the eyes of the Soviets a GMC 6004 diesel 131–210 hp engine. With her 64 mm of armour the Valentine had a rather unique place in the Soviet structure, while not being a true light tank like the T-60 or able to keep up with the mediums like the T-34 she had a variety of roles, but during the initial German advance, they fought side by side and gave a good account of themselves.

Spoiler                     
From what was most likely Murmansk out valentine was attached to the 5th Tank army, a soviet tank army consisting mainly of valentine tanks, that had been at the forefront of some of the most brutal fighting in the war, having originally been surrounded and destroyed at Kiev, she was reformed and took part in some of the heaviest armoured clashes of the war.
Spoiler                     

Our Valentine missed the Smolensk massacre in early 1943, but may have been sent due to the shortages afterward that fight had seen a lot of valentines were chewed up by German armour and aircraft but the sacrifice these tanks made gave the Soviets time to counter attack and take Demensk in August 1943. It is reasonable to presume out Valentine served during this part of the campaign. During this time the 5th also fought to stem the German advance at Prokhorovka where the SS armored assault was sweeping all before it, while it was a tactical soviet victory the 5th had again been bled white doing so, the Germans had lost 9 tanks with a further 89 damage to one extent or another the 5th 1st and 29th had 334 destroyed and another 420 destroyed, but blunted both SS legions Das Reich and Totenkopf from breaking through.
Spoiler                     

JAN 1945 the 1st and 8th Guards started the Vistula offensive that smashed into Poland after breaking the German defensive lines, and was now fighting near Poznan and Lodz in Poland.
The city had been fortified by Germany, and the 8th Guards and 1st Guards stormed into it and broke the city in the fighting, sometime during this battle out valentine appear to have been between the 1th and 4th Guards main advances near the town of Lodz when she tried to cross part of the Warta and went though the Ice, its not know what happened to her crew but they survived this, but I have found no trace of who they were, the Valentine was visible to the 1950’s before slipping below the mud. It is now being recovered by Polish Archeologists who are very excited by the find, this is not only due to the rarity of the Mark IX, but it is believed to be the only one that saw active service. It will be restored to running condition over the next 3 years.
Spoiler                     
But again much of this is subject to guess work using those few pages on wiki and internet sources, do you know the story of Valentine 4521, can you place her at a different battle or her role used? – There are images above of valetines with the 6th guards, but they fought around the River Dnieper and areas too the south of Ukraine. was she attached to the 3rd Belorussain front, that would indicate fighting further north, but did use Valentines and had the 5th attached - the mystery remains. as always let me know – ed

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TM Source http://www.o5m6.de/V...e ProdStats.jpg
Timeline http://www.theeaster...imeline1945.htm

Edited by edfrancis001, 29 October 2012 - 03:45 PM.


typhaon #2 Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:24 PM

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The pictures in the spoiler don't work...

Fodir #3 Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:26 PM

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Looks amazing for being in that stuff for so long.

Sarc #4 Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:29 PM

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View Posttyphaon, on 29 October 2012 - 03:24 PM, said:

The pictures in the spoiler don't work...

it does work for me.

pretty amazing! the valentine looks pretty tiney btw

Rautaa #5 Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:30 PM

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What do you mean last? The first journey of Valentine...

A nice reminder why I like ed's threads, even if the news was previously broken. Don't give up on the Euro tree, mate!

lonigus #6 Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:32 PM

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O M F G! Keep dem stories coming a nice read !

PS: The EU tree plz! My and all other hopes lies in You!

Slubbernaught #7 Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:33 PM

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It's in very good condition considering the amount of time its been submerged.

lonigus #8 Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:41 PM

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View PostSlubbernaught, on 29 October 2012 - 03:33 PM, said:

It's in very good condition considering the amount of time its been submerged.

Pretty sure the mud presrved it in such a good condition.

Doleq #9 Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:00 PM

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This tank was found in Łódz Region not in Poznań. Read more carefully net time.

typhaon #10 Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:02 PM

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View PostSarc, on 29 October 2012 - 03:29 PM, said:

it does work for me.

I get a message like: "Sorry, no hotlinking allowed!"

A_Headless_Chicken #11 Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:08 PM

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View PostDoleq, on 29 October 2012 - 04:00 PM, said:

This tank was found in Łódz Region not in Poznań. Read more carefully net time.

"sometime during this battle out valentine appear to have been between the 1st and 4th Guards main advances near the town of Lodz when she tried to cross part of the Warta and went though the Ice,"

Edited by edfrancis001, 29 October 2012 - 04:10 PM.


A_Headless_Chicken #12 Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:10 PM

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View Posttyphaon, on 29 October 2012 - 04:02 PM, said:

I get a message like: "Sorry, no hotlinking allowed!"


Yep i fixed that, should have some nice B/W pics now

chuggaboom #13 Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:17 PM

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Great pics ...sadly tho seems the hatches are closed ....

XxXSpottedYouXxX #14 Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:30 PM

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I wonder if anyone plans to restore her ?.

A_Headless_Chicken #15 Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:32 PM

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View PostDerRizerPin, on 29 October 2012 - 04:30 PM, said:

I wonder if anyone plans to restore her ?.

Yes she will be restored and hopefully up and running within the next 3 years

blacklupos #16 Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:32 PM

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The driver was probably just excited to check the new physics :)

Rautaa #17 Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:33 PM

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View PostDerRizerPin, on 29 October 2012 - 04:30 PM, said:

I wonder if anyone plans to restore her ?.

Did you read the OP, or just looked at pretty pictures? :Smile-tongue:

Quote

It will be restored to running condition over the next 3 years.

Edit: Captain Slow to you, sir...

Edited by Rautaa, 29 October 2012 - 04:34 PM.


XxXSpottedYouXxX #18 Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:37 PM

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View Postedfrancis001, on 29 October 2012 - 04:32 PM, said:

Yes she will be restored and hopefully up and running within the next 3 years

Thats great news !!!! thank you edfrancis.

A_Headless_Chicken #19 Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:39 PM

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View PostDerRizerPin, on 29 October 2012 - 04:37 PM, said:

Thats great news !!!! thank you edfrancis.

Np :)

CaptainRoach #20 Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:40 PM

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This is why there's no repair cost for drowning your tank, look at the state of that thing after nearly 70 years, fresh fuel and a new battery and it'll be off!





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