Photos of Nature Reclaiming the Fiercest Weapons of War: Tanks and Aircraft

Photo Credit: 1. Jakub Perka / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 2. Malcolm Oakley / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
Photo Credit: 1. Jakub Perka / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 2. Malcolm Oakley / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

Nature always endures, and every war has its end. No matter what people try to do, the earth and time will always find ways to fix the damage caused by such violence. Everything belongs to nature and, ultimately, everything returns to it. Eventually, the shape and form of deadly machines become part of landscapes.

These leftovers and reminders of war can be found across the world, in oceans, wild jungles, plains, arid islands – even Antarctica!

M41 Walker Bulldog, Cambodia

Young boy walking along the gun of a disabled M41 Walker Bulldog
Photo Credit: Dave59 / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

Nature has clearly begun to take over what’s presumed to be an M41 Walker Bulldog in Cambodia, a remnant of war and conflict. Rusting away and slowly being surrounded by grass and weeds, this young child has decided the disabled tank is a perfect playset.

Type 97 ShinHōtō Chi-Ha medium tank, Russia

Rusty Type 97 Shinhōtō Chi-Ha medium tank in a grassy field
Photo Credit: / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 4.0

Is there a more contrasting picture? The gentle touch of nature against a most brutal war invention, the Japanese-produced Type 97 ShinHōtō Chi-Ha medium tank. The tank may have forever changed the face of war, but nature will always reclaim that which has been left abandoned.

M4 Sherman, Pelileu

Overturned M4 Sherman covered in moss
Photo Credit: DC0021 / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

Nature doesn’t always reclaim the remnants of war by covering it in weeds and vines. Sometimes, it’s much more subtle, as is the case with this M4 Sherman, which was turned into a National Historical Monument on the island of Pelileu. Note the moss that has begun to appear among the rust and damaged metal.

It’s reported that this tank, in particular, was taken out by a Japanese mine during the intense fighting on Pelileu during World War II.

Unidentified military vehicle, Antarctica

Rusty military vehicle half-buried in the snow
Photo Credit: David Stanley / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0

Antarctica may be the last place you expect to find a rusting military vehicle. It doesn’t matter if it’s weeds and vines or snow, nature will always show its dominance when it comes to war machines.

T-62, Afghanistan

Rusty T-62 tank buried in the sand
Photo Credit: Jayanth Vincent / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0

The nature of war means disabled weapons and vehicles will be left behind, just like this Soviet T-62 tank, located along a road in Afghanistan. It was likely left there during or after the Soviet-Afghan War.

Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk

Two men standing around a Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk half-buried in the sand
Photo Credit: Jakub Perka / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

The Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk was operated by the Allies during the Second World War. This particular aircraft was found in pretty excellent shape, given how much time has passed since the conflict. Time was merciful with this one.

Mitsubishi G4M Betty

Wreck of a Mitsubishi G4M Betty on the seafloor
Photo Credit: Motoki Kurabayashi / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Throughout the Second World War, several aircraft found themselves at the bottom of the ocean, the victims of anti-aircraft and mid-air fire during combat. Such is the nature of war, as seen by the wreck of this Mitsubishi G4M Betty.

Consolidated B-24D Liberator, Alaska

Consolidated B-24D Liberator in the grass
Photo Credit: Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Seeing action during the Aleutian Campaign during WWII, this Consolidated B-24D Liberator met its end on Atka Island, Alaska. It’s one of just two specimens of the “D” variant that remain of this legendary American bomber.

Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero, Pagan Islad

Wreck of a Mitsubishi AGM5 Zero in the grass
Photo Credit: Taro / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Nature has truly begun to reclaim the wreck of this Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero on Pagan Island, in the Marianas. The carrier-based fighter aircraft was operated by the Japanese during fighting in the Pacific Theater.

M42 Duster, Red Sea

M42 Duster on the seafloor
Photo Credit: Th. Philipp / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Located off the coast of Jordan in the Red Sea, this M42 Duster was sunk on purpose and currently serves as a diving attraction in the area.

Churchill Mk 2, United Kingdom

Rusty Churchill M2 tank in a grassy field
Photo Credit: Malcolm Oakley / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

This is yet another example of nature taking over rusty and abandoned war machines. This Churchill Mk 2, without its turrets, can be found in the green plains of South Downs, West Sussex, United Kingdom.

PzKpfw IV, Israel

Rusty remains of a PzKpfw IV half-buried in the ground
Photo Credit: Bukvoed / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 4.0

Officially known as the Panzerkampfwagen IV, this PzKpfw IV, once a powerful war machine, has become half-buried by nature. It’s located just outside of Israel’s Kursi National Park.

Chieftain, United Kingdom

Rusty Chieftain tank in the middle of a field
Photo Credit: Alan Pollock / Geograph Britain and Ireland / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0

A Chieftain tank that’s been left to fend for itself in the elements in Alwinton, Northumberland, in the northeast of England. Grass has begun to grow around it, and will surely one day completely cover it.

M47 Patton, Germany

M47 Patton covered in tree branches
Photo Credit: Sascha Faber / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

More from us: The Oldest Military Tanks Still In Service

The final entry on our list of war machines that have been reclaimed by nature is this M47 Patton that’s currently being used for target practice in Brander-Wald, Aachen, Germany. Named for famed US Army Gen. George Patton, this armored vehicle is a sad sight.

Damian Lucjan

Damian is a history geek that’s working for War History Online for almost a decade. He can talk about the history and its chain of events for hours and is 100% legit fun at parties. Aside of history, geography and etymology of all things are no less exciting for him! An avid video game player, meme distributor, and your comment section moderator all in one. Mythologies of all cultures are fascinating to him, Greek, Nordic, Slavic – you name it, and he’s in!

In his spare time, assuming he has some left, he gives it all to his family, enjoying morning walks, a good book, an exciting FPS, and a long nap…or a few. Definitely a cat person.