Drunk Man Joyrides in a T-55 Through a Polish Town

Credit: Lodzka Policja
Credit: Lodzka Policja

Drunk Man – The trope of the drunken joyride is pretty well-established in the annals of ‘foolish things people do’. On the 14th of June is the most recent, and rather barking mad example.

In the town of Pajeczno police received a late night phone call that was sure to cause concern for any residents who still harbor worries over potential Russian aggression – a T-55 Soviet tank was spotted rolling its way through the town.

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When police followed up on the call, they found the military vehicle sitting at the side of the central roadway through the town.  Nearby they found the tank’s occupants, two men, one of whom was a drunk 48-year-old who was the one responsible for hitting the road.

The driver was, in fact, authorized to drive the tank, at least to the extent that he was supposed to be responsible for getting it on and off the trailer which had been moving it.

It seems safe to say that he was not authorized to take it on a joyride through the town, much less while under the influence – tanked up in the tank…

Police weren’t able to get the uninsured tank back onto its trailer until 5 a.m., and by the time that they successfully got the vehicle back where it belonged, a number of residents had taken pictures and the event was lighting up social media.

Twitter users, in particular, were having a field day with the news, likening the event to a newer, Polish version of the video game Grand Theft Auto or suggesting that someone’s invasion plans had gone seriously awry.

Tanked Up

The event was made possible when the trailer which had been transporting the tank was damaged, making it necessary to unload the tank to complete repairs on it. Presumably the driver had spent some time at the bar while those repairs were undergone, and he decided to take the tank for a little spin before loading it back up.

The event occurred at a particularly unfortunate time, too, from the point of view of Poland’s government.  Only the day before, the Polish president had been signing a huge new defense deal with representatives from the U.S. and giving a lengthy list of historical complaints against Russia.

The drunken driver had better have enjoyed his brief sojourn as an invader, since he could easily be facing between two to eight years behind bars, depending on whether he is only prosecuted for driving while intoxicated or if he’s also charged with creating a dangerous situation, although, luckily, the incident didn’t cause anything to be run over or otherwise wrecked.

It seems safe to suppose that this type of occurrence would be a one-off, but that’s not even the case.  There was an incident in 2009 where a British solder became intoxicated and went joyriding in a tank stolen from his base in North Germany, near Bergen, according to the Local.


In that case, the solider in question wrecked the tank he was driving, went back to his base, and stole a second one to continue his adventure.  He went off in his original direction for some ways before being stopped when he ran the second tank into a tree.

In yet another incident, this one in the United States, a young officer in the Virginia National Guard also drunkenly stole a tank in 2018.

In that case, the man in question drove an M1068 off the base and ended up leading local police on a low-speed chase through the streets of Richmond, Virginia before he was caught.  Police followed him down the interstate with their lights going, and thankfully, there weren’t any crashes or other issues before the soldier’s ride came to an end.

Another Article From Us: 30 images of Tiger 1 wrecks

Bored men and alcohol are often the perfect recipe for creative mischief and, apparently, adding access to a handy tank only adds fuel to the fire.  While no one was ever hurt during any of these incidents, it’s safe to say that these would-be invaders should have stayed sober.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE