“Stalinets” tractors were produced in 1937-1941 in Chelyabinsk for industrial and construction works. But they were also often used by the Red Army as a prime mover.
This “Stalinets” tractor sank in winter 1942 in Usoditsa lake of the Zapadnodvinsky district of the Tver region, Russia. It was repeatedly searched and when was finally found there were some attempts to pull it out. But it was not easy. The tractor was under the marsh bog.
However the last attempt made by the volunteers together with the Russian Ministry of Defence and the Moscow search and restoration center “Rearguard”, divers from Pskov and other specialists finally managed to pull the tractor out.
Despite the fact that the tractor sank in the lake it was surrounded by the impassable swamp. The “Stalinets” was lying nine meters (29.5 ft) deep and it was a hard task for the divers to pull the remains of the driver first and then to wrap the cables around the tractor itself.
The weight of the tractor was 12 tons and they initially planned to use a huge tracked amphibious tank that was specially delivered from St. Petersburg. It was capable of transporting even KAMAZ trucks…
The tank was specially intended to go along swamps but it also sank and went 2,5 meters deep in the bog. So the team had to save this vehicle first which took two days more.
“Stalinets” was pulled out literally on the soulders of people. They invented the whole system of heavy steel cables which were pulled for 1,5 km (0,93 miles) long. The harsh men were moving along the narrow trampled path risking to sink in the swamp themselves. It was raining all the time which made their work even harder. They were also cutting down the clearing for the tractor, made planking and kept dragging the steel cables on the shoulders.
The cables were strained so much that they were clanging, the team was constantly afraid the cables could break and the people were hiding behind the trees about twenty meters away. If it broke it could cut everything around like butter.
The “Stalinets” was sent for reconstruction to Velikiye Luki. It was quite in a good condition, by the way. It was not rusty, the mechanics was faultless, the tanks had oil and fuel inside. This is a unique machine, there are six or seven tractors like this in the museums of the world and they all have no cabins. It is the only one that has a factory cabin.