published: 27.09.2012, 15:20 | updated: 27.09.2012 16:33:31
Prague - A historical Czechoslovak tank LTP-38, gained from Peru for the collections of the Military History Institute (VHU), virtually landed at its courtyard today, VHU director Ales Knizek has told CTK.
The ceremony was attended by Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra and Peruvian ambassador Maria Susana Landaveri.
A runabout crane had to lift the vehicle, weighing over seven tonnes, over the roof of the high entrance gate.
"Most interestingly, the tank gets here after over 70 years," Knizek said.
In the late 1930s, the Peruvian military ordered 24 these tanks from the CKD engineering company that defeated Renault, Vickers, Fiat and Skoda companies in the tender.
The tanks were developed and modified for combat and movement at the altitude of around 4,500 metres, in the Peruvian Andes.
Peru received the first machine in summer 1938 and in February 1939 the tanks helped suppress a military coup.
Thanks to the delivery, Peru became the first tank power of South America. The Czechoslovak tanks were used by the Peruvian military until the 1970s. In the meantime, they helped defend northern Peru.
Knizek said the talks on the return of the tank started ten years ago within a programme that was to gain and put on display Czechoslovak interwar arms export.
"Now we are completing the series of the Czechoslovak tank production from 1934-1939. It is a major contribution to the museum," he added.
The tank, dubbed in Peru "il Tankesino" ("Little Tank"), bears witness of the sophisticated level of know-how and industry of prewar Czechoslovakia.
It had a three-member crew and it was equipped with one gun and two machine guns.
Vondra said the delivery to Peru had been suspended in September 1938, at the time of the Munich crisis and the September mobilisation of the Czechoslovak military.
"In the event of a war conflict with the aggressive Nazi regime, the LTP would have fought in the ranks of the Czechoslovak military for our freedom and independence," he added.
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