How remote is the area around Mount Elbrus, located in the western Caucasus Mountain range in Russia, near the border with Georgia?
Recently, five Nazi World War II artillery guns were discovered, along with ammunition and other explosives, where they’d apparently sat undisturbed for the past 70 years.
The guns – 76-mm cannons – are in good condition, according to police in Kalbardino-Balkaria region, the location of Mount Elbrus, the tallest mountain in Europe.
“If they fell into the wrong hands, they could be used as intended,” Elbrus police chief Muslim Bottayev said. Military engineers would soon remove the weapons and ammunition to a safe location.
The German Wehrmacht occupied the area surrounding the mountain from August 1942 to January 1943, during World War II, according to a history of Mount Elbrus.
During the period, a team of German high mountain troops scaled Elbrus, planting a swastika at its peak, according to the Indo-Asian News Service. “Intended as a propaganda coup, the stunt reportedly enraged Hitler, who viewed it as a frivolous diversion of effort.”
By early 1943, the Soviets had turned the tables on the Germans, defeating them at Stalingrad and the Volga. Nazis troops were withdrawn from the Elbrus area on Jan. 10, 1943, and by mid-February the Soviet flag was re-established on the summit of Elbrus.
Reminders of the fighting that took place near Elbrus during what the Russians call the Great Patriotic War continue to turn up. In August, police found the bodies of six Red Army troops who died fighting on the slopes of the mountain, the Indo-Asian News Service reported.
The guns were discovered near the Donguz-Orun pass at an elevation of 9,184 feet.
“The find included eight 76-mm artillery shells, four hand grenades, three mines and 500 small-arms rounds abandoned when the German Wehrmacht forces withdrew from the area,” the outlet reported.