Back in 2015 the Italian army started to decommission and dispose of a large part of their surplus armor inventory. Unlike some other European countries, for nearly twenty years Italy has not released any tanks removed from service. Many of these vehicles are stored in the rice fields near Lenta, an area with contains nearly 3,000 tanks and APCs.
Included in the collection, said to be the largest concentration of armoured vehicles of the world, there are 2700 Leopard tanks, self-propelled M-109, Centauro armoured car, tracked M-133 and Vcc-1. Most go back to the last phase of the Cold War, but many are more recent.
According to documents on international disarmament treaties, in 2012 Italy had 1,173 tanks and 3,071 combat tracks available. A scary figure bearing in mind that the British had only 270 tanks and the French double.
Italy has started to sell or scrap this massive collection of vehicles, said to be the largest concentration of non-operating tanks in the world. It was claimed that some vehicles will be given to friendly countries, and many will be auctioned off. It was reported that both Pakistan and Jordan were in negotiations to purchase some of these vehicles.
I first became aware of “the tanks” back in 2018 after seeing a clip of them on some random military Facebook page. It wasn’t too hard to find their location after a little googling, the hard and worrying bit was that the appeared to be on a live military base.
This is what we saw thanks to google earth, lots and lots of tanks lol
Myself and RA were staying in northern Italy and decided to jump in our trusty Fiat 500 rental car and go find ourselves some tanks. This however involved a little off-roading and the car ended up covered in mud even though the temperature was approaching 40 degrees on this particular day.
We made our way stealthily into the base and towards the tanks
Upon rounding the corner we spotted this little beauty
Hidden behind this one we soon found this lot
After spending a bit of time wandering around these tanks we headed a little further into the live base and found some more before leaving and heading back the way we came.