German World War II artillery found in Russian mountains

Moscow:  Police in Russia have found five German World War II-era artillery guns along with ammunition in a southern mountainous region.

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 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.

Nazi forces occupied the area surrounding Mount Elbrus for several months in 1942, during which a team of German high mountain troops climbed to the top. Intended as a propaganda coup, the stunt reportedly enraged Hitler, who viewed it as a frivolous diversion of effort.

Reminders of the fighting that took place near Elbrus during 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.

Story First Published: September 16, 2012 18:48 IST

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