World War II Military Relic Hunting

Metal Detecting WWII Relics at Eastern Front Battle Sites


WW2 Russian Poster, circa 1944


World War II was fought between the Allies (Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, the United States, etc.) and the Axis (Germany, Italy, Japan, etc.) from September of 1939 to May of 1945. It was the biggest and horrific military conflict in the history of mankind, involving countries all over the world and causing millions of deaths.

The Eastern Front, the largest and bloodiest theater of World War II, took place in the western part of the Soviet Union. Being the most costly conflict with over 30 million dead as a result, the Eastern Front involved more land combat than all other World War II theaters combined. That is why even now, 65 years later, many military relics and artifacts can be unearthed in large quantities at the former battle sites throughout Western Russia, Baltic States, Byelorussia and Ukraine.

That is the main reason why the military relic hunting, or military digging, has been very popular in those countries. Even before metal detectors became available or affordable, people of all ages and backgrounds participated in recovering of war artifacts of all kinds. Many of weathered relic hunters still use just a long steel probe to locate buried weapons, gear and remains of soldiers.

This type of relic hunting requires both strong physical shape and caution. That is why many military diggers team up to put their resources together, minimize the amount of physical work per each team member, and reduce risks. These groups are formed spontaneously by enthusiasts with similar goals. Their finds range from small weapons and personal gear to tanks and other machinery well preserved in stale swamps, marshes and bogs.

Some search groups are officially assembled with young enthusiasts under expert supervision to let youngsters have their first-hand experiences with the WW2 history. These youth organizations focus mainly on recovering and identifying the remains of soldiers, notification of their living relatives, and honorable reburials of soldier remains. In any case, most of the WW2 relic hunters do the hard work of preserving the history for future generations.

WW2 Military Relic Hunters Excavating the WW2 Dug-Out

WW2 Military Relic Hunters in Action

Below you will find a few articles on WW2 relic hunting, photo galleries of military relic finds that I recovered while metal detecting in Estonia, Russia and Ukraine, and finds made by my fellow relic hunters in Russia as well as other historical information related to World War II:

Military Relic Hunting - What is involved, and which types of metal detectors are required for this activity.

Hunt Sites Infested with WW2 Military Junk - What might happen when you detect at the sites littered with WW2 military junk including dangerous WW2 unexploded ordnance.

WW2 Relic Hunting in Estonia - My story on digging up lots of WW2 military relics and junk while trying to search for old coins.

My WW2 Relic Finds - A photo gallery of my WW2 relic finds (last updated in 2007)

WW2 Relics Found by Others

Eastern Front - Brief History

Casualties of WW2

Waffen SS - Brief History


Russian Sapper Demining the Porch with a Metal Detector, 1942

Russian  Sapper Demining the Porch




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