THE MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ARMOR COLLECTION



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 The Museum Of American Armor Exhibits In The Field

 

 

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Universal Carrier

A British design, prior to WW II the generals envisioned the universal carrier to be a mechanized machine gun nest capable of providing covering fire wherever it was need. Once committed to battle it soon became that and more, moving troops, supplies, ammunition and the wounded. Unable to produce enough of them, Britain gave Ford a contract to build them for the Allies and a total of 113,000 were built. It weighs 3 tons, is powered by a V8 engine and can race along at 30 mph.

 

 

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M8

Originally conceived as a fast moving tank destroyer it became quickly apparent it was under-gunned and under-armed to perform that function and so it became a widely produced reconnaissance and scouting armored car with 8,500 built. Susceptible to mines and not well suited to off road travel it was used most effectively in the hands of generals like General Patton to act as modern day cavalry, screening the flanks of fast moving tanks and mopping up rear areas bypassed during his advance from Normandy.

It’s 37 mm cannon was augmented with a coaxial 30 caliber gun and a .50 caliber gun on a turret ring to ward off enemy aircraft and offer heavy ground defensive fire. It field a crew of four.

It’s 6 wheel drive was powered by a gasoline fueled Hercules JXD, 320 cubic inch, 110 hp engine in the rear of the vehicle and was capable of a top seed of 55 mph.

 

 

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M20

The open-top armored car M20 has the same chassis as the M8 armored car but, given that it was designed purely as a command and reconnaissance vehicle, the distinctive M8 turret and 37mm main gun are not installed.

Because field commanders were expected to be riding aboard the vehicle it was equipped with far more radio equipment than a traditional armored car or tank and additional seating was provided to accommodate the “brass.” The crew consisted of a driver and assistant driver plus the vehicle could carry an additional four soldiers into a combat zone.

A .50 cal. machine gun was provided on a ring mount to provide anti-aircraft protection, as well as provide covering fire in the event of ambush or ground attack. Additional machine guns could be mounted along with the extra ammunition. It is on display courtesy of Polimeni International.

 

 

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M3 Scout Car

The M3A1 Scout Car manufactured by the White Company is the personification of the Army’s pre-war thinking about mechanized cavalry units. Originally designed and built in 1937, the U.S. Army envisioned these vehicles being sufficiently armored to ward off enemy small arms fire while being equipped with several machine guns to permit the crew of five to get out of harm’s way while on scouting missions.

Like much pre-war thinking, these tactics would not withstand the first encounter with the enemy, and American forces would need to change how they would utilize their wheeled cavalry during World War II.  Often deployed with jeeps, motorcycles, M8 Greyhounds and Stuart tanks, the M3A1 would be an integral part of a cavalry group that would conduct patrols to gather intelligence on the location of enemy forces.

Thousands of these vehicles would be used by other Allied nations including Soviet forces that used them to help push Nazi forces back towards Berlin while the British operated the White Scout Car in Europe in the weeks and months following D-Day. After the war, emerging nations such as Israel deployed them as front line combat equipment.

 

 

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Ambulance Dodge

 

 

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Daimler Ferret

The Daimler Ferret is a direct result of the British experience during World War II. Produced immediately after that conflict it is designed for armed reconnaissance with an all-welded steel hull that has a crew of two. In the center is a manually-operated turret armed with a 30 caliber machine gun.

It has a Rolls-Royce B60 Mk 6A six-cylinder water-cooled gas engine develops 129 horsepower.

 

 

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Stuart Tank

The M5 is a late war version of a pre-war light tank design that was obsolete the day it went into battle. Nevertheless, it gave American and Allied forces a reliable tank that could be used as a scouting vehicle but the crew that sought tank to tank engagements was either very brave or very foolish for it was under armed and poorly armored.

It was found on all front of the fighting during World War II but it was probably most effective in the Pacific where the Marines used it against Imperial Japanese forces before the arrival of Sherman tanks.

The final version of the vehicle used twin V-8 automobile engines and twin Hydra-Matic transmissions operating through a transfer case. This gave Stuart crews a quieter, cooler and roomier version and was easier to train on the automatic version. It also featured a redesigned hull with sloped glacis plate for better protection and driver’s hatches moved to the top

 

 

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Sherman

The M4 Sherman tank of World War II is one of the most famous and recognizable tanks of all time. It was used by virtually every American ally during that global combat and some were still in front line service decades later, including Israel. Production exceeded 50,000 tanks by a number of different manufacturers with a broad range of variants and models being produced, many of them modified in the field.

Not particularly innovative such as the Soviet’s T-34 and with nowhere near the hitting power or protective armor of the late war German tanks, the Sherman was one of the most dependable and rugged tanks of World War II. Once tactics were developed that allowed them to assault German Tigers and Panthers from ambush the quantitative advantage of the Sherman’s far outstripped the superiority of its foe.

Powered by a 500hp Ford GAA V8 gasoline engine its standard mid war armament was a 75 mm cannon and as many as three machine guns. It is on display courtesy of the Kadish Museum of American Armor.

 

 

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Lasalle Naval Staff Car

 

 

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Artillery And The Means To Get It There

The M4 High Speed Tractor was built based on the chassis and drive train of the M2 Light Tank; basing the design of a new vehicle on an older model was a common practice at the time because it simplified the design of the new vehicle, allowed for easier production and easier maintenance and repair in the field.

The three main artillery pieces that the M4 was intended to transport were the 155 mm gun, the 203 mm howitzer and the 90 mm anti-aircraft gun; the M4 HST was designed to carry ammunition at the rear of the chassis. (The museum has a 155 mm artillery gun on display and is often transported by the M4.)

The M4 tractor had no armor – probably because of the purpose it served – and its primary weapon was one .50 caliber anti-aircraft machine gun. It used a Waukesha 145GZ six-cylinder inline petrol engine, a vertical volute spring suspension system and traveled at a maximum speed of 33 mph.

This vehicle and Long Tom was acquired from the estate of the late Kevin Kronlund who was committed to preserving our American military heritage.  We are honored to pay tribute to his legacy.

 

 

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Bofors 40 MM Anti Aircraft Gun

The 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun is similar to the type that defended Allied airfields and ships during World War II.   It was the most significant light antiaircraft gun of World War II. Originally developed by the Swedes, versions were used by the Allies as well as the Germans. It could quickly fire a two pound projectile that exploded on contact and was able to track most high speed fighters and bombers of that conflict.

Ammunition that was packed in clips of four rounds that fed into the gun via a chute on the top of the gun, operating up to 120 rounds per minute.

 

 

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Quad .50 Caliber Machine Gun Battery

Taking the best American automatic weapon of World War II, the .50 caliber machine gun, designers created a mobile four gun battery (the Quad) that gave the U.S.  Army enormous firepower capable of sweeping everything before it.   Whether it was downing enemy fighters attacking American airfields or destroying sniper nests, the Quad .50 was lethal, potent and portable.  So capable of creating an overwhelming curtain of lead, American forces employed it during the Korean War while in the Vietnam conflict they were placed on large military vehicles and deployed as “gun trucks.”

With a built in motor, the Quad .50 could track enemy targets with a hand held electric trigger by a gunner who was encased behind armor.  The weapon had a muzzle velocity of 2,930 feet per second, an effective range of 2,500 yards and could spew out between 1,600 and 2,200 rounds per minute.

Given its 2,400 pound weight, many of them were mounted on half tracks during World War II to improve mobility while others, such as the one on display, were placed on trailers to be towed by trucks and then dug into defensive positions.