Rear end of the Panther tank under restoration.
Many late model German tanks had this anti-magnetic mine paste called Zimmerit applied to them. Nevermind that magnetic mines were not commonly in use at all!
You KNOW I wanted to pick up one of these MP-40 submachine gun (replicas) to play with... but I was a good guest and controlled myself!
The Panther was arguably the best tank design of WWII. Excellent combination of firepower, mobility, and protection!
The problem (from Germany's viewpoint) was that they didn't/couldn't make that many of them.
The Panther was 'over-engineered'. Everything was very complex and complicated...it was like fitting a swiss watch of tanks together.
This was a good thing for the allies, which otherwise would have had an even harder time facing more German armor!
This is the start of the museum proper (the above was in the workshop).
Includes display of some early model tanks
I wish MY garage looked like this... :-)
The British Matilda tank. Fairly decent tank for its time. Quite effective in the early days of the war. Was a matter of how they were used though...
It's an M3 White Scout Car armoured recon vehicle. Our tour guide Nicholas Moran sent me a note and filled in all the missing info, and provided some additional corrections as well! Thanks, Manic!
The Ma Duece .50 cal machine gun is a timeless design - still in use today!
.30 cal water cooled Browning machine guns.
The user end view of the M2.
I believe it's a German Panzer IV tank. This one did not get the TLC that the Panther is getting!
Another view of the Panzer IV.
This is of course, the M4 Sherman tank!
The Shermans had an grim nickname - Ronson...for the tendency to explode in flames when hit (lights first time everytime). Tank crews have my utmost respect - for climbing into their Ronsons even though they know what will happen if they get hit.
What the US could do, and do very well...was make a LOT of tanks. So while the late model German tanks were superior in firepower and armor protection, the Shermans won by numbers and bravery of their crews.
A German tank ace (they keep score too) once commented that while a single Tiger tank can take out 4 Shermans, there always seemed to be a fifth...
The tour guide was relaying a story about the Shermans; during WWII, the recovery depot made an observation that many of the knocked out tanks had a hole at the front, in the same place...yep, right through that white star. Made a convienient aiming point for German gunners.
Holger (From Germany) has this to add: "another good side aiming point were the addon-armor-patches above the armor storage. When a german AP-Round penetrates there, the Tank was done for. And with these patches, they knew where to hurt... The Sherman was also called the "Tommykocher" (tommycooker) by the germans..."
The Sherman wasn't a bad tank. It was reliable, quick to produce, simple to repair, and had decent mobility. But the army philosophy was a bit off at the time. The Shermans did not have big enough guns to take on enemy tanks head on. That was the 'job' of the tank destroyer. Even then, the tank destroyer cannon was marginal against late war German armor... the whole 'big enough gun' thing was a travestry (in hindsight).
The US army learned from its experience in WWII. The current generation tank - the M1A1 Abram has superior firepower, superior mobility, and superior protection. It is the true queen of the battlefield; no more Roncos', thank goodness.
The Isrealis got some after the war, and significantly upgraded them. Diesel engine instead of Gasoline, high velocity canon, beefed up the suspension... Used them to good effect in the 6 day war, and Yom Kippur war!
Update: Holger sent me the following: "They hadnt to beef up the suspensions, because late model Shermans got this HVSS out of the factory. The israelis bought/got other shermans too, in which they did fit the gun and the engine but left the old VVSS as it was."
It's also called the Super Sherman.
The Russians were fairly innovative in regard to tank design. The T-55 was developed soon after WWII and stays in service in many parts of the world today. Believed to be the most produced tank in history.
M3 Stuart Light tank. Got mauled at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. No contest against the Panzer IVs and other German armor. Fared a lot better in the Pacific theater, where the Japanese did not have heavy tanks.
Correction by Holger: "Not a M3 stuart light tank, but a M5 or M5A1 stuart light tank"
The Russian T-34 was quite a rude surprise to German forces when they first encountered it. Heavily armored, with good mobility and firepower, it caused the Germans to scramble to come up with a design to counter it.
Mass production of this tank, along with massive artillery helped the Russians push back the Germans - all the way into Berlin.
A T-55 starred in one of the James Bond Movies. I loved that tank chase sequence!
Think it was called 'Goldeneye'... good old fashion car crushing, wall breaking, running over statues' fun!
Also starred in the Afgan war, first by the Russians, then by the Taliban...
Here I am trying to explore my artistic side.
I mean, do I really even have one? (you can tell me, I promise I won't cry)
The M-26 Pershing heavy tank. Finally, a design that can go toe to toe with the German Tigers. Saw just a bit of action at the end of WWII...better late than never?
This was a brute of a tank. No nonsense bad ass American steel!
Saw a bit of action in Korea too, but not many were deployed. Some had to be recalled from lawn ornament duty... Still, accounted for half the T-34 kills.
Again, being artsy. Trying to capture the 'essense' of the tank by only concentrating on small part of it. How's that working for you? :-)
I quite like this one!
A PZ-61 Swiss tank. I know that because there's a plaque on the front...
The US M551 Sheridan light tank. Air droppable via C-130, supposed to pack a big punch...but didn't really deliver as promised.
It was used in Vietnam, where it did ok - but suffered high causualties due to the light armor.
The gun could fire both a missle or a canon round. Had a lot of problems though, from cracks in the barrel, to sights being knocked off aim after each shot.
A really cool idea, but just didn't work out.
Many Sheridans were later dressed up to look like soviet tanks and BMPs, and played the part of opposing forces in training excercises. They did fine in that role...
Gonna have to claim ignorance on this one...US self propelled howitzer used in Vietnam?
It's a M37 105mm Howitzer (info from Roger Cain).
More shots of the Pershing.
Fairly exposed firing position, for a 'tank'...an M56 Scorpion (Thanks again, Roger!)
Used in Vietnam, and not much after.
It's not like being in the open... it IS in the open! Probably not very popular with the crews.
The soviets were pulling ahead in their tank designs. The T-72 was quite a bit more advanced than the US counterpart for the time.
This is an Isreali M48 Patton (I can see a bit of the tag!). It was knocked out by an RPG shot in the back. Pencil sized hole into the engine compartment. Just knocked out the engine... but was a mobility kill.
This T-72 looks like it's from East Germany.
After the re-unification, I guess they didn't want them anymore!
The M-48 Patton evolved to the M-60 Patton. It's sort of confusing to me why they are both called Pattons...
These exhibits are in the 2nd warehouse! Can't tell you much about this piece of artillery, but I can tell you how much it weighs! :-)
Can say even less about this piece, but Manic filled me in. It's a Panzer Abwehr Kannone (PaK) 40, 75mm.
And, that it's German...
Small caliber anti-aircraft artillery. German. ;-)
It's a german 2cm Flak 38. Thanks Holger!
I believe it was used as a anti-tank gun. Would certainly work well against pretty much all but the heaviest Allied tanks.
Looks like you'd put your eye against the rubber thingie... no I didn't look through it. Should have though!
You know, I'm not sure I could drive this thing (without a translated operator's manual)! Then again, I could just push and pull levers to see what it does!
The very famous M3 US half track. Seen in almost every WWII movie!
I want to drive one of these down the road - ala Mad Maxx style!
Oh, this is another Mad Maxx looking machine. Visibility is quite poor though, so changing lanes can be problematic. It's a German SdKfz 222 reconnaissance vehicle (info from Roger Cain!).
German equipment always looked futuristic. This looks like something from Star Wars.
A Soviet SU-100 tank destroyer.
This panzer is beautifully restored.
Update: I guess panzer means tank, as I was corrected by Holger that it's not a tank, but an assault gun!
Used in the last year of WWII against Germany, and then later by the Egyptians against Isreali M4s.
Looks like a fire exthinguisher, and boltcutters. Can't be sure, since the label is in German!
The business end of a Sturmgeschutz IV (StuG IV) 75mm canon.
Correction - it's StuG III. Per the tour guide, "Count the roadwheels, divide by two. Itís a StuG III. (This obviously works for Pz III and Pz IV as well)". Thanks Nick!
Technically an Assult Gun, but became known as a very effective tank killer.
Front end of a M113 armored personnel carrier.
An Isreali half track, bristling with machine guns.
The door's open, no one's looking... (don't worry, I was a good boy).
I must admit I did play with the cranks on this one. Wow, what a joy. It was so easy to turn and traverse the guns and elevate the barrels. Like a precision instrument!
I was amazed to see this tank here. It's a British Chieftan w/ a mine plow. Note the little side view mirrors...
A Tracked Rapier SAM battery.
Can't go wrong calling it a Patton... or can I?
Per Manic, it's a M103 with a lot of parts in common with a M47/48 Patton.
A closer view of the Chieftan. You can just tell it's British; it has all these little nice doo-dads on the tank, that the US tanks don't seem to have!
The FV101 Scorpion is a British light tank - did well in the Falklands war.
Don't know much about it... South African design? Looks like the head's too big for the body!
Update: "French design. AML-90, by Panhard. This particular example produced under license in South Africa , known as the Eland-90." Thanks Manic!
The Iosif Stalin IS-3 heavy tank looks like a juggernaut. Probably won't go very fast...
This ZSU-23-4 greets the visitor at the start of the 3rd! display building.
Its' 4 23mm autocannons are linked to a 30mm fire control radar. Bad news for NATO helicopters and low flying planes that stray too close... It's a high value target to be taken out first!
US half track with Quad Fifties in the back. Nice to have around if you're in a convoy!
The US never came up with an equivalent vehicle to the ZSU...the M247 Sergeant York was a valiant effort, but a complete disaster which became a poster child for system integration gotchas.
I think the Knob Creek machine gun shoot sometimes features a Quad Fifty setup. The only thing more exciting than shooting that would be shooting a Gatling/mini-gun!
Hose 'em Down indeed!
I mean come on! TWO Chieftan tanks? I guess he needed a matching set!
Pay no attention to me, it's just jealousy talking :-)
Took a bit searching to find the name for this...It's a 2S1 Gvozdika. A 122mm self propelled howitzer. My daughter would have taken a picture of the name plate... she's smarter than me!
I noticed all the tanks had shovels attached to them. Can you imagine the backbreaking work, trying to shovel a stuck 30 ton tank out? Notice the flintstone sytle bumper? Don't see those on your western power tanks!
Update: according to Manic, "The Ďbumperí is actually an unditching beam. If you get utterly stuck with no traction, chain it to the track."
From Holger: "The soviets use these "bumpers" indeed as bumpers. If a tank is immobilized, the following tank can easily push the stuck tank out of the way with smaller danger of damaging it or itself further. And its more unlikely to slip - metal on metal hasnt that much grip."
I like the ZSU-23. It's a good thing regular folks can't own AAA tanks. The temptation to go and shoot something out of the sky would be too great!
Can I call this a Patton too?
Apparently yes! It's an M60A2 per Manic.
From Holger: "Hehe, THIS you CAN call a patton! Its a M60A2 with the same 152mm shillelagh gun/missilelauncher as the M551 Sheridan. It was called "Starship" by its crews - and was very advanced but also very faulty at the time. (You can call it "rustthrower": some breeches rustet tight over one weekend!) Whatsoever it was relativly fast withdrawn from service, and upgraded to M60A3 with the common 105mm cannon."
Oooh!oooh! I know this one. It's a German Leopard main battle tank (MBT)!
The hatch is too small to fit a person through, I can only surmise it's for loading and unloading ammo.
A pretty modern tank, but being phased out of use in favor of even better tanks like the Leopard 2!
Shovel AND a pick!
I guess European tanks are required to have side view mirrors. Where's the front reflector and turn signal indicator, hmmm?
Update: I was just being a smarta**, but Manic has an answer! "Iím not aware of a front reflector requirement on European cars, but the turn signal indicator is the protrusion just behind the base of the wing mirror. Far more visible on the Marder. You will note all German AFVs have the same general type."
From Holger: "In germany all vehicles have to have these things to travel on roads. The rearview mirrors are normally stowed away during crosscountry travel to protect them from damage. The turn signal indicator is right below the mirror assembly."
A Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). I was surprise to see one here. I thought they were still in use!
From Holger: "This is a Marder 1A3 or later! And these ARE still in use by the german Bundeswehr. It will be succeeded by the brand-new Puma in a couple of years."
Even has a license plate number. I guess they are driven on the roads regularly.
I wanted to call it a Duck, but it's not.
It's a jeep equivalent to the Duck, which is larger. The oars are a nice touch!
Update: Per Manic, "Itís a Russian equivalent to the Jeep equivalent to the DUKW (The GPA, AKA ďSeepĒ). Itís a GAZ-46."
BTR-70 per Manic.
Bridgelayer. Looks like on top of a M60 chassis. Can we call it a Patton? :-)
Update: According to Manic, "AVLB, based on an M48 chassis. I guess you could call it a Patton, though I donít know anyone who calls it anything other than an AVLB."
Update: This is our tour guide for that day Nicholas (Manic) Moran. I posted his pic because he said he didn't mind getting the notoriety! I believe that's a British Comet tank he's leaning against.
It was a fun couple of hours, and my shutter was clicking away non-stop. As you can imagine, I only posted a fraction of the pics I took - partly because many pieces seem esoteric, but mainly because it's too much work to dig up all the proper IDs and names of things I am unfamiliar with!
I could have easily spent the whole day there - but times a ticking. As it was, I was rushing from exhibit to exhibit - with only a few seconds to decide what I want to take, and how. I was with a group, but almost instantly started drifting further away to take unobstructed images of the tanks and guns. Couldn't get too far away, since I was also interested in what the guide had to say... I had a great time!
I hope you've enjoyed this layman's presentation of the Littlefield Tank collection!