National Armor and Cavalry Museum, Fort Benning Part 1
The National Armor and Cavalry Museum is a non-governmental museum and is located in Fort Benning, Georgia. Recently it closed down for a $35 million renovation on 90,000 square feet and 30 acres of land. It has a projected reopening of around 2020. The majority of the exhibits have since the museums closure been shipped to the Patton Museum in Fort Knox. Notable possessions included a Panther II, the T28, a T29E3 and the XM08.
1 to 3) Type 95 Ha-Go. Japanese WWII era light tank. Considered one of the best tanks of its time in 1935, it was a sufficient tank when it came to facing infantry such as the Chinese but was soon outclassed. It was not meant for tank-to-tank combat and perished quickly when pressed into. Some 2,200 were made, making it the most numerous Japanese tank of the war.
4 to 6) Marder II. German tank destroyer of WWII mounting a 7.5-cm anti-tank gun and based off of the Panzer II chassis. It’s high profile and thin armor made its crew vulnerable to anything over .50 cal. Nonetheless, it provided much needed mobile firepower and was in service from 1941 to 1943. Only four Marder IIs remain today. This vehicle was on display in the Ordnance Museum at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, USA, for many years. In 1989 it was returned to Germany on loan in exchange for restoration. It was also in the Wheatcroft Collection for some years before returning to Fort Benning in 2012.
7 & 8) Panther II. Never made beyond a single chassis, the Panther II was a German design proposal of WWII. It incorporated thicker armor than the Panther, shared the suspension of the Tiger II, had a new “schmalturm” turret and a more powerful engine providing 200 hp more. Plans to replace the original Panther design with the Panther II were already underway before the first Panther had even seen combat. But a final meeting was held where it was decided that production of the Panther II would cease, and work would focus on the basic Panther. The example shown is the original Panther II prototype chassis with a basic Panther’s turret.
9 & 10) Panzer II. German light tank of WWII. A stopgap while the Panzer III was being produced it nonetheless went on to play an important role in the early years of World War II. The Panzer II was the most numerous tank in the German Panzer divisions beginning with the invasion of France. By the end of 1942, it had been largely removed from front line service and it was used for training and on secondary fronts. Its chassis remained in use as the basis of several other armored vehicles. This vehicle was captured in Libya during World War II and was on display in the Ordnance Museum at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland for many years.
Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, Fort Knox, Part 1
Although famous for its Bullion Depository, Fort Knox is in fact one of the largest military installations in America and houses about 30,000 military personnel. It is the U.S. Army’s Armor Center. During the Second World War a number of armored vehicles and guns captured by the Third US Army were sent to Fort Knox for study and evaluation. After the war these vehicles aroused public interest and were collected together, along with various pre-war Allied vehicles as the “Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor”
1 & 2) M24 Chaffee. American light tank of WWII which replaced the M3 and M5. Much more heavily armed than its predecessors, the M24 would serve in Korea and Vietnam, and can still be found in some militaries today. Originally lend-leased to France, this M24 saw service in Algeria with the 12e Regiment Chasseurs d’Afrique during the Algerian War
3) M48A2C Patton. American medium tank for the Cold War period, which succeeded the M47 Patton. The M48 Patton was in U.S. service until replaced by the M60 and served as the U.S. Army and Marine Corps’s primary battle tank in South Vietnam during Vietnam. Although largely resembling the M47, the M48 was a completely new design. It was the last U.S. tank to mount the 90 mm tank gun. This M48 was acquired from the Army in 1972 and is painted in the markings of the M48 Sgt. Gary Herschberger commanded on 25 November, 1969, when he was killed. Sgt. Herschberger received the Second Oak Leaf Cluster to the Silver Star for his actions that day.
4 to 6) Pzfpw III Ausf. F. German medium tank of WWII that saw extensive service throughout the war. It was intended to fight other tanks and serve alongside and support the Pzkpfw IVl; however when the Pzkpfw IV was redesigned to mount the long-barreled 7.5cm Kwk 40 gun, the Pzkpfw III effectively became obsolete in this role.
This is an Ausf F, fitted with an Ausf G turret that has been rearmed with the long-barrelled 5cm L/60 gun of the later production Ausf J. It is believed to have been captured by the Third US Army from the 116th Panzer Division in Normandy during World War II.
7 & 8) StuG III Ausf. G. German assault gun and tank destroyer of WWII. The StuG III was Germany’s most-produced AFV during WWII. It was built on the chassis of the Pzkpfw III, replacing the turret with a fixed superstructure mounting a more powerful gun. Initially intended as a mobile, armored light gun for direct-fire support for infantry, the StuG III was continually modified, and was widely employed as a tank destroyer. The Ausf G. variant increased the vehicles height, added side skirt spaced armor and an additional 80mm of armor welded to the front. This StuG was probably captured along with the Pzkpfw III above.
9) M2A1. American light tank of the interwar period. It saw limited use during WWII and was developed into the M3 Stuart.
Its only combat use in American units was with the US Marine Corps 1st Tank Battalion during the Pacific War in 1942 and in the M2A4 format. The M2A1 is the initial production type with single fixed turret containing one .50 cal machine gun. Only 17 units were produced.
This tank was acquired from the Army in May 1965 and has a painted tube in place of its main armament.
10) M26 Pershing. American heavy tank of WWII, which saw limited service at the end of the war. The genesis of the Patton line. While terrifically armed and armored for its time, it was withdrawn in 1951 in favor of its improved derivative, the M46 Patton, which had a considerably more powerful and reliable engine as well as an advanced and improved suspension to better meet the demands of the specific terrain it operated in. The tiger face painted on the glacis harks back to a similar practice during the Korean War.
1 to 3) Pzkpfw IV Ausf J. The Panzer IV was the most widely manufactured German tank of WWII, with some 8,500 built. This tank was rescued from one of ‘Etablissement Technique de Bourges’ tank firing ranges. It was in a horrible condition, a real target range wreck when discovered. Large chunks of armor were missing in the turret and hull roof. This Ausf J is missing its Schürzen bazooka plates and other external fittings.
4 to 6) Jagdpanzer IV L/70(A). Tank destroyer based on the Pzkpfw IV chassis. Developed against the wishes of Heinz Guderian who believed that the StuG III was more than adequate for the TD role and the Jagdpanzer IV just detracted from Pzkpfw IV production. This vehicle was used in 1944-45 by Free French forces. The damage from AP shells is obvious.
7) Jagdpanzer IV L/48. Early production version of the Jagdpanzer IV with a shorter 7.5-cm gun.
8 to 10) Jagdpanther. Arguably Germany’s greatest TD of WWII. It entered service late in the war (1944) and saw service on both fronts. It combined the very powerful 8.8-cm KwK 48 cannon of the Tiger II and the characteristically excellent armor and suspension of the Panther chassis. This early production Jagdpanther has a monobloc gun barrel and a welded mantlet collar. It was built in February 1944 and has the early Panther Ausf A engine deck arrangement as well as a late production idler wheel that may be the result of restoration work.