The Twelve Tanks of Christmas
The Christmas Classic…..Americans in Wartime Style. Taking a cue from the 1780 song, we have a short paragraph on several of our vehicles.
On the First Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me—a Model 1917 tank. This little US copy of the French M1917 tank is one of the Museum’s marquee restorations. Just finding the correct engine took years. Wrenching off the rusted bolts holding the suspension together resulted in many a skinned knuckle. But the staff and volunteers persevered and she made her debut at the Open House several years ago.
On the Second Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me—an M50 Super Sherman. This tank was originally a Sherman in US service. Then it made its way to Israel, who gave it to the South Lebanese Army. It was returned to America and the Museum staff completed her top-to-bottom restoration in time for this year’s Open House. She gleamed from her fresh coat of paint.
On the Third Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me—an M4A1 Sherman. Sister to the Super Sherman of day 2, the M4A1 is epitome of a cast-hull, 75mm armed Sherman from WW2.
On the Fourth Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me—an M4A3 Sherman. Another cousin in the Sherman family, our M4A3 has a 75mm movie star reputation. She starred in Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of our Fathers.”
On the Fifth Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me—an LVT4 Amtrak. Just like our M4A3, our LVT4 is a movie star, helping Clint visualize the beach assault scenes in “Flags of our Fathers” by taking him out to sea and giving him a unique cinematic viewpoint. She can be seen below.
On the Fifth Day of Christmas, my True love gave to me—an East German T-72. This diesel-powered beast is low-slung, lean and feast. Sporting the biggest cannon in our collection, a 125mm rifle—the T-72 represents the other side of the Cold War.
On the Sixth Day of Christmas, my True love gave to me—a Swedish Stridsvagin 103 aka S-103C. This uniquely shaped vehicle turns heads every time the Museum displays her as Mar can make her dance and bow to the audience due to its unique suspension system.
One the Seventh Day of Christmas, my True love gave to me—a Czech OT-810 half-track. After WW2, the Czechs made copies of the German Sdkfz 251 half track for use in their Armed Forces. Our OT-810 is regularly on display during Open House, typically hiding in the tree line as a backdrop for some of our living historians.
On the Eighth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—a Swiss Centurion MK 7. Probably the heaviest tank in the museum’s collection, the Centurion makes the ground rumble when she rolls by during Open House. She handles like a sweetheart, but does have a voracious thirst for fuel, so we always have to keep her filled before she makes a run.
On the Ninth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—a Valentine MK III. Made in 1943, the MKIII still ported the 2-pounder as its main armament. Designed as an infantry tank, she is slow, but heavily armored for its time. Listen next time she putters along during a display, her engine is based on a London diesel bus engine.
On the Tenth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—a Soviet PT-76 light tank. Sometimes mistakenly called an APC, the PT-76 is actually a light tank. She is amphibious and very mobile. The PT-76 was used by Vietnamese forces in 1968 to assault the U.S. Special Forces camp at Lang Vei—marking their first use of armor in that war.
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—a U.S. High Mobility Multi-purpose wheeled vehicle, more commonly known as the HUMMER. The Museum has several variants, both hard and soft top. Typically you might see them during Open House being used as a general utility vehicle, or to transport our elderly guests around in comfort.
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, my True love gave to me—a British FV432. This boxy APC may be mistaken for the U.S. M113 APC, but she runs on diesel, not gasoline. She can be seen during Open House, giving rides to the winners of the Museum new member’s lottery. Come join up and maybe you too can feel the speed and power of an armored vehicle.
If the above inspires you to adopt one as YOUR favorite vehicle, drop us a line and tell us why. We appreciate it. Perhaps a donation to “Keep ‘Em Rolling”, not only during Christmas, but throughout the year.