Jump to content
tanknet.org

The Jacques Littlefield Collection At The New American Heritage Museum


Recommended Posts

The Collings Foundation formal grand opening of its new American Heritage Museum in Stow, Massachusetts, featuring the Jacques Littlefield Collection, took place on the weekend of May 3-5.

There was a sneak peak for the public back in October but now all the displays are complete. I drove the hour and 45 minutes from coastal Connecticut with my son and Tanknet member Jeff and greatly enjoyed seeing this new world class facility. Museum guides were out in force but the public's attendance seemed disappointing to me. I hope they have sufficient funding secured to keep this fantastic museum financially viable.

Here are some photos from our visit.

 

xGGsW5i.jpg

 

M0306Vy.jpg

 

The lighting made interior photography a challenge.

Here is the highlight of the museum: the Panther Ausf A and a T34/85:

4Er214v.jpg

 

Here's a view looking downward on the M3 Lee affording a good view of the placement of its side-mounted 75 mm gun:

X8whL9n.jpg

 

A Higgins boat that actually took part in the D-Day landings:

jtOEEzW.jpg

 

 

A Hetzer and an M4A3E2 Jumbo. Also visible are an M16 Half-Track / M45 Quadmount and a Bren Gun Carrier:

UyZ3M2U.jpg

 

 

A T-72 in the foreground next to a segment of the Berlin Wall with quite an armor collection visible in the background.

Q1rxqD3.jpg

 

The M-26 Pershing. You may be familiar with the famous footage of the Pershing taking on the Panther tank next to the Cologne cathedral.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYkqUG8DLIA

 

Here Nick Moran interviews that Pershing tank's gunner:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbrH0lRT_5I

 

The tour guide told us that the gunner from the Pershing tank in that battle had been in to see this one on display. The staircase visible on the left had been placed there to enable him to go up on this tank.

v3jbKq8.jpg

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Close up of the Panther:

QKETSo1.jpg

 

With my son in front of the M1A1:

2PdNPlm.jpg

 

The rough exterior of the T34/76:

21FoB6m.jpg

 

Jeff, my son and I got invited back for a tour of the workshop. Great guys back there!

pqWXemo.jpg

 

Tank tracks from a Tiger. They assured us there was no Tiger lurking back there.

MXh2zXl.jpg

 

They tricked my son by laboriously carrying out this very heavy .50 cal and suddenly dropping it into my surpised son's arms. It was of course a realistic plastic replica.

PLxeis0.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't resist a few more:

 

0abIFeg.jpg

 

An Me-109 G10 painted in Eric Hartman's colors:

OQnm2RJ.jpg

 

 

T-55 and Scud Missile and launcher:

6HAONgT.jpg

 

The white light and infrared searchlight on the M48 Patton:

uWEexbP.jpg

 

Points at door of Scud missile launcher:

"Who's that daddy?"

"Why that's Uncle Saddam."

GxfGYYV.jpg

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Saddam could at least have put on a swimsuit for the troops. :D

 

Apologies if this is off topic, but I subscribe to the Kermit Weeks youtube channel, and this popped up the other day. He pays a visit to the Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Museum (im not entirely sure where) which also has a collection of vintage military vehicles. The most interesting part of which was a training turret for an M1A1 crew.

Link to post
Share on other sites
It's located a bit north of Seattle, adjacent to Paine Airfield and Boeing's Everett plant where it assembles its largest planes. Despite Paul Allen's demise, it seems that it is endowed for a very long time. The restorations are extremely detailed and complete and AFVs are demonstrated and aircraft [summer season] flown in pairs on the weekends. The 2010 Tanknet I&I visited it.

 

 

 

Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum

 

The Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum opens its doors to guests free of charge on the first Thursday of the month between the hours of 2pm-5pm.
The Collection
The Collection. 70 Results. Refine Results. .
Events
Events. 05. 16. M-48 Cut Away Tank Unveiling Event ...
Hours & Admission
Hours & Admission. Visit the home of flying warbirds and ...
Tankfest Northwest
Hear the rumble and boom of vintage tanks and artillery at the ...
Edited by Ken Estes
Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope they have sufficient funding secured to keep this fantastic museum financially viable.

 

Does anyone know what their funding is like? Not trying to be a downer or anything but it seems likely interest in WW2-anything in this country will largely disappear in a few decades. Hopefully they're relying on something besides fees from visitors to keep the doors open?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thought this might be an appropriate bit of remembrance for this thread:

 

Suds_Before_Tanks_Oct08.jpg

TankNetters with Jacques Littlefield at the local burger joint. From left to right around the table, I see the roster as: Ken, Vlad (yak_v), Jacques (the man himself), Colin, Jimmy (JWB), Mike (MasterBlaster), Carey (CG Erickson), and yours truly. Alas I can not recall who else was present with back turned. Hope I got it all correct -- and fully expect to be told if I didn't!

 

We were later told that it was this same day that Jacques and family decided, in consultation with his doctors, to stop his cancer treatments and just live out what time was left to him. None of that was evident to us on the day as we enjoyed some suds and talked some tanks.

 

-Mark

(aka: Mk 1)

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

It's located a bit north of Seattle, adjacent to Paine Airfield and Boeing's Everett plant where it assembles its largest planes. Despite Paul Allen's demise, it seems that it is endowed for a very long time. The restorations are extremely detailed and complete and AFVs are demonstrated and aircraft [summer season] flown in pairs on the weekends. The 2010 Tanknet I&I visited it.

 

 

 

Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum

 

The Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum opens its doors to guests free of charge on the first Thursday of the month between the hours of 2pm-5pm.
The Collection
The Collection. 70 Results. Refine Results. .
Events
Events. 05. 16. M-48 Cut Away Tank Unveiling Event ...
Hours & Admission
Hours & Admission. Visit the home of flying warbirds and ...
Tankfest Northwest
Hear the rumble and boom of vintage tanks and artillery at the ...

 

 

Cheers for that Ken. Looks a nice place.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Take my wife and kids to the battle reenactment every year. Saw Nick signing books there this past October. Intend to checkout the museum this fall. The diversity of reenactors is impressive. In addition to the US, German and British, they have a Russian encampment, Japanese and even a Chinese Nationalist.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Take my wife and kids to the battle reenactment every year. Saw Nick signing books there this past October. Intend to checkout the museum this fall. The diversity of reenactors is impressive. In addition to the US, German and British, they have a Russian encampment, Japanese and even a Chinese Nationalist.

Sounds like a good pair of shoes is advisable.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thought this might be an appropriate bit of remembrance for this thread:

 

Suds_Before_Tanks_Oct08.jpg

TankNetters with Jacques Littlefield at the local burger joint. From left to right around the table, I see the roster as: Ken, Vlad (yak_v), Jacques (the man himself), Colin, Jimmy (JWB), Mike (MasterBlaster), Carey (CG Erickson), and yours truly. Alas I can not recall who else was present with back turned. Hope I got it all correct -- and fully expect to be told if I didn't!

 

We were later told that it was this same day that Jacques and family decided, in consultation with his doctors, to stop his cancer treatments and just live out what time was left to him. None of that was evident to us on the day as we enjoyed some suds and talked some tanks.

 

-Mark

(aka: Mk 1)

Well done,Mark. Jacques was perhaps the most supportive gentleman TN ever encountered; a true believer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Take my wife and kids to the battle reenactment every year. Saw Nick signing books there this past October. Intend to checkout the museum this fall. The diversity of reenactors is impressive. In addition to the US, German and British, they have a Russian encampment, Japanese and even a Chinese Nationalist.

Sounds like a good pair of shoes is advisable.

Especially if it rain is expected. Gets pretty muddy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

Take my wife and kids to the battle reenactment every year. Saw Nick signing books there this past October. Intend to checkout the museum this fall. The diversity of reenactors is impressive. In addition to the US, German and British, they have a Russian encampment, Japanese and even a Chinese Nationalist.

Sounds like a good pair of shoes is advisable.
Especially if it rain is expected. Gets pretty muddy.
All those tracks tearing up the ground...plus lots of walking, you betcha! People get to meet General Mud Edited by shep854
Link to post
Share on other sites

A river, so yes. Self destructed with demolitions, The tank tested all Jacques' standing orders for maximum authenticity, as it was apparently a Panther D rebuilt as an A model before it was blown up, or something like that. I can barely keep up. What was most amazing was his ability to find contractors who could deliver rubber rims for road wheels and parts for the transmission and so forth. He hired an assistant to research German radio equipment specifically for this project. I looked at the torn down transmission in 2003 and had to turn away! it was so incredibly complex as to defy reality, including the self ventilating box into which the spent 75mm cartridge cases came to rest. It would be a long time before US/UK tank designers came up with such fastidious features.

Link to post
Share on other sites

two thoughts:

One, he was already ill when he came to our facility but it was indistinguishable. His enthusiasm for what we were doing was super high even though our shoestring couldn't compare to what he was doing. He wasn't judgemental about how we did things, only the results mattered. It was nice to be complimented so much by someone far more capable.

 

Second:

The first time I encountered real mud at Fort Knox I thought something was wrong with the tank. The amount of suction and friction on the hull made it feel like we lost an engine. It was an eye opening experience. I vividly remember getting back up on the gravel and being amazed at how much faster we were traveling instantly.

Generals should all be forced to operate in mud at some point just to get the point across.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 


I know that Panther... :)

 

Indeed.

Mk1_with_Panther_Oct08.jpg

Another pic from that same day ... yes Jacques was a very gracious host, and an active friend to tanknet. And he was also not shy to recruit volunteers to break track from time-to-time.

 

 

More than a few TankNetters got the opportunity to know that Panther.

 

Both inside...

Pantherenginedeck.jpg

 

and out...

Panthercupolaandmantlet.jpg

 

The Panther was, an is, a fascinating subject for anyone interested in military history.

DiscussingPanther.jpg

The next time I happen to be chatting with Steve Zaloga and Michael Greene I'll be hard-pressed to have a more interesting topic. Unless it's a Sherman. And even then, it is almost impossible to discuss the Sherman tank without adding Panther in the conversation somewhere.

 

Yes, I can honestly say that I have stared down the barrel of a Panther from the turret of a Sherman.

M4A1FacingPanther.jpg

Although it was notably less of a "significant emotional event" in my life than in the lives of my father's generation.

 

-Mark

(aka: Mk 1)

Link to post
Share on other sites

A river, so yes. Self destructed with demolitions, The tank tested all Jacques' standing orders for maximum authenticity, as it was apparently a Panther D rebuilt as an A model before it was blown up, or something like that. I can barely keep up. What was most amazing was his ability to find contractors who could deliver rubber rims for road wheels and parts for the transmission and so forth. He hired an assistant to research German radio equipment specifically for this project. I looked at the torn down transmission in 2003 and had to turn away! it was so incredibly complex as to defy reality, including the self ventilating box into which the spent 75mm cartridge cases came to rest. It would be a long time before US/UK tank designers came up with such fastidious features.

 

Thats unusual. They refitted with the ball type machine gun, instead of the open MG position? I didnt know they did that. There were still Panthers in Normandy in 1944 that were still clearly D models that were not updated. Im guessing it must have been done on the line.

 

I remember on Tank overhaul the restorers saying that they found evidence of cigarettes and swarf put in the oil lines. This seemed to be quite common in German tank construction of this period. Another Panther being restored by Bruce Crompton (Combat dealers) showed evidence of the pistons having been partly cut through. They would function fine for a period of time, then develop fatigue crack and break. Very sophisticated sabotage.

 

Its amazing what skill set there is out there to repair Panzers even now. Supposedly the best place to send Maybachs for rebuilding is the Czech Republic. In the 1940's they were obviously building them for the Germany Army, and were still using the engines in a variety of roles years afterwards.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...