I wanted to thank my buddy John for letting me interview him and allowing me to show off his military collection. John has been a collector for a good bit of time and he volunteers at the Virginia Military Museum of Military Vehicles, in Northern Virginia at Nokesville. He’s a retired vet and I appreciate his generosity.
Preserving history is a passion for many. The ‘Tank Farm’ in Nokesville where he volunteers does a great job of introducing visitors to the history of vehicles, weaponry and men and women who have served in various positions to move our country forward. Among the military British Centurion and the Russian BMP fighting vehicles you can see as well the New York City Fire Department emergency response vehicle that was crushed when the South Tower tumbled to the earth on 9/11. It is important to honor those who serve and served and John loves what he does.
John’s collection is very impressive. He pays his respects by collecting. Sure, he gets a thrill every time he looks at all his neat stuff but he also knows how important it is pass information down to others about what wars our country fought in, and why we were there.
He must have thousands of items in his collection. Over the nearly 20 years, he has put together rifles, handguns, boots, stamps and more, into his collection. I think it’s important for us to take a look at the equipment that our fellow ‘brothers in arms’ carried. Much of what they carried was metal and it was heavy. The Browning Automatic Rifle was 19-24 lbs and the M1 Garand was 9.5-11.5 lbs; combine this with metal tins, shaving kits, rifle cleaning kits and other odd items and a typical soldier was weighed down quite a bit. From a tactical standpoint they carried stuff that could clank around and could give their position away. Even if they didn’t the gear was clumsy and cumbersome.
Weaponry construction was sometimes crude, even by their mid-century standards. Take a look at the pronounced weld points on the British STEN guns. These were mass produced and really just look like hunks of metal pieced together. I was discussing the movie Fury with Alec, one of our writers. His father was a tanker and fought in WWII. He asked his Dad whether a tank would go solo like it did in the movie. His father had to consider it for a while before answering “Not likely. But it could happen. They usually defended one another and wouldn’t go solo.” He said. It’s interesting to think about warfare, tactics, and how they fared.
A big thanks to John. I appreciate him opening up his collection for me and Spotter Up so we could post what his museum looks like online. It’s important to know where we came from and where we are going with regards to the equipment used.
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