Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Disparity of forces and missed opportunities...

From a good interview with Steven Zaloga (if you're at all a tank nerd):
"To give you a general sense, in April of 1945 the Germans have about 90 tanks on all of the Western Front.  All tanks, everything, Panthers, Panzer IV, Tigers.  They had a handful of Tigers.  They had about 400 other armored vehicles, assault guns, Stug III and things like that.  So they had just short of 500 armored vehicles on the entire Western Front, from the North Sea all the way down to Bavaria and Southern Germany.  At that point in time the United States had 11,000 tank and tank destroyers, to give you some sense of the disparity in forces."
Regarding the state of armor museums in the US:
" No, not at all, I mean, it’s a national scandal how bad it is.  Until recently, until five or six years ago there were two significant collections.  There was the Patton collection down at Fort Knox down at the armor school and there was the Ordnance Museum over at Aberdeen Proving Ground (Maryland.)  With BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure), the base realignment program, they basically took both collections and just threw them away.  There were plans to move the Aberdeen collection down to Fort Lee.  It was in fact moved down there but the Army has no money, so the tanks are basically sitting out in an open field rusting away.  The same thing happened with the Patton museum collection, that was sent over to Fort Benning and its basically sitting in the motor pool, with nothing to show and just rusting away."
True Story: So, this one time when Shootin' Buddy and I went down to Knob Creek, we got down there early in the afternoon the day before so we could take in the Patton Museum. As we pulled into the road leading to the gate, we were confronted by the big "Beretta in a red circle/slash" sign reminding us that the whole facility, parking lot and all, was on an Army base and our sidearms were strictly verboten. So we headed off to the hotel to ground our bags and de-gun.

We went back to tour the museum and my first thought was "Oh, damn! I left my camera in my bags back in the hotel room. That's okay, though, I'll bring one on my next visit and take pictures of all these cool tanks..." Only now I never will because they're not there anymore. Thanks, Obama Bush!