Battle of the Bulge
The first display reads:
The Battle of the Bulge, near Bastogne, Belgium, December 1944
On December 16, 1944 the German Army launched a massive counteroffensive against U.S. forces in the rugged Ardennes region of Belgium. The German attack came as a complete surprise and many American units were overrun or surrounded including elements of the 101st Airborne and the 10th Armored Divisions in and around the key crossroads town of Bastogne.
Among the units encircled was the 420th Armored Field Artillery Battalion located near Senonchamps southwest of Bastogne. This M7 Priest has selected a firing position behind the garden wall of a ruined farmhouse previously occupied by a German airborne recoiless gun. Here the Bravo Battery Commander has pulled his jeep in alongside one of his Priests to bring desperately needed resupply of ammunition. As the ammunition is handed up to the gun crew, the Battery Commander confers with the Gun Chief on the next fire mission.
The second display reads:
M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest
Development of the M7 self-propelled howitzer began in June, 1941, with the Army's need for a self-propelled version of the 105mm field howitzer. The first M7s entered service in the spring of 1942 and first saw action with the British in North Africa. The M7 was nicknamed the Priest by the British because the .50 caliber ring mount resembled a European church pulpit. The Priest was used extensively in World War II as the primary artillery support for American armored divisions with 54 M7s in the divisional artillery. The M7 model was built on an M3 Lee / Grant tank chassis, until production of the M3 ended in December 1942. M7s produced from January 1943 were built on the M4 Sherman tank chassis and featured a cast, one piece, hull front. Over 4200 M7s were built before production ended in February 1945. This late production M7 was made by American Locomotive in September 1944
Crew: 7 - Commander, Gunner, Driver, 4 ammunition men
Armament: M2A1 105mm Howitzer / M2 .50 caliber machine-gun
Gun Range: 10,424 meters
Elevation: - 5 degrees and + 35 degrees
Traverse: 45 degrees (15 left & 30 right)
Weight: 25 tons
Engine: Continental R975 air-cooled radial engine
Size: 19 ft. 9 in., 9 ft. 5 in., 9 ft. 7 in.
Speed: Road 26 MPH, Cross Country 15 MPH
Range: 125 miles
The third display reads:
1/4 ton Truck 4x4, Jeep
The most famously and widely used vehicle of World War II, the jeep was an automotive milestone. The original vehicle was designed by Bantam Car Company in 1940. Willys-Overland and Ford were also building prototypes. All three companies received contracts to produce 1,500 vehicles, even though only the Bantam model had been completed and delivered for testing. Willys won the initial contract and Ford made a similar version eventually the same vehicle was standardized in 1943. This resulted in 639,000 Jeeps by the end of the war. The name Jeep is thought to be from the letters GP that designated the Ford model and also from Eugene the "jeep" who was a sidekick in Popeye comic strips at the time. Eugene could do almost anything which is what the jeep did during the war. Peep was also a common term for the jeep. These dependable little trucks were used as the primary vehicle for artillery observers during the war. This jeep was made under contract from Willy's and delivered to the US Army in November 1943.
Crew: Driver and three passengers
Armament: None but built to carry a .30 caliber machine gun
Weight: 2450 lbs.
Engine: 4-cylinder, water-cooled, gasoline, 65 HP at 4000 RPM
Size: 11 ft, 5 ft. 2 in., 4 ft. 6 in.
Speed: 55 MPH
Range: 225 miles
The final display reads:
German L.G.40 75mm Airborne Recoilless Gun
Designed for use by German airborne troops, this light gun works without a recoil system by venting some of the propellant gases to the rear. As with all recoilless weapons, the crew had to be clear of the back blast area when firing. Originally designated as the L.G.1 (L), the L.G. 40 was first used during the German airborne invasion of Crete in May 1941. It was also used by some infantry and mountain units. It fired high explosive, hollow charge and armor piercing rounds. The carriage was made largely of aluminum alloy to reduce weight, allowing it to be dropped by parachute in two wicker containers. This L.G. 40 was made by Rheinmetall A.G. in Dusseldorf.
Weight: 321 lbs.
Gun Length: 45 inches
Elevation: - 15 to + 20 degrees
Traverse: 60 degrees
Shell: High Explosive, Armor Piercing, Hollow Charge
Muzzle Velocity: 1,238 ft. / sec
Maximum Range: 8,500 yards
Taken July 7th, 2012.