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How "Section T" Took Down a Nazi Superweapon and Helped Win the Battle of the BulgeAs you descend the American Heritage Museum's central staircase, be sure to look up to see our "Doodlebug" - one of the several nicknames (buzzbomb, Maybug) given to the V-1 rockets launched on England after the D-Day invasion. From June 1944 to March 1945, the Germans launched 6,725 V-1 rockets at Britain from launch pads in France and the Netherlands. Of those, 2.340 hit London causing 5,475 deaths with nearly 16,000 injured. While the RAF had some early success in downing Hitler's flying bombs, the superior speed of later V-1 models required new approaches to air defense. The most effective solution came from the top secret project of US engineers and scientists led by Johns Hopkins physicist Merle Tuve who comprised what was known as "Section T" of the US Army Research Laboratory. After three years of intensive research and testing, Tuve's team developed the VT (Variable Time) Proximity Fuse, a device that alerted an artillery shell when to explode. By August 1944, Allied forces were shooting nearly half of the V-1 rockets out of the sky, and by the end of the summer, their success rate neared 100%. The last V-1 launch site in the Netherlands was overrun on March 29, 1945.Allied artillery commanders in Europe were anxious to utilize their stockpile of new shells equipped with radio proximity fuses. But the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington and Allied leadership in Europe were reluctant to use the proximity shell against German ground forces. If the Nazis recovered a dud, which they would, they could reverse-engineer the invention and use it against the Allies - and share it with the Japanese. Dr. Vannevar Bush, chairman of the National Defense Research Council, convened a panel of scientists, including Tuve, that determined it would take the Germans at least 27 months to replicate and mass-produce their own proximity shell. Eisenhower then ordered that the shells could be used starting on December 25.However, on the morning a December 16, 1944, Colonel George Axelson, the commander of the 406th Artillery Group, had a difficult decision to make. The Germans had just launched an offensive along an 80-mile front in Belgium and Luxembourg that would become known as the Battle of the Bulge. Axelson decided that the emergency trumped Ike's restrictions and ordered his gunners to use the new shell. The German attack in his sector collapsed. Beginning on December 18, the U.S. First, Third and Ninth Armies unleashed the most devastating artillery fire German troops had ever encountered. Across the Ardennes, the VT fuse became the weapon of choice, particularly at night, in the open and through fog. Shells were showered on German troops crossing critical road junctions, bridges and highways.The development of the proximity fuse was one of the best-kept secrets of WWII and is regarded by many as the third most important technological achievement after the Atomic bomb and Radar. ... See MoreSee Less

2 hours ago  ·  

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Greetings from AHM! A reminder we will be open Monday, January 17th celebrating MLK Day. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and upcoming Black History Month we have moved the Tuskegee PT-17 Stearman into the museum and is on display. This is the last flying Stearman that was used to train Tuskegee Airmen during WWII. Amazing history! See you soon. ... See MoreSee Less

1 week ago  ·  

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Hello everyone on a snowy Friday, January 7th! The museum IS OPEN today from 10am to 5pm but we ask all visitors to exercise caution on our entrance road as we try to keep up with the snowy and slippery conditions. Remember that your car isn't an M24 Chaffee and doesn't handle as well in the snow! (video taken last year, alas we are not driving the M24 today)www.facebook.com/1823762134370546/videos/3869937883086284 ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago  ·  

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Join Liberty Lou on a behind the scenes tour through the American Heritage Museum's maintenance shop. Learn about AHM's tank driving and ride programs. See: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwkOi6qGJEY ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago  ·  

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Battle of Bunker Hill – Revolutionary War Reenactment

July 23 @ 9:00 am - July 24 @ 5:00 pm

Join us July 23rd and 24th, 2022 for an extraordinary Revolutionary War re-enactment and living history event unlike anything you have seen! Period encampments and re-enactors will tell the tale of this infamous battle. Action will include bombardment of the redoubt on Breed’s Hill, the landing of troops on the Charlestown peninsula, company flank attacks on the Boston shore, and the multiple assaults up Breeds Hill, all done with pyrotechnic effects! It will be a spectacular experience!

The scenario:
June 16, 1775, on the heels of the events at Lexington and Concord that kicked off the Revolutionary War, American troops learned that the British were planning to send soldiers from Boston to occupy the hills surrounding the city. Some 1,000 colonial militiamen under Colonel William Prescott built earthen fortifications on top of Breed’s Hill, overlooking Boston and located on the Charlestown Peninsula. (The men originally had been ordered to construct their fortifications atop Bunker Hill, but instead chose the smaller Breed’s Hill, closer to Boston.) By daybreak of June 17, the British became aware of the colonial forces on the Peninsula and mounted an attack against them. Two assaults on the colonial positions were repulsed with significant British casualties; the third and final attack carried the redoubt after the defenders ran out of ammunition. The colonists retreated over Bunker Hill, leaving the British in control.

Admission for the Saturday and Sunday events are as follows:
$35 Adults  |  $30 Seniors/Veterans  |  $20 Children Under 12
WWII/Korean War Veterans and Children Under 3 are Free – No ticket required.
Admission discounts can not be used for special event weekends.
Online tickets will be available soon.

Details

Start:
July 23 @ 9:00 am
End:
July 24 @ 5:00 pm
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Friday, January 7 - Museum Open, but Exercise Caution Driving In

We are open today, Friday, January 7th from 10am to 5pm, but we ask visitors to drive very slow on our main entry road as the winter storm has made conditions slick. Thank you!