header.php
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

1 hour ago  ·  

View on Facebook
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  ·  

View on Facebook
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  ·  

View on Facebook
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  ·  

View on Facebook

WWI Trench Experience


M1917 6-Ton Tank
– USA | LIGHT TANK

Ford Model T Ambulance – USA | AMBULANCE

German 1917 Maschinengewehr 08 – GERMANY | MACHINE GUN

World War I began in 1914 after a series of disputes that reached a tipping point when Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Austria attacked Serbia, supported by Germany. Russia supported its ally Serbia against Austria and Germany, which next attacked Russia’s ally France, invading through Belgium. Britain then declared war on Germany, bringing its world empire into the fight, from India to Australia to Canada. Bulgaria and the Ottoman empire joined the Central Powers of Austria and Germany, while Italy (1915) and the United States (1917) eventually joined the Allied powers, which numbered 28 by the end of the war in 1918.

H.G. Wells thought it might become the ‘war to end all war,’ a hope echoed by Woodrow Wilson. It did not. Instead, it unleashed horrors of modern war and social and political destruction that we live with still. WWI was one of the deadliest conflicts in history with an estimated 9 million combat deaths, and 13 million civilian deaths as a direct result of the conflict. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural, economic, and social climate of the world. The war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous revolutions, uprisings and the shattering of four empires: German, Ottoman, Austrian, and Russian. It began the breakup of all the old empires, including the worldwide British and French empires. Its major effect was to set the stage for the calamity of WWII, which was even more destructive. Together, the two world wars finished off all the old European imperial systems, leaving many quarrels over territory in successor nations and memories of wartime horrors that still lead to military conflict today.

The setting of the immersive WWI Trench Experience is the bleak, frightening, battle-torn landscape of Saint-Mihiel, France. The WWI battle of Saint-Mihiel was a major clash along the western front fought from September 12th to 15th, 1918. It was the first battle to involve the American Expeditionary Force led by General John J. Pershing. The attack at Saint-Mihiel was part of the plan by Pershing to have the Americans break through the heavily trenched and fortified German lines and capture the city of Metz. It was the first offensive launched primarily by the United States Army.

The main narrative character in the WWI Trench Experience represents nurse Helen Dore Boylston from New Bedford, Massachusetts. She graduated as a nurse from Massachusetts General Hospital in 1915 and sailed for France to serve in the First World War with the Harvard Medical Unit, as part of the British Expeditionary Force. She nursed the wounded at a front-line field hospital specializing as a nurse anesthetist and reaching the rank of captain.  Boylston wrote about her experiences in a book Sister: The War Diary of a Nurse, which was published in 1927. Some of Helen Dore Boylston’s excerpts from her diary are recreated in enthralling dialogue and presentation.

footer.php

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!