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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

27 minutes 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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World War II Tank Driving Experiences and Tank Rides!

The mission of the American Heritage Museum is to bring visitors an immersive experience in history to give a greater appreciation for those who lived it and an excitement to learn more. For the ultimate immersive experience, the American Heritage Museum is offering YOU the opportunity to ride aboard or even DRIVE a real tank from World War II… the M24 Chaffee Light Tank or the M4A3 Sherman Medium Tank!

Being a crew member or driving a tank is not particularly comfortable. These metal beasts are all business, designed to go over most obstacles with ease and destroy anything in its path. Once in a tank, it is clearly evident you are driving a machine with great power. When you’re in a tank, things don’t happen to you – You happen to them!

From May through October, the American Heritage Museum will offer tank riding and driving programs in the Chaffee and Sherman right here at our tank training area right behind the museum in Hudson, Massachusetts. You’ll check in for your experience and be transported back to 1944 as you step aboard!

Learn about each tank riding or driving program in the listings below and book online if you desire! You may also call us to book at 978-562-9182 M-F from 9am to 5pm (ET).

All tank driving experiences are considered tax-deductible contributions and 100% of the donations for the experience goes into the upkeep and restoration of the vehicles and growth of the programs at the American Heritage Museum.


World War II Tank Driving Instruction Programs

Hour-Long Training Experience with 20-minutes of you at the controls of the M24 Chaffee or M4 Sherman. Select your tank driving experience below:

M24 Chaffee Light World War II Tank Driving Program at the American Heritage Museum M4 Sherman Medium World War II Tank Driving Program at the American Heritage Museum

World War II Tank Ride Programs

10-minute ride experiences aboard the M24 Chaffee and M4 Sherman. Select your tank driving experience below:

M24 Chaffee Light World War II Tank Ride Program at the American Heritage Museum M4 Sherman Medium World War II Tank Ride Program at the American Heritage Museum

Buy a Gift Certificate!

Do you have a special someone that you’d like to give the gift of a tank driving experience or tank ride to? We have gift certificates available for immediate shipping! Recipients can choose their own date to schedule their experience once they receive our experience certificate package. Allow up to 7-10 days for delivery in the Domestic U.S.

Click here to Learn More and Buy Your Gift Certificate!

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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!