The business end


#1

Many ammo collectors know little about the guns and platforms which deliver the ammunition. During my veteran’s Day visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum 1 in DC - (# 2 is now open near Dulles Airport in Va.) I photographed the business end of the aircraft in the WW2 hall and have added the suitable ammunition section from our ammunition display.


B17


ME 109


SPITFIRE

ZERO

The Italian fighter is flying away from view so no business end for it.

My old friend and master cross sectioner , Wayne Markov , inerted all of the cartridges for the display and did the sectioning.

The " Founding Society " died after this project.

Those interested in an ammunition museum could hold meetings in a telephone booth. Little interest or money.

Of course the Russian are thinking ; WHAT ABOUT US ? WE WERE IN WW2 ALSO!

NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT !

HOWEVER , This project was done during a period when the SOVIET UNION was not very helpfull. I traveled to the SOVIET UNION on 3 missions to attempt to obtain a WW2 aircraft for this museum. It never happened until after the museum was built and filled.

We were able to obtain a Soyuz spacecraft for the museum in exchange for an Apollo scapcecraft BUT the Soviet government was not interested in any deal for a WW2 aircraft at the time. Their answer was that they didn’t have any !

Later we did get a Sturmovic aircraft from them but far too late for this museum.


#2

Now that is one of the coolest and nicest ammunition exhibits I have seen. I see some new sectioning styles I may have emulate from Mr. Markov.That P51 is amazing too!


#3

EXCELLENT DISPLAY to augment the historic aircraft in the collection.

Very few U.S. military aviation museums have any sort of weapons or ordnance exhibits. I guess they take the politically correct route and avoid pointing out these are WARPLANES built for combat. While only a few people may be as keenly interested as IAA members might be, the public needs to see some of the weapons and ammunition used by historic aircraft. These artifacts also are important to the hordes of people who made combat aircraft effective- the mechanics, armorers and ordnance crews who put the teeth in the aircraft. These talented and hard working members of the team seldom get any recognition, as 99% of it goes to the pilots.

Well done, CSAEOD!


#4

I agree 100% John!

Jason


#5

When I first came across these ammunition displays at the Air & Space Museum I explained to my wife and daughter: “You can go look around some more, I’ll be right here for a while”. Absolutely top notch.

 Question:  Is there a difference between the T-18 20mm HS round shown and the M96 Incendiary or is that just the developmental designation?

Dave


#6

DaveE–I’m not sure what the T-18 20mm that you asked about is. My “T” listing shows the “T-18” was a “Cartridge, Auxiliary, Grenade” Stardardized as the M7.

Anyway, here are the specifications for the M96. This is Page 53 from “Ammunition Reference Guide, United States Armed Forces” (MARS TM-108)


#7

Ron, Thanks for the detailed info on the M96 (as well as the M97A1). My reference material is not as indepth as what you posted (drawing numbers and all!) on these rounds. I was just curious as my resources also indicate the T-18 designation as a grenade cartridge and I have nothing linking it to 20mm.

Back to the original post topic, I agree that most military related museums neglect the ammunition aspects of the technologies. The USAF museum in Dayton for example has limited ammunition detail in its displays. A little more (in my opinion) would nicely complement the many displays of aircraft weapons. The P-39 AirCobra and a few other displays come to mind as having lifted my spirits, but much more could be done to equate the developments of ammunition to the history of air combat. (It was thrilling though, I must say, to stand inside the bomb bay of one of the last remaining B-36’s and next to Mk 17 and Mk 41 TN bombs. Serious ammunition indeed!).

My thanks to CSAEOD for posting a great set of photos to mark a very special day and my compliments on his involvement in establishng at the world famous Smithsonian one of the finest ammunition displays on permanent view I have ever encountered.

Dave


#8

When the Smithsonian came to me in the early 70s and asked that I donate ammunition displays for the National Air and Space Museum then in construction I was happy to take up the task.

The original plan was for several displays in the various theme galleries; WW1 ,WW2, Korea etc.

Putting together a display even when one has the specimens is more work than is anticipated. I designed the display but it had to be built by the professional display contractor AND the original text was cut way back for POLITICAL CORRECTNESS concerns.

I had mentioned the number of rounds of ammunition expended per casualty in WW2 which is an amazing number and , of course , that had to be edited.

They didn’t want people to think that folks are actually hurt or killed in war. That would be too shocking.

When Mike Collins . Director at the time , learned that I had an interest in the Soviet Union he asked if I would travel there as a diplomatic representative for the Smithsonian to try to obtain a WW 2 aircraft for the museum.( Mike was previously one of the Moon Astronauts with my cousin Harrison).

Getting caught up in those trips consumed the time , energy and money which would otherwise have been spent on the ammo displays.

Bottom line ; the galleries were designed and set with only the one ammo display.

MUSEUMS DO NOT WANT TO BOTHER WITH AMMO FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS.

At this time the only LIVE ammunition in a display in a Smithsonian museum is the box of rifle ammo which Charles Lindbergh took with him when he flew solo from NY to Europe.

It has not occured to them yet that this is a violation of several local and Federal laws.

( An aside; here is a photo of one of the awards which they gave to folks who helped with the museum. It has a piece of the original fabric which Lindbergh’s aircraft carried on the historic flight. It was removed when they refurbished the plane prior to the museum opening -1975)

During my various trips to the Soviet Union I had some interesting ammunition experiences but that cam wait for another post.

The ammo display is very popular and according to the past director "one of the most popular and successful exhibits ".

Trying to take these recent photos was quite a juggling act.

Not many have flown an air or space craft but many visitors to the musem have fired a gun and they enjoy showing their families the ammunition which they know about and can tie to their own experiences in the military or otherwise.

This is very rewarding for me to watch.


#9

That display is off the charts awesome on so many levels. Your skills are only matched by your generosity. Too cool that your cousin and friend went to the moon. Now tat is cool. When you get a chance, can you e-mail me a bigger picture of your recognition award. You should be hardcore proud of that one.

Jason


#10

[quote=“DaveE.”]When I first came across these ammunition displays at the Air & Space Museum I explained to my wife and daughter: “You can go look around some more, I’ll be right here for a while”. Absolutely top notch.

 Question:  Is there a difference between the T-18 20mm HS round shown and the M96 Incendiary or is that just the developmental designation?

Dave[/quote]

FROM WOODIN LAB:

" T18 became the M96 " .


#11

THANK YOU for the kind word. That document is one of 3 which I received. I only mentioned it because of the Lindbergh connection.

You can believe this : I got far more out of this than I put in.

One example: as a result of my work in the Soviet Union I was invited to see the central treasury of the Order of Lenin State Historical Museum which sits at the end of Red square next to the Kremlin. At that time the local head of the ruling Soviet of that area showed me the large and impressive document which was my authorization to see the treasury. They kept it but told me that only 2 Americans were ever authorized to see the central treasury room; 1) Industrialist Armand Hammer , CEO of Occidental petroleum , and 2) Me.

Hard not to like that !

The contents are too fabulous to start describing and nothing ammo related.

My relationship with the Smithsonian has been nothing but win ,win ,win for me.

Facinating travel , meeting legendary people and seeing treasures of the world. It is a long story and only part ammo related so I will stop here.

If I were younger and had the energy I would design the ammo display which they want for the new museum.

This is a golden opportunity for someone out there.

Not for me.

My fun is done!


#12

Thank you CSAEOD for clearing up the T18 vs. M96 question with such an authoritative reference. Can’t beat that!

Dave


#13

That is awesome! I bet they did not allow cameras in there, huh :-)


#14

No cameras but I was surprised that the exit door was only about 20 feet from the street exit on the side of the building. I questioned in my mind if it was possible to get out the door with a solid gold statute but decided against it.


#15

[quote=“John S.”]EXCELLENT DISPLAY to augment the historic aircraft in the collection.

Very few U.S. military aviation museums have any sort of weapons or ordnance exhibits. I guess they take the politically correct route and avoid pointing out these are WARPLANES built for combat. While only a few people may be as keenly interested as IAA members might be, the public needs to see some of the weapons and ammunition used by historic aircraft. These artifacts also are important to the hordes of people who made combat aircraft effective- the mechanics, armorers and ordnance crews who put the teeth in the aircraft. These talented and hard working members of the team seldom get any recognition, as 99% of it goes to the pilots.

Well done, CSAEOD![/quote]

The great ships, beautiful aircraft , and massive armored vehicles are only platforms for the delivery of AMMUNITION effects . Very few survive the notice ; " WE ARE OUT OF AMMUNITION " !

AMMUNITION IS THE BOTTOM LINE IN ALL OFFENSE AND DEFENSE .

BETTER A LOADED .22 THAN AN ATOMIC CANNON WITHOUT AMMUNITION.