Friday, July 30, 2010

The Kruse WWII Victory Museum

Dean Kruse has developed two, combined museums in Auburn, IN -- one focused on automotive items and the other on WWII transportation-related vehicles. This museum was amazing and featured the largest collection of WWII vehicles in the world. As we entered, we were greeted by this Jeep -- arguably the most famous of the WWII vehicles.

The interesting thing about the museum is that all sides of the war are included. There were quite a few German vehicles included such as this armored personnel carrier. The museum started in Belgium right after WWII when a collector gathers hundreds of vehicles. in the early 2000 period, he could not longer care for his collection and Dean Kruse moved it to Auburn, ID.

Allt he vehicles were in fully restored condition such as this half track armored vehicle. I am not sure how parts were found to restore vehicles such as this, but it must have been quite an effort as there can't be too many of these still around.

Rick is a big VW fan and this is the Kublewagon which was a German staff car and based on the VW. In fact, the more modern relation to this was the VW Thing offered for sale in the US in the early 70's.

Here is another German staff vehicle that was ready to run. The number of items in this museum was amazing and well in excess of a couple hundred vehicles. Plus, each vehicle was appropriately staged so that you could get a good idea of the environment that the vehicle operated in.

Rick was delighted to find an Onan generator on display. Looks like Onan was a player in the WWII environment and was a vital force for providing power in the field. If this one runs as good as the one in our coach, they had power to spare.

While most of the displays were focused on ground items, this incredible model was remarkable. Apparently, this model is capable of sailing and must look great on the water.

Speaking of the water, this amphibious assault vehicle, the DUKW (better known as the DUCK) was restored to like new condition. This rig can drive on the road and then when it comes to water, can enter and propel itself with propellers. Pretty handy item!

The museum was arranged somewhat chronologically and toward the end of the displays was General George Patton's actual staff car, complete with a mannequin of General Patton. This car was quite a bit bigger than a regular jeep and came with a siren, machine gun and other command items.

Interestingly, the museum also held General Erwin Rommel's staff car as well. This was an interesting combination since these Generals fought each other's Armies in the African battles in WWII.

This display focused on the Battle of the Bulge and contained German and American vehicles. This armored Jeep was interesting in that it was modified in the field to add better protection for the crew.

This museum was wonderful and highly recommended for anyone wanted to learn more about the real vehicles in WWII.

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