Friday, May 11, 2012

The Tennessee State Military Museum in Nashville

Located in the ground floor of this huge state building in downtown Nashville is the State Military Museum. Apparently, not too many folks find the museum, which is a shame since it is very interesting. 

There is a wide variety of exhibits in the museum, starting with these two ship models of the battleship Tennessee. These are actually of the same ship, with the Tennessee being commissioned in 1920. Damaged at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, she was totally re-built as shown at the right and served throughout WWII.

The next exhibit was this exact replica of the Little Boy Atomic Bomb dropped on Japan at the end of WWII. At first, we wondered why this would be in this museum, until re remembered that the Oak Ridge National Atomic Lab was just up the road. 

There were several ships named for the state or for cities within the state,such as the cruiser, Nashville. Here, Rick stands with a collection of artifacts from several of these ships along with descriptions of the ships themselves.

Moving from the WWII area, we entered the WWI section and were greeted by this Maxium machine gun from the 1912 era. The machine gun totally changed warfare during WWI and led to another Tennessee hero -- Sgt. Alvin York.

Sgt. York won the Medal of Honor for his incredible actions while storming the German lines. In a single battle, he and his small command, captured 32 machine guns like that above, killed 28 and captured an additional 132 other German soldiers.  This pistol is one that Sgt. York personally captured from a German officer during this attack.

Of course, Rick is always interested in the high tech of the day. Here it is displayed in this exhibit of the "Paris Gun" used by Germany to fire artillery shells some 80 miles traveling in an arc 25 miles high. The German gunners had to aim the gun by adjusting for wind, barametric pressure, and the curvature of the earth. That is some math problem!

Here, Rick poses with his nephew James as they look at the model of the USS Memphis. Launched in 1906, this ship met a very unique fate as it was destroyed by a huge tsunami wave in the Dominican Republic while at anchor. 

All in all, this is a very worth-while museum to visit if in the Nashville area -- plus, it is all free!

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