Warbirds and Airshows
By David D Jackson

    Home   Indiana Museums   Indiana Tanks on Outside Display   The Beginning    Revisions   First Flight of P-38F Glacier Girl  
USS Theodore Roosevelt    WWII Aircraft Manufacturing Sites    Gateguards
 2007 Airshows   2008 Airshows  22009 Airshows   2010 Airshows    2011 Airshows    2012 Airshows   2013 Airshows   2014 Airshows   2015 Airshows   2016 Airshows   2017 Airshows
Aviation Museums of the Pacific Northwest
   Display Helicopter Locations   CAL FIRE   PV-2 Harpoon Photos     F6F Hellcat Photos
   Warbird Sightings   WWII US Air-Air Victories   Guest Photos    Indiana Warbirds   Featured Photos  Other Items   Links

Historic Sites   Historic Forts   Historic Texas Independence Sites   Pre-Historic Sites   Historic Manhattan Project Sites   GM Heritage Center
 

 

 

Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum    Ernie Pyle WWII Museum    Five Points Fire Museum    Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum   Freeman Army Airfield Museum   Hoosier Air Museum    Indiana Military Museum    Indianapolis Fire Museum   McClain Military Museum    Museum of the Soldier    National Military History Center/Automotive and Carriage Museum   National Model Aviation Museum    Rolls-Royce Heritage Center, Allison Branch    Ropkey Armor Museum    Wayne County Historical Museum

 
Indiana Museums - Aviation, Military, Automotive and Fire

Indiana Military Museum
Vincennes, IN
Date visited:  2-26-2014, 8-30-2014
Updated 11-14-2014. (Scroll to the end for the update.)

The Indiana Military Museum is one of four military museums in the state of Indiana and is now located as of 2013 in a new and larger location near the George Roger Clark Memorial on the south side of Vincennes.  Since the last time I visited it in 2008 the museum has added more vehicles, artillery pieces and aircraft.  Aircraft on display now include A-26, F-4, C-45, C-47, T-33, TM-76B and UH-1. Several of the vehicles that the museum owns are in working condition and are used one weekend in September as part of its re-enactor open house.  Several items are in restoration including one of only fourteen LCVP landing craft still in existence.  

As noted above, the George Rogers Clark Memorial is four blocks away, the Fort Knox II Historic Site is three miles to the north right along the Wabash River, and the Sugarloaf Indiana Mound is about one mile to the northeast.  So while Vincennes may be off the beaten path but once one arrives there is plenty of places to visit besides the museum.  Below is a sampling of the the many items the Indiana Military Museum along with photos of the Roger Roger Clark Memorial and Fort Knox II.

 


This photo was taken from across the street at the intersection of 6th Street/Business US 41 and Willow Streets.  As one is driving south on 6th Street one can see the C-47 from about two blocks away.  Sharing the space along the front fence are several artillery pieces and the TM-76B Mace, which was formerly on display at a VFW in Florida.


Another photo from across the street shows the Sexton Mark III, UH-1, M114, M211, M3, M8 and one of two 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns on display.  The building behind the displays is used for restoration and storage of operating vehicles.


This photo shows the Mace, 40mm Bofors and C-47 along the front fence.


A view of the museum building, which at one time was a glass factory.


Inside the museum one finds more armor.  Note the size differences between the Japanese tank and M3 compared to the 76mm M4A1 HVSS Sherman.


Looking in the opposite direction one can compare the M20 command car to the M4A1, which is running condition with a Ford GAF V-8 rather than the original Continental R-975 engine, and is taken out of the building and operated in September for the annual WWII re-enactor open house. 


One of the most interesting displays is this FP-45 Liberator Pistol .  One million of these were built in three months by 300 women working in secrecy in the former Guide Lamp plant in Anderson, IN, which is just 8 miles from my house.  This is best one I have ever found at a museum.


What really makes the display interesting is that the Assistant Curator opened the case and turned the weapon around for me, revealing this cutaway of the internal workings.  I have never seen and was worth the trip to the museum in itself.  The FP-45 was intended to be dropped to resistance fighters in Europe during WWII but this never happened.  This is probably due to the fact the weapon falls into the "it sounded like a good idea at the time" category.  In looking at the small mass to absorb the recoil of the large .45 caliber cartridge, in use that the shooter could have been more endangered than the target.  Along with the short barrel and the fact firing a .45 ACP handgun accurately in repeatable manner is an acquired skill, it is doubtful the user would have hit the target.  This is probably why they were never used and scrapped.  


This Douglas A-26 Invader is a recent addition to the museum, having sat at the Rockford, IL airport for twenty years before being purchased by the Indiana Military Museum.  Currently being constructed is an eight gun nose and top turret for the aircraft.


This photo shows the 90mm anti-aircraft gun on display that is located by the A-26.


A GMC/Chevrolet DUKW.  While GMC gets credit for the building of the DUKW in Pontiac, MI, many of them were also built by Chevrolet in St. Louis, MO during WWII.  Chevrolet also built engines for the DUKW in its Flint, MI Plant 2.  The building next to the DUKW is the restoration area and storage for the operating M3 half track and two Bren Gun / Universal Carriers owned by the museum.  This building is also part of the former glass factory and is where the LCVP is being restored.  The building and restoration area is open to the public during the September open house.


An M47 Patton tank on display.


How much is a C-47 worth?  In this case it was two good rotor blades off the Museum's UH-1 Huey.  An organization in Indianapolis that operates Hueys traded this C-47, then in pieces that came in on three semi-trailers in civilian paint, along with two old rotor blades for the good ones.  There is a video inside the museum showing not only the volunteers assembling this C-47 but the A-26 also, as it came in disassembled.


The UH-1 Huey that made a donation of rotor blades to acquire the C-47.


The F-4 was previously on display at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio.

The George Rogers Clark Memorial


Just around the corner from the Indiana Military Museum is the George Rogers Clark Memorial and Visitor Center.  Fort Sackville that George Roger Clark captured from the British during the Revolutionary War on February 25, 1779 was located where the memorial now stands.  Also later Fort Knox III was located in the same place.


A model of Fort Sackville inside the Visitor Center.

Fort Knox II


The original Fort Knox was located just a few hundred yards north of the Memorial and the location of Fort Sackville in Vincennes. 


In 1803 the fort was moved to this location three miles north of town and named Fort Knox II.  In 1813 the fort was disassembled and the logs floated down the Wabash River where they were used to build Fort Knox III, at the location of the former Fort Sackville.


Today the outline of the fort is shown by logs positioned around the perimeter.


Looking down from the location of Fort Knox II one can see the Wabash River.  From here one can see where Tecumseh stopped on August 14, 1810 on his way to meet William Henry Harrison down river in Vincennes. 

Date re-visited:  8-30-2014 for the Salute to WWII Veterans

I revisited the museum for a second time on August 30, 2014 for the Salute to WWII Veterans on Labor Day Weekend.  One of my main reasons for the trip was to be able to see one of twelve original LCVP's still in existence.  The Indiana Military Museum purchased the LCVP in 2012, which was located in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where it had been used by oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico.   The LCVP is located in the restoration area which is only open to the public during its Labor Day weekend event. 

23,353 of the wooden LCVPs or Higgins Boats were built by not only Higgins, which employed 30,000 persons during the war, but also a multitude of shipyards throughout the country including Chris Craft, which built over 12,000 landing craft of all types.

Most of the persons visiting the restoration building the LCVP is located in, walked right by it, not understanding its significance and how it may have been the most important weapon the US had during WWII.  But one person, who was responsible for all of the Allied Landings in Europe during WWII, did understand how important it was to the winning of the war.

“Andrew Higgins is the man who won the war for us.  If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs (Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel), we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different.”

-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1964 interview 

For me, it was a chance to look a something rather than a replica or a finished, pristine restoration.  It allowed me to examine how the LCVP / Higgins Boat was put together. 


This is the real deal.  Most LCVPs on display are replicas, many of them made of fiberglass.  Obviously this is example is not pristine, as it is in un-restored condition after being used as a working boat in Florida for many years.  But this allows one to more closely examine the original construction.  The piece of 4"x10" piece of rough cut lumber across the throat of the boat is not original, at that was a completely open space behind the ramp.  It is there now to keep the boat from twisting as the armor plate is being removed.  There is also a cable just behind it that is also helping with this issue.  The steel ramp has been moved to another area for restoration.  Note the steel armor plate on the starboard side that goes down to the water line.


Note that there is an added reinforcement on the bottom to protect the hull when it would land on the beach.  One can also see the bottom of the steel armor plate.  All the barnacles that were on the boat have been removed.


This photo shows the propeller, rudder and the wooden guard that protects them both.  Also it can be noted besides the side armor plate extending to the water line, steel plate covers the entire back of the boat.


From this photo there was a layer of heavy cotton or duck material that is between the marine plywood and steel.  The screws are blade type wood screws which do not lend themselves to being installed with an air tool.  These apparently were all driven by hand. 


Here is a close-up of the rudder, propeller and the guard.


Another view of the rear armor plate, which is 6 gauge or 0.2 inch (6mm) Special Treatment Steel (STS) used on US Navy ships for armor protection.  In the center is the exhaust port.


This photo looks down the port side of the boat from the rear and one can see the armor plate has been removed from the back half as part of the restoration process.  As of mid November, 2014 all of the armor plate had been removed from this side of the boat.


Around the hole in the plywood one can see the delamination of the marine plywood used in its construction.  Here nails have mounted the plywood to the frame.


Here is a better view of the bottom plate which is separating from the main hull.  What looks to be a rusted, thin piece of steel is hanging down from the plate, indicating there was steel on the bottom.


This photo shows the floor joists and engine location in the center behind the bulkhead and the boatswain's station.  The LCVP arrived from Florida without the floorboards.


Besides the coxswain that commanded and steered the boat from this position, there was also a mechanic, bowman and sternman.  The LCVP's were crewed by members of the US Coast Guard.

Restoration on the proceeding on the LCVP at the museum and it should be put on display in a couple of years.

 

 

 


 
Home  Indiana Museums    Indiana Tanks on Outside Display   The Beginning    Revisions   First Flight of P-38F Glacier Girl  
USS Theodore Roosevelt    WWII Aircraft Manufacturing Sites    Gateguards
 2007 Airshows   2008 Airshows  22009 Airshows   2010 Airshows    2011 Airshows    2012 Airshows   2013 Airshows   2014 Airshows    2015 Airshows  2016 Airshows    2017 Airshows 
Aviation Museums of the Pacific Northwest
   Display Helicopter Locations   CAL FIRE   PV-2 Harpoon Photos     F6F Hellcat Photos
   Warbird Sightings   WWII US Air-Air Victories   Guest Photos    Indiana Warbirds   Featured Photos  Other Items   Links

Historic Sites   Historic Forts   Historic Texas Independence Sites   Pre-Historic Sites   Historic Manhattan Project Sites   GM Heritage Center


E-mail us at: 
Webmaster