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The Austrian Army Museum

Article about: Having spent an extended Easter Weekend at Vienna, I just had to visit the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (HGM) [lit. "Museum of Army History", although "Museum of Military Hist

  1. #1

    Default The Austrian Army Museum

    Having spent an extended Easter Weekend at Vienna, I just had to visit the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (HGM) [lit. "Museum of Army History", although "Museum of Military History" is more accurate] on which I had missed out last time.

    Completed in 1856, it is the oldest purpose-built military museum in existence. I can highly recommend a visit to all members.

    Fore more information on the HGM and its history, see:

    Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (German language Wikipedia article with numerous photographs, so definitely worth looking at even for non-German speaking members)
    Museum of Military History, Vienna - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (very brief English language Wikipedia article)
    HGM (The museum's official website)

  2. #2

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    Entrance to the Arsenal grounds, where the HGM is located. This is a vast 19th century military complex of buildings located in Vienna's 3rd district in the southeast of the city. It's not far from Prince Eugene's Belvedere palace:

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    Front and entrance of the HGM itself:

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    Historical gun barrels on display outsided the museum. The HGM's collection of historical guns and gun barrels amounts to a total of some 550 pieces:

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    More gun barrels are on display in a separate building, the Artilleriehalle [Artillery Hall].

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  3. #3

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    Two aircraft are on display outside the building.

    Rather interesting is this early jet fighter, a Swedish-built Saab 29 "Tunnan" [= "barrel", for obvious reasons]. The first test flight of this model occurred in 1948; in 1951, the first consignment of Saab 29s was delivered to the Swedish Air Force.
    The only export of this aircraft was to Austria: 30 used Saab 29s were sold by Sweden to the Austrian Air Force between 1960 and 1962. They were finally decommissioned in 1973.

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    Here is its successor, the Saab 35 "Draken" [= "dragon"]. A successful Cold War-era fighter, the Saab 35 was built in various versions from 1955 to 1974.
    The Austrian government bought 24 of these fighters for active service, plus an additional 5 ones to be cannibalized for spare parts.

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  4. #4

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    Here is the museum's so-called Panzergarten [tank garden].

    A Soviet T 34/85 medium tank. This is one of the 27 T34/85s taken over by the Austrian armed forces from the Soviet occupation troops:

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    Another Soviet vehicle, the SU 100 tank destroyer. This one was not in Austrian service; it was originally displayed in front of Vienna's Red Army memorial at the Schwarzenbergplatz (see http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/discus...7/#post1177053 ):

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    The Austrian-built Saurer APC:

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    A German-built Jaguar tank destroyer. Behind it is a U.S.-built M109 howitzer.

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    Another U.S. vehicle (as are the next three), here we have an M47 "Patton" medium tank. For the trivia buffs: During his military service with the Austrian Army, a young Arnold Schwarzenegger served as the driver of an M47 (not this particular one, though):

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    An M41 "Walker Bulldog" light tank:

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    M24 "Chaffee" light tank:

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    An M7 "Priest" self-propelled howitzer:

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    And now for the Brits. A Charioteer tank destroyer:

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    A Centurion main battle tank:

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    Centurion bridgelayer:

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    Centurion armored recovery vehicle:

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    Finally, two French ones. An AMX 13 light tank:

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    An AMX 55 recovery vehicle:

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  5. #5

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    Some vehicles may be found on the inside as well.

    Here are two downright iconic WW2-era vehicles from the opposing sides of the conflict. The Wehrmacht's Kübelwagen...

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    ...and the Jeep Willys:

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    The Gebirgsraupenschlepper [RSG] mover, being the lighter mountain version of the Rauppenschlepper Ost [RSO]:

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    A "ground dug" Borgward B.IV, Ausführung c Schwerer Ladungsträger [= "heavy explosives carrier"]:

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  6. #6

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    We did not take many photographs from the inside exhibits. With most items displayed behind glass and often subdued light or other unfavorable lighting conditions, most of the pictures would have turned out very poorly, anyway. (Make sure to check out the photographs at the links I had posted in post # 1, though!)

    Still, just to give you an idea, here are just a few items of note.

    Uniforms, decorations and other items of Emperor Franz Joseph I:

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    The sofa on which the Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuß bled to death during the Austrian Nazis' failed coup of 1934:

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    Some Heimwehr uniforms and other items:

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    An ex-Austrian Army officer's tunic with an added Wehrmacht breast eagle, collar patches and shoulder boards during the (very brief) post-Anschluss transitional period in 1938 before German uniforms were fully adopted:

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  7. #7

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    Not just are its contents worth seeing, but so is the building itself.

    The museum's entrance hall is known as the Feldherrenhalle [Hall of Military Commanders]. It contains 56 life-sized marble statues of great Austrian commanders:

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    The entrance hall leads to the opulent Stiegenhaus [Stairway]:

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    On the first floor is the building's most impressive room, Ruhmeshalle [Hall of Fame] with is grand architecture and fine frescoes. The hall and its ancillary rooms contain marble plaques which bear the names and the places and years of death of more than 500 fallen officers from the years of 1618 to 1918:

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  8. #8

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    Most interesting, thanks for showing!

  9. #9

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    And that's it. I will finish with a final image of beautiful handwork from a bygone era, the hand-embroidered collar patches of a Czechoslovak army general:

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  10. #10

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    That museum looks like it's well worth a visit, that Saab 29 looks very similar to the Messerschmitt P1101, i wonder if there was any connection?....Great thread and thanks for taking the time to share!...
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.



    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

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