Nearly 50,000 M4 Sherman Tanks saw service in all theaters of World War II and Korea. They served as the main battle tank of the United States Army and Marine Corps. Pennsylvania foundries in Coraopolis, Eddystone, Lebanon, Sharon, Bernham, and Pittsburgh all produced Sherman tank parts during the war. Union Steel Castings, Pittsburgh, made the turret of this tank.
This later version of the Sherman tank never saw action in World War II. Its placement here honors the 707th Tank Battalion. The 707th supported the Pennsylvania 28th Infantry Division during brutal fighting in the Huertgen Forest in November 1944.
No tank performed longer than the M60 series. First introduced in 1961, the M60 series, with its advanced weapon control and mighty engine, served under the administration of nine U.S. presidents. The brawny tank's thick armor eventually shielded the soldiers of 22 different countries. The last of these 60-ton giants was phased out of National Guard and Reserve service in 1997.
The A3's improvements over earlier M60 models included a ballistic computer for fire control, and a laser range finder. A thermal gun sleeve kept heated guns from sagging. A much admired advanced thermal sight system provided night vision.
Open topped half-track personnel carriers in use during World War II did not adequately protect occupants from small arms fire and shrapnel. The U.S. Army developed APCs, or armored personnel carriers, to solve the problem. These sturdy vehicles were built like small tanks. In them, Infantry soldiers could travel into battle in relative safety.
The M59 series APC was an improvement over earlier, more costly models. But the cheaper domestic engines installed in the vehicles left them underpowered. As a result, the M59 never saw combat. It was replaced by the M113 series in the 1960s.
By the time the M42 "Duster" anti-aircraft defense weapon system was deployed in 1953, the Soviet Union had developed high-speed aircraft that were too fast for the Duster to track. The Duster, however, found its role in the dense jungles of Vietnam. Its awesome firepower proved effective in suppressing enemy ground fire on convoy duty and in fixed defensive positions. ACF Industries of Berwick, Pennsylvania, built M42 Dusters in the 1950s.
The name "Duster" came from the huge clouds of dust raised by the vehicles as they moved at 45 mph over crude dirt roads in the Mekong Delta. The gun turret could rotate 360° and elevate to 85° when deployed against aircraft. However, it was its ability to depress the guns as low as -5° that made it invaluable in close jungle warfare.
The 14" guns on display were aboard the USS Pennsylvania from the mid-1930s until March 1945. They were replaced with guns salvaged from the USS Oklahoma, because they had simply worn out. The barrels taken off the ship laid in storage until one was modified to test the possibility of using 14" naval guns to deliver a nuclear warhead. This required extensive modifications to the barrel and, when completed, it hardly resembled the barrel on the USS Pennsylvania. In 2002, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Friends of the Pennsylvania Military Museum entered discussions with the U.S. Navy about displaying the guns still in original condition at the museum. The guns were installed here in 2009.
For more information on the BB-38 Guns, check out our page on the USS Pennsylvania.
The M114A2 howitzer, introduced in 1942 as the M1, served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam with the Army and Marine Corps. It also served with the National Guard in the 1980s. Its 11-man crew could fire forty rounds per hour, lobbing each 85-pound shell nearly nine miles. The M114A2 remains in service in forty countries worldwide as of 2004.
British commanders who had fought in the Boer War in South Africa, 1899 to 1903, were impressed with the success of the enemy's howitzers. After five years of testing, the British army approved its own new howitzer. The 4.5" howitzer remained in service for 35 years and saw action in both World War I and World War II. The howitzer also served Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This howitzer most likely served with the Canadian Army.
Horses pulled the first Mark I howitzers into battle. In 1938, the British Army adapted the howitzer for mechanized towing. The York, Pennsylvania firm of Martin-Parry produced the conversion kits for all British field guns mechanized in 1938.