Re: tanks under wraps


Denny Anspach writes:

"During a period in the mid sixties during the heart of the Viet Name war, I was Chief of Radiology at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, and as noted, they had a large number of very interesting exotic tracked vehicles and tanks on display from WWI, II, and the Korean conflict in the public area."

As has been mentioned, I, too was located at Aberdeen Proving Ground...from March 16 to August 1,1964. Before I terminate this thread [ which is careening wildly out of scope rapidly and I will give it a significant boost ], I will note that among the significant German tanks there was a Tiger I in the museum, and in a nearby field a Tiger II [ King Tiger ], Yagd Tiger, and Elephant. I believe a Yagd Panther was there as well. The presence of the Yagd Tiger is a bit surprising given the relative small number built [ 48 ]. There were 90 Elephants built so it is also rather rare.

I might add that there were at least two Panthers there. I was startled one day to see 2 Panthers in a parking lot. Next day they had moved. As was mentioned also, Anzio Annie [ RR gun ] was there.

And before this thread is terminated, I will add that Aberdeen had a very strange security system. We were given badges but we were not to wear them. We had to have an Aberdeen sticker on our car to enter. The road leading into the site had a long string of armored vehicles in its median. The last tank was a huge vehicle [ Tortoise? ] and a car loaded with MP's loved to hide behind it. Entry to Cape Canaveral Airforce Station at the time required a badge going in...and coming out and we had to wear it at all times.

Mike B rock

They also had an unspecified number of then-current captured , stolen, and purchased Russian tanks undergoing intensive testing and reverse engineering. This was all behind the fence in the vast Secure Area that constituted the major portion of this large base along the west shore of the upper Chesapeake. I never saw any of them, but because I held a low level Security Clearance that once allowed me behind the fence, I was told of them often enough. How did they arrive? Flat car, and tarp covered, and rolled behind the fence before being unloaded.

Why did I go behind the fence? To see for myself a whole bunch of grounded former PE Red Cars left over from WWII Aberdeen (PRR)-APG commuting duties. They were without trucks but still had their markers and class lights.

The APG railroad had two EMD switchers, one of which was given to the California State Railroad Museum about five years ago (transported gratis by N&W and UP), just after being completely overhauled. It is used regularly.

The Proving Ground has been virtually closed to visitors since 7/11, although I understand visiting may now be easier. I also understand that the vast collection of rolling armor that was on display has been removed to Ft. Belvoir, VA, including the “Anzio Annie” - type German railway gun.


Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento, CA 95864

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