Military

In pictures: The General Patton Tank Museum

On these tracks with rubber shoes with only 18 inches of ground clearance, the M60 Patton Tank was capable of a vertical 49 inch obstacle climb and fording waters as deep as 48 inches. 
On these tracks with rubber shoes with only 18 inches of ground clearance, the M60 Patton Tank was capable of a vertical 49 inch obstacle climb and fording waters as deep as 48 inches. 
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Half way between Palm Springs, CA and the Arizona border you'll find this gem of a museum built at the entrance of Camp Young, part of the Desert Training Center that was used for World War II
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Half way between Palm Springs, CA and the Arizona border you'll find this gem of a museum built at the entrance of Camp Young, part of the Desert Training Center that was used for World War II
Looking down on the outside of the General Patton Tank Museum. There's much, much more inside
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Looking down on the outside of the General Patton Tank Museum. There's much, much more inside
Out front stands a statue of General George S. Patton, with his Bull Terrier named Willie
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Out front stands a statue of General George S. Patton, with his Bull Terrier named Willie
Among the many exhibits inside, you'll find memorabilia from World War I, II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam war. Pictured are German helmets, "Trench Art" (artwork made from bending and molding brass tank shell casings), and a Stielhandgranate (German hand grenade)
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Among the many exhibits inside, you'll find memorabilia from World War I, II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam war. Pictured are German helmets, "Trench Art" (artwork made from bending and molding brass tank shell casings), and a Stielhandgranate (German hand grenade)
"Trench Art", made from soldiers passing the time, engraving and shaping tank shells
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"Trench Art", made from soldiers passing the time, engraving and shaping tank shells
German Pickelhaube helmet, used as recently as World War I
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German Pickelhaube helmet, used as recently as World War I
American Expeditionary Forces uniform, complete with an Enfield M1917 rifle
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American Expeditionary Forces uniform, complete with an Enfield M1917 rifle
Many uniforms from both sides of World War I and II can be found on exhibit
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Many uniforms from both sides of World War I and II can be found on exhibit
Actual helmets, rifles, bullets, and other items found across the battlefields
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Actual helmets, rifles, bullets, and other items found across the battlefields
A German tank scope, taken from a Nazi Panzer tank by American soldier Frank Prince while under General Patton's command. Tank scopes were also used by German flak crews
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A German tank scope, taken from a Nazi Panzer tank by American soldier Frank Prince while under General Patton's command. Tank scopes were also used by German flak crews
Formal officer uniform, worn in the German 5th Panzer Division in World War II
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Formal officer uniform, worn in the German 5th Panzer Division in World War II
On the left is a Light M5 Stuart Tank. They  were built to replace the Light M3 Stuart tank. Their biggest shortcoming was lack of firepower, with only a 37mm main canon. The M4A4 Tank on the right, was better equipped with a 75mm main canon, two .30cal Browning MG's, and a .50 cal MG M2
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On the left is a Light M5 Stuart Tank. They  were built to replace the Light M3 Stuart tank. Their biggest shortcoming was lack of firepower, with only a 37mm main canon. The M4A4 Tank on the right, was better equipped with a 75mm main canon, two .30cal Browning MG's, and a .50 cal MG M2
Built in 1945, the M26 Pershing, equipped with a main 90mm M3 canon, two Browning .30cal MG's, and a .50cal MG M2 was a force to be reckoned with in both World War II and the Korean War. It had an 1100 cubic inch Ford GAA V8 making 500 horsepower
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Built in 1945, the M26 Pershing, equipped with a main 90mm M3 canon, two Browning .30cal MG's, and a .50cal MG M2 was a force to be reckoned with in both World War II and the Korean War. It had an 1100 cubic inch Ford GAA V8 making 500 horsepower
In 1952, the M47 Patton was born. It had a 90mm M36 main gun, a single .30cal Browning machine gun, and two .50cal M2 machine guns. The engine was upgraded to a Continental V12 gasoline configuration making 810 horsepower
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In 1952, the M47 Patton was born. It had a 90mm M36 main gun, a single .30cal Browning machine gun, and two .50cal M2 machine guns. The engine was upgraded to a Continental V12 gasoline configuration making 810 horsepower
Another example of  the M47 Patton Tank with a different paint scheme
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Another example of  the M47 Patton Tank with a different paint scheme
Not all tanks were used for offensive warfare. This is the M578 Armored Recovery Vehicle with a crane mount used to recover damaged or disabled vehicles
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Not all tanks were used for offensive warfare. This is the M578 Armored Recovery Vehicle with a crane mount used to recover damaged or disabled vehicles
The M936 is a 6x6 drive truck built in 1985 and is still in use today by all branches of the United States military
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The M936 is a 6x6 drive truck built in 1985 and is still in use today by all branches of the United States military
A basic service truck used to transport fuel or potable water
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A basic service truck used to transport fuel or potable water
A trackless M60 Patton tank with its turret facing backwards
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A trackless M60 Patton tank with its turret facing backwards
A trackless M60 tank. Some of the displays are in complete disarray at the Patton Tank Museum
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A trackless M60 tank. Some of the displays are in complete disarray at the Patton Tank Museum
Something like a movie set, this unidentified tank appears to have been reclaimed by nature after years of wartime service
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Something like a movie set, this unidentified tank appears to have been reclaimed by nature after years of wartime service
There are vehicles of all sorts, including this utility vehicle with a winch and hoist scaffolding attached, at the Patton Tank Museum
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There are vehicles of all sorts, including this utility vehicle with a winch and hoist scaffolding attached, at the Patton Tank Museum
Amphibious vehicles such as this DUKW, or "Duck", as they were commonly referred to, were used extensively during World War II, mostly to transport personnel
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Amphibious vehicles such as this DUKW, or "Duck", as they were commonly referred to, were used extensively during World War II, mostly to transport personnel
This DUKW, also called a "Duck", interior has seen better days
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This DUKW, also called a "Duck", interior has seen better days
The M60 Patton Tank was a clamshell-style turret mounted to a modified M48A2 chassis. The frontal glass and mantle of the M60 Patton was a solid piece of 6-inch thick armor. The M60 and its variants were produced from 1960 through  the M60A3's production ending in 1983
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The M60 Patton Tank was a clamshell-style turret mounted to a modified M48A2 chassis. The frontal glass and mantle of the M60 Patton was a solid piece of 6-inch thick armor. The M60 and its variants were produced from 1960 through  the M60A3's production ending in 1983
The M60 Patton Tank was built after the M48 Patton as an upgrade to match the Soviets' advancing tank technology. It's the 4th tank to carry the name of General George S. Patton. The M60 Patton's role was that of a Main Battle Tank (MBT). It was equipped with a staggering M68 105mm main gun. It had a top speed of 30 mph and a range of 310 miles before needing fuel. The M60 weighed a mere 46 tons. How'd you like to be staring down all 105mm of barrel on this M60A1?
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The M60 Patton Tank was built after the M48 Patton as an upgrade to match the Soviets' advancing tank technology. It's the 4th tank to carry the name of General George S. Patton. The M60 Patton's role was that of a Main Battle Tank (MBT). It was equipped with a staggering M68 105mm main gun. It had a top speed of 30 mph and a range of 310 miles before needing fuel. The M60 weighed a mere 46 tons. How'd you like to be staring down all 105mm of barrel on this M60A1?
The GMC CCWK 6x6 truck, also known as the "Jimmy" (pictured on the right), is a 2.5-ton-capable off-road vehicle typically used for cargo transport. It saw duty in World War II as well as the Korean war before finally meeting its demise in the Mojave Desert in Southern California.The Dodge WC series (pictured middle), is likely a 1941-1942. They were the basic work horses for World War II
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The GMC CCWK 6x6 truck, also known as the "Jimmy" (pictured on the right), is a 2.5-ton-capable off-road vehicle typically used for cargo transport. It saw duty in World War II as well as the Korean war before finally meeting its demise in the Mojave Desert in Southern California.The Dodge WC series (pictured middle), is likely a 1941-1942. They were the basic work horses for World War II
The GMC CCWK 6x6 interior after years of harsh desert climate. While utterly destroyed, I still found myself spending a lot of time just staring at it, imagining all the stories that cab interior could possibly tell in its lifetime
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The GMC CCWK 6x6 interior after years of harsh desert climate. While utterly destroyed, I still found myself spending a lot of time just staring at it, imagining all the stories that cab interior could possibly tell in its lifetime
The interior of the 1941/1942 Dodge WC isn't as comfortable as it once was. Think "Tetanus shot" before climbing in
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The interior of the 1941/1942 Dodge WC isn't as comfortable as it once was. Think "Tetanus shot" before climbing in
This trailer was specially built for General Patton for use at the Desert Training Center. It was built as a photo lab for developing film in the 1930's
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This trailer was specially built for General Patton for use at the Desert Training Center. It was built as a photo lab for developing film in the 1930's
The M60 Patton Tank is the most commonly featured tank at the Patton Tank Museum. And for good reason; it was one of the most versatile tanks ever produced at the time, with thick armor, a powerful 750-horsepower engine, and a 105mm canon. The M60 also had modified variants such as the M728 Combat Engineering Vehicle, M60 AVLB (Armored Vehicle-Launch Bridge), M88 Recovery Vehicle, and even the remotely-controlled mine-sweeping M60 Panther MDCV
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The M60 Patton Tank is the most commonly featured tank at the Patton Tank Museum. And for good reason; it was one of the most versatile tanks ever produced at the time, with thick armor, a powerful 750-horsepower engine, and a 105mm canon. The M60 also had modified variants such as the M728 Combat Engineering Vehicle, M60 AVLB (Armored Vehicle-Launch Bridge), M88 Recovery Vehicle, and even the remotely-controlled mine-sweeping M60 Panther MDCV
On these tracks with rubber shoes with only 18 inches of ground clearance, the M60 Patton Tank was capable of a vertical 49 inch obstacle climb and fording waters as deep as 48 inches. 
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On these tracks with rubber shoes with only 18 inches of ground clearance, the M60 Patton Tank was capable of a vertical 49 inch obstacle climb and fording waters as deep as 48 inches. 
The road wheels of the M60 Patton Tank were cast in aluminum as a weight-saving measure, however, spare steel replacements were carried on board in case of damage. The rear drive sprockets were made from steel
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The road wheels of the M60 Patton Tank were cast in aluminum as a weight-saving measure, however, spare steel replacements were carried on board in case of damage. The rear drive sprockets were made from steel
This Soviet Union era tank was used for firefighting and riot control. It had a 12-cylinder, 620-horsepower diesel engine
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This Soviet Union era tank was used for firefighting and riot control. It had a 12-cylinder, 620-horsepower diesel engine
This High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, or Humvee, as we all known them), in 1983 and built by American Motors Corporation, was the vehicle that replaced the ubiquitous Willy's MB and Ford GPW that were all known simply as "Jeep". 
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This High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, or Humvee, as we all known them), in 1983 and built by American Motors Corporation, was the vehicle that replaced the ubiquitous Willy's MB and Ford GPW that were all known simply as "Jeep". 
This M60 Patton Tank was proudly on display as a centerpiece. In fact, there were recent tracks on the ground as if it had just been moved there. I would have loved to see it driving around
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This M60 Patton Tank was proudly on display as a centerpiece. In fact, there were recent tracks on the ground as if it had just been moved there. I would have loved to see it driving around
Inside the hangar at the Patton Tank Museum, they have an M60A3 tank with the turret removed so you can climb in and check it out
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Inside the hangar at the Patton Tank Museum, they have an M60A3 tank with the turret removed so you can climb in and check it out
View of the armament inside the M60A3 Patton Tank
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View of the armament inside the M60A3 Patton Tank
Inside the driver's cockpit of the M60A3 Patton Tank. After having sat in it, it looks more comfortable than it is
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Inside the driver's cockpit of the M60A3 Patton Tank. After having sat in it, it looks more comfortable than it is
Inside the turret of the M60A3 Patton tank, looking at the loading chamber from the loader's seat. I can't even imagine how loud it must have been in there while firing as many as 10 shells per minute
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Inside the turret of the M60A3 Patton tank, looking at the loading chamber from the loader's seat. I can't even imagine how loud it must have been in there while firing as many as 10 shells per minute
This is said to be General George S. Patton's actual Cadillac
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This is said to be General George S. Patton's actual Cadillac
Inside the Patton Tank Museum, you'll find nearly every type of rifle used from World War I and II, all the way to the Vietnam War
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Inside the Patton Tank Museum, you'll find nearly every type of rifle used from World War I and II, all the way to the Vietnam War
General George S. Patton used money from his own pocket to purchase this piano for his soldiers at the Desert Training Center
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General George S. Patton used money from his own pocket to purchase this piano for his soldiers at the Desert Training Center
An impressive display of American and German handguns carried during World War II
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An impressive display of American and German handguns carried during World War II
Inside the Patton Tank Museum, these glass cases and shelves are absolutely FILLED with war memorabilia from all sides of every war from World War I through to Desert Storm. It would be very easy to spend several hours looking through it and still not see it all
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Inside the Patton Tank Museum, these glass cases and shelves are absolutely FILLED with war memorabilia from all sides of every war from World War I through to Desert Storm. It would be very easy to spend several hours looking through it and still not see it all

If you're planning a drive across the Mojave Desert in Southern California, prepare yourself for a serious dose of vast, hot, dry nothingness ... and tanks. That's right, along the side of the i10 freeway in the tiny community of Chiriaco Summit is a tank museum established as an homage to General George S. Patton. From a Russian riot control tank to the mighty M60A3 Patton Tank (that you can climb in), expect to be amazed.

The M60 Patton Tank was built after the M48 Patton as an upgrade to match the Soviets' advancing tank technology. It's the 4th tank to carry the name of General George S. Patton. The M60 Patton's role was that of a Main Battle Tank (MBT). It was equipped with a staggering M68 105mm main gun. It had a top speed of 30 mph and a range of 310 miles before needing fuel. The M60 weighed a mere 46 tons. How'd you like to be staring down all 105mm of barrel on this M60A1?
The M60 Patton Tank was built after the M48 Patton as an upgrade to match the Soviets' advancing tank technology. It's the 4th tank to carry the name of General George S. Patton. The M60 Patton's role was that of a Main Battle Tank (MBT). It was equipped with a staggering M68 105mm main gun. It had a top speed of 30 mph and a range of 310 miles before needing fuel. The M60 weighed a mere 46 tons. How'd you like to be staring down all 105mm of barrel on this M60A1?

Joe Chiriaco purchased the land that houses the museum in the late 1920s, after he'd heard that the sole gravel road through the area was going to be paved for an interstate highway. The rumors were true and in 1933, highway 60 was born. Joe had already built up a store in preparation for the highway and was open for business the same day the highway opened.

Several years later in 1942, Joe had the encounter that would lead to the creation of the museum: an unexpected visit from General George S. Patton. Patton was tasked to train upwards of a million soldiers to endure conditions similar to the Sahara Desert in North Africa. Chiriaco Summit (formerly called Shavers Summit) was the perfect place for Patton to build Camp Young, the headquarters for the Desert Training Center. The DTC was the largest military training ground in the history of the United States, and Camp Young was the world's largest Army post. It remained an active military installation for just over two years, from April 1942 until July 1944, after the North African campaign was won by the Allies.

This M60 Patton Tank was proudly on display as a centerpiece. In fact, there were recent tracks on the ground as if it had just been moved there. I would have loved to see it driving around
This M60 Patton Tank was proudly on display as a centerpiece. In fact, there were recent tracks on the ground as if it had just been moved there. I would have loved to see it driving around

On December 8, 1945, General Patton was leaving for a hunting trip in Heidelberg, Germany when his car had a low speed crash with a United States Army truck. Patton hit his head in the crash breaking his cervical 3rd and 4th vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. He died 12 days later in his sleep.

After General Patton's death in 1945, Joe Chiriaco established a memorial in Chiriaco Summit in his honor.

Out front stands a statue of General George S. Patton, with his Bull Terrier named Willie
Out front stands a statue of General George S. Patton, with his Bull Terrier named Willie

In 1989, the Bureau of Land Management expanded Joe's memorial and opened a museum at the site where Camp Young had existed. Today you'll find over a dozen tanks and approximately 40 military vehicles in and around the museum, many of which have been battered by war and weather, but all with interesting stories to tell. Inside there are hundreds upon hundreds of fascinating artifacts, weapons, documents, and art from World War I and II, through to conflicts as recent as Operation Desert Storm.

One could spend hours inside and not see it all. In the meantime, those with an interest in military history who don't happen to be heading out into the Mojave Desert anytime soon can head through to the gallery for a sample of what the museum has to offer.

3 comments
bwana4swahili
Impressive! Must pay a visit sometime
CAVUMark
The Museum has been renovated and is really worth a visit. The nearby airstrip was used by Patton to visit the troops while training for the African theater. There was a 3D topo map that I did not see in the pictures and hopefully it is still available.
sportscarboy
WHY NOT FEATURE ONE OF 2 LARGEST MUSEUMS OF ARMORED VEHICLES IN THE USA?IT IS THE AMERICAN ARMORED FOUNDATION IN DANVILLE, VA., AND HAS BEEN OPEN SINCE 2003. A PRIVATELY OWNED COLLECTION WITH 130 VEHICLES (TANKS) AND LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF MILITARIA ARTIFACTS ARE ON DISPLAY!! CHECK OUT THEIR WEBSITE..ALL WITHIN A 100,000 SQ.FT. FORMER FACTORY ASSEMBLY SITE. SEE IT ON GOOGLE MAPS, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!