Volume 1, Issue 2
June 2005


Welcome to the second issue of "Heavy Metal" -- the newsletter of the

Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles (VMMV). Our mission is our motto -- by working to restore armored fighting vehicles, artillery, small arms, uniforms, and accoutrements of the US military other countries, we hope to share the legacy of the sacrifice and courage of our fighting men and women with future generations of Americans. Located in Northern Virginia, our collection has grown to over 90 vehicles, starting out with the first US tank, the M 1917 through such legendary US vehicles as the M4A1 and M4A3 Sherman , M3A1 and M5A1 Stuart , M24 Chaffee , M3A1 Half-track , M36 Jackson and M3 Lee along with a few vehicles you might not know existed -- such as a prototype of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) tank.




Get to know your VMMV staff & vehicles

In this section we will introduce you to the people and armor of theVirginia Museum of Military Vehicles. We will chat with the VMMVstaff, so that you can get to know the people who "keep 'em running" and work so hard behind the scenes. And also provide a behind-the-scenes look into the history of individual vehicles in the VMMV collection. In this, our second newsletter, we have the first of a multi-part article on the collection's M3 Medium Tank "Lee".

VMMV's Lee was built by Chrysler Corporation at the Detroit Tank Arsenal in June 1942 as US Serial Number W-3,058,035. Not much is known about her wartime service, other than she was turned over to the Commonwealth -- most likely Australia -- and was assigned the British serial number T-25984.

Fast forward to 1988 and a hilly part of Ararat, Victoria in Australia. And Bob Fleming, a well-known "tank finder" for the Budge collection in the UK, spots the hull of our Lee in a field for an unknown period of years, but the Wright-Continental R975 EC2 radial turned over!!!! The Lee had been used as a bulldozer and had a large steel plate to cover the the hull roof -- since the turret had been removed.

Although the bulldozer's blade had been removed, the mounting brackets were still welded to the hull front. Overall, the running gear was in "well-used" condition. A lot of tender loving care would be required to return the Lee to the splendor with which she left the factory over 45 years earlier. Stay tuned to this section for our next article on the restoration of the Lee.


VMMV Acronym
The lexicon of armored vehicles is filling with a bewildering amount of acronyms. And at the VMMV we have a few of our own. Here we will have the VMMV word of the day so you may better understand the conversations you might overhear at VMMV. "Jumping Frog"-- No, VMMV is not being overrun by cane toads or bullfrogs, but that's the nickname we have bestowed on our modified French SUMB cargo truck.

We have installed a steel frame along with a series of batteries and power cables to
provide a mobile platform that can hop from tank to tank and provide a
jump start -- hence the nickname of Jumping Frog!

Calendar of Events
In mid-April, VMMV held a training day for all the new volunteers to
orient them on the VMMV property, equipment, vehicles, and most
importantly of all -- safety protocols. After the orientation and tour,
the eager volunteeers tackled several projects and good progress was
made. Here is a photo of several of volunteers in front of a FV 432
APC they we working on. Several other volunteers were camera
shy -- some times it is like herding cats!!!

Because of a very heavy schedule in September and October we are unable
to have our usual Open House event this year. Our next Open House will be
on Saturday, June 3, 2006.


Mike Panchyshyn -- Editor