Canadian War Museum – Part II: LeBreton Gallery

The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Canada is a must see for anyone interested in military history. The displays of equipment and vehicles is impressive and covers the entire scope of Canada’s military history from the First Nations and Colonial times to the modern age.

Canadian War Museum
A world-class museum

My previous blog covered the majority of the display halls, but my favourite part of the museum is the cavernous LeBreton Gallery: The Military Technology Collection. This hall has all the big stuff from tanks and numerous vehicles to a German midget submarine and a McDonnell Douglas F-101 Voodoo jet fighter. The variety of weaponry and equipment on display is very impressive!

LeBreton Gallery Canadian War Museum Ottawa
Just one section of the LeBreton Gallery
Salamander class German miniature one man submarine (1944)
Salamander class German miniature one man submarine (1944)
Salamander class German miniature one man submarine (1944)
40 of the Salamander or Molch class subs were built in 1944 but they never really posed much of a threat to allied shipping

From the Normandy hall within the main exhibits of the museum you can enter a balcony which gives you a fantastic view of the entire LeBreton Gallery below. This is a great spot for taking in all the tanks that line the gallery (the massive windows behind them may cause you some photography issues with bright backlighting though).

LeBreton Gallery Canadian War Museum
Great view

World War Two features prominently and the tanks and vehicles on display are very unique including rare German World War Two tanks such as the Panther medium tank. You can gain a great appreciation for the development of technology in relation to tanks as you look at the earlier models to those at the end of the war. Possibly one of the best medium tanks of World War Two is on display also, the Soviet T-34/85 which gave the Germans hell on the Eastern Front from 1941 onwards.

A World War One era M1917 tank used by the Canadian army in 1940 for tank training
A World War One era M1917 tank used by the Canadian army in 1940 for tank training
Italian CV-33 Tankette Canadian War Museum Ottawa
Italian CV-33 Tankette that was obsolete by WW2 but still used in battle by the Italians
German Panzer IIC Canadian War Museum Ottawa Ontario
An early German tank, the Panzer IIC
Panther Tank LeBreton Gallery Canadian War Museum Ottawa
German WW2 Panther medium tank – the 75mm gun could take out a Allied Sherman tank from 1km away!
 Jagdpanzer IV Canadian War Museum Ottawa Ontario
WW2 German Jagdpanzer IV tank destroyer
Soviet T-34 Canadian War Museum Ottawa
Soviet T-34/85
Soviet valentine swamp tank canadian war museum
A Canadian built, Soviet operated Valentine tank that was dredged out of a swamp somewhere in Russia!
Panther Sherman Tank Canadian War Museum
Old Foes – Panther vs Sherman
M3 Stuart light tank Canadian Military Museum Ottawa
M3 Stuart light tank
Medium Tank M3 Canadian War Museum
Medium Tank M3
A Grizzly (Canadian version of the M4 Sherman) and a Sexton 25-pdr self-propelled gun Canadian War Museum Ottawa
A Grizzly (Canadian version of the M4 Sherman) and a Sexton 25-pdr self-propelled gun
Churchill Tank Canadian War Museum Ottawa
Churchill Tank

In World War Two the car manufacturer Volkswagen built the Kübelwagen which was the German equivalent of the US Willy’s Jeep. One of the coolest variants was the Schwimmwagen (literally swimming car) that was equipped with a small propeller that could be lowered to allow the vehicle to take to the water when required. Over 14,000 were manufactured between 1942 – 1945 and there is a nice example on display at the war museum. I would love to own one of these!

Volkswagen Schwimmwagen Canadian War Museum Ottawa
Volkswagen Schwimmwagen
The rear propeller of the Schwimmwagen
The rear propeller of the Schwimmwagen

Cold War era tanks and armoured vehicle are also on display. There is equipment Canada operates such as the Leopard C2 but also others from NATO nations and of Soviet era origin.

Canadian Forces Leopard C2 Main Battle Tank
Canadian Forces Leopard C2 Main Battle Tank
Chieftain Main Battle Tank (UK) Canadian War Museum
Chieftain Main Battle Tank (UK)
Soviet era BRM-1K armoured recon vehicle Canadian War Museum
Soviet era BRM-1K armoured recon vehicle

There is so much to see in the LeBreton Gallery. Allow plenty of time to explore the exhibits and make sure you do not miss a special display along the hallway wall to the right of the last tanks. Here you can find nose art from a number of Avro Lancaster and Handley Page Halifax aircraft from RAF Bomber Command in which Royal Canadian Air Force pilots and crews flew. The aircraft were being scrapped for their metal but luckily someone had the sense to save the artwork for historic preservation.

Bomber Command nose art Canadian War Museum
Jumpin’ Jiminy
Bomber Command nose art Canadian War Museum
Willie Wolf
Bomber Command nose art Canadian War Museum
Archie the Archer
Bomber Command nose art Canadian War Museum
Avenging Angel
V for Victory RAF Bomber command nose art Canadian War Museum
V for Victory

This is a truly impressive museum and a great tribute to those who have served and continue to serve in the Canadian armed forces. If you are interested in military history you will be locked down for an entire day in the Canadian War Museum for sure! Don’t miss it!

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. travelforaircraft says:

    What a museum … especially the side-by-side comparison of the Panzer and Sherman 🙂 Thx!

    1. Deano says:

      Its a great place to visit. Very impressive displays

      1. Doug says:

        One day soon!

  2. Doug says:

    Excellent collection as always… Keep up the great work, and thanks for sharing!

    1. Deano says:

      Thanks Doug 🙂

      1. Deano says:

        Now we just need to look into getting a Schwimmwagen!

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