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.
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!
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!