From military ambulances to amphibious vehicles, Soviet tanks to the controversial limo that once belong to Adolph Hitler. The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa is home to one of the world’s best collections of military vehicles.
In World War II, Canada produced almost a million vehicles for Commonwealth forces. Some, like the Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) truck, were rugged, reliable, and distinct as American military Jeeps. There were many version of CMP trucks—ubiquitous personal carriers, armored trucks, and soft-skin vehicles. In fact, so important was the production of soft-skinned trucks, including the CMP truck class, that some British historians have called it Canada’s most important material contribution to the eventual Allied victory.
Established in 1942, the Canadian War Museum covers every facet of Canada’s military past—from battles fought with tomahawks to those waged today in the mountains of Afghanistan.
In other words, the CWM is not just a museum for historic military vehicle enthusiasts even though the museum’s LeBreton Gallery features an impressive collection of well over 100 military vehicles—everything from armored vehicles to artillery guns and asupersonic jet hanging from the ceiling.
Rare vehicles include Canadian military motorcycles, Field Marshall Alexander’s staff car, an lltis jeep (the Volkswagon Type 183), and a bulletproof Mercedes-Benz 770 Grosser Series II W150 Cabriolet that once belonged to Adolph Hitler.
The car, one of seven in the German leader’s fleet of Mercedes limousines, was capable of speeds of up to 105 MPH. The doors and windows are bulletproof with an armor plate could be raised behind the rear passenger seat.
First discovered by American serviceman in a Salzburg, Austria, in April 1945, the car was painted in U.S. army colors and driven around Germany before being shipped to Boston in 1946. A Montreal collector later purchased it for $2,725 at an army auction in Maryland. The car was donated to the museum in 1970 remains among its most popular attractions.
For more information on the Canadian War Museum, go to www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/home