Monday, April 28, 2008

New Museum Acquisitions - - Pack Howitzers


This January the National Museum of the Marine Corps acquired twin 75mm Howitzers. One from MARCORSYSCOM (Marine Corps Systems Command) and the other from DLA (Defense Logistics Agency).

The Howitzer pictured above is Charity, the other was named Faith. What I want to know is, where are Hope, Grace and Love?

The pack howitzers were developed in the 1920s and were designed to be taken apart in several pieces and then packed on mules for transport. The big debate among the once active duty Marine docents was just how many parts the pack howitzer can be broken into. The signage says six. Some of the docents wondered if in reality it is four. My suggestion was they just take the darn things apart to find out.


Now, I would have to say that Faith was in much better condition then Charity. Both weapons have a lot of corrosion, rust and flaking paint. The men were admiring the very shiny "brass" parts.

"That can't be brass, they had to have painted that on." One of the men commented.

"That is unless they clear coat it with something." the other male docent replied.

Which is what they do in restoration. They will not paint over any brass parts, they will leave it natural, but will clear coat it to keep it from corroding. I confirmed for them that the brass was actually brass and not paint and that it was clear coated.


However, they kept saying that these weapons had been restored. Right away, I put that notion to rest with, "There is no way these could have been restored, look at the corrosion on the brass pieces and all that rust and pealing paint."

I got under the rope and took some of these photos to show you the rust. There is NO WAY the restoration division would release these to you and say they were restored. They are in need of restoration. In addition, restoration would NEVER use gold film (sticker) letters to put the names on these weapons - - they would have used a letter template and actual paint. Who the heck uses sticker letters on a weapon?


Restoration would require removal of all the paint as well as sanding or sandblasting off the rust and corrosion from the parts. They weapons would be completely taken a part (like every piece undone -- not just the 6 pieces for a pack)

During WW2 these were given to the Chinese and believe it or not, during the Vietnam war, the Marines captured a few of them from the Viet Cong who had received them from the Chinese. Boy talk about "What goes around, comes around"!

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