At the Armed Forces History Museum, a WWII German outpost and farmhouse diorama has been created to provide a re-creation of a common scene throughout Europe. This diorama features an 8mm German machine gun manned by a properly dressed German soldier. Another soldier is on a ladder shooting a Panzerschreck through the window. In addition to the numerous pieces of German Third Reich memorabilia, some very unique pieces include an extremely rare Knight’s Cross with Oakleaves, Sword and Diamonds medal. This is one of only 27 issued by Adolf Hitler.
This rare award was issued to Lieut. Gen. Karl Mauss commander of the 7th Panzer division. This is an incredible opportunity to get up close and view one of the rarest pieces of military awards and jewelry in the history of World War II. Other unique items in the display include a rare gas protector produced by the Germans, equipped with foot operated bellows to protect babies from poisonous gas. There is also a complete Hitler youth brown shirt uniform along with the accessories. These brown shirts were worn by the youth being trained by Hitler to become some of the deadliest young warriors of WWII.
Just before entering this gallery, you will discover a fully operational US M3A1 Scout car with a .30 cal and .50 cal mounted machine guns. This vehicle was used extensively during World War II. Directly across from the outpost is a fully operational US M16 Halftrack, mounted with a quad .50 cal machine gun turret. This vehicle was one of the most versatile tracked vehicles used during WWII.
Just outside this unique German outpost diorama is another very large display case with unusual Third Reich memorabilia. A fully operational M24 Chaffee tank used during the Battle of the Bulge is also on display in this area. The WWII M24 Chaffee was a light tank and therefore was not instrumental in any major combat offensive.
A Brief Look at German Outpost Positions
German Outposts in WWII were positions generally set up 2 – 5,000 yards in front of the main line of resistance, and generally always within range of light artillery. The strength of each outpost was determined according to the mission, number of troops and various other factors involving both the platoons and companies. The World War II German outposts contained various types of fire power to offer support to the riflemen that were engaging in fire about 850 yards out. Some of the weapons in the outpost included mortars, rifles, antitank guns and machine guns. Tactical planning was an integral part of these outposts set up by the Germans during WWII, making it difficult for the encroaching enemy to properly dislodge the troops attached to the outpost. Once the German abandoned an outpost, it was often destroyed through heavy fire, rendering it uninhabitable.