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Mind Boggling Military Hardware Museum in Illinois_1

I finally took the time to visit the Russell Road Museum. The Russell Road Museum is a private enterprise devoted to preserving military hardware from the WW2 era to the present. The museum sits on the border between Wisconsin and Illinois but officially is in Illinois, but not by much! The museum was previously in Wisconsin but the government sought the land and invoked Public Domain laws. A long court fight ensued. The owners apparently prevailed and received adequate compensation that enabled them to move a few miles down the road and even expand it’s exhibits.

Back in the days when the museum was in Wisconsin you could see from the freeway (I-94) quite a few of the outdoor exhibits such as an M4 Sherman medium and M5 Stuart light tank. For some reason though I never stopped although I made many a mental note to take a special trip and just go to the museum.

Well, that special trip happened at the urging of my wife. We took a day off to celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary and she recommended we visit the museum!!! I think I married right!!!

What we found at the museum was mind-boggling. The exhibit list can be found at this link: Russel Road Museum\Exhibits

The bulk of exhibits which are mostly outdoors are from the Cold War era with quite a few from the Vietnam Era. Here’s  a sampling:

My wife sitting in the door of a cannibalized Huey. The museum has quite a few Hueys most of which are in poor condition. Some are for sale. The Huey is most identified with the Vietnam War. It has been replaced in the US Military but still serves around the world in many capacities.

My wife sitting in the door of a cannibalized Huey. The museum has quite a few Hueys most of which are in poor condition. Some are for sale. The Huey is most identified with the Vietnam War. It has been replaced in the US Military but still serves around the world in many capacities.

The majority of exhibits are outside and frankly, many are in poor condition. In many cases everything of value had been stripped from the exhibits or the exhibits have been rescued from military bone yards. Nevertheless, it is a remarkable museum and the indoor exhibits are well done.

One of the 4-5 M113's Armored Personal Carriers at the museum. The M113 was the standard US APC until replaced by the Bradley fighting vehicle. The M113 is still in use with the armed forces of other countries.

One of the 4-5 M113’s Armored Personal Carriers at the museum. The M113 was the standard US APC until replaced by the Bradley fighting vehicle. The M113 is still in use with the armed forces of other countries. This one had a MG mount and is in pretty good shape.

Me sitting in the interior of one of the M113s. It's basically an armored box and was cramped. Like the halftracks from WW2 these vehicles were not really intended to be fought from unless resitance was very light. They were used to transport troops to a point relatively close to the battle protecting them from light shellfire and small arms.

Me sitting in the interior of one of the M113s. It’s basically an armored box and was cramped. Like the halftracks from WW2 these vehicles were not really intended to be fought from unless resistance was very light. They were used to transport troops to a point relatively close to the battle protecting them from light shellfire and small arms.

In the next four pictures I work through identifying the small red vehicle next to the Hind below.

Front view of MI 24 Russian Hind helicopter. Where the museum obtained this monster gunship I do not know. Military hardware from other countries is not common at the museum and as far as I know this is the only piece from the old Soviet Union or the former East Bloc countries. The possible exception is the small red wheeled vehicle parked to the right of the Hind. I do not think it's American and have not been to positively id it as Soviet either.

Front view of MI 24 Russian Hind helicopter. Where the museum obtained this monster gunship I do not know. Military hardware from other countries is not common at the museum and as far as I know this is the only piece from the old Soviet Union or the former East Bloc countries. The possible exception is the small red wheeled vehicle parked to the right of the Hind. I do not think it’s American and have not been to positively id it as Soviet either.

At first I thought it was a White M3 Scout Car since it has some similarities. The grill area does not match however.

At first I thought it was a White M3 Scout Car since it has some similarities. The grill area does not match however.

Restored M3 Scout Car

Restored M3 Scout Car

Aha! It's a Soviet built BTR-40. This one appears to manned by soldiers of the the former East Germany. The red paint was a clue!

Aha! It’s a Soviet built BTR-40. This one appears to manned by soldiers of the the former East Germany. The red paint was a clue!

I am not great in being able to id Cold War era aircraft (with some exceptions). Many of the exhibits lack identification plaques making id challenging. Here's my wife standing in front of what I think is a T-38 Talon.

I am not great in being able to id Cold War era aircraft (with some exceptions). Many of the exhibits lack identification plaques making id challenging. Here’s my wife standing in front of a F-16.

The other picture I took of the aircraft my wife is standing by did not turn out. But this is a T-38 Talon from another website.  The Talon has been in service for 50 years and is used as a trainer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_T-38_Talon

The other picture I took of the aircraft my wife is standing by did not turn out. But this is a T-38 Talon from another website. The Talon has been in service for 50 years and is used as a trainer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_T-38_Talon

Heavily cannibalized A7 Corsair

Heavily cannibalized A7 Corsair

That’s ll for now. I took about 100 pictures so there will be more posted.

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4 comments on “Mind Boggling Military Hardware Museum in Illinois_1

  1. Thanks for the nice write up, your wife is standing in front of a F-16, although we do have 3 T-38’s at the museum!

  2. I’m helping a friend search for a Huey fuselage with all doors. Tailcone not needed. Would you be willing to sell one if you have a few?

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