An Austrian Count and World War I ace, Antoine Gazda, moved to Rhode Island and lived in the Biltmore Hotel (Providence, RI) for all of World War II, where he was guarded 24 hours a day in secret as he developed an aircraft version of his 20mm cannon. This shell casing at the Varnum Memorial Amory Museum was the first round fired from his prototype.
Here’s a special treat! At the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum, we have a photo album that belonged to a member of the 76th Division Artillery in World War II.
Seventy-seven years ago this month, sixteen Mitchell B-25 (Model B) medium bombers were launched from the USS Hornet to attack the Japanese mainland: specifically, the capital city of Tokyo and other locations on the island of Honshu. The daring raid, coming just barely four months after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor was not only […]
There are few military exercises as thrilling as the charge of a cavalry unit, sabers flashing as they face off against the enemy. Of course, with today’s advanced military weaponry, the saber has been relegated to ceremonial use. However, as recently as the early days of World War II, you could have witnessed a cavalry […]
The story of one of Rhode Island’s best-kept World War II wartime secrets is briefly recounted in our book “World War Two Rhode Island” (The History Press; 2017). The material was drawn from a story written for these pages back in 2016. Now and then, I’ve been asked for more details about this tale, so […]
This Smith & Wesson Victory Model 10 revolver was recently donated to the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum. The Varnum Memorial Armory’s revolver is a .38 Smith & Wesson. More research is forthcoming. The Smith and Wesson Model 10, produced during World War II, had a “V” for Victory prefix in the serial number. Smith and […]
Sitting on a display case in the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum’s “World Wars Room” is a Model M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). Introduced late in World War I and now known by infantrymen around the globe, the “BAR” was the product of the fertile mind of John Moses Browning. He is considered to be one […]
The news media called them “The Plywood Navy.” The Japanese called them “Devil Boats.” Historian, author, and lecturer Brian L. Wallin brings to life the story of the US Navy’s Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons Training Center in Melville, Rhode Island, and the men who fanned out from the Ocean State with their small war craft […]
The Varnum Memorial Armory Museum received a fascinating new donation from new Varnum Continentals member, Richard Clarke. His grandfather, a World War II radio operator and mechanic with the Army Air Force, acquired this piece of wreckage from a German airplane. This is part of a tail fin from a Focke-Wulf FW 190, a mainstay […]
This year, the U.S. Navy marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of its Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Seabees. Although the military had often designated individual units to engage in construction activities in peace and war, it wasn’t until December 28, 1941, that Rear Admiral Ben Moreel, chief of the Bureau of […]