Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Monty on Tour: Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung Koblenz

Last Saturday some friends of mine and me started a very special excursion:
We visited the Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (Collection of Defence Technology) Koblenz. We spent a really interesting time there and we were wandering through the exibition for about three and a half hours. Although there are museums which are much more spacious than the WTS (abbreviation for Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung) we saw some nice objects there.

However let's get back on square one:

Since my wife and daughter took the car to visit some schoolmates of my wife over the weekend I had to rely on Deutsche Bahn (German Rail). Therefore my alarm clock rang without mercy on 06:30 a.m. Still dowsy I got up and took a refreshing shower. Afterwards I prepared some provisions for the road: A thermos flask of tea and some buns. Fortunately my tea pot is larger than the flask so I was able to take a cup of Earl Grey right before breakup. Afterwards I hurried to the subway and caught the 07:56 train to Düsseldorf at Bochum central station.

Smaller than I thought: Light infatry support gun 75mm (link)
After three-quarters of an hour I arrived at Düsseldorf central station were Niclas picked me up. We entered his green Volkswagen Lupo "Tree-Frog" and set sail for Koblenz. These days that's a little tricky since some bloody stupid bastards burned a bridge on the A57 motorway which is a possible southbound cinjunction from Düsseldorf. Anyway we chose a alternative route and got to Koblenz half past ten. Soon after us our third companion Daniel arrived and we entered the WTS. The admission charge is as low as 3 € which is really fair.

On the ground floor are several vehicles and a lot of guns arranged. Very interesting is the technical process from medieval forget archebuses to modern artillery. Unforunately some parts of the exibition are densely stuffed and there is no chance to get a close view at the details which are that interesting for us modellers...

A rare exhibit: Renault FT (link)
The other part of the ground floor is a large hall with vehicles, planes, helicopters and various smaller items like ammunition, rockets and more guns. Exceedingly impressive is the 128mm Anti-Aircraft Gun. An awesome monster of a gun!
However there are several nice exhibits from World War II aus you see on the pictures (klick to enlarge).

Additionally there are several vehicles and planes of younger age: A Marder II APC prototype, a Leopard I MBT, Lepard II MBT prototype, a french Mirage, a F107 Starfighter, a F4 Phantom, a Hind and some other stuff. Even a gun turret of a Navy ship is presented in Koblenz. Just check the (German) Wikipedia page for more information (link 1, link 2). Unfortunately some of the most interesting WW II tanks were absent for repair or maintenance: Panther, StuG III and Jagdpanther.

The upper floors are filled with more guns and an incredible number of small arms, uniforms and equipment. Again it's too much stuff to mention each item here. Nearly every German Weapon of WW II is displayed there and a lot of technical equipment of the last century: Wireless sets, Radar equipment, Night Vision devices etc. In Addition there are several displays with uniforms of Prussian Forces before WW I, German forces during WW I and WW II as well as some modern uniforms of western and eastern armies. Because the light wasn't ideal I took only a few photos there. Nothing special...
A modified 35mm shell which was made a gift to wearers of the Iron Cross with diamonds. It's fance name was "Kopfzerbrecher" ("Head Breaker").

After about four hours we had seen all section of the collection. About six hundred photos and even more impressions richer we left the WTS and headed for a small bookstore nearby. It's an old-school second hand bookstore which is spezialized on military history. The opening hours are kind of unusual (Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m.) but the offering is great. Most book are German but some English ones and the complete Osprey ranges are offered as well. Additionally they have some nice modelling kits there. Definitely worth a visit! My wants were fulfilled with a box of Italeri's fast assembly Jeeps and therefore we headed satisfiedly back home.

Unfortunately our  return journey was kind of nerve-racking. The diner where we had lunch crowded out and traffic on the motorways was terrible. Somehow we git back to Bochum in the late afternoon and Nick and me spent the rest of the day building bocages and hills for my board. I'll post pictures of them later this week...

After all it was a really nice Saturday and a great trip. The collection is really worth a visit although it's conglomerate and narrow in some parts. It's rumoured that it shall move to another place soon. On the hand the Bundeswehr Military History Museum (link) in Dresden is an option but on the other hand the WTS might move to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress (link) within Koblenz as well. We'll see.

Closingly some more impressions from WTS Koblenz:
The extraordinary 128mm AA gun (link)
Very impressiv: 60cm granade for "Karl" (link)

Another exhibit which is rarely seen: Kommandogerät 40, an analog computer for targetting)
A SdKfz. 231 (but without antenne...) (link)


  1. Beautiful pictures and we need more my friend, thanks for that and would love to visit that myself...

    1. Thanks. I'm glad that you like the report and the pictures.

      If you're able to Germany send me a note. I would be happy to show you the WTS in Koblenz.


  2. What an extraordinary museum; fantastic photographs. It certainly looks like you had a great day out.

    1. Yep, the WTS is indeed an interesting museum. Incidentally, there are quite a few collections/museums in Germany apart from the WTS dealing with military history and military technics: The Tank Museum (located in Bergen, Lower Saxony; comparable to the Bovington Tank Museum although the latter, to my knowledge, has got more exhibits on display); The Bundeswehr Museum of Military History (Dresden, Saxony); the Air Force Museum (Gatow, Berlin); the "Wehrgeschichtliches Museum Rastatt" (Rastatt, Baden-Württemberg); and the Bavarian Military Museum (Ingolstadt, Bavaria), to list only the reasonably well known and big collections.

      By the way, I am the chap with whom Monty undertook this little field trip; glad you enjoyed our pics.

  3. Very nice museum! Tempted to go there too.

  4. Looks really cool! How much did it cost to enter?

    1. Admission fee is 3 EUR (around 2.6 GBP or 4 USD).

  5. Thanks for showing us some rare stuff. Particularly like the IG18 very early version with the spoked wheels; must have been back for a refit to end up factory sand colour or maybe pneumatic tires were a luxury toward the end of the war? Revisit to Germany definitely on the cards.

  6. Damn it, Monty! I was in Koblenz that weekend, too! We were visiting my girlfriends sister, but I didn't get any free time to spend at the exhibition (Imagine: "You've already been there half a year ago, what do you want?" - "Eaaam. Tanks and Guns my dear lady! What else!?")...