History of the Beginning
I started the collection during my early childhood in the late 1950's as a result of some influence from my father and his friends. We lived in Santa Maria, Ca.
My father was an avid outdoors man, interested in anything to do with hunting, fishing, and photography. He owned several firearms, and reloaded his own ammunition. He competed in various rifle and pistol matches, and later competed in trap and skeet events.
As I grew older I became interested in his outdoors activities as well. I especially became interested in firearms, competition shooting, and reloading of ammunition.
The first rifle that I owned was a 1903 A3 Springfield Army rifle that I purchased brand new from the DCM (Department of Civilian Marksmanship) for $14.95 plus shipping . I also purchased .30 cal. Military rifle ammunition from our local rifle club for $.02 a round , an unheard of price in today's market.
With this rifle and an unlimited supply of ammo, I practiced shooting at every opportunity. I eventually became a pretty good shooter.
On one Saturday afternoon while we were attending a Turkey Shoot sponsored by the Lompoc CA Sportsman´s Club, I actually won the rifle competition with the Springfield Rifle.
Cabinet #1 contains a collection of US and Japanese infantry weapons that were used during WWII, along with additional weapons used during the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraqi Campaigns. Weapons on display are a Bazooka, two disposable light anti-tank weapons, and a Japanese Knee Mortar. Included also is an example of the rounds used in each.
Cabinet #2 contains a collection of US Anti-Aircraft and small caliber field artillery shells. Also included and of special interest is a WWII German “88” anti-aircraft shell.
Overview of Collection
Considering the fact that the Ordnance Collection is an accumulation of inert, obsolete munitions related artifacts, possibly never to be used or seen again, I felt that it was important to preserve this history and subsequently share it with current generations and those to come, via the museum process.
Consideration was given to the Estrella Warbirds Museum because they are an excellent, forward looking museum, with attention given to all categories of military artifacts. Furthermore they already have on site a building dedicated at this time to the display of restored historic military vehicles, and aircraft related missiles. I might add that the aircraft missile display is one of the finest and complete as I have ever seen.
To compliment the museums´ existing ordnance display, I offered and they accepted the loan of my collection to be placed on permanent display.
My collection consists of obsolete, inert, ordnance artifacts, that were used in wartime by our armed services. The collection is displayed in six display cabinets and a floor display as follows: infantry weapons, anti-aircraft gun ammunition, field artillery ammunition (large and small caliber), tank gun ammunition, naval gun ammunition (medium caliber), grenades, mortar ammunition, and mines.
The floor display consists of examples of major caliber naval gun ammunition in 12 inch, 14 inch and 16 inch.
Part of the floor display is a collection of general purpose aircraft bombs, torpedoes, a sea mine with anchor, and a complete Quad .50 cal. anti-aircraft gun mount.
It should be noted that in no way is this collection a complete display of all munitions in the respective categories, the items are merely representative of the various categories.
Cabinet #3 contains a collection of large and medium caliber shells from naval guns. Of special interest in this display is and example of the 8”/55 brass and projectile. This round was composed of the largest brass shell casing ever used in the US munitions arsenal. The casing, separate loaded with it’s high capacity explosive projectile constituted the largest round of ammunition ever used in an automatic naval gun system.
Cabinet #5 contains a display of Large Caliber Field Artillery projectiles. All of these examples are considered separate loading, consisting of a projectile and bags of propellant (propellant bags not show in this display).
Cabinet #4 contains a collection of tank gun ammunition examples that were used in US tanks from WWII to the present.
There are several interesting examples to be noted in this collection.
The 90mm HVAP (High Velocity Armor Piercing) round was an experimental shell that was used in an experimental tank gun system that was never placed in production. The shell is extremely rare and only exists in a few collections.
Another round of significant interest is the 120mm separate loading tank shell.
This round was derived from an WWII anti-aircraft gun system. The gun system was reconfigured and installed on M103 Main Battle Tank during the 1950´s. The tank and gun system were the largest ever produced by the US to date. Because of issues with weight and operations of the gun system the tank was declared obsolete in a rather short period of time.
The anti-aircraft version of this shell can be found displayed in cabinet #2 of this collection.
Of further interest in the Tank Gun Ammunition collection are examples of modern 120mm, 152MM, and 105mm tank gun ammunition.
Cabinet 6 contains a collection of grenades, mortar shells and anti-personnel mines. These examples are from the WWII period through the Vietnam conflict. In the grenade category are examples of hand and rifle launched grenades. Items of interest includes a display of WWII hand grenades that were converted into booby traps that utilized trip wire or pressure fuses.
It has always been my desire and ambition to share the artifacts and associated history through the museum process. The Estrella Warbirds Museum, in my opinion, is the perfect venue for the presentation of this collection.
John H. Kinney
Santa Maria, CA