Estrella Warbirds Museum is proud to be home of the Red Ball Express Motor Pool, an awe inspiring collection of World War II military supply vehicles, assembled by Herman Pfauter. The Red Ball Express earned its name immediately following the landing of allied troops at Normandy. In order to expedite the shipment of supplies to the front lines, truck emblazoned with red balls followed a similarly marked route that was closed to civilian traffic. The red ball signature sign also gave the supply vehicles priority on regular roads. Concieved in an urgent 36 hour meeting, the convoy system began operating on August 25, 1944.
Staffed primarily with African-American soldiers, the Express, at its high point, was operating 5,958 vehicles that carried about 12,500 tons of supplies a day. It ran for 83 days until November 16, when the port facilities at Antwerp, Belgium, were opened, enough French rail lines were repaired, and the portable gasoline pipelines were deployed. For more history on the Red Ball Express visit this link.
The Red Ball Express Motor Pool at Estrella Warbirds Museum, is a collection of vintage U.S. military vehicles from 1941 through 1945 assembled by Herman Pfauter, a collector and restorer of these vehicles since his teenage years. When Germany was liberated in 1945 by the Allies, Herman was 9 years old. He first watched with amazement the endless columns of Russian soldiers who occupied his hometown of Chemnitz. Most of them traveled on foot or with horse-drawn wagons but there were also a number of motor vehicles, mostly of American manufacture, never seen before in Germany such as the Jeep, the Dodge Weapons Carrier and the 2½-Ton Studebaker 6x6 cargo truck.
Soon after the entire family moved to the British-occupied zone of Germany where there were again new vehicles from the British army. But even the Brits had a large number of American vehicles. Finally the family moved once again, this time to the American zone in southern Germany. Here every vehicle of the U.S. Army was represented and Herman was fascinated with the looks, the sounds and everything else that made these vehicles so special. Many hours he spent in and around motor pools and became friendly with the GI’s driving and repairing the various trucks. While still in high school he bought his first Willys Jeep from the local Army Chaplain for $200. It was running and even had an enclosed aluminum cab and a heater.
Thur., Fri., Sat., Sun. &
Legal Monday Holidays:
President's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day:
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Pricing and Special Group Tours (Minimum of 10 or more): Full Information Here
4251 Dry Creek Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446