As 2013 races to a close and the 100 year centenary of the start of the First World War is creeping ever closer. We are looking back to June and a visit to Austria's Heeresgeschichtlichen Museum in Vienna, where the blood splattered uniform of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand together with his limousine are on permanent display.
Each May or June, depending, the HGM allows free entry into this impressive museum and hosts "Auf Rädern und Ketten" on what was possibly the old parade ground, at the rear of the building. Auf Rädern und Ketten (roughly translated as On wheels and tracks) is a gathering of military vehicles from the Second World War until the present day. Not only are tanks, armoured vehicles, jeeps and trucks on display to walk around and in some cases sit in, if the owners are kind enough to oblige, but the event features an arena with drive-bys and big loud artillery pieces and mounted guns being fired... and I mean loud!
Somewhat on a small scale especially when compared to the rather well known international shows, this modest event is certainly a gem in the calender and even more so if you are located fairly near to Vienna, or happen to be in the city around this time. Sparing a few hours from your hectic sightseeing of Schonbrunn Palace or the Hofburg would be an added bonus, and the museum is well worth a visit... that's if you can persuade your other half!
Of course the main focus of this event are those vehicles used by the Austria Army, some being re-used US equipment. A fair percentage of those vehicles being exhibited at this two day weekend event are Cold War period, showing examples from Russia and the Soviet Block. Most of the exhibitors also get into the spirit of things, being dressed up in uniforms.
While the museum itself boasts a small gift shop selling items of military surplus and books, the event has many militaria stands, with a fair amount of helmets and uniforms, there is certainly lots to look at, and most items seem fairly priced. Perhaps a few hours will not be enough after all!
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