The Le Musée des Blindés de Saumur (http://www.museedesblindes.fr/) was easy to find, being well sign posted from the local roads. There’s lots of free parking within the museum’s grounds and it’s reasonably accessible for wheelchairs/buggies etc.
|Cutaway Chaffee at the Museum entrance|
The 12 Galleries consisted of; -
|The WW2 German Gallery|
|One of 3 Panthers|
|88mm Anti-Tank Gun|
|WW2 German Gallery - rear view of Tiger I, Panther etc.|
|Pak40 75mm Anti-Tank Gun|
|Warsaw Pact Gallery|
|An immaculate SU122 "Carnation" SPG|
|Staghound Armoured Car|
|M10 Tank Destroyer with interesting damage to hull side!|
|Allies WW2 Gallery|
|Leclerc Mock Up|
|French Para Vespa with Recoilless Rifle!|
|EBR 75 Armoured Car|
|Interesting list of vehicles used in Indo-China by the French Forces in the 1950's|
|Selection of more modern armoured cars|
|Monty in his Bren Carrier!|
|The ultra slim engine (13" height I believe) from a EBR75 Armoured Car|
|An incredible example of a MkI Merkava|
|Modern Rest of the World Gallery|
|Viewed from elevated viewing gallery, which also housed the model collection|
Outside – various individual AFVs (Easy 8 Sherman, Roland Missiles on AMX 30) scrap/spares area ( Sherman DD for restoration and another Panther) & AMX collection (Every variant of the AMX13 + some Gulf War exhibits)
As well as all the AFVs there were a few soft skins and many
towed artillery/anti-tank guns. Additionally, there are random displays of
cutaway munitions explaining things like the Monroe (hollow-charge) effect and
how Anti-tank wire guided missiles work.
|A DD Sherman with incorrect 76mm Turret|
Many of the vehicles are in running condition and appear regularly at military shows (St Chamond, Tiger 2, Panther & Char B for example).
Whilst there was a large, well-stocked shop (Large selection of Heller Models, paints etc.) there is no café. There was, however several vending machines that all needed Euro coins to buy anything from them.
There is also a kid’s play area with a DAF APC that they can climb on. Also there are several APCs in the Rest of the World 1945-present area that can be entered.
This is a fantastic museum for the AFV enthusiast. Visibility and accessibility is good. The exhibits are in good order and painted in authentic schemes. There are so many unique exhibits (AMX50, ARL 44, Merkava Mk1 etc.) you won’t know what to do with yourself!!
Allow at least 3 hours to get the most from it, longer if you can afford it. If you’re like me you’ll find yourself back in the German WW2 armour gallery again, and again…….it’s amazing.
Really can’t recommend it enough if you find yourself in the area.