Museum: Wings of liberation
Wings of liberation in Best is an interesting war museum in the South of the Netherlands. The museum exists of a private collection of war vehicles dedicated to the US airborne troops involved in the liberation of the Netherlands in Word War II. There are seven buildings with diorama’s on various theme’s like Operation Market Garden, American command post and the Scottish highland division. One building is dedicated to operation Barbarossa and GDR border guards, reason for Comtourist to pay a visit.
Every day from 10.00 to 17.00
Enough Soviet and East German equipment to make a visit to Best worth while
Also are there three buildings with various vehicles (mainly American) and some aircraft displayed. The pride of the museum are also two beautiful DC-3 Dakota’s displayed outside. What drew Comtourist to the museum however, are the Operation Barbarossa theme building, a displayed Mig-21 trainer and a Czechoslovakian VT-34 recovery vehicle. The museum is quit far away from the Netherlands main cities but certainly worth a visit. The Mig-21 was removed after our visit as it did not fit in the collection according the museum owner.
Museum theme building: Operation Barbarossa
The main attraction at Wings of Liberation for Soviet war equipment enthusiasts is the theme building dedicated to Operation Barbarossa. Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Hitler expected a quick Blitz Krieg victory over the "inferior Russians", but the advance of the German army stalled in the Russian winter and the Hitler was now staring to lose the war. In the Barbarossa theme building a T-34, BM-13 Katyusha and a ZIS-3 anti tank Gun are displayed in lively diorama’s. There is also a German Jagdpanther tank displayed. Besides the vehicles are there, photo’s, display boxes with all sorts of Red Army items and Marquette’s with scene’s for the battle for Berlin. There is also a large amount of Red Army uniforms exhibited from various parts of the Soviet army. A separate part of the exhibitions is dedicated to the border between East and West Germany. A section of the Berlin Wall is recreated with guard towers and border guards. This is done a bid amateurish but it does serve it’s main aim, making children aware Europe was once divided by an iron curtain.
Rocket launcher: BM-13
The ZIS-3 76-mm divisional gun M1942 was a Soviet 76.2 mm divisional field gun, ZIS stands for Zavod imeni Stalina (Stalin plant). The ZIS-3 is regarded as one of the best artillery pieces of World War II with German 88-mm FlaKs and British 25pdr howitzer.
The Katyusha named Stalin Organ by the Germans is probably one of the most famous weapons of World War II. This rocket launcher can fire 16 rockets simultaneous at a distance of some kilometres. Here the rocket installation is mounted on a ZIL-151 truck.
The Hetzer or Jagdpanzer 38 Sd.Kfz. 138/2 was a German tank destroyer of the Second World War and the small brother of the famous Jagdpanther. It was based on a modified pre-war Czechoslovakian Panzer from the Skoda factory.
Tank: The famous T-34
Many second word war allied weapons are branded "the weapon that won the war", the T-34 is probably the one that deserves the title most of all. The Germans did not believe the Soviets could build a tank that would outclassed them on the battle field. Shocked reports were send to Berlin however after the first confrontation with T-34 during the Russian campaign. The T-34’s revolutionary design with sloping armour and powerful 45mm gun made it fearsome adversary on the battlefield. It was simple to build and produced in great numbers, helping the Soviets to defeat Hitler in the East.
Museum exhibits: Various Soviet military equipment
The museum owns a large collection of Red Army equipment like tanks radio’s artillery and tank measurement instruments, helmets, footwear, medals etc.
Marquette: Scene’s from the battle for Berlin
Two Marquette’s display street fighting scene’s from the battle for Berlin at the final day’s of World War II in Europe.
USSR Army uniforms
A large number of Red Army uniforms is displayed in the Wings of Liberation museum.
Uniforms: East German border guards
A special section of the Barbarossa theme building is dedicated to the East German Border during the cold war. Different uniforms of border guards are displayed and a part of the Berlin wall is recreated in the museum.
Jet: Mikoyan Mig-21UM trainer
The Mig-21 is the most produced Jet fighter off all times. Wings of liberation owns a twin seat Mig-21UM trainer aircraft (NATO designation Mongol). The Mikoyan OKB developed a series of tandem-seat MiG-21 trainers, to learn fighter pilots how to handle the aircraft.
Rare artefact: Original Mig-23 simulator
Wings of Liberation has a hall dedicated to flight simulators. The top piece is an original Mig-21 simulator. The flight’s simulator hall is only open for public one a week.
The VT-34 Vyprosiovaci tank (recovery tank) is a Czechoslovakian purpose-built armoured recovery vehicles with front superstructure, thirty-tonne winch, and entrenching spade. The VT-34 is built on the chassis of a Russian T-34 tank. The purpose of ARV’s is to tow damaged tanks from the battle field so they can be repaired beyond the line of fire.