Monday 22 January 2018

US Army Museum Hawaii

We took a family holiday to Hawaii in January and among its many pleasures was discovering the US Army Museum in Hawaii was about 300m away from our hotel. The museum is situated in a 1911 gun battery, located quite literally at the back of Waikiki beach.  Originally built as Battery Randolph, it housed two 14" naval guns to defend Pearl Harbour from naval attack.  When it was decommissioned the plans were to have it demolished, but the reinforced concrete construction proved too much for the demolisher, who resigned the job in frustration.  Fortunately for us, it became home to a small, but very good museum, predominantly focussed on WWII.  Here are a few pictures.

Outside they have a Type 95 Ha Go, this looks like the later production model with the rear mounted MG in the turret.  You don't see too many Japanese tanks in museums, it seems not many survived the war, or perhaps there just wasn't much interest:

Type 95 Ha Go in Hawaii
I've been lucky enough to see another Ha Go, this one at the excellent museum in Bovington in England:

The only other Japanese tank I've seen is this Type 97 Chi Ha at the Yashukan War Museum at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.  The presentation of the war in the museum - its history and causes, is a matter of some controversy, but if you are prepared to see that for what it is and pay little heed, they have an interesting collection of objects.

On the subject of Japanese equipment, the museum in Hawaii also had some fine examples of small arms and support weapons.

A couple of Type 89 Grenade dischargers:

A Type 11 light machine gun:

A Type 92 machine gun, the famous 'woodpecker':

A Type 92 70mm battalion gun, set in the indirect fire mode.  An admirable bit of kit, providing flexible close support for Japanese infantry:

A Type 1 47mm anti tank gun.  Probably the most 'modern' piece of Japanese equipment I've seen and not a bad gun at that.  These caused a lot of damage to Shermans in the Pacific campaign:

Naturally, there are plenty of US weapons on display.

A M1917A1 30 cal Browning machine gun, the early water cooled model:

The venerable BAR:

The M1919 30 cal machine gun, air cooled this time:

A bazooka, although I'm not sure what model, and a 60mm mortar:

Last, but not least, the sort of thing every Japanese soldier in a bunker must have dreaded having to face - the manpack flamethrower:

Finally, a piece of Russian kit from the Korean war, but no doubt of WWII vintage, a 7.62mm light machine gun:

There is much evidence of the original gun battery itself, not only at the museum, the site of the guns themselves, but also in the heights of the old volcano crater at Diamond Head, where the bunkers for the sighting of the guns can still be seen and visited.

The original guns are gone but a smaller 7" gun has been placed on one of the mountings and you can see how much smaller this gun is compared to the original.

The 7" guns now on display, not the original guns

The 7" compared with the original 14" guns.

It's easy to see how effectively things were sited.  The picture below shows where I've pinpointed the location of the battery at the back of the beach.

A nice place to fight a war....
The observation bunkers were placed at the tip of the volcano rim at Diamond Head, in the background.  The sites are accessible as the volcano is now a park and historic site.  Worth the walk to the top even if military history is not your thing (just ask my wife!).

No tall buildings to block line of sight back in 1911
A nice museum and well worth the visit. It must surely be a contender for an award for best location.  There can't be many others that offer a swim in the ocean and a beach bar from which to enjoy a cool beer while you watch the sun go down.....all within a few metres of their front door.


  1. Great pictures thanks for posting. Always nice to see museums I'm unlikely to get to in real life.