Jump to content


Museum Review: Central Museum of the Armed Forces, Moscow


  • Please log in to reply
48 replies to this topic

The_Chieftain #1 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 01:26

    Military Specialist

  • Administrator
  • 5414 battles
  • 7,416
  • [WGA-A] WGA-A
  • Member since:
    09-08-2011
CMAF Website
Google Map Link
This museum does exactly what it says on the tin: It covers the Armed Forces, and it’s definitely central. It’s actually well within the city limits, a little North of the centre of town and easily accessible by either car (Parking may be an issue, but if you’re driving in Moscow, you’ve probably figured that out already) or public transport. As anyone who has been in Moscow more than three hours will have realised, the metro system is the way to get around if you can, and the CMAF is conveniently within a five minute walk of the system. Get off the train at the clean and modern Dostoyevskaya station, walk past the picture of an axe murder in progress (Something to do with Crime and Punishment, apparently), up the stairs, and you are face to face with the very impressive Russian Army Theatre. Walk past this structure, and soon you will see this slightly less architecturally interesting building.

 

The Central Museum is housed in a purpose-built building constructed in the mid-1960s. The good news is that items which were known to be on the display list in 1965 are well catered for. The bad news is that as the years pass, and more things are added to the collection, they are pretty much just squeezed in as they can.


Admission fee is a very reasonable US $2.75 or so, but if you want to take photos (and you probably will), you’ll need to more than double it to a whopping $6.50. Paying this fee will give you a wrist-band that you have to wear: If you don’t, every time you try to take a picture, a dedicated and eager watchman/watchwoman will rush up to you.


When you pass through the security checkpoint, you are confronted with the main hall. From there, you are not given any instruction on where to go, there is no obvious rhyme or reason behind the layout. Oldest exhibits, dating to the Revolution, are to your right.
The next thing you’ll notice is that all the exhibits are labeled in Russian only. Not that this is a bad thing in itself: After all, it is a Russian museum in Russia, but it does mean that as a tourist, you have generally no idea at all as to what it is you are looking at, except you might be able to interpret some designations from the Cyrillic. A Russian-speaking friend is helpful.
The ground floor actually doesn’t have a whole lot in it. The Revolution room is about 5m x 10m, and consists of one artillery piece, a few artifacts and uniforms, and a number of paintings. The Stalingrad room is about double that size, again with the odd artillery piece, a truck, and a large number of artifacts which would doubtless be of huge interest if you knew what it was you were looking at.
Things get a little more interesting when you climb the rather grand staircase, however. Of pride of place in the central upstairs room is the flag flown over the Reichstag.


Surrounding it are the captured flags of German units, and hundreds of German medals. I hesitate to speculate as to what would be the market value of these items at militaria auctions.


To add to it, they also have the Eagle which was knocked off the Reichtagchancellery, in this rather debased position on the floor:


Once you’re done gawking at the evidence of the end of the Third Reich, you can proceed onto the ring of outer rooms. These rooms are really more like long, segmented hallways, and again, there seems little continuity. You go from a WWII diorama of an anti-tank gun to the complete turret of a BMP-1 to a D-Day display. Each room will usually have one or two ‘large’ exhibits, a mannequin or two in uniform, and a number of photos, documents or other small artifacts in glass cabinets.


It seemed more that the purpose of the museum as it is organized was to just let the visitor know about the existence of the items or organisations referenced rather than actually provide any detailed historical information. The entire reference that I could see about the involvement of other allies in WWII was a small corner of one room, which had a jeep, a mannequin, and the beach assault scene from Saving Private Ryan on a loop on a small monitor.

image012-e1314921899732.png<img src=
However, again, in fairness, this is the Russian Armed Forces museum, so one can’t blame them for not devoting much space to non-Russian items, especially as space is at a premium. They did, however, find space for the wreckage of Gary Powers’ U-2, although it only took up about 6’x10’.


The museum is relatively up-to-date; they were able to squeeze in an 8’x4’ section for the conflict with Georgia.
The real reason for visiting this museum, however, comes when you go down the basement and out the back door, the outdoor exhibits. Right in your face is a Hind A.


This is a rather crowded collection of aircraft, artillery, vehicles, and even a patrol boat, but does have a number of interesting vehicles on display. Most notably, they poached the KV-2 from Kubinka, itself the only KV-2 still around, as far as I am aware.


The downside is that the vehicles are pretty well crowded together, and the ability to see the sides or rear of vehicles is limited due to the areas being fenced off. For the enthusiast or the technically inclined who want to see some of the technical details this is a bit of a shame, though it seems to be par for the course for Russian musea.


A couple of other military musea in cities come to mind as being better than CMAF. The timescale covered is less than a century, and it is already filled so that I am unable to comprehend how they will cover future expansion. What is covered appears to be covered in limited detail. On the plus side, however, it is extremely easy to get to, and can be made a simple part of a normal vacation to Moscow. It also provides a reasonable overview to at least sate the curious, if not the hard-core enthusiast, and family members dragged out on the expedition won’t feel overly bored. And, of course, if you want to see a KV-2, it’s your only option. It does have a good selection of aircraft in the back yard, mind, so Air Force enthusiasts will particularly appreciate it.


It’s cheap to get in, and you can see it in less than three hours. I can’t really envision going to Moscow and not dropping by to visit, it just seems that considering the rich and proud military history the Soviet/Russian armed forces have, I was, somehow, expecting something more." alt="" class="bbc_img">" alt="" class="bbc_img">

Valontinian #2 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 02:19

    Corporal

  • Beta Testers
  • 23153 battles
  • 62
  • [THUGZ] THUGZ
  • Member since:
    08-12-2010
First, are you Russian?   What is Army Green?  

Second, the concept of dedicating space to Gary Power's U2 is hardly any kind of facilitative nod to the USA, if anything it's a disrespectful flaunting. HOWEVER, I do not blame the museum for including the exhibition, because it IS legitimate history ...but let's not delude ourselves into thinking this is some kind of attempt at acknowledging the US contribution to military or armoured efforts in WW1 or beyond.  It's not.  It's more grandstanding and self-aggrandizement as is par for the course from politicians and soviet-o-philes.

Gortthrob #3 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 03:04

    Private

  • Players
  • 10912 battles
  • 8
  • [R-INC] R-INC
  • Member since:
    06-05-2011
Thanks for the pictures.

I particularly liked the picture of the German flags, the yellow one with a Silver Eagle looks amazing. Did a quick search and it looks like a Lufwaffe Trumpet banner.

SchurkjeBoefje #4 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 03:16

    Private

  • Players
  • 0 battles
  • 4
  • Member since:
    09-10-2011
Good to know. If I ever visit Moscow, which is not unlikely, I will be sure to stop by. Easy place to get to and I would love to check out the planes.

Also looking forward to the rest of your contributions! I'm from the Netherlands but made a US account so I can troll your forums with my Euroness. No, but in all seriousness, I've seen some good topics on here so, more tank discussion is never a bad thing.


@Valontinian: I don't think the author tried to imply that displaying the U-2 wreckage was a credit to the USA. He mentioned the limited attention for the Allies in the WW2 section, which is understandable because it's a Russian museum. One of the few American things there, however....etc. And c'mon, who wouldn't display such a special aircraft shot down? The Cubans display their U-2 shrapnel too. And the Serbs have a trophy case for the Nighthawk wreckage. Your planes are trophies, consider it a compliment :)

Dominatus #5 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 03:25

    Major

  • Beta Testers
  • 10091 battles
  • 12,808
  • [CMFRT] CMFRT
  • Member since:
    12-21-2010

View PostValontinian, on Sep 10 2011 - 02:19, said:

First, are you Russian?   What is Army Green?  

Second, the concept of dedicating space to Gary Power's U2 is hardly any kind of facilitative nod to the USA, if anything it's a disrespectful flaunting. HOWEVER, I do not blame the museum for including the exhibition, because it IS legitimate history ...but let's not delude ourselves into thinking this is some kind of attempt at acknowledging the US contribution to military or armoured efforts in WW1 or beyond.  It's not.  It's more grandstanding and self-aggrandizement as is par for the course from politicians and soviet-o-philes.

Not like we wouldn't do the same thing to some Soviet spy plane, really.

In any case, this was an interesting read. I've never heard of this museum before, but the description seems to fit Russian philosophy of displays. By the way, are you British? I'm guessing you had a guy from the Belarus (who I'm assuming can speak at least some Russian) team with you to this museum?

PSYCO_GANG #6 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 03:38

    Sergeant

  • Players
  • 5829 battles
  • 123
  • [T2H] T2H
  • Member since:
    06-30-2011
Please do the kubinka museum!

Valontinian #7 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 03:57

    Corporal

  • Beta Testers
  • 23153 battles
  • 62
  • [THUGZ] THUGZ
  • Member since:
    08-12-2010

View PostDominatus, on Sep 10 2011 - 03:25, said:

Not like we wouldn't do the same thing to some Soviet spy plane, really.

In any case, this was an interesting read. I've never heard of this museum before, but the description seems to fit Russian philosophy of displays. By the way, are you British? I'm guessing you had a guy from the Belarus (who I'm assuming can speak at least some Russian) team with you to this museum?

I agree, hence my comment about understanding since it is totally a legitimate history.  however my point wasn't suggesting that it's wrong for them to do that. ..but it IS wrong to acknowledge that exhibition as somehow celebrating the USA, which it is not.  It's merely what we or any other political power would do to illustrate or celebrate their military power.  Perhaps (personally speaking) this is also a reflection of just one person's response to the continual over-inflation of soviet equipment values in this game.  Agree, disagree, it's entirely up to the reading populous.  Regardless, I remain disabused of the notion of an equitable outlook on the part of the developers.

Additionally, I'd like to add that any museum is a worthy investment and this is clearly a fantastic exhibition worth seeing.

WhiteSavage #8 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 04:22

    Staff sergeant

  • Beta Testers
  • 10484 battles
  • 252
  • Member since:
    09-17-2010
So much rich history there... I SO MUCH wish the Russians would put a little more work into their museums... They have some of the BEST STUFF but information is sooo lacking.

I LOVE looking at this kv-2... but what battles was it used in? What date was it manufactured? Whats its story? The story of its makers? History is a gift, a free handout of past mistakes and complex concepts... it's almost disrespectful to see it this way... I'm glad its at least there ofc.

BigMadMick #9 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 09:57

    Corporal

  • Beta Testers
  • 14139 battles
  • 58
  • Member since:
    09-06-2010
The eagle on the Reichstag was blown up at the end of the war not removed

berree #10 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 15:13

    Captain

  • Beta Testers
  • 9485 battles
  • 1,109
  • Member since:
    07-15-2010
They prob have a few million of those KV's stashed under some mountain in Siberia rdy to roll LOL


although I just woke up I also seem to remember that eagle being blown up as well

biragge #11 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 16:48

    Staff sergeant

  • Players
  • 871 battles
  • 268
  • Member since:
    03-01-2011
AWESOME DISPLAY! I ecpecially liked the hind A or the X24

borderrat #12 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 17:53

    Staff sergeant

  • Players
  • 10357 battles
  • 404
  • Member since:
    02-22-2011

View PostBigMadMick, on Sep 10 2011 - 09:57, said:

The eagle on the Reichstag was blown up at the end of the war not removed
Not sure but wasn't the Swastika blown up?  Believe the eagle was atop Brandenberg Gate. Or vice versa.

I'm too lazy right now to go look it up.

The_Chieftain #13 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 17:57

    Military Specialist

  • Administrator
  • 5414 battles
  • 7,416
  • [WGA-A] WGA-A
  • Member since:
    09-08-2011

View PostSchurkjeBoefje, on Sep 10 2011 - 03:16, said:

@Valontinian: I don't think the author tried to imply that displaying the U-2 wreckage was a credit to the USA.

You are correct. There is no doubt it is a victory trophy.

View PostDominatus, on Sep 10 2011 - 03:25, said:

I'm guessing you had a guy from the Belarus (who I'm assuming can speak at least some Russian) team with you to this museum?

I had a translator, but he was a personal friend.

View PostPSYCO_GANG, on Sep 10 2011 - 03:38, said:

Please do the kubinka museum!

The what? (Goes to Google...)*

View PostBigMadMick, on Sep 10 2011 - 09:57, said:

The eagle on the Reichstag was blown up at the end of the war not removed

You are correct, sir. Upon looking around, it appears to have been from the Reich chancellery, not the Reichstag. I was confused due to seeing a model of the Reichstag with eagle on it (and not being able to read the caption!). I shall correct the article.

*Just kidding

holakc #14 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 18:52

    Captain

  • Players
  • 30134 battles
  • 1,207
  • [ACA] ACA
  • Member since:
    04-30-2011
very nice tour :)
if u happen to go again to other museum or exivition like that, please take lots of pictures please!!! i see that there is more tanks in there, and i know we all will be very exited to see and read what u find there.

Regards from Argentina

The_Chieftain #15 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 19:01

    Military Specialist

  • Administrator
  • 5414 battles
  • 7,416
  • [WGA-A] WGA-A
  • Member since:
    09-08-2011

View Postholakc, on Sep 10 2011 - 18:52, said:

very nice tour :)
if u happen to go again to other museum or exivition like that, please take lots of pictures please!!! i see that there is more tanks in there, and i know we all will be very exited to see and read what u find there.

Regards from Argentina

I shall look into setting up a gallery. I took photos of most everything.

Darth_Chalupa #16 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 19:02

    Corporal

  • Players
  • 11493 battles
  • 23
  • Member since:
    04-23-2011
Thanks from northeast USA for this article. A great addition to the forum.

skatekov #17 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 20:24

    Corporal

  • Players
  • 12927 battles
  • 68
  • Member since:
    02-25-2011
Even Kubinka museum only has KV i believe.

Noble #18 Posted Sep 10 2011 - 20:41

    Staff sergeant

  • Players
  • 7089 battles
  • 464
  • Member since:
    04-30-2011
Great just mate, can't wait to see some more reviews of other places and other interesting real facts.

Vyviel #19 Posted Sep 11 2011 - 00:41

    Sergeant

  • Players
  • 8539 battles
  • 190
  • Member since:
    07-15-2011
Nice you had a Derp cannon KV-2! =)

NollieFlipX #20 Posted Sep 11 2011 - 04:04

    Corporal

  • Players
  • 4788 battles
  • 47
  • Member since:
    02-24-2011
Too bad I can't get into a museum like this one, I think I would either be arrested and deported for hugging tanks and planes, or maybe I would be so happy that I would die instantaneously.

Tanks for the pics and shared knowledge. And just one thing, Russian planes/tanks are still the sexiest things you can fly/roll with atm. =p

EDIT:

Nahh actually no the tanks don't look that amazing. It's still a tank though I would rush to take any pic I could =p.




2 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users