Objectives and focus of the Scientific Collection of Defence Engineering Specimens
The Scientific Collection of Defence Engineering Specimens (Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung - WTS) is part of the organisational structure of the Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr - BAAINBw) in Koblenz.
Among its main official tasks are:
- The documentation of technological progress in the field of defence materiel
- Assistance in initial and extension training for engineers and technicians working in the defence sector
- Information of military personnel, civilian Bundeswehr employees and the general public
- Recruiting support
- Participation in the network of museums and collections within the Bundeswehr
Since the Collection's focus is on army technology, only few exhibits from the branches of air force and navy are displayed. The army technology exhibits presented in the large hall range from the French tank Renault FT 17 which was developed towards the end of WWI through German track vehicles from WW II, such as the StuG III assault gun and a tank destroyer “Jagdpanther”, to Bundeswehr and NATO prototypes and test models (Infantry fighting vehicle Marder II and MBT 70). A large number of wheeled vehicles are also on display. The range includes the VW Kübelwagen ("bucket seat vehicle"), the Schwimmwagen ("floating vehicle") designed by Porsche as well as an armoured test vehicle based on the VW Touareg. Moreover, numerous artillery guns and air defence guns are exhibited.
The tour starts in the main building, giving you an insight in the development of the bolts of various guns. The development of personal equipment for soldiers - from the colourful gears of yore through to the current Bundeswehr camouflage uniform - is displayed on the next floor. The exhibited woollen uniforms might still cause some visitors to get an itch. The history of protective equipment for soldiers, starting with the spiked helmet and leading to Kevlar combat helmets, can also be retraced at the Scientific Collection of Defence Engineering Specimens. Sniperscopes and night vision imaging systems at various development levels are on display as well.
In the next room, the history of rifle grenade systems and mortars is presented in showcases. The machine rifle area gives you a comprehensive overview of the machine guns which have been in use worldwide. wtssniper The variety of small arms exhibited is enormous. It is safe to say that there is hardly another public exhibition which can compete in this respect. Even the sniper rifle department alone is worth visiting. Various prototypes and preproduction models of German and international automatic guns, and even a rare Walther Volkspistole, are on display.
No other public exhibition in Germany features an overview of German and international army and infantry equipment as broad this. Further large-scale exhibits are stored externally as they require so much space.
We would also like to draw your attention to the comprehensive technical library on military technology and military history, featuring 15,000 books and 60,000 regulations and device descriptions. It contains what probably is the most comprehensive collection of German regiment stories. All these documents may be accessed after registration of the visitors, provided that they are not classified.
A large number of special exhibitions have been successfully carried out over the years. Among them were:
- Uniforms of NATO states from 1900 to present
- 100 years of Luger history
- Submachine guns
- Machine guns
- Needle guns - a revolution of military technology in the 19th century
- Armour-clad times - 2000 years of soldiers' body protection
- 100 years of visor development
- Military night vision imaging technology in Germany - designs, prototypes and models for series production (still on display)
Since 2001, the Scientific Collection of Defence Engineering Specimens has participated in the "Lange Nacht der Museen" (long night of open museums) in Koblenz and has experienced visitors flocking in.