After the largest war in the world’s history, allied armies moved to occupy German territory, clean up, and heal. The war left Europe deeply scarred and littered with the tools of a massive industrial war. As occupying armies sifted through the material, US Army Ordnance Department’s Historical Section looked for artifacts specifically for the museum at Springfield Armory.

The museum at Springfield Armory, already 50 years old by World War I, had become a renowned technical collection of military firearms, and all sorts of pieces were selected – less as historical value or trophies (though there are some), and more as technically intriguing to engineers, machinists, and firearm designers who used the museum as part of their normal Armory jobs. This exhibit displays Each object includes the original description as written by the leader of this effort, Captain Aney, highlighting why they selected this item and, in certain cases, where it came from.