Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim
The Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum in south-western Germany is packed with a giant collection of cars, aircraft and military hardware. The USSR and East Germany are well represented with the Tupolev Tu-144 also known as the Soviet Concorde as absolute highlight of the exhibition. The only Tu-144 on display outside Russia is placed on the roof of the museum building together with the Concorde and is open to walk in for visitors.
Daily from 09:00 - 18:00
The Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum is located directly on the Autobahn close to the Stadium of Hoffenheim Football Club. South-western Germany is an ideal area for camping or historic city trips to historic cities like Trier and Heidelberg. Combine a visit to the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum with the Speyer Technik Museum , the Flugausstellung L.+P. Junior Hermeskeil and the Karl Marx Musuem in Trier. The collections of these four museums provide the largest amount of interesting exhibits about Soviet and communist history outside the former USSR and Eastern Europe.
The Tupolev Tu-144
The main reason for visiting the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum (for Comtourist at least) is the possibility to see the majestic Tupolev Tu-144 aircraft. The Tu-144 was the Soviet response to the Concorde, the supersonic passenger plane developed by an Anglo-French consortium during the 1960s. Technical problems and crashes hampered the program and only 55 scheduled passenger flights were flown before the Tu-144 was taken out of service.
The CCCP-77112 of the Sinsheim Museum is one of Seventeen aircraft that were build and seven that still exist today. The six other Tu-144 aircraft are all in Russia and difficult to see, we already managed to see the Tu-144 displayed in the Russian Air Force Museum at Monino another can be seen in the Museum of Civil Aviation in Ulyanovsk. Two more Tu-144’s are on display during the bi-annual MAKS air show on Zhukovskiy LII air field near Moscow. The CCCP-77112 went trough 50 test flights before it obtained the certificate of airworthiness in the early 1980’s, it never operated with passengers unlike the Tu-144S models since the program was already cancelled.
The Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum bought the CCCP-77112 for $500.000 in 2000 and shipped it to Germany and was placed on the roof of the museum. The Tu-144 is displayed in take-off position, allowing visitors some great photo opportunities. The airplane can be entered via a stairway into the luggage compartment at the rear of the fuselage. Most of the seats have been removed, only a view sections are left in place. The interior and toilets of the aircraft still look modern and represent the pinnacle of 1970s Soviet design. Visitors can look inside the cockpit through a plastic window. The cockpit is packed with fancy instruments and equipments, flying this bird must have been required a lot of training. Looking inside the Tu-144 fully lived up to our expectations, go to the Sinsheim Photo Page to see all the photos we shot from the interior and the exterior of this magnificent plane.
Ilyushin and Tupolev passenger planes
The museum has many more passenger aircraft on display besides the Tu-144 and the Concorde. The USSR is further represented by an Ilyushin Il-14P, Ilyushin Il-18E and a Tupolev Tu-134A-3. The Ilyushin Il-14P was developed during the early 1950s as a replacement for the DC-3 and its Soviet copy, the Lisunov Li-2. The Il-14 of the museum was in service with Polish Air Force and repainted in Bulgarian Air Transport colours by the museum after it was purchased in 1988. The Il-14 is displayed as walk-in aircraft, the seats are removed and the cockpit and toilet are displayed behind glass.
The Tupolev Tu-134A and the Ilyushin Il-18, also on display in the museum made up the backbone of many Eastern Bloc civil air fleets. The Ilyushin Il-18E was in service with Ceskoslovenske Aerolinie, the national airline of Czechoslovakia and the Tupolev Tu-134A-3 with the Hungarian National Airline Malev until 1988. The Il-18 is used as entrance for the slide on the children’s playground.
Soviet and Czechoslovakian Military aircraft
Four Soviet and one Czechoslovakian military aircraft can be found both indoors and outdoors on the Museum terrain. Many were bought in East Germany after the wall collapsed in 1989. A MiG-15 displayed indoors is painted in the colours of the Soviet aerobatic team of the Moscow Air Defence Troops. The Czechoslovakian Aero L-39ZO Albatros trainer displayed as in a dive is probably one of the most beautiful aircraft ever build.
A Sukhoi Su-22M4 painted in a fantasy scheme flew in the East German Navy before it was moved to the museum. A MiG-23ML from the East German Air Force is displayed side ways on the parking place of the Museum. A former East German Air Force Mil Mi-8T helicopter, displayed at the military outdoors section is now painted in the colours of the German Air Force.
Soviet and Czechoslovakian Civilian aircraft
Four Smaller Soviet and Czechoslovakian civilian aircraft can be found in the museum, al displayed in the large main exhibition hall. The Antonov An-2T painted in Red Army colours is displayed between a wide range of military items. An Aeroflot Kamov Ka-26D that was build in 1873 for the national airline hangs on the ceiling of the building. Also hanging around are the Czechoslovakian Cmelak Let Z-37-A crop-duster and the Let L-13 Blanik glider.
The Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum has a large collection of Military equipment on display both inside and outdoors. Many top pieces originate from the German army of World War II, but there are also enough Soviet exhibits on display. The museum owns three T-34/85 tanks, two are displayed outside. A T-34 with a Polish National Roundel and tank crew is found inside the main exhibition hall. The outdoors exhibitions also display a T-55 and a T-72.
Further Red Army heavy equipment include a BTR-152 Armored Personnel Carrier that was replaced by the BTR-60 in 1970 but was still in service until 1993. The BTR-60 is also present, 25.000 were produced, many are still in service today. The BMP-1 amphibious infantry fighting vehicle was produced between 1962 and 1982 and used by many Warsaw Pact armies. A World War II SU-100 tank destroyer is painted in what looks like winter cammo. The giant MoAZ 6014 is a civilian vehicle used as a scraper for earth moving.
The Red Army artillery is represented by ZiS-2 and ZiS-3 guns from World War II that are often found in museums. Both ZiS guns in the museum were captured and then used by the Germans. The 3.7 CM M-39 flak gun was also widely used by he Soviets as anti aircraft weapon. The 21cm M40 cannon was build by Skoda and could fire 25 rounds per hour and had a reach of 30km. The 21-CM Kanone 39 is another giant Czech cannon that saw action with the German army during the Siege of Odessa, the Siege of Leningrad and the Siege of Sevastopol.
Three different Gaz 67B models are displayed in the indoor military exposition. The GAZ-67B was an improved version of the GAZ-67 and was produced from 1943 to 1953 when it was replaced by the GAZ-69. The GAZ 46 amphibious military vehicle that was a Soviet copy of the American Ford GPA used by the Soviets under the land leased program. Also spotted between the many military items is a pilot wearing a VKK-6M Pressure Suit and GSh-6A high altitude Helmet.
East German and Soviet military uniforms
The museum owns a large collection of military uniforms including East German and Soviet exhibits. These uniforms are not rare but it is always interesting to see a sizable collection. The uniforms include an artillery Captain of the NVA in parade tunic, indentified by the 3 star shoulder patch. An General Major of the NVA wears a red shoulder patch indicating army. The Under Lieutenant uniform probably belonged to the 1st Motorized Rifle Division. A Lieutenant Colonel is highly decorated with three Merit of the National People’s Army Medals and the Medal For Faithful Service in the National People’s Army. The Sub Officer wears a camouflage field uniform with an ushanka.
The uniform of the highest ranking officer belongs to an Admiral of the Volksmarine (GDR navy), the highest rank of the East German Navy. Only three persons have held this rank; Waldemar Verner, Wilhelm Ehm and Theodor Hoffmann, it is unknown to who this uniform had belonged to. Three female uniforms are on display. An East German Border Troops uniform can be recognized by the green Corps colours of the insignia. Also a Major uniform and a Master Sergeant uniform, possibly from the Military Band indicated by the White Corps Colours.
The Free German Youth (FDJ) Pioneers where young people that were shaped as ideal members of a new socialist society, like the Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany. A NVA soldiers Private wears the standard camouflage field uniform with M-56 helmet that was originally designed by the Nazi’s in 1942. A Soviet Air Force uniform is recognized by the blue felt collar tabs on gold with para device and blue felt shoulder boards with yellow CA. Another Soviet Air Force field uniform was probably worn by servicemen working on airfields or other Air Force facilities. A Soviet Tank Commander wears a cotton duck cloth helmet with integrated communication system.
Soviet War medals
One interesting exhibit on display is a Soviet uniform with a large collection of medals. The medals belonged to a commander of a tank regiment who fought during World War II and remained in the service until 1989. The medals include the Order of the Patriotic War, the Order of the Red Star, the Medal for participation in the War in Afghanistan, the Order of the Red Banner of Labour, two Orders of the Badge of Honour and a Chinese medal.
East German Army memorabilia
The East German uniform section is completed with a collection of NVA (East German Peoples Army) memorabilia. The collection includes a Para Troopers Barrette, medals and various Army patches. There is also a collection of GDR memorial banners celebrating the 25th anniversary of the NVA and the 20th anniversary of the GDR. A Varity of GDR documents including a passports and charters that were awarded for outstanding socialist activities completes the collection.