By Ms. Yvonne Johnson (Army Homepage)December 6, 2010
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - In 1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt died after 12 years in office, linoleum kitchen rugs were all the rage, and a gallon of gasoline cost 15 cents.
It was also the year Anzio Annie became the star of the Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Annie is the Krupp K5 German heavy railway gun famous for the shelling of Allied Forces at the Anzio beachhead in Italy during World War II.
Hailed as one of the largest land-based cannons ever built, Annie was discovered by Allied troops on a railroad siding outside of Rome in 1944 and was shipped to the Ordnance Museum the following year.
After a 65-year stay at APG, Annie was disassembled during the week of Nov. 15 in preparation for her move to the new home of Ordnance at Fort Lee, Va.
The Meadow Lark Transportation Company and the A&A Rigging Company conducted the dismantling and loading of Annie, under the supervision of museum director Christopher Semancik and logisticians from the Ordnance School's Base Realignment and Closure Office and the garrison's Directorate of Logistics.
The job required not only skill but innovation. During the dismantling process, riggers were forced to create a tool to remove rusted bolts that were resisting up to 50,000 pounds of pressure from hydraulic jacks. It took more than two days to remove the pins from Annie's undercarriage.
"We knew there'd be hurdles," said Tom Anhalt, A&A Rigging sales manager. "You always expect them in a job this size."
A 200-ton and a 130-ton crane were needed to lift Annie's gun tube. When it was found to weigh more than expected-in excess of 200,000 pounds-it was determined that it would travel to Virginia by railcar.
Contractor Robert Cade, owner of Meadow Lark, said the operation was more material- than time-sensitive.
"You can't rush these things, especially when you're dealing with one-of-a-kind items like this," Cade said. "We have to get it right the first time."
With the relocation of the Ordnance Museum, plans continue for the opening of the APG Museum in 2011. The new museum will house artifacts and historical items of Aberdeen Proving Ground and the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, which relocated at APG from Fort Monmouth, N.J.