Jacque Littlefield in front of his restored M551
“Sheridan”. When asked if he had a favorite vehicle,
he replied, “I don’t have a ‘favorite’ vehicle, but if I
could only keep one, this would be it.”
Photo by David Doyle
It is with deep regret that Military Vehicles Magazine shares the news of the death of Jacques Mequet Littlefield. Most recognize his name as one of the premier collectors of historic armored fighting vehicles. Littlefield, a devoted father and husband, loving son, philanthropist and hobbyist, succumbed to a decade-long struggle with cancer the morning of January 7. During his 59 years he became well known in this hobby for assembling one of the largest and highest quality private collections of military vehicles in the world, and generously making them available to researchers, writers and enthusiasts.
Featuring about 200 tanks, self-propelled guns, armored personnel carriers, anti-aircraft vehicles and other heavy combat vehicles, the collection ranged from an M1917 "Six-Ton Tractor" from World War I to a Russian T-72 used by Saddam Hussein's forces in the Iraq war. He painstakingly restored the vehicles and kept them in a football-field-size showroom on his ranch. In accordance with state and federal law, none of the tanks had functioning firing apparatus, but he did occasionally drive them around his 470-acre property.
A jewel in his collection is the German Panzer V Panther tank that the German army sank in a Polish river during World War II to keep it from the advancing Russians. The Panther sat submerged for decades, and Mr. Littlefield acquired it five years ago and began restoring it.
Mr. Littlefield's interest in tanks was largely technical, not based on their military or historical significance. His collection was not open to the public, but he gave private tours to about 4,000 historians, Boy Scouts, journalists and veterans a year. Beyond military vehicles, Jacques was also involved in live-steam railroading and championed open space in the San Francisco Peninsula.
He is survived by his wife Sandy Montenegro Littlefield, and five children: David, Scott, Allison, Jacques Jr. and Jeannik, one grandson, Kingsley; his mother Jeannik Mequet Littlefield; and two siblings, brother, Edmund Littlefield, Jr.; and sister, Denise Littlefield Sobel. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to one of the organizations Jacques supported: The Patton Museum, Cate School, the Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education, the California Academy of Sciences, the Hoover Institution, or the Filoli Center.
A true gentleman and dear friend of Military Vehicles Magazine, Jacques’ impact is without measure. He once said “….hopefully after I'm gone people will look back and say, 'Thank God he saved these historical vehicles instead of just letting them rust away and disappear forever.”
That legacy is assured.
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