TM-E 30-451 Handbook on German Military Forces

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. — Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



1. General

In general, German military automotive equipment consists of adaptations of civilian types, and these in most cases do not reach the high standard of American or British vehicles either in reliability or performance. The German branches of Ford and General Motors appear to have been incapable of reproducing their prototypes with unimpaired efficiency. With half-tracked prime-movers and personnel-carriers, however, the Germans have excelled; in this class they have produced vehicles which have given excellent service and which are unrivaled for cross-country performance.

2. German Cars

a. LIGHT ARMY CAR (Volkswagen). (1) General. This four-seat vehicle was developed from the famous "People's Car", which in fact never came into the hands of the German people. The military version has a touring body with a folding top instead of the civilian sedan type body. The Volkswagen, the German equivalent of the American "Jeep", is inferior in every way except in the comfort of its seating accommodations.

(2) Chassis. The chassis consists of a central, welded-steel tube bifurcating at the rear to support the engine and transmission. The steel floor on both sides of the central member provides the means of supporting the body. The front axle consists of steel tubes which house the two torsion bars of the suspension. The body is of sheet steel.

(3) Power. The engine, mounted at the rear, develops 24.5 brake horsepower at 3,300 revolutions per minute. Its capacity is 985 cubic centimeters (60 cubic inches). It is air-cooled and has four cylinders, horizontally opposed in pairs. The gasoline tank is below the instrument panel in front of the right seat. There are four forward speeds, and one reverse. The maximum speed in high gear is about 50 miles per hour. The Volkswagen is a four-wheeled vehicle with two-wheel drive.

(4) Amphibious version. An amphibious version, known as the Schwimmwagen or le.P.Kw.K.2s, has an engine of slightly increased capacity (1,131 cubic centimeters or 69 cubic inches). The crankshaft is extended to the rear of the body and engages with the propeller-shaft by means of a dog clutch. When traveling overland, the propeller and shaft fold over the back of the vehicle. The body, which resembles a civilian sports car, is of thin welded sheet metal.

b. STANDARD CHASSIS I FOR LIGHT ARMY CAR. (1) Chassis. This chassis is of normal type, with a frame of rectangular section, side, and cross members and bracing to support the engine, transmission, and body. The hood is hinged down the center and fastened on each side by two clips. This chassis is used for the four-seat light car (Kfz. 1) and for a variety of radio and other special purpose vehicles.

(2) Engines. The engine is mounted at the front and may be any of the following types:

(a) Hanomag 2-Liter (122 cubic inches) Type 20 B. This is a water-cooled, four-cylinder O.H.V. gasoline engine with dry sump lubrication. It generates 50 brake horsepower at 3,500 revolutions per minute. Water pump, fan, and dynamo are driven by one V-belt from the cam-shaft.

(b) B.M.W. 2-Liter (122 cubic inches) Type 325. This engine is a water-cooled, six-cylinder (in-line) O.H.V. gasoline engine with dry sump lubrication, generating 45 brake horsepower at 4,000 revolutions per minute.

(c) Stoewer Types R 180 W and AW 2. These are both water-cooled, four-cylinder O.H.V. gasoline engines with dry sump lubrication. The R 180 W is a 1.750 cubic centimeter (106.75 cubic inches) model generating 43 brake horsepower at 3,600 revolutions per minute, and the AW 2 is a 2-liter (122 cubic inches) engine giving 50 brake horsepower at the same speed.

(3) Power. The power train is geared to all four wheels. The vehicle also has four-wheel steering, but the rear wheel steering mechanism may be locked. The gears give five forward speeds and one reverse. Maximum speed is 50 miles per hour. Ignition is by a 12-volt battery and coil. The main gasoline tank (13.25 gallons) is mounted at the rear, and the reserve tank (2.4 gallons) is in the engine compartment.

c. STANDARD CHASSIS I TYPE 40 FOR LIGHT ARMY CAR. This chassis, used for light staff cars and various special purpose vehicles, is practically the same as the Standard Chassis I, but has front wheel steering only. The engine is the Stoewer 2-liter (122 cubic inches) AW 2. The vehicle has a maximum speed of about 50 miles per hour.

d. LIGHT CAR, MERCEDES BENZ TYPE 170 V. (1) Chassis. The chassis, used for light staff cars and specialized vehicles, is X-shaped and supports the engine at the front. The front wheels are independently sprung by two parallel, semi-elliptic springs crossing the front of the vehicle. The rear wheel suspension is by coil springs. The engine is fitted beneath the hood, which is of normal type.

(2) Engine. The engine is the water-cooled, four-cylinder, 1,700 cubic centimeters (103.7 cubic inches) Mercedes Benz Type M 136. This is a side-valve, gasoline engine with an L-shaped cylinder head, with the camshaft and valve gear on the right side. The engine develops about 38 brake horsepower at 3,400 revolutions per minute. The fuel tank, located in the engine compartment, contains 11.5 gallons.

e. STANDARD CHASSIS FOR MEDIUM CAR. (1) Chassis. This is a conventional chassis used for staff cars, radio vehicles, and other specialized types and consisting of two parallel side members and various cross members and brackets. The engine is fitted at the front, and the wheels are sprung independently by two coil springs with double-action, hydraulic shock absorbers. The spare wheels are carried one on each side of the chassis on stub axles to prevent bellying when traveling over rough ground.

(2) Engines. The engine may be either of two types: Horch V-8 Type 901 (a water-cooled, 3.5-liter (213.5 cubic inches) gasoline engine developing 82 brake horsepower at 3,600 revolutions per minute), or an Opel straight-six (a water-cooled, 3.6 liter (219.6 cubic inches) O.H.V. gasoline engine developing 68 brake horsepower at 2,800 revolutions per minute). There are two gasoline tanks. The main tank, holding 18.7 gallons, is suspended in the center of the chassis frame, and the reserve tank holding 10.8 gallons, is at the rear. The main gear box has four forward speeds and one reverse, with an auxiliary gear box giving two ratios: normal and cross-country. All four wheels are driving wheels.

f. STANDARD CHASSIS II FOR HEAVY CAR. (1) Chassis. There are actually three known models of this chassis, all being similar in general appearance. Model EGa has stub axles carrying the spare wheels to assist in crossing rough ground, and four-wheel steering. The steering mechanism for the rear wheels can be locked. Model EGb has front wheel steering only. Model EGd has no anti-bellying support axles. The body usually fitted is a four-door touring type of clumsy appearance. The vehicle is used for a variety of purposes, including an artillery prime mover for light guns.

(2) Engine. The engine is the Ford 3.6-liter (219.6 cubic inches) V-8, developing 78 brake horsepower at 3,600 revolutions per minute. This is a side-valve model with L-type cylinder heads. There are five forward speeds and one reverse. The main (14.5 gallons) and subsidiary (17 gallons) gasoline tanks are supported within the chassis frame.

3. German Trucks

a. OPEL "BLITZ" 3-TON TRUCK TYPE 3.6-36 S. (1) Chassis. This vehicle, employed principally as a general purpose truck, has a variety of specialized bodies. There are actually three models: the 3.6-36 S, the original Chevrolet-type commercial vehicle; the 3.6-36 S (army model), which is modified to meet army specifications; and the 3.6-47 which is intended primarily for coaches and has a lengthened chassis. The vehicle has a normal rectangular type chassis, supporting the engine at the front.

(2) Power. The engine is a water-cooled, straight-six O.H.V. gasoline unit of 3.6 liters (219.6 cubic inches) capacity, developing about 68 brake horsepower. The gasoline tank (21.6 gallons) is situated under the driver's seat. The gear box gives five forward speeds and one reverse. The two rear wheels are the driving wheels.

b. OPEL "BLITZ" 3-TON TRUCK (TYPE 6700 A). This is essentially the four-wheel drive-version of the type 3.6-36S. The drive is taken from the five-speed main gear box to a transfer case. The transfer gears have two positions: one for roads and one for cross-country travel.

c. FORD 3-TON TRUCK (TYPES G 917 T AND G 997 T). These are both commercial models with two-wheel drive, slightly modified to meet army specifications. Both are powered by V-8 water-cooled gasoline engines developing about 78 brake horsepower. In the model G 917 T the capacity is 3.6 liters (219.6 cubic inches), increased to 3.9 liters (237.9 cubic inches) in the G 997 T by enlarging the bore. The gear box gives four forward speeds and one reverse. There is also a type G 987 T, a purely commercial model but very similar to the two army models.

d. MERCEDES BENZ 3-TON TRUCK (TYPE LCF 3000). (1) Chassis. The chassis is of welded construction with pressed steel cross-members. The engine is mounted at the front beneath a hood of normal type. Both front and rear axles are supported by two longitudinal, semi-elliptic springs, each of which has a two-way shock absorber.

(2) Power. The Diesel engine is a four-cylinder, O.H.V., water-cooled model of about 5 liters (305 cubic inches) capacity. The gear box gives four forward speeds and one reverse. There is an auxiliary gear box for selecting road or cross-country gear ratio. The driving power is carried to only two of the four wheels. Similar vehicles of Mercedes Benz manufacture also exist up to the 10-ton class. Some of the smaller ones may be found with gasoline engines, but in all the larger sizes only Diesels are used.

e. BÜSSING N.A.G. 4 1/2-TON DIESEL TRUCK. This is a conventional type of truck which performs satisfactorily under test. At the governed speed of 1,740 revolutions per minute, 93 brake horsepower was developed. Over a 100-mile road circuit with heavy traffic, the vehicle averaged 21.1 miles per hour, and the fuel consumption averaged 8.72 miles per gallon. The vehicle, during the test, carried a load of 6 3/4 tons without any difficulty.

f. HEAVY WHEELED PRIME MOVER Radschlepper Ost. (1) Description. This is a heavy prime mover with four large wheels, intended for use on the Russian front. This vehicle should not be confused with the Raupenschlepper Ost, a fully-tracked prime mover also intended for use on the Russian front.

(2) Specifications.

Length  . . . . .  20 feet.
Width. . . . .7 feet 4 inches.
Height. . . . .10 feet.
Wheels (steel). . . . .Four, 4 feet 10 inches in diameter.
Engine. . . . .4-cylinder, in-line, air-cooled, 90 horsepower.
Fuel. . . . .Gasoline.
Capacity. . . . .6,024 cubic centimeters. (367.46 cubic inches.) (with 2-cylinder, air-cooled, 12 horsepower auxiliary starter engine).
Drive. . . . .4 wheel, with locking differential.
Gears. . . . .Five forward, one reverse.
Speed, road. . . . .6 miles per hour (average).
Weight unloaded. . . . .9 tons.
Useful load. . . . .4.5 tons
Trailed load. . . . .5.6 tons.
Winch capacity. . . . .5.6 tons.

g. HALF-TRACKED PRIME MOVERS AND PERSONNEL CARRIERS. These vehicles form the most successful series produced by the Germans, and have multifarious uses. Figure 60 gives brief comparative details of each. The dates given in column 3 refer to the presumed date of introduction. In the same column, the initial letters in the manufacturer's type are the initials of the original manufacturer. Thus DB stands for Daimler Benz, Bn for Büssing N.A.G., HL for Hansa-Lloyd (Borgward), D for Demag, H for Hanomag, and F for Famo. The original manufacturer may not be the exclusive maker of a particular type of vehicle, for certain types may be manufactured by several firms.

Figure 6: Comparitive Table of Various Types of German Half-Tracked Vehicles


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