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T A N K SC A R R I E R SG U N SA R M O U R E D   C A R S

 

"SdKfz 2 Kleines Kettenkraftrad".

Operating a Kettenkrad.

   (Ver 3)

 



Overview.

The Kettenkrad occupies a unique place in the design history of military vehicles. It's closest equivalent on the Allied side would probably be the American "High Speed Tractor" series and possibly the British Bren (Universal) Carrier. Unlike that vehicle however it is not armoured.
All of these vehicles were intended to be road capable tracked vehicles, the reality being that they would spend probably more time on roads than they would cross country. The quality of those roads however would have been expected to be often poor.


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Sloughing through the Russian mud.


The Kettenkrad was designed by Heinrich Ernst Kniepkamp in June 1939, a German engineer/inventor who had a liking for torsion bar suspension and also it would seem for those characteristic overlapping wheels seen on many German tracked vehicles. He also happened to be the head engineer at the government department WaPruf 6 in charge of German tank development. So now you know why the German fascination with overlapping wheels and torsion bars: if you are a manufacturer and want your design to win a contract then it can't hurt to tailor it to the preferences of the person who has a big say in which design is accepted.

The original terminology applied to the vehicle did not include the term for "motor bike", as it was not considered such by the authorities. However, it would appear that the use of a motor bike front end meant that the popular perception was that it was a bike with tracks. It is surprising that officialdom conceded to using what is essentially a misnomer.

The bane of most Kettenkrad owners is that when they have their vehicle on display there is always someone who in a loud voice declares "what a stupid design, why did they put that front wheel on there, it obviously doesn't do anything". It is hard to reason with someone who has proclaimed to all within hearing range their assessment of the vehicle: based on nothing more than a quick look.

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