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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 2)

 



Road Registration.

A Kettenkrad can be road registered in most states of most countries. Normally the only additions that have to be made are stop lights and blinkers at the rear and conversion of the front marker lights to blinkers by altering the wiring and installing a blinker switch and blinker can.
The Kettenkrad does come with a tail light, but it is not considered acceptable in most countries due to the small size of the light openings.
The factory tail light is the Notek military tailight seen on everything from motor bikes to tanks. It is an intriguing design that depends on a quirk of human eyesight dependant upon 4 openings and one light bulb. The gap between the centre 2 openings is greater than that between them and the outer openings such that:

1)  300m down to 33m you see one light.
2)  33m down to 25m you see 2 lights.
3)  25m down to 0m you see 4 lights.

The idea being to see 2 lights when in convoy.
The tailight has a flap that can be re-positioned to reveal a more normal stop and tail light.



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Notek tailight and headlight details from the manual.


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Notek headlight cut-away view from the manual.


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Notek tailight with cover flap in the up position to reveal normal tail lights.


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Notek tailight with cover flap in the down position to reveal spacer tail lights. Not shown is the number plate light appeture with its cover.


The majority were built without a conventional headlight and it seems to be almost universal to fit a large German (either post-war or the very hard to get wartime) motor bike headlight as seen on the early production vehicles.
Brackets have to be fabricated for this purpose.
Late production vehicles came only with the integral Notek Tarnscheinwerfer (Blackout Driving Light) mount on the front mudguard. The Notek light is the one that is strongly reminisent of a German army helmet.

Next consideration is tracks. The track was designed to be fitted with replaceable rubber pads - which are vulcanised to steel attachment plates. It is obvious when the track links are studied, that it was never intended that the track would be run without these pads in place. The pads are meant to be sacrifical and do no damage to the road surface, expected life is around 2,500km on sealed roads. Rubber smeering can be seen where turns take place on concrete surfaces and soon disappears. Thus, for road registration, the vehicle is acceptable.

The question arises as to whether or not a Kettenkrad is a "motor bike" or a "car" (in English terminology). The Germans are of no help in this respect, as WW2 German official literature has been found using terms that fall into both categories.
The skills used to drive the vehicle are those applicable to a tracked vehicle, but with the alertness of a motor bike rider as far as other road users are concerned.
A registration official determined to class it as a motor bike can be quickly frustrated by the removal of the front wheel and demonstation of the vehicle in this conditon. The manual even states that for usage over very rough ground the front wheel can be removed to prevent it being damaged. Likewise if a puncture occurs and can not be mended on the spot it is permissible to remove the wheel and still drive the vehicle. For prolonged usage in rough areas it is possible to remove the entire fork and fork suspension, leaving just the handle bars and esential items.
You just drive it as you would any full tracked vehicle.


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A US soldier drives a Kettenkrad past some German artillery. For what ever
reason, the front wheel and suspension has been removed, yet the vehicle is still
driveable - just like the manual states.



Then there is the subject of helmets. If the Kettenkrad has been registered in the "normal" category then technically helmets aren't required - your state, country or authorities may have a different view!
If registered in the "bike" category, then helmets are usually a requirement.
Generally, if it has one number plate, usually just a rear one, it is a "bike": two number plates, one front and one rear, means it is in "normal" category. Which is why you see people driving around in open top sports cars, with no roll over protection and no helmets.

The above just about covers the registration issues except for whether the Kettenkrad is on "full" registration or on a limited system such as "Vintage", "Historic" or permit based, which all vary in requirements.

Personally, my experience has been that in any military vehicle, it is the other road users that you have to worry about. The SUV drivers with the stereo at full blast in their powerful urban 4 wheel drives are far more a threat to you than you are to them. Almost any driver of old vehicles has a story to recount of being hassled by fast accelerating, hard braking, impatient drivers in modern cars, quite often talking on mobile phones.

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