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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Maultier ("mule")

Photos

3.7cm FlaK 36 auf Maultier:
Germany's 3.7cm FlaK 36 auf Maultier
Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-297-1743-17, Kurth

Design

The Maultiers were created because it was found that during the first winter in the Soviet Union it became evident that wheeled vehicles were unable to deal with the terrible road conditions. A low cost halftrack was needed to perform a regular truck's duties.

Conversions

Two ton trucks made by Opel, Ford, and Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz, and a four ton truck made by Mercedes-Benz were converted.

Tracks

The rear axle was removed and a track, made from PzKpfw II parts, were added.

Production

The Heer ordered 3,000 conversions to the Nebelwerfer model to be made.

Variants

  • Maultier; Gleisketten-Lkw, 2t, Maultier:
  • 3.7cm Flak 36 auf Maultier: Had 3.7cm FlaK 36 gun installed.
  • Wurfgranate 41: Rocket vehicle. A 10 barrel 15-cm Panzerwerfer 42 / 15 cm Nebelwerfer was mounted. First used in 1943. There were three in the crew. 3,000 were ordered.
  • ?: Rocket launcher wasn't mounted and vehicle used as ammunition carrier.

Usage

The Maultier was used mostly on the Eastern Front. It didn't perform as well as the regular half-tracks but did well enough for moving supplies.

Specifications

  Maultier, "Mule", 3 ton
Crew 3
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Weight - Empty 3,930 kg
Weight - Loaded 5,930 kg
Length 6 m
Height 2.71 m
Width 2.28 m
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Opel
Cylinders  
Net HP 68
Transmission (type)  
Fuel (type)  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 38 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type) Wheels: Longed ditto
Tracks: Spring
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  
  Maultier, 5 ton
Crew 3
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 15,620 lb
7,100 kg
Weight - Empty 7,740 kg
Weight - Loaded 12,700 kg
Length 19' 8.2"
6 m, 7.9 m
Height 8' 6"
2.5 m, 3 m
Width 7' 2.6"
2.2 m, 2.36 m
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 7.92 mm MG
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 8 - 10
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Mercedes Benz
Cylinders 6
Net HP 91, 112
Transmission (type)  
Fuel (type) Diesel, Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 30 mph
36 kph, 38 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 81.25 miles
130 km
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth 2'
0.6 m
Trench crossing 3' 3"
1 m
Vertical Obstacle 6' 6.7"
2 m
Suspension (Type) Wheels: Longed ditto
Tracks: Spring
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  
  Wurfgranate 41
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Length  
Height  
Width  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 15 cm Nebelwerfer 41
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Cylinders  
Net HP  
Transmission (type)  
Fuel (type)  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  2. Halbkettenfahrzeuge, German Half-Track Vehicles 1939-1945, J. Williamson, 1972
  3. German Tanks and Armoured Vehicles 1914 - 1945, B. T. White, 1966
  4. Profile, AFV Weapons #55, German Self-Propelled Weapons, Peter Chamberlain, H.L. Doyle, 1973
  5. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site