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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's SdKfz 2 kleines Kettenrad (small half-track)

Design

The SdKfz 2 kleines Kettenrad was initially developed for the German army and Luftwaffe airborne and paratrooper units.1,2 The Kettenrad was intended as a towing vehicle for the 37 mm Pak 35/36 antitank gun.1

After the heavy losses in Crete the paratrooper units fought as ground troops and it's original purpose was not longer needed. From then on it was primarily used as supply vehicles, that could cross mud and sand very easily.

Crew

There was seats for two crewman at the rear and they faced to the rear.1 Often the seats were removed to make room to carry more supplies.1

Towing

There was a pindle for attaching a weapon or a trailer that would be towed at the rear.1 Towing capacity was 992 lbs.

Engine

The engine was located behind the driver.1

Production

  • SdKfz 2 kleines Kettenrad: 8,345
    • Production: 1941 - 19443

Variants

  • NSU-101, HK 101: Prototype.1,2
  • SdKfz 2/1 kleines Kettenrad: Used to lay telephone cable.1
  • SdKfz 2/2 kleines Kettenrad: Used to lay heavy-duty cable for switchboards.1
  • HK 102: Prototype.2 Carried spools to lay telephone wire.2,3 Had a larger engine than the Kettenrad.1

Usage

Crete

The Kettenrad was first used in the Battle of Crete in 1941.1,2 Ju 52s could transport the Kettenrad.2

After the heavy losses in Crete the Kettenrad wasn't needed for airborne operations so it was relegated to ground troops.1,3

Specifications

  SdKfz 2 kleines Kettenrad
Crew 31,2,3
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 2,640 lb3, 2,646 lb1
1,200 kg1,3
Weight - empty 1,235 kg2
Weight - loaded 1,560 kg2
Length 8' 11.9"1,3
2.74 m1,3, 3 m2
Height 3' 3.8"1,3
1.01 m1,3, 1.2 m2
Width 3' 3.4"1,3
1 m1,2,3
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) Opel2, Opel Olympia 381,3
Cylinders 4
Net HP 361,2,3
Transmission (type)  
Fuel (type) Gasoline1,3
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 49.7 mph1,3
61.5 kph2, 80 kph1,3
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 62.5 miles3
100 km3
Range - Cross Country  
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. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site