Wednesday, February 9, 2011

DAK GUNS - Pkw.K1 (type 82) KÜBELWAGEN

Pictures of a Kübelwagen's in use by the Afrikakorps

Rommel was the first General to use the Volkswagen during the military operation in France. He was so impresed by it that he, afterwards, when he was in charge of the Afrika Korps, reordered an ever increasing nunber of these vehicles. The Kübelwagen distinguished itself immediatly by is enormous efficiency on all kind of terrain, in spite of its small horse power (hardly 24 HP) and the drive on the rear-wheels only.

The project dated back to December 1939, when Ferdinand Porsche designed a military version of the Volkswagen (people's car), an automobile, wich he himself had created upon Hitler's personal request for a cheap car wich the average family could efford. In the beginning, the vehicle called Volkswagen 82 "Kübelwagen" was not hailed with enthusiasm. The military staff were rathed sceptical about the rear position of the air-cooled motorand the lack of a 4-wheel drive.

DAK Kübelwagen in the National War Museum in Canberra - Australia
Thanks to Steve Anderson
But after it had proved useful during the invation of Poland, all doubts were dismissed and its qualities were considered the same from that time on, the car was distributed to all Whermacht units. And in course of the time, it replaced the motorcycles of reconnaissance and liason units, and with the commands.

By the end of the war, the total output of the factory at wolfburg were 52.000 Volkswagen 82. The vehicle could be armed with a machine gun type MG 34.

Production of Kübelwagens at the Wolfburg factory
The make-up of the Kübelwagen was very simple as it looked as though it was constructed with steel plate just fastened together. Needless to say, this simple constrution aimed at the increasing the number of production. The basic structure of its chassis was a single-piece central tube fixed with respective suspensions in front and at the rear. Further, the floor plate of the body was in the form of rib in order to reinforce strength of the central tube. The body was basically made of steel-pipes covered with light-weigth steel plates. These pipes also served as hand-rails for the crew to support them when running on bad road.

Overall length:3.73m
Overall height:1.65m
Gap between chassis and ground:29.2cm
Engine:Air-cooled level opposite 4-cylinder 4-cycle 1.131cc engine
Maximum power:24.5 HP/3000 rpm
Speed change gear:Forward, 4-step; backward, 1-step
Maximum speed:85Km/h
Cruising range:About 400Km
NOTE: Engine 4-cylinder-985 cc VW 23.5 HP at 3000 rpm, production until March 1943. Afterwards 1.131cc engine with 25 HP at 3000 rpm.

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