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DRB Class 52, the best-known Kriegslokomotive

Kriegslokomotiven (singular: Kriegslokomotive) were German 'war locomotives', produced in large numbers during the Second World War, whose construction was tailored to the economic circumstances of wartime Germany, such as shortages of materials, goods transportation (in support of military logistics), ease of maintenance under difficult conditions, resistance to extreme weather, limited life and rapid, cheap, mass production. In order to meet these requirements, economic drawbacks such as relatively high fuel consumption had to be reckoned with.


The Kriegslokomotiven were kept as technically simple as possible and the use of scarce materials (particularly copper) was generally avoided. For example, German electric locomotives were given aluminium windings in the traction motors and transformers, and the steam engines had steel fireboxes, hence the name Heimstofflok or 'home-grown loco'.

The manufacture of electric locos as Kriegslokomotiven has to be seen as a special case, because they could only be used in the core network where there was the working infrastructure able to supply the current: power stations, overhead transmission lines, electricity substations and catenary. As a rule, locomotives were preferred that were dependent on additional infrastructure as little as possible.


A Kriegslokomotive usually had two classifications: one based on the normal peacetime classification system and a separate wartime classification. For example, a wartime steam locomotive or Kriegsdampflokomotive (KDL) was given a KDL class as well as its DRG (Deutsche Reichsbahn) class. Likewise a wartime motor locomotive or Kriegsmotorlokomotive had a KML class number and a wartime electric locomotive or Kriegselektrolokomotive would have a KEL class number. Besides the DRG, the German Armed Forces had their own locomotive classes: an Army locomotive was known as a Heeresfeldbahnlokomotive or HF and a Wehrmacht engine as a Wehrmachtslokomotive or WR.

The following classes of Kriegslokomotive were procured by the Deutsche Reichsbahn and other customers (industrial and military railways) during the Second World War:

Steam locomotives (Kriegsdampflokomotive)
  • DRB Class 52 (KDL 1)
  • DRB Class 53 (KDL 2) - not completed.
  • DRG Class 42 (KDL 3)
  • ELNA 6 0-8-0T industrial (KDL 4)
  • 0-10-0T industrial (KDL 5)
  • 0-8-0T industrial (KDL 6)
  • 0-6-0T industrial (KDL 7)
  • 0-4-0T industrial (KDL 8)
  • 900 mm gauge 0-6-0T industrial (KDL 9)
  • 900 mm gauge 0-4-0T industrial (KDL 10)
  • HF 160 D (KDL 11)
  • HF 70 C (KDL 12)
  • Henschel "Riesa" type construction locomotive, austere version, (KDL 13)
Internal combustion locomotives (Kriegsmotorlokomotive)
Electric locomotives (Kriegselektrolokomotive)
  • DRG Class E 44 (KEL 1)
  • DRG Class E 94 (KEL 2)
  • Bo′Bo′Bo′ mining (KEL 3)
  • 900 mm gauge Bo′Bo′ mining (KEL 4)
  • 550–630 mm gauge Bo industrial (KEL 5)
  • 550–630 mm gauge Bo′Bo′ mining (KEL 7)
  • Bo Battery-electric mining (KEL 7, KEL 8, KEL 9)
Fireless steam locomotives (Dampfspeicherlokomotive)
  • 0-6-0 (KFL 1)
  • 0-4-0 (KFL 2)


  • Alfred B. Gottwaldt: Deutsche Kriegslokomotiven 1939 - 1945, Transpress, ISBN 3-344-71032-X
  • Alfred B. Gottwaldt: Deutsche Eisenbahnen im Zweiten Weltkrieg / Rüstung, Krieg und Eisenbahn (1939 - 1945), Kosmos, ISBN 3-440-05161-7

See also[edit]


  1. ^

External links[edit]