Maultier

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Maultier
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-559-1085-07, Italien, Flugzeug Me 323 Gigant, Opel "Maultier".jpg
Opel Maultier exiting a Me-323.
TypeHalf-track
Place of originGermany Nazi Germany
Service history
In service1941 - 1945
WarsWorld War II
Production history
Designed1941
No. built20945
Specifications
Mass3,930 kg (8,660 lb) to 5,500 kg (12,100 lb)[1]
Length5.95 -7.9 m
Width2.25 -2.36 m
Height2.1 - 3.2 m
Crew2

Armornone
Engine3.6-litre 6-cyl petrol engine(Opel Blitz)
Speed36-38 km/h

Maultier or Sd.Kfz. 3 (en: "Mule") is the name given to series of half-track trucks used by Germans during World War II. They were based on Opel, Mercedes-Benz, Alfa-Romeo or Ford trucks.

Production[edit]

The vehicles were built by Opel at the Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz AG and also in France in the Ford factory in Asnieres.In 1942 a total of 635 vehicles were produced, 1943 there were 13,000 and 1944 only 7,310[2]

History[edit]

Soon after invading the USSR, German troops discovered that their wheeled transport vehicles were unsuitable for the sparse road network, particularly in the muddy conditions of the rasputitsa. Only half tracks like the Sd.Kfz. 11 could haul supplies to forward units in these conditions, but removing them from their combat role for supply duties was not feasible, so it was decided to produce half-tracked versions of standard Opel, Daimler-Benz, Alfa-Romeo and Ford trucks (lorries) by removing their rear axles, truncating the prop shafts and connecting them to redundant Panzer I track assemblies. Heavier trucks (4 tons payload) were fitted with Panzer II track assemblies.

Horstmann suspension components employed by the Panzer I was practically identical to the light tank track system used on the Universal Carrier, with the Maultier's use of them closely resembling the roadwheel/suspension system used by the T16 American-produced version in its roadwheel design. Most Maultier conversions were based on Opel Blitz model S trucks, which proved successful in service.

Although they lacked the overall mobility of purpose-built half tracks, they were cheaper and sufficiently effective. From 1943 some Maultier trucks were fitted with armored bodies, designated Sd.Kfz. 4.[3] Some of these were armed with 10 tubed rocket launcher Panzerwerfer 42, and were designated Sd.Kfz.. 4/1.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage, "German Military Vehicles of World War II: An Illustrated Guide to Cars", p. 112
  2. ^ "Lexikon der Wehrmacht". www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Germany's Maultier ("mule")". Retrieved 19 June 2013.