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kleines Kettenkraftrad (Sd. Kfz. 2)

 

 

 

 

 

Development of a small, cross-country mobile towing vehicle – which was intended for forestry – was started by NSU in Neckarsulm in 1938. The track drive assembly was very similar to the one used by the half-track vehicles of the Wehrmacht. It had interleaved road wheels which were spring-suspended by trailing arms and torsion bars. The smeared track had rubber pads. Because of the small width of only 1m one resigned a front axle. It was steered by a single front wheel with a handlebar similar to a motorcycle. The construction allowed driving without front wheel. But this was only rarely done. It was propelled by a 1.5 litres Opel engine – the same engine was used for the Opel Olympia. The characteristic features of the construction allowed a top speed of nearly 80 km/h, an enormous pulling force and a surpassing cross-country mobility. The first testing vehicles were manufactured in 1939. At first, the Wehrmacht was not interested in this construction. Later, a test series of 70 exemplars was ordered which was delivered early in 1940. These vehicles were designated Versuchs Kraftfahrzeug 620. After intensive trials by NSU and the Heeres-Versuchsstelle - where several shortcomings were identified and fixed – production of an improved pilot series of 500 vehicles was started in July 1940. Due to low production priority, it lasted to late 1941 when the last vehicle of this series was finished. The vehicles of the pilot series were used for intensive troop-trials where the Kettenkrad served very well. The official introduction of the vehicle as kleines Kettenkraftrad (Sd. Kfz. 2) took place on 21st June 1941. Serial production started in 1942 with much higher production priority. Exact production numbers are unknown because production numbers of 1945 are only partly available. Most probably 8,700 to 9,000 vehicles were manufactured until the end of war.
The units which received the Kettenkrad at first were Gebirgsjäger and Jäger. The Kettenkrad was used as towing vehicle for light guns and as transportation vehicle for small loads in heavy terrain by these units. Soon after, the Fallschirmjäger got the Kettenkrad as towing vehicle for their recoilless guns and light anti tank guns. The corps of signals used the Kettenkrad in larger numbers, too. The only official variants of the Kettenkrad – the kleines Kettenkraftrad für Feldfernkabel (Sd. Kfz. 2/1) and the kleines Kettenkraftrad für schweres Feldkabel (Sd. Kfz. 2/2) – were used for building telephone lines.
Later, the Kettenkrad was used by nearly all motorized units. They were mainly used for liaison duties and supply duties during the mud periods and winter. Beginning in 1944, the Kettenkrad was used by the Luftwaffe as tractor for aircrafts.

 

 

 

 

 

Production model:

Year of construction:

Engine:

Quantity:

 

 

HK 101 (testing series)

1939-1940

Opel 1.5 litres

70

 

 

HK 101 (pilot series)

1940-1941

Opel 1.5 litres

500

 

 

HK 101

1942-1945

Opel 1.5 litres

ca. 8,400

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variants:

 

 

 

 

 

Designation of the motor vehicle:

Abbreviated designation:

Quantity:

 

 

kleines Kettenkraftrad (Sd. Kfz. 2)

kl. Kett. Krad. (Sd. Kfz. 2)

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kleines Kettenkraftrad für Feldfernkabel (Sd. Kfz. 2/1)

kl. Kett. Krad. f. Fe. Fe. Kab. (Sd. Kfz. 2/1)

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kleines Kettenkraftrad für schweres Feldkabel (Sd. Kfz. 2/2)

kl. Kett. Krad. f. schw. Fe. Kab. (Sd. kfz. 2/2)

?

 

 

 

 

 

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