Whats it like to drive a half track?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by kfz, Apr 12, 2006.

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  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    So can anyone cite any postwar halftracks other than the Landrover Centaur? I think there may be one or two but i'd have to trawl through the pile of 'Wheels and tracks' to find out. (not counting m3/m5 going on into Israeli service, still a 30's/40's design)
    Odd that a whole type of vehicle belongs exclusively to such a short period. Wheels can do it so much better now.
     
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    There was a small vehicle used by the Bundeswehr Airbourne forces in the 70s/80s that looked very much like the forerunner of the modern Quad Bike. I've been trying to find a picture of one on the net without sucess, but I'm sure someone out there can do a better job than me.

    Hope that's not too far of thread.

    FN AS24??
    Belgian concept based on those bizarre ball wheels?? they've got a name...errr... Straussler design....oh well, it'll come to me.
    this one?
    View attachment 131
    Not a very good picture, got some better ones of it roaring about with troops firing from it but they're on paper.
    Things like this do have relevance to 'the halftrack question' as they all seem to illustrate the death of the concept.

    (Above pic from http://tanxheaven.com/ljs/wings+wheels2004/wings+wheels2004.htm top site.)
     

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  3. plant-pilot

    plant-pilot Senior Member

    FN AS24??
    Belgian concept based on those bizarre ball wheels?? they've got a name...errr... Straussler design....oh well, it'll come to me.
    this one?
    View attachment 2517
    Not a very good picture, got some better ones of it roaring about with troops firing from it but they're on paper.
    Things like this do have relevance to 'the halftrack question' as they all seem to illustrate the death of the concept.

    No, that's not it. The one I remeber seeing is a 4 wheeled and German built.
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    No, that's not it. The one I remeber seeing is a 4 wheeled and German built.

    I know exactly the one you refer too. Spent ages too looking for a picture.
    Bit like a bedsted with wheels.

    It's the KRAKA
     

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  5. plant-pilot

    plant-pilot Senior Member

    That's about right. I've actually driven one which was used at Skydive Bad Sassendorf near Soest. It may have been small, but it was still powerful enough to be used as a tug for their big Dornier jump plane. Wish I'd got a picture when I was there.:mellow:
     
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  7. plant-pilot

    plant-pilot Senior Member

    That's the one. I was wracking my addled brain trying to remember what it was called. KraKa which is the abreviation for Kraftkarre (Power Trolly).

    Good find Owen
     
  8. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    That's the one. I was wracking my addled brain trying to remember what it was called. KraKa which is the abreviation for Kraftkarre (Power Trolly).

    Good find Owen

    i think the yanks had something similar in the 1960s called a mule
     
  9. Herroberst

    Herroberst Senior Member

    There was the Weasel(No Morse not a beer joke) It was a bathtub with tracks.
     
  10. plant-pilot

    plant-pilot Senior Member

    Another vehicle that probably took the same roll as a half-track was the US 6x6 Gamma Goat of the 1970s-80s. A 4 wheeled unit had a permanently attached fully articulated driven trailer. This would have improved cross country load carrying by ensuring that as many of the driven wheels remained on the ground as long as possible.

    It does seem like a sensible way of improving cross country performance and strange that the idea doesn't seem to have been tried anywhere else. The only thing I can think of it that the transmission must have been complicated and possibly prone to failure. But that's only a guess.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    It was definitely complexity that killed the goat. Drivers had to be specially trained to cope with the combination of 6x6, articulation, and apparently most confusingly, multi-wheeled steering. Wonderfully agile truck but yes, vastly overcomplicated. (they're also very noisy, i assume due to the sheer amount of moving parts). leaked in the water, noisy, etc. Killed by the emerging HmmV/W designs, thankfully for the troops using it simplicity (of sorts)winning out over complexity.
     
  12. plant-pilot

    plant-pilot Senior Member

    Thought that may be the case. But as a cross country load carrier they seemed like they did the job. The Hummvee is okay for a lot of things, but far too large for a 'Landrover' type vehicle and far too small for a reasonable load carrier. They were everywhere in Iraq, thousands of them, and they were either empty other than the driver and a passenger or bursting at the seams with kit hanging off all over the place and full of bodies (live ones!). So it seemed to me that they were not one thing or the other.
     
  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Bit like a bedsted with wheels.



    This is more like a bed-stead with wheels than the Kraka.
    Maybe this was in my mind when thinking of it.
    edit; I see morse mentioned the mule in post #48. Sorry chap only just noticed.

    125 Park Avenue

    M274 Mechanical Mule
    The Mule is probably the single most recognizable wheeled vehicle from the Vietnam conflict. The museum’s acquisition came in as a donation. The vehicle which stands today as a symbol of the Vietnam conflict, is in mint condition and totally complete. As the museum is currently working to include more emphasis on the Vietnam conflicts, the Mule could not have come at a better time!
    [​IMG]


    http://www.webewebbiers.com/vietnam/images/eglzkathleen/Army%20Mule%201970.jpg[​IMG]
     
  14. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    The little switch it the top of the headlight is the ignition and lighting switch, really typical German motorcycle feature, in fact my Mz (Mz was captured War booty by the soviets, ex DKW) in the eighties had one just like that.

    Hey! I used to have an MZ 150 as well:cheers: What a piece of junk!:p
    I painted it dark grey and stencilled the divisional sign for 20th Pz.Division !!
     
  15. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Senior Member

    For the WW 2 period some general commentary based on published comments on these vehicles in collections today:

    The Sdkfz 251: The unpowered front wheels make it difficult to steer at speed. Although the track braking function does help. The steering wheel is at an odd angle making it difficult to use. Visibility from the driver position is inadequite as there are only two vision slots giving a limited view even when open.

    The M 3 half-track. At low speeds it is an absolute brute. Turning takes alot of effort. Above about 20 mph things get easier and the powered front axle helps alot. Otherwise, it drives pretty much like a truck.

    The kettenkrad at speed is really hard to turn easily. This is due to the weight distribution not being forward so the front wheel has a low contact pressure.
     
  16. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    The kettenkrad at speed is really hard to turn easily. This is due to the weight distribution not being forward so the front wheel has a low contact pressure.


    Thanks for that T.A. I ve read some stuff about it sence. Read Sappers account of driving an M3. Seem pretty hard work.

    Not sure the kettenkrad had muxh to do with weight distrubution, the fact there no differential, its impossible to steer. Only ridden Trikes with no diff (their illegal now) and there lethal, reall got to move you weight onto the outside wheel and wrench load of pwer on to spin the inside wheel. Complete oppisite of any vehicle ive ever driven.

    Kev
     
  17. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    Hey! I used to have an MZ 150 as well:cheers: What a piece of junk!:p
    I painted it dark grey and stencilled the divisional sign for 20th Pz.Division !!

    Your a sad case ZR, You need help. I dont think the 20 Pan would have been seen dead with such a MZ. I loved mine. Went great. pitty about ther synthetic tyres and shit Russian main bearings.

    Kev
     
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A couple of shots from VE-Day, The Album.

    French Commander throws up a Nazi salute in Strasbourg.
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A rather unimpressed senior from the Kings Dragoon Guards
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    British Infantry using a M3 Half Track for cover in Cleve.
    [​IMG]
     

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