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Weapons of World War Two

Kraftfahrzeug 1/20 K2s Schwimmwagen

Kraftfahrzeug 1/20 K2s Schwimmwagen

When in 1938 Doctor Ferdinand Porsche ended the study started by order from the Fuhrer about the construction of a popular vehicle, he did not imagine that his creation would survive the catastrophe of the war to become later one of the most known cars in the world. And so, four decades later the Volkswagen continued rolling undaunted in spite of their mechanics being, at least regarding the 1200, practically identical to those of the car that Hitler tested and of which he was enthusiastic.

It was true that the vehicle was still not at the reach of every wallet, but it was expected, and probably with reason, that as soon as Germany had left behind those moments of transition, almost every German could acquire one. On the other hand, the Volkswagen was not excessively expensive, at least regarding the costs of production, and it revealed itself from the beginning as an exceptionally robust vehicle fitted with a highly reliable engine. Hence, there were a thousand of good motives for the military to take interest, sooner or later, about the newcomer, and so it happened promptly.

In charge of developing a family of military vehicles, Doctor Porsche started immediately the work, which besides he solved in the brightest way, resorting many times to uncommon means and solutions, but which always fully answered the requirements ordered. To start, we should note that the development of this series of vehicles was made starting from different bases to those which, for example, used the American company Willys for its Jeep. While this one should be a vehicle destined to "general purposes", the German technicians initially focused in a simple light reconnaissance and liaison vehicle, directly derived from the first Volkswagen "Beetle" with few modifications in the bodywork.

When later, and after the beginning of the campaign in Russia, the Wehrmacht realized about the necessity of an amphibious vehicle able to ford rather more than the few dozens of centimeters that a normal car can overcome, it was prepared with Teutonic thoroughness a new transport that did not ford the rivers, but that crossed them navigating, at a speed of 12 kilometers/hour, little more than six nautical knots. It had been born the Schwimmwagen. This vehicle was practically no more than a "bathtub" fitted with wheels, so its buoyancy was foolproof; lacking the most minimal fissure, water would never leak inside. The crossing points of the torsion bar suspension to the hull were sealed by watertight gaskets.

To advance in the water, the vehicle used a propeller which usually was folded upwards. In the moment of using it, it was lowered and linked to a cap screw which was gearhead of the engine transmission, and the Schwimmwagen became a small motorboat. To steer the vehicle during navigation it was enough to turn the steering wheel, and the fore wheels acted as rudder. The production lines supplied, from the second half of 1942 to the summer of 1944, 14267 units that, along with the 52018 Kubelwagen (the first reconnaissance vehicles), would be used by the German Army. Simultaneously, the Americans, versus these 66285 reconnaissance vehicles, would manage to produce more than 640000 exemplars of the Jeep, but this is another history.

Year: 1941

Weight: 890 kilograms

Length: 3.285 meters

Width: 1.480 meters

Height: 1.615 meters

Engine: Volkswagen four cylinders of 1131 cubic centimeters and 25 horsepower, air-cooled

Maximum speed on land: 80 kilometers/hour

Maximum speed on water: 12 kilometers/hour

Operational range: 450 kilometers

Fuel deposit: 50 liters

Also in Weapons of World War Two:

Churchill Mark 2 infantry tank7TP light tankLVT 3 Bushmaster