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Nazi Germany used the Sd.Kfz.2 during the Second World War.
Sd.Kfz.2 is a shortened version of Sonderkraftfahrzeug 2 which translates to a ‘special purpose vehicle’ in German.
An alternative name was ‘Kleines Kettenkraftrad HK 101’ or ‘Kettenkrad’ for short. ‘Kleines’ means ‘small’ and then, ‘ketten’ means ‘chains/tracks’ and ‘krad’ is the administrative German term for motorcycle.
It was a half-track vehicle, which meant that it had a regular wheel at the front for steering. Then, on the back, were continuous tracks to propel the vehicle and carry most of the load. Furthermore, it took two infantrymen and up to 500 kg of ammunition. Indeed, one of the most unique vehicles of the period.
It was also possible to run the vehicle without the front wheel installed and this was recommended in extreme off-road conditions where speed would be kept low. What’s more, the Sd.Kfz.2 came with a special trailer that could be attached to it.
It was a comparatively light half-track vehicle at 1,560 kg. Furthermore, it was the smallest – the only small enough to fit inside a Junkers Ju 52 aircraft – the mode of its delivery.
The Eastern Front is where most Kettenkräder (the plural form) served. Here, they laid communication cables, pulled heavy loads and carried soldiers through the deep Russian mud.