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WWII Motorcycle half-track

h2000fb

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Can we say Dual Sport?

While it might not look like they aren't having any fun, I bet the passenger is thankful he is not walking. My uncle was in the infantry in WWII and said he felt like he walked over the whole European theater.

I like to have one, but do not know what I would do with it.
 
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I don't see it simply going where the front wheel is pointed, I could be wrong but a hard turn would only cause the front to plow unless one track or the other is braked, pedals have to be involved in the operation same as a tricycle tractor.
 
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Yup I was thinking that same thing. No way that little front wheel is going to influence those tracks. I would guess there were independent brakes for each tread. Like on the tractors of that same era.
 

Tourmeister

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If the handle bar was connected to the track brakes so that they were activated when the bars turned one direction or another, it would make learning to drive it very easy. Of course, it begs the question of why have the front wheel at all... :shrug: It would have been just as easy to put handle bars with a throttle, hand brake and clutch (if necessary) and have no wheel at all.
 
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I don't see it simply going where the front wheel is pointed, I could be wrong but a hard turn would only cause the front to plow unless one track or the other is braked, pedals have to be involved in the operation same as a tricycle tractor.
That's why I wouldn't want to do 50mph in it!! I doubt the front wheel had much effect on direction!! Maybe the handlebar clutch and front brake levers were actually left/right track brakes so you could steer it? Who knows?
 
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I wondered if there might have been an interface between the handle bars and the tread brakes, or clutches. But given we are talking about technology of the late 1930s era, I'm suspecting it was fairly rudimentary, and a beast to drive. Sure didn't make much of a long lived pressence moving forward. Other fledgling ideas from that same era went on to provide us the modern jet age, man walking on the moon. The motorcycle half track? Well not so much...
 
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They don't look like having any fun driving/riding it.
Not much fun when the entire Soviet Army is chasing you. :eek2:

During the war, Germany built a lot of technology that wasn't necessarily practical, but sure was cool! Did they use one of these in "Saving Private Ryan", was that some other mini-track?
 

Tourmeister

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During the war, Germany built a lot of technology that wasn't necessarily practical, but sure was cool! Did they use one of these in "Saving Private Ryan", was that some other mini-track?
I think you are talking about the scene where they used the "rabbit" to lure the tank into their "sticky bomb" ambush. I can't recall if that was a tracked vehicle or not... :ponder:
 
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Not much fun when the entire Soviet Army is chasing you. :eek2:

During the war, Germany built a lot of technology that wasn't necessarily practical, but sure was cool! Did they use one of these in "Saving Private Ryan", was that some other mini-track?
That is correct that was the "rabbit". If it was a real one it seemed to be driveable. Would make for a good logistics vehicle for moving ammunition or other supplies.

I think that the Bren Gun Carrier made more sense somewhat. It still seems like a lot of material and effort for a vehicle that offers very little protection even from small arms fire. But again would make for a neat little all terrain logistics vehicle.

The-Universal-or-Bren-Gun-Carrier.jpg


they look like a ton of fun too :)
 
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The Kettenkrad was super sneaky Natzi misdirection. The US of A & the Ruskies fell for it. Harley & Ural technology was setback 50 years.
 
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The Kettenkrad was super sneaky Natzi misdirection. The US of A & the Ruskies fell for it. Harley & Ural technology was setback 50 years.
If Harley technology was set back 50 years, they would still be inventing the wheel today!! :doh: Sorry all the Harley lovers out there :trust::trust:
 
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After doing a little more research, I learned that there was in fact an interface between the handle bars and the tread brakes. The front wheel assisted on broader turns. When the bars were turned even further to either side they triggered the tread brake to incrementally apply on that side. The vehicle employed a 1500cc Opel in line water cooled car engine and ran thru a 3 spd tranny into a secondary hi-lo transfer case. These vehicles were used to tow airplanes or other equipment, as a portable gun platform, rapid deploy personel hauler, etc. It was the fastest tracked vehicle of WW-2, and the last vehicles to become mired down in the mud at the Russian front. There were around 8000 produced, and they gave very reliable service from the North African desert, to inside the Arctic circle. Now I find myself wondering why we don't see a modern rendition.
A Rokon aint got jack for this thing. One of the things I never found out but was very curios about was what the weight was. With lightweight 21st century materials, and a modern power plant, a new one could be a VERY capable creature!
 
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She has been racing this year, while I was mostly bench racing on the radio. I might need her to drive the beast so I can keep up!
 
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Yes it was surprisingly nimble. I used to work with an old German who rode BMW for the Wehrmact and occasionally rode one of those things. The proper name was Kettenkraftrad,
but as GIs in any army do they shortened it to ketten krad. They would exceed 45 MPH on the road. The front wheel was basically there to prevent it going endo on rough terrain.
It had very little steering effect. Like most tracked vehicles it steered by brakes on each side. They were continued in production a couple of years after the war for civilian farm use
But stopped in about 1947.
 
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They don't look like they are having fun? Of course not, look how cold it looks and Gerbings hadn't been invented yet!

Bet that thing would be fun over some Colorado passes, even if it rains. I want one.
 
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Ural, eat your heart out....

http://www.foxnews.com/auto/2017/03/16/wwii-german-kettenkrad-motorcycle-half-track-being-auctioned.html

"Known as the Kettenkrad (a German portmanteau for "tracked motorcycle"), the NSU SdKfz is a small half-track with handlebars and a saddle up front and two jump seats in the rear."
A friends late father in law was on the Eastern Front and rode/ drove a BMW with a driven side car. My friend found a similar bike and had it completely restored with his unit numbers on the side car. I told him he should find him a Kettenkrad too! The old man still had his German army license to drive one of those.
Wish I could speak German or he English, it would have been an interesting conversation.
 
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The gas milage was lousy. My friend told me of a time they took the front wheel off and went careening about pretending to be out of control among some infantry guys who knew nothing about the machine.
He told another story about when he was in the Africa Corps when he and another BMW messenger were chasing a Brit on a Norton across a barren dessert. They topped a rise and the Norton was on the ground and the Brit rider was kicking at it and cussing up a storm.
They just stopped and watched until he tired out then took him prisoner. Still cussing the Norton for letting him down.
My friend was wounded in a big battle a short time later and was in an Italian hospital when Africa fell to the Allies. The was then sent to the Russian front and towards the end of the war, a mortar exploded in his face leaving him very ugly for the rest of his life. He was in a German hospital at the end of the war and was taken prisoner by the Brits who kept him as a POW for more than 5 years after the end of the war. Pows were kept to do work for the Brits as War reparations. The higher the rank the longer they were kept.
Karl was a sergeant and so did not go home as soon as the lower ranks.
 
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I don't see it simply going where the front wheel is pointed, I could be wrong but a hard turn would only cause the front to plow unless one track or the other is braked, pedals have to be involved in the operation same as a tricycle tractor.
I met a man who was in the German army on the Eastern Front (and got out alive) and rode motorcycles BMW, Zundapp and the Kettenkrad. He said that turning the bars actuated a switch and the tracks on that side so it would turn. He even showed me his drivers license from the German Army saying he was qualified to drive the Kettenkrad. He passed away a few years ago.
 
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