Kettenkrad – the tracked motorcycle that tackles all terrains

KettenkradKettenkrad  is actually short for Kleines Kettenkraftrad HK 101. You can also find it under the name “SdKfz 2”. The rough translation of the name is “tracked motorcycle” but, it is popularly named the “motorcycle halftrack”. This motorcycle is one tough crawler.

The Kettenkrad was designed in 1939. Its purpose was to pull artillery through snowy, boggy, or muddy ground. In other words, it could go, where other vehicles couldn’t. Oh, and I don’t mean any vehicle but, one with such a size.

The SdKfz 2 could fit into the cargo hold of  Junkers Ju-52 tri-motor aircraft. Thus, it supplied the vehicle to airborne troops. The ones responsible for the manufacturing were the NSU in Germany. In addition, Stoewer in Poland also manufactured such vehicles but, that happened later on.
The Kettenkrad could carry two soldiers on rear-facing seats( in addition to the driver) at the back of the machine. Often, it pulled  20mm anti-aircraft gun or a 3.7mm anti-tank. The NSU also made a cargo trailer for the Kettenkrad and it’s called the Sonderanhänger 1. The gross weight of the trailer was 1012 lbs.

Kettenkrad – the tracked motorcycle that tackles all terrains

KettenkradThe front wheel of the vehicle was the thing that gave stability to high-speed driving. The wheel also provided steering via the handlebars. Though, they were used only for gentle curves. If the driver needed to make in tighter turns, the tread breaks of the Kettenkrad would automatically engage.
The vehicle’s manual recommended removal of the front wheel for severe off-road use. That would turn the SdKfz 2 into a pure tracked tractor. The vehicle was effective this way in loose rock or deep mud and at low speeds.

Unfortunately, NSU didn’t desing and manufacture an engine could suite the Kettenkrad. Instead, the designers fitted an already proven motor that was reliable enough from the Opel Olympia car. This is the Kettenkrad in action – check it out!