Discussion in 'Military Vehicle Restoration' started by Class of '42, Apr 25, 2020.
Looks like they had a whole lot of fun making this video.
Cool vid, I'm a Jeep guy with a 2000 TJ. Same weight as in 1943 but 20" longer. When heard the man in the vid say a lot of G I's died in Jeep accidents and I could see why. They were made to go, not go fast. I saw a MR from 1943 Italy the other day that noted a vehicle accident with a T5 getting sent to the hospital and a Sgt. getting killed.
The Jeep is a part of the American psyche. My immediate supervisor, Senior Chief Stange, rebuilt one in his garage. We were in LA county (LBNSY) at the time and when he got it going we took it for a ride. With no paper, no plates. LAPD notices that kind of shit. One of their cars got behind us and acted as escort. "You stay with us and you don't have to go home, okay?" At a stop light I swapped places with one of the cops, first time I'd rode in a cop car. (In the front seat, that is.)
I'm old enough to remember "The Thing" which Volkswagen introduced to the US back in the last century. They were around for a few years and then they weren't. They were cheap and cool looking, but American consumers got tired of them pretty quick. I don't know if they had a poor reputation or were just outclassed by Jeep.
My neighbor down the street bought one back around '72..he once thought about repainting it to colors like the Afrika Korp including the famous palm tree/swastika insignia..but he never did and not sure what ever happened to it.
The Volkswagen Thing is weird, fun, and affordable as ever | Hagerty Media
Patton said the jeep was one of the Germans' best weapons because we had so many lousy drivers
Our squadron over in Germany had a couple Jeeps and some deuce and a half's in the motor pool...drove them a few times..the Jeep could be quirky while patrolling the perimeter a few times..one time got stuck in a hole..had to push it out..you certainly had to concentrate with both hands on the wheel...as for picking up frauleins...forget it.
My TJ is the worst car I've ever driven in the snow and slick dirt roads. Same wheelbase as a Miata at 93"., 20" longer than 1943. I say worst because the short wheelbase and high CG gets sideways with no warning so I'm slow on snow for survival. I did a 360 across 6 lanes in a 80's Impala rounding a curve turning onto an icy overpass but had some control of the event. Hence the 360 using a bit of timely throttle instead of a 120 or 240.
The Jeep should not be compared to anything that came after with regards to handling and speed. It was a good, solid addition to the war effort. Dad had a '43 at the ranch in the 50s and it was bare bones, no seat cushions. As soon as he could he got a pickup.
I'm surprised no one's mentioned four wheel drive.
Unwanted 'Kubel' aside:
The bucket car that wasn't a bucket car.
The term comes from bucket seats, 'Kubelsitz', required when they noticed people fell out of the doorless adaptations of civvy cars to field use.
Kubelwagen doesn't have them, luxuriating in its doors, added after it was initially designated Kubelsitzwagen.
Fair to say they're both clever vehicles.
Years ago I thought the Kubel was a bit average, but watching some glide over deep mud alongside jeeps in a Kentish field changed my mind. When either got stuck the Jeep 4WD seemed to help them get out a bit faster & the Kubels lost edge when heavily laden, presumably for similar reasons.
A generation of squaddies are probably unknowingly lucky they didn't get the Bantam (Austin*)/Howie Bellyflopper that was part of early thought on Jeep...
'Crawling like reptiles!'
*Only mention Austin there as I believe Bantam was still an Austin company when it produced the chassis used a few years later for the bellyflopper.
Were can I get one of those?
Rolling over a landmine could prove fatal not to mention private parts real quickly.
The K-wagon was superior in the African desert or any hot-dry climate-no need for water for cooling! Before the advent of 4-wheelers, many VW beetles were stripped down and made into buggies that could go damn near anywhere!
The last version of the military jeep had a 6-cylinder engine instead of a 4. It was a real man-killer. To much power for that short wheelbase.
Oh yes, the Kubel had an amphibious version called the "schwimmwagen".
What about ease of production and cost?
Was the Kubel easier to produce? Did it cost more to produce?
The Soviets absolutely loved their Jeeps, all 69,000 of them.
If America was manufacturing the Kubel, would we have been able to turn out so many of them in such a short space of time?
I don't recall Soviet officers waxing lyrical about riding around in a captured Kubel. But they most certainly loved their jeeps.
Funny how we carry on about the superiority of German small arms, and yet, German Ost Front soldiers used to value captured Soviet weapons quitye highly. And you never see a picture of a Guardsman without his faithful PPsH 41 slung around his neck. In fact, neither can I recall a picture of any Soviet soldier carrying a captured German small arm!
Seems something similar in the Soviet opinions of the Jeep and the Kubel. For that matter, how many jeeps are still around now? LOTS. How many Kubels do you see in ordinary everyday usage? Practically none.
Then again, Ive never lived in Germany to really find out for myself, so am just speculating. But even my cousins in Nambucca heads have a Jeep from 1945.
He uses it to monitor his "crop"....errr...illegal crop....heh heh!
As for towing capability..the Kubel wasn't even fitted with a hitch..as the Jeep could tow a small trailer of supplies if needed. But both served a general purpose as an efficient lightweight military vehicle in all theaters of operation.
Kubel's came in at c.1600RM (About half the price of a K750 or R75 motorcycle combination).
Ford initially contracted for about 15k for $15M & Willys charged $959/vehicle (minus 1% for payment within 10 days... which maybe says something about government work) but it's much harder to pin down a real unit price for them - with so many eventually produced the supply cost trail becomes byzantine.
Neither the German or US vehicle was exactly 'cheap', which might explain the constant exhortations for soldiers to give their Jeeps a little more care than they were.
Mid-production ones got a bar between the tow hooks that you sometimes see the ubiquitous Infantry carrier attached to, but it's rare in photographs. There also seems to have been a wide variety of different coupling arrangements fielded locally. Usually on DAK machines.
There was a plan for a dedicated gun towing Kubel with a 'proper' hook but it didn't reach production. '276 Schlepperfahrzeug mit Anhängerkupplung'
(My guess is that the monocoque construction doesn't really lend itself to good towing. You see a lot of reenactors towing using the IF8's curved bar, but I've never looked at what they've done.)
Not sure about the provenance of these pics. One or two could even be modern, but entirely possible it's the 276 trials :
The best tyre look for Kubels.
Saw one a few weeks ago.
Very very rare sight in the UK.
Coincidentally a tracked 'Thing' appears on Milweb:
Patty & Selma would approve.
Once saw a Thing and a Kubelwagen parked side by side. While the basic design is the same, the Thing is a larger vehicle.
Sat in the Thing. Very uncomfortable. I was a little larger at the time. The steering wheel rubbed my stomach.
I remember the popular mechanics issue in the '70s that announced the production of The Thing. I'd rather they'd bring back the Kubelwagen or better, the Schimmwagen. Can't do the latter if you get older. Swinging the leg over the hull to climb in gets old if you're old.