Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Volkswagen Kubel

Discussion in 'German Military vehicles used during WWII' started by Jim, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim Active Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    Likes Received:
    via War44
    One of the most famous military cars of World War 2 was the Volkswagen Kubel, the German Jeep, During 1933 Hitler had instructed two car designers (Dr Porsche of Auto-Union and Werlin of Mercedes-Benz) to develop a ‘people’s car’ (Volkswagen). The basic Volkswagen took shape on Porsche’s drawing board as early as 1934. In 1936 the first design for a Volkswagen cross-country appeared, designated Volkswagen Typ 62. When the decision was reached that the only new personnel carrier to be employed by the Wehrmacht would be the Volkswagen, serving as the standard light passenger car for all arms, design changes were requested resulting in the Typ 82. During 1938 work was undertaken on the Volkswagen plant at Wolfsburg, and production began in March 1940.

    Kubels were not at first successful in the desert, so a Tropenfest (tropical) version was developed. Changes were numerous, including the use of sand tyres, and the altered model came to be known as the "German camel"


    The vehicle was designed for lightness and ease of manufacture. Built as cheaply as possible, it comprised components of simple design. Generally, the layout was very similar to that of the Jeep. The method of suspension, together with the use of a self-locking differential, gave it remarkably good cross-country performance. After initial problems, the 998-cc Volkswagen Typ l 4-cylinder HIAR air-cooled engine soon became one of the most reliable engines ever. With its excellent automotive qualities and simple maintenance level, the vehicle fully met the high demands of military use, especially in the desert and USSR. The military version had a touring body of sheet metal with a folding top, Four doors were provided, and weather protection was afforded by a folding canvas hood and side screens. The body panels were mostly of 18-gauge stampings. Tubular struts were used as the basic structural members of the body. The engine cylinders were of ‘H’ form and laid flat at the bottom of the car. The chassis consisted of a central welded-steel tube bifurcating at the rear to support the engine and transmission, and the steel floor on each side of the central member supported the body. The front axle consisted of steel tube which housed the two torsion bars of the suspension. At each side of the differential were universal joints providing centres about which the two rear driving axles could articulate, and the rear wheels were stabilized laterally from the differential housing. The auxiliary gearboxes in each rear wheel brought the two half shafts higher and so gave a greater ground clearance, There was independent suspension on all four wheels, and double-action hydraulic shock-.absorbers controlled the movement of the rear springing. The steering gear and connectors were of conventional type. The brakes were mechanical, cable-operated, and had double lever action on the brake shoes. Transmission was through a single-plate clutch gearbox. An overdrive was incorporated in fourth gear. The fuel tank was located below the instrument panel, facing the front right-hand seat. This vehicle was also designed with an enclosed body, designated Typ 92. All models built from March 1943 had a larger engine (1131-cc capacity). By the end of the war some 55,000 Typ 82s had been produced (production ceased in mid-1944). To accommodate the various bodies required, an order was issued on 2 August 1940 demanding widening of the chassis by between 6 and 8 cm (2.36 and 3.15 in) in what became the Typ 86, The normal Kubelwagen was not very successful in the desert and so the Tropenfest (tropical) version was developed with numerous changes including the use of larger sand tyres. Volkswagen Kubels used in Africa were often referred to as Deutsches Kamel (German camel). There were numerous special purpose models of the Volkswagen Kubel, many of them adopted by the Wehrmacht.

    The ubiquitous Kubel (bucket) served wherever the German armies were. Allied/German production contrasts are underlined by the fact that only 55,000 of these handy vehicles were produced from 1940, as compared with 600,000+ Jeeps produced from 1941-5


    Specification: [​IMG]

    Volkswagen Kubel

    Length: 3,73 m ( 12 ft 3 in)
    Width: 1,60 m (5 ft 3 in)
    Height: 1,35 m (4 ft 5 in)

    Wheelbase: 2.39 m (7 ft 10 in)

    Weight: net 635 kg (1,400 lb)

    Engine: one Volkswagen Typ 14-cylinder HIAR 998-cc petrol engine developing 24 bhp (17.9 kW), or from March 1943 one Volkswagen 4-cylinder 1131-cc petrol engine developing 25 bhp (18.6 kW)

    Transmission: limited-slip differential giving four forward and one reverse gears, with overdrive on fourth gear.

    Tyres: 5.25x16

Share This Page