Dec 2001


"Ketten" = "Tracks"

"Krad" is the military short form of "Kraftrad" = "Motorcycle".

So a "Kettenkrad" is a "tracked motorcycle".  

The Kettenkraftrad was developed during World War II by the Germans.  A few of its uses were :
- To transport officers to and from the battle fronts. It could easily get through mud and trenches, Fast!
- Due to fuel restrictions, they were used to tow fighter jets around on the runways to line them up before takeoff.
- There were drum cable trailers used to lay communications cables.
- Just about anything!

How does the Kettenkrad steer?
Like a motorcycle with sidecar: With the handlebar! (A normal motorcycle is not steered with the handlebar, it is steered by weight transfer of the rider!)
If you turn the handlebar a little bit, it turns only the front fork with the front wheel. If you turn the handlebar more, it engages the steering brakes of the tracks.

Why does it have a front wheel?
The front wheel gives stability when driving straight on at high speed. And it steers the vehicle through wide bends. Only in sharp bends the steering brakes were engaged, too.
In very hard off road terrain (Rock, deep mud) the front wheel is removed. This is recommended in the driver's manual. In this terrain you don't drive fast.  

My model had a 9V battery under the engine mount in the middle of the vehicle. A motor from a matrix printer was used to power it along. The track was from one of the newer model kits. It was made only from strips, angle brackets and fishplates. i.e.. no angle girders, flat girders, plates etc.
My model has a water tanker trailer used to bring water to troops on the frontline.

Being a simple model, it did not steer very well, with the front wheel pulled left or right the Ket would just plough straight ahead!