Sd.Kfz. 2 Kettenkraftrad

A quick look at Germany’s lightest artillery tractor.

First patented Summer of 1939, and entering service in time for the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Sd.Kfz. 2 was meant to be an air transportable light duty tug. The name translates as “tracked motorcycle” and was often just shortened to Kettenkrad. It was the only such tug that could be carried in a Ju 52 transport.

The majority of the 8300 built during the War served on the Eastern Front, although late in the War many were assigned as airport tugs. This was mainly to save fuel, especially jet fuel, on taxiing.

That airport tug function is how this example was presented, is was an add-in with some editions of Tamiya’s Me 262 kit. Regulars to this site may recognize that aircraft has been “on my workbench” for a few weeks, indeed it should be done this weekend. But the little tug was finished first so I’m presenting it here a little early! This represents an anonymous tug, the kit didn’t even have any decals and suggested painting was in factory primer colors. I’ve seen photos of some operating like this, no plates no stencils; presumably as a late War expedient. Although I could mention that even today, airport service vehicles are often not considered “street legal” mainly because of licensing and insurance reasons. Perhaps in some places that translates as no plates?

I had previously built a Kettenkrad from a separate kit of “Kettenkrad with Goliath”. It represents an earlier vehicle that actually has manufacturers stencils and markings! I tried to get these guys to act like they were in the same picture together but they would just not cooperate, determined to ignore each other…

Obviously that makes this the Tamiya kit! An easy and fun build.

Late in the War shortages of jet fuel became so severe all airport movement was done by tugs, engine start up was saved for the last possible moment. J2 is actually easier to process than gasoline or diesel, but Allied strategic bombing was very successful on this count and fuel was in very short supply.

About atcDave

I'm 5o-something years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I was an air traffic controller for 33 years and recently retired; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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13 Responses to Sd.Kfz. 2 Kettenkraftrad

  1. Chris Kemp says:

    Nice build, Dave! I don’t suppose that the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe were any different to any other nation in not speaking to each other. 🙂

    regards, Chris.

  2. Ernie Davis says:

    At least we were spared the image of a jet being towed in to place by a team of horses.

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