Sd.Kfz.3 was a half-track vehicle used by the German Wehrmacht during World War II. After the first winter in the war against the Soviet Union in 1941, the German army leadership realized that their trucks – such as the Opel Blitz 3.6, the Ford V 3000 S or the Mercedes-Benz L 3000 – were absolutely unsuitable for the terrain and weather conditions there. The vehicles often got stuck in deep snow or mud and thus became the target for attacks by artillery, attack planes or partisans. Heavy half-track tractors like the Sd.Kfz. 9 or the Sd.Kfz. 11 were not available in sufficient numbers and could not overcome larger holes in the paths or ditches. In order to solve these problems, a unit of the Waffen-SS built the Carden-Lloyd tracked undercarriage of a captured British Universal Carrier (BUC) under a 3-ton Ford truck in the winter of 1941/42 as a makeshift solution to the poor road conditions. Based on this suggestion, the truck manufacturer Klöckner-Deutz constructed the “Maultier (Mule)” in 1942: A Klöckner-Deutz truck was fitted with a modified Carden-Lloyd chain running gear instead of the rear axle. The mule was then produced by several manufacturers at the same time: Opel used the chassis and cab of the Opel Blitz as a basis, Ford used the V 3000 S truck and Daimler-Benz the Mercedes-Benz L 4500.From 1943 onwards, Maultiers were supplied to the troops in numerous versions – as a 2t (gl) truck platform, box or as a weapon carrier. The main task of the mule vehicles was to supply the troops with the necessary material, such as weapons, ammunition and rations. But also the transport of troops as well as the power train of artillery and flak belonged to the scope of duties of the vehicle. Based on the Opel, the Panzerwerfer 42 was also developed, which was equipped with a 15 cm Panzerwerfer and formed the German counterpart to the “Stalin’s Organ”, but in contrast to the latter was only available in small numbers and too late.
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