The Aufklärung Abteilung relied heavily on fast vehicles to conduct it's missions deep into enemy territory. As traditional mounted cavalry units were slowly replaced, heavy motorbikes came to the fore; as things progressed further these Kradshützen battalions were incorporated into units which made use of lightweight armoured vehicles with the ability to fight back in limited capacity if they should be engaged.
Our group is lucky to be able to field a selection of faithful replicas of these iconic vehicles used by the Aufklärung units during World War 2.
BMW R75 heavy motorcycle combination
These start life as Russian Ural or Dnepr bikes which themselves were based on the German wartime BMW R75's, Zundapp's. Once a suitable donor bike is found, they are modified by group members to look like their wartime equivalent. The group currently possesses 5 motorcycle combinations.
Stoewer typ 40 Kfz.1
The 4 wheel drive typ 40 was introduced in 1940 and used as an off road vehicle before being replaced by the lighter and more manoeuvrable VW Kübelwagon. The group recently acquired the donor vehicle - a 1973 vintage Russian Gaz 69 jeep and the conversion work is due to start in Autumn 2015 with the vehicle due make it's debut by the start of the 2016 season.
Sd.Kfz.222 Armoured Car
The Leichter Panzerspähwagen (light armoured reconnaissance vehicle) were a series of light four-wheel drive armoured cars produced for use by reconnaissance units during WW2. As with our replica, these vehicles held a 3 man crew and used a 2 cm KwK 38 L/55 cannon and MG34 machine gun as armament.
The key to good reconnaissance is good communications. The 223 was similar in design to the other 4 rad armoured cars made by Horch and featured a distinctive 'bed' frame antenna which was raised to ensure good radio reception when out on missions. As a medium range radio vehicle it was equipment with an Fu.10 radio set which comprised of a 30 Watt Sender (30 W.S.a) and Torn.E.b Receiver. It was crewed by a three man crew, the Radio Operator, the Driver and an MG34 Gunner/Commander.
Sd.Kfz.247 (Ausf b)
The Sd.Kfz. 247 had an open-topped, thinly armoured body placed on a wheeled chassis. It was initially unarmed as its six-man crew was not intended to fight; rather, it was intended for use by the commanders of motorized reconnaissance battalions.