Designed as a small and lightweight tracked vehicle that would fit inside the car-go compartment of the Junkers Ju.52, the Kleines Kettenkraftrad HK 101 is more widely known by its other name; “Kettenkrad”. Production of the Kettenkrad began in 1939, with over 8,000 being produced both during wartime and immediately post-war.
With a top road speed (according to the manual) of 44 Km/h and it’s torsion bar suspension and tracked design allowing it to function over a wide range of terrain and conditions, the Kettenkrad saw use in a variety of campaigns, from the Eastern Front to North Africa and everywhere in between.
Originally designed to tow a small trailer, anti-tank or anti-aircraft gun, the Kettenkrad was used in a variety of utility roles. Laying cable, carrying troops, digging trenches, and even towing aircraft on the ground.
As the Allies moved through Europe on the way to Germany, as they encountered abandoned Kettenkrads, they recognized the usefulness of the robust little tractor, the lightest fielded by the German military, and pressed captured examples into service.