Links only to portuguese version
By Joseph Roitberg
Kubelwagen Mk 82
The first reference to a military version of VW happened on April 11, 1934, during a conference among the Nazi government's representatives and of the factory Porsche, regarding the development of civil Volkswagen. But just in January of 1938, the Department of Weapons of the German Army presented to Dr. Porsche the specifications for a cross-country vehicle using the platform VW.
To reach the specifications, the engineers of Porsche understood that a light chassis, demanding new production methods, it should be created, because there was not possibility to leave more weight of a chassis VW (the same of Beetle). Porsche hired the firm Trutz to draw the new chassis and the prototype was ready in one month. It was denominated Type 62.
The prototypes were given to the army in November of 1938 when they began, immediately, the field tests. In that time there was the faith that a off-road vehicle needed to have traction 4x4. But small VW 4x2 began to prove that this was not true.Nowadays, we know that VW 4x2 (Gurgel, Bajas, Cages, Jegue etc.) with its rocking semi-axles and independent suspensions with shocks and torsion bars, they are capable of very interesting performances in off-road, mainly when the displacement high-speed is an advantage on the heavy and slower 4x4 with its rigid axles and leaf springs.
But in that time, this suspension was a technical innovation and the concentrated weight (motor and exchange) on the traction wheels, they really made Kdfwagen Type 62 to work in all terrain. The first prototype had round forms, with cuttings in the place of the doors (as used later on in Jeep), inspired by the lines of VW. The army asked that the chassis had a " more military " appearance, appearing, like this, the famous square vehicle. Its final form was introduced to the public in the Fair of Automobiles of Vienna (Austria) in 1939.
Before entering in production, the army demanded that the off-road characteristic was improved. For that Porsche installed the following items, that until today they are despised and reinvented by the manufacturers of Bajas, but never arriving to the group and the original conceptual simplicity:
The reduction boxes allowed to take advantage of the potency of the small and economic motor of 985 cc better. The improvement of the traction didn't mean decrease in the acting because Kdf VW arrived to the 80 km/h.
In December of 1939, after the invasion of Poland, the High German command accepted the first two units modified under the denomination of VW Type 82. At the beginning of 1940 the Type 82 was tested in winter conditions against other 4x4 vehicles of the German army (remove of your mind that before Jeep 42 nobody used vehicles 4x4, 6x4 and 6x6...). THE acting in the snow and in the ice it was surprising. When decided to equip the Type 82 with currents in the back wheels it overcame all the heavie 4x4s. With the winter some appeared surprises: (1) the VW air motor simply worked because the water of the radiator (that didn't possess) it didn't freeze, but (2) officials entrusted of the test complained as the heating lack. That was only solved later many years with the famous hot air boxes of Beetle.
Of the winter for the North of Africa where the tropical " tests " were driven, nothing stopped the Type 82, not even the fine sand or the strong heat, that of this time didn't boil the water of the radiator (that didn't possess). Think well: a vehicle for desert that doesn't consume water! What more it can be asked? At the end of 1940, a thousand units of the Type 82 had left the assembly lines. Few saw action in France, but in the Campaign of the North of Africa, they were a constant presence. In 1941 the VW factory of Wolfsburg was in full capacity producing the Type 82 in 4 basic configurations: for passengers with 4 places (the largest production) for recognition with 4 places for transport of a stretcher with central of radio 2 places with 3 places and a potent transmitter of 50 watts
For the year of 1941 Kubelwagen was the favorite whenever the conditions were still bad or worse. In the Russian cold steppes, the Type 82, a lot of times it was the only vehicle continued running due to its air refrigeration. When there was the first ice melt and the mud took care of everything, the concentrated weight behind and the LSD, the free height and the plane fund, they made the difference allowing to overcome impossible areas even for the 4x4. If it gets stuck in the mud once and for all, its low weight and, again the plane fund allowed that was put quickly outside of the mire by force of its crew. For the jeep people that never had a lot of contact with Bajas, it is always faster some 4 or 6 people to lift the car and they remove of the mire than winch or to take another attitude...
In the North of Africa, when the temperatures arrived to the point of frying the eggs (of chicken) in the foils of the chassis, THE Type 82 continued ahead. Its autonomy was the largest among all the vehicles in combat in the area. Besides the tank of 10,5 gallons, it could take more 2 jerricans. Did already see the photo? Kubels used in the desert " dunne-buggy " tires in the 4 wheels, of low pressure, derived of airplane tires. They simply slid for the dunes... But as simple concepts and military bureaucracy occur never well, several of the 500 special units for Afrika Korps, went stop in Russian front where should have been a total despair to walk in the mud with those slick tires! In that time a Panzer division possessed 29 Type 82 allocated permanently.
In November of 1942, the American Army tested a Type 82 captured in El Alamein's battle. The result of the tests was: " The combat experience demonstrates that the vehicle is of easy maintenance, economic to operate, of resistant construction and of cheap production. It was faster than Jeep and had space for four passengers ". The technical data are in the table.
Some prototypes were developed so much by Dr. Porsche as for other military units. One of them went a 4x4 using the mechanics of Schwimmwagen but with of both differentials blocable. None remained to count the history... As the 4x2 had equivalent performance the one of Jeep (that didn't have blocable differentials) it is probable that the 4x4 went very superior to Jeep. Another was an ambulance with rigid roof. They were still tried a version stocking tracks and another with train wheels for use in railroads. One of the drawings that certainly would have done success but it was never built it was with light armour, among axles reduced in 29 inches, capacity for 3 passengers and support for a double machine gun.
During the war, they were produced Kubelwagens Type 82 more than 55 thousand besides about 15 thousand Schwimmwagens. But the low cost of production had a high price. Dr. Porsche didn't refuse that slave work was used in the plants of Wolfsburg. Thousands of prisoners: French, Poles, Dutch, Belgian, Russian and Jews were sent to work on plants in the area of the factory. At least 11 thousand found the death in the production lines where the extended work days were submitted, receiving little feeding and with terrible conditions for the rest periods. Working in the factories, those prisoners were not saved of the brutality inflicted by the Nazi officials and guards of SS. But as in all the terrible histories of the prisoners, several got to survive due to food, clothes and medicines smuggled by technicians and workers Germans of the factories, taking the same risk, if they turn prisoners.
In the end of the war, the factory of Wolfsburg was destroyed in 100% by the aerial attacks, but the history of the Type 82 didn't finish there... they. Await VW Thing Type 181 and VW Iltis.
Ficha Técnica - Ficha Técnica
Sorry, technical data will be translated soon
|Motor||VW 4 cilindros boxer refrigerado a ar de 985 cc (1131 cc)|
|Potência||24 cv (25 cv)|
|Transmissão||4 marchas + ré todas não sincronizadas, com diferencial autoblocante e caixas de redução na pontas dos semi-eixos|
|Peso Vazio||725 kg|
|Peso Carregado||1.160 kg|
Com vidro abaixado
| 1.600 mm
|Pneus||5.25 X 16|
|Rodas||Disco metálico prensado|
|Freios||Tambor, mecânico operado a cabo nas 4 rodas|
|Freios de Estacionamento||mecânico operado a cabo nas 4 rodas|
|Velocidade Máxima||80 km/h|
|Velocidade Mínima||2,9 km/h|
|Altura Livre do Solo||292 mm|
|Travessia de Água||450 mm|
|Inclinação Máxima de Subida||45% (20,3 graus)|
|Idem - Areia Solta||40% (18,0 graus)|
|Ângulo de Ataque||62 graus|
|Ângulo de Dorso||20 graus|
|Ângulo de Saída||50 graus|