The weirdest military vehicle ever...


June 21, 2003, 02:14 PM

I want one.

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Dain Bramage
June 21, 2003, 02:37 PM
As soon as I saw the title, I knew you were talking about the little motorcycle halftrack. There is no other vehicle like it.

I know it was meant as a transport vehicle for air-mobile troops. However, to turn this into a firearms post, we need to know if it was ever fitted with a gun. My gun shop has two MG-34's that would look really good on it. :D

George Hill
June 21, 2003, 02:40 PM
They go back to WWI I believe. Very old concept, but a strange one at that.
Watch Saving Private Ryan and you will see one in action... or at least a similar type vehicle.

June 21, 2003, 04:03 PM
Yeah, that's what they use in the end of Saving Private Ryan.

June 21, 2003, 04:04 PM
A splendid example of what happens when German engineers get into the schnapps after hours. ;)

4v50 Gary
June 21, 2003, 04:18 PM
Somebody @ the Livermore Rod & Gun has one of them. Saw it @ a club BBQ one year (been missing them for the past 2 years since I'm out of town).

Ed Brunner
June 21, 2003, 06:01 PM
You may very well be right.

June 22, 2003, 02:33 AM
Well the British must have been hitting the Gin too, because they used the Bren Gun Carrier for much the same purposes, though it is somewhat larger. And the Kettenkrad was a huge step up from German's standardized towing vehicle, the horse.

June 22, 2003, 02:41 AM
Well the British must have been hitting the Gin too, because they used the Bren Gun Carrier for much the same purposes

Yes, but the Bren Gun Carrier could A) carry a gun, and B) didn't have a mechanical appendix hanging off the front of it, in the form of vestigial motorcycle bits. ;)

June 23, 2003, 04:21 AM
I nominate the Russian flying boats:

These came very close to full production and would have scared the bejesus out of Americans if they had known their capabilities. How about a LARGE troop transport boat with 250mph+ capabilities?

search on Ekranoplan.

June 23, 2003, 04:34 AM
A splendid example of what happens when German engineers get into the schnapps after hours.

You mean like the P7M8? :D

June 23, 2003, 09:07 AM
I vote for the Antonov KT. If nothing else, it proves that Russian engineers can drink vodka with the best of them. It also indicates that Russian test pilots/drivers have a big pair of... is ????? the word?

edit: Either there is a formatting problem with cyrillic letters, or this site has a more sophisticated "profanity checker" than I thought. :D

June 23, 2003, 09:35 AM
Yikes! M67, that IS bizarre! I'd never heard of that one... where can I find more information about it? Is it pre-WWII? Fascinatingly wierd...

June 23, 2003, 09:46 AM
I'm not sure that is very weird. The US looked at something similar, basically replacing the wheels with tracked landing gear. I've seen pictures of it but I can't find the website. It looked something like this. (

[EDIT] OK it IS weird. I do a search and find out that what I think is a purpose built glider with tracked landing gear is actually a five ton tank fitted with wings and twin tail booms. :what:

June 23, 2003, 10:29 AM
Preacherman, here is one site:

Just do a search on Antonov and T-60 (light tank).

The landing procedure was apparantly to start the engine, engage the tracks, floor the accelerator and hope for the best. Flight controls were as follows: Elevate the gun to control the glider's elevators, turn the turret to control the ailerons.

Correction of my first post: When I think about it, Antonov is Ukrainian not Russian. I guess Ukrainian engineers drink vodka too...

June 23, 2003, 11:13 AM
Kettenkrads are fun. They also made good aircraft tugs way back when.

Personally, my vote for the wierdest military vehicle ever probably goes to the french (who else) submarine Surcouf. This half-baked idea was a large (for the time) mounting a pair of 8" naval guns ( in a turret. Yes, this was a submarine and yes, it could seal the gun barrels before diving.

Then again, there are also the big 'land battleship' tanks some countries experimented with between WWI and WWII.

ErikM :evil:

D.W. Drang
July 1, 2003, 12:44 AM
And there I was thinking Gamma Goat...:what:

July 1, 2003, 12:17 PM
My vote is for the XF-85 Gobblin parasite fighter.

Elmer Snerd
July 1, 2003, 12:30 PM
The Royal Navy built the M-1, a submarine with a 12-inch gun, in 1918.
The premise behind this and the Surcouf was that guns were more accurate and reliable than the torpedoes of the time. The ammo was cheaper and less bulky than torpedoes as well. AFAIK, BFG's on subs never performed well. Smaller deck guns were used successfully during the World Wars to sink smaller ships(and to conserve torpedoes).

For WMVE, I nominate the Ontos (

Mike Irwin
July 1, 2003, 01:32 PM
The Kettenkrad was actually a VERY good little utility tractor/general purpose type vehicle.

July 1, 2003, 01:35 PM
Does the motorcycle front end actually do anything? I can't figure out why it's even there.

July 1, 2003, 02:47 PM
Does the motorcycle front end actually do anything?

No one's really sure. Not even the designers, after the hangover wore off.

Fritz! Vat ist up mit der motorcycle dangling off der front?
I can't remember anymore, Hans, but it sure looks cool, ja? :D

George Hill
July 1, 2003, 02:49 PM

I bet there are a lot of Harley Trike Guys out there thinking "Tank Tracks! COOL!"

Mike Irwin
July 1, 2003, 03:41 PM
"Does the motorcycle front end do anything..."

Yeah. It gives the guy a place to sit. :)

Actually, it would probably do a couple of things, such as keep the weight down, keep the manufacturing costs down, make it perhaps a little more maneuverable if the track steering is tied to the position of the handlebars...

July 1, 2003, 11:43 PM


July 2, 2003, 02:27 AM
The DUKW was a pretty darned important war machine. Ugly or not.

The kettenkrad was designed to move small cannons, rather than something as tedious as a MG34/42. The defacto shooting platform for those was often the shoulder of the loader! That little bike/tractor could move a pretty serious piece of artillery, albiet slowly.

The Ekranoplan is a very odd duck indeed, and they are still made in the former USSR. The largest one ever planned rivaled the spruce goose in size and was designed to land tanks and troops from a Soviet Rapid Deplyment Force from 'beyond the horizon'.

As in: Look juan, our nation is free from communist agitators as I see no ships off the beach.

(5 minutes later)

Look Juan I don't see why you continue to hold on to bourgeoise capitalist ideals, show our comrades some respect!

The ekranoplan in its modern form still is used on the black sea, and small civilian models boast amazing speeds.

As for the Flying tank, the Soviets built one called the Sturmavik, the lower half of the plane was made of armor plate!

Those mini GE jets are real, I know a former AF Colonel who flew one as a test pilot. They are based on racing planes from the 1930's as I understand it.

Wierdest military invention I ever saw?

Gas Mask for a Horse at the cavalry Museum in Kansas, the fliters were so heavy the horse could effectively only haul a few pounds of gear. the masks stayed at home when the cavalry went to war in WW1, the horses were used to move cannons and wounded.

Mike Irwin
July 2, 2003, 02:37 AM

The French and British supplied their horses with gas masks, normally a "feed bag" type that went over the muzzle.

July 2, 2003, 04:17 AM
truly SAD thing about the development of the XF-85 Goblin, is that Mcdonell-Douglas (Sp??) AND teh Air force made one simple mistake, that was fatal to the program. it was decided that ALL of the inital flight testing including the "recovery" phase (ie hooking back up with it's carrying cradle) would be performed by an M-D civilian test pilot. the man assigned this task had never flown close formation in his life!!! the hook up phase of the goblin's flight is THE hardest part, requiring great proficiency at the ONE skill the civvy test pilot did NOT have. there are accounts by the USAF test pilots who flew "chase" on the tests that it was painful to them to watch the man flail around under the "mother" B-36. and that no one on the military side was surprised when the guy slamed into the docking cradle so had he broke his canopy

had the XF-85 been test flown by USAF test pilots the program MIGHT have been saved and the concept at least truly tested. though due to advances that came along at teh same time, it is unlikely that anything would have ever truly come from the program. the mission it was designed to serve (fighter cover for deep penetration bombers) was soon dropped from the list of "needed assets" as ICBM and higher faster flying bombers came on line. AND as longer range non-parasite fighters became a reality.

July 2, 2003, 01:30 PM
We have a company here in Chattanooga called "Duck Tours". They take you through the city in a DUKW, then get on the Tennessee River and boat around the Audobon's wilderness island. The tours are really cool. They have three DUKW's, one repainted and the other two in the original OD green.

4v50 Gary
July 2, 2003, 01:38 PM
My vote for wierdest military vehicle is the Vespa Motor Scooter with a recoilless rifle mounted on it.

July 2, 2003, 01:42 PM
My vote for wierdest military vehicle is the Vespa Motor Scooter with a recoilless rifle mounted on it

These are real?:confused:

4v50 Gary
July 2, 2003, 01:46 PM
Got a photo of it in a book (page 67 of Encyclopedia of Armoured Cars by Duncan Crow & Robert J. Icks) about armored cars. Unfortunately the book doesn't give the production # of these things. Produced by the French in 1950, it was suppose to be parachutable.

July 2, 2003, 03:42 PM
i'll vote for the Natter:

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