Know Your Wheels!
We have been asked by visitors to help identify different wheels from German vehicles. Our diagram above shows the various shapes of holes. These correspond to the following;
1 = 6 holes as found on HK10L "Kettenkrad."
2 = 5 holes as found on 1 ton tractor: Sdkfz10 series.
3 = 8 holes as found on 3 ton tractor: Sdkfz11 series.
4 = 8 holes as found on 5 ton tractor: Sdkfz6 series.
5 = 8 holes (7 on early models) as found on 8 ton tractor: Sdkfz7 series.
6 = 8 holes as found on 12 ton tractor: Sdkfz8 series.
7 = 8 holes as found on 18 ton tractor: Sdkfz9 series. NB. 6 holes are also common to the Raupenschlepper Ost series of tractors.
Left and below are two examples of German roadwheels ; firstly from an Sdkfz 251 halftrack, formerly belonging to KG Peiper and below right is a road wheel from an early Sdkfz7 tractor also left behind after the Bulge. It has received a fresh coat of red primer.
The construction of these road wheels is common. The main part of the wheel is a steel pressing, the rim is then welded onto the wheel at three points (see picture centre above). The rubber tyre is then applied.
To be sure that you are not buying a post war Czech wheel (from an OT810 for example) you should look for the following makers of German rubber wheels: Continental, Deka, Vorwerk and even Dunlop.
Above is a close up of the DEKA shield logo on an Sd.kfz 251 wheel. On the Sd.Kfz6 made by Büssing-NAG the type 9 wheels have 60mm wide, 60mm high rubber, with a 571 inner/outer diameter. These pads have W304 stamped on them.
Pads with W302 originate from the Daimler Benz l8 (leichter 8) or Büssing NAG l8, this is the 1938 model with shorter tracks, 55 links and a total length of 8800mm. They were probably also used on Sd.Kfz 251 vehicles as well. The tracks on a Büssing NAG9 had 46 links and a total length of 9200mm.
SdKfz 10 wheels had rubber tyres 550 x 45-479mm. Pads marked W102 come from this semi-track. Also found on the SdKfz 10 early rubber wheels from 1939 marked Vorwerk: 45x477/550. Vorwerk: 550/45-479 Continental: No 806 E: /45-497,5 jnk: No 806: 550/45-479.
More German materiél on this page. Below is a complete road wheel from a Panther. Clearly with traces of the original paintwork this example is of the 24 bolt rim variety. The 24 bolts per rim were an additional feature of the Ausf A and Ausf G. The first model of Panther, (Ausf D) was fitted with only 16 bolts per rim. This was found to be a major problem as rubber quickly came away from the rims. Detail of the rubber wheel. The diameter of the wheel is 860mm. We were recently able to help a colleague from the Netherlands positively identify a fragment of rubber to a Panther. He had unearthed a strip of rubber about 1.5m long, but no metal. There was however the diameter markings as below and also the maker "Fulda" - possibly Fuldaer Maschinenfabrik, whose 3 letter ordnance code was "FLK". He had found the remains of a Panther abandoned in January 1945 by the Führer Grenadier Brigade. The Diekirch Museum was able to not only confirm this, but also to tell us that the rest of the Panther had been cut up for scrap in 1946-47!
Found in the Netherlands this was once on either an Sd.Kfz10 or an Sd.Kfz250.
Below we show details of the makers markings (Semperit having been discussed elsewhere on the site).
Left; This was found by a fellow WW2 enthusiast in a ditch in 2004. According to the farmer whose ditch this was dredged from the wheel was once attached to a German Sd.KFz 6 prime mover that had been towing a gun (possibly a 10.5cm piece) when it was abandoned during the German retreat of mid August 1944. The wheel has been shot blasted to remove the oxidization, but there are signs of shrapnel damage to the wheel in any case. The half track and it's artillery piece were left in the ditch and gradually the scrap dealers and hunters dispersed it. It probably ran out of fuel, or perhaps the crew decided that it was safer to try and make it back to friendly lines on foot and not to attract the attention of Allied ground attack aircraft. As many different units of the retreating German armed forces came this way in 1944 it cannot be said with any certainty what unit this vehicle was originally part of.
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