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"German Chemical Warfare Vehicles" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. report on German chemical warfare trucks and half-tracks originally appeared in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 23, April 22, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


a. General

The Germans have given much attention to the development of decontamination, gas-detection and smoke-generator trucks. Most of the equipment, as will be seen hereafter, is mounted on 1- and 3-ton half-tracks, some on medium heavy six wheelers, as illustrated in the accompanying sketches.

b. Bulk Contamination Vehicles

The Germans have developed two vehicles which form part of the equipment of contamination units. These vehicles are employed in spreading persistent agents. Each has a crew of one in addition to the driver. The spray is operated from a panel behind the driver's compartment and appears to be emitted from a jet on a swivelling arm at the top of the vehicle, the nozzle being fed by a flexible hose of small diameter hung on support arms. It is probable that the nozzle traverses in an arc, which would enable a wide zone to be sprayed; 100 grams (.22 lb) per sq. meter is the minimum degree of contamination considered effective by the Germans. One machine is 15 feet 3 inches by 5 feet 11 inches, 5 feet 9 inches high, weighs 4.5 tons, and is mounted on a 1 ton (Sd.Kfz.* 10/3) (see figure 1) half-track; the other, (Sd.Kfz. 11/3) likewise mounted on a 1-ton half-track is 18 feet 2 inches long by 6 feet 7 inches wide, and 6 feet 11 inches high with a weight of 7.3 tons (see figure 2).

[German Chemical Warfare Vehicles]

c. Decontamination Vehicles

Light and medium decontamination vehicles exist, which are mounted, respectively, on the 1-ton and 3-ton half-tracked chassis. In both cases the equipment carries a hopper at the rear, by which the decontaminant is distributed over the road or terrain requiring treatment. Between the driver's compartment and the hopper, eight large drums of bleach, for use in the hopper, are stacked. In addition to this, each vehicle carries 16 decontamination canisters, each holding 22 pounds of decontaminant, for use by hand on isolated areas. The crew of each vehicle is three men.

The light vehicle is Sd.Kfz. 10/2 (see figure 3). It is 15 feet 7 inches by 6 feet 1 inch and 5 feet 4 inches high, weighing (equipped) 4.8 tons. The medium vehicle is the Sd.Kfz. 11/2 (see figure 4). It is 19 feet long, 6 feet 7 inches wide and 7 feet 10 inches high. The battle weight is 6.7 tons.

According to a reliable report the medium vehicle carries 760 kilograms (1,675 pounds) of bleach; a strip 1.7 meters (5 feet 7 inches) wide and 1.4 kilometers (just over a mile) long can be decontaminated by using a density of 300 grams (0.66 lb) of bleach per square meter. The density at which the vehicle distributes decontaminant is independent of the vehicle speed, the maximum potential density is 600 grams (1.32 lb) per square meter.

[German Chemical Warfare Vehicles]

d. Gas-Detection Vehicle (Sd.Kfz. 10/1)

This vehicle (see figure 8) appears to be very little different from the standard, light, 1-ton half-track. It is, in all probability, simply that vehicle fitted out to carry personnel of the gas scout section and their equipment.

e. Vehicle for the Decontamination of Personnel (Kfz. 92)

This has a large box body with doors just behind the driver's compartment and at the rear (see figure 6). No details are available on the internal fittings and equipment, but it is presumably some form of mobile bath. It is a 6-wheel, Henschel medium 9-ton truck, 23 feet 4 inches long by 7 feet 7 inches, standing 9 feet high.

f. Vehicle for Decontamination of Clothing (Kfz. 93)

This has a large, closed body with heavy doors at the center of the left side, giving access to the chamber in which contaminated articles are arranged for treatment (see figure 5). Decontamination may be carried out by steam or hot-air treatment, mixed with suitable chemicals where necessary. The vehicle is completely equipped with an oil-fired boiler, fans, water tanks, etc., necessary for the work. This machine, like the personnel decontamination truck, is a six-wheel Henschel 23 feet 3 inches in length, 8 feet 2 inches in width, and 10 feet in height, weighing 9.7 tons.

g. Smoke-Generator Vehicle (Sd.Kfz. 11/1)

A large part of the body of this vehicle (see figure 7) is taken up by what appear to be racks for smoke thermal generators or other munitions. There is, in fact, no evidence as yet that the vehicle is designed for more than the transport of smoke ammunition. This vehicle is a 7.3-ton half-track. It is 23 feet 7 inches by 8 feet 2 inches, and 8 feet 10 inches high.

*Sonder Kraftfahrzeug - Special Motor Vehicle


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