Beep, beep, jeep, sheep

Rush hour in the pasture. A mittlerer ge­län­de­gängiger Personenkraftwagen (“medium cross-coun­try personnel car”), or “Kfz. 11” for short, is held up by a flock of sheep. When the German Army began expanding in 1935, the need for standardized cars with off-road capacity became apparent. The first light off-road passenger cars were delivered by Stoewer in 1936, followed in 1937 by the first medium and in 1938 by the first heavy models. The problems stacked up quickly – high costs, complex production, and manufacturers unable to meet the production goals. The Wehrmacht had to source 60% of their requirements elsewhere, converting regular civilian cars to military use, as well as employing requisitioned and captured civilian cars. This in turn led to many problems with maintenance, supply and training.

The different branches of the military complained that the Einheits-Pkw (standard passenger car) were also flawed designs largely unfit for wartime service, a serious drawback to say the least. Not even after simplifications were implemented in 1940 were the many shortcomings solved. Their complex designs and the excessive wear and tear aside, all types were mainly criticized for their high weight, which in turn meant a high fuel consumption and led to many breakdowns. Production of the three types ceased in 1942, 1943 and 1941, respectively. Their roles were in large parts taken over by the VW Kübelwagen.


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