Maultier (Mule) Conversion Multirole Halftrack Vehicle
The Maultier was a hasty half-track conversion of either Opel or Daimler-Benz military trucks for second-line battlefield roles.
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Heading into 1942, the German Army understood, better than most, the value of the halftrack when wading through the snow and mud of the East Front. Halftracks maintained an advantage in such adverse conditions over their wheeled counterparts in that they could traverse soft terrains with little loss to momentum. However, the Army could little spare relocating front-line halftrack vehicles to handle other second-line tasks such as resupply so a new, cost-effective solution was sought.
This ultimately arrived in the form of the 'Maultier" (or 'Mule') in which a Daimler-Benz or Opel military truck was simply reworked with a tank-like track-and-wheel rear axle. The front axle remained wheeled and was the steerable component in the arrangement. The rear axle was made up of the running gear of the outgoing Panzer II light tank series which, in itself, proved a highly economical measure for the Panzer II was available in some number still. Couple this with the general availability of Opel and Daimler-Benz trucks and the formula was, theoretically, a winning - if hasty - one. Most of the Maultier fleet would be made up of trucks from the Opel concern.
In battlefield task, the trucks could retain their general multirole usefulness but their tactical value was now broadened as they could keep up with the mechanized fighting force across all manner of terrain presented.