The German Army of World War 2 (1939-1945) held a mastery of the battlefield concerning the use of mechanized warfare - both tracked and wheeled types. Throughout the conflict, its designs progressed at a rapid pace and, within time, many special-mission types emerged. In the field of battlefield engineering, the "Springer" disposable demolition tank was developed to help clear obstacles for the main fighting force.
Taking the Kettenkrad half-track gun tractor as a starting point, NSU Werke AG of Germany revised the design to carry a cargo load of 728lbs of explosives. Power was from a single Opel "Olympia" 4-cylinder, water-cooled engine of 36 horsepower carried over from the Kettenkrad vehicle. The track-and-wheel arrangement was also retained and this involved six overlapping road wheels to a track side. The vehicle still required an operator though he was only with the vehicle up to within range of the intended target / target area. The final leg of the journey was accomplished under remote operation (either wired or wireless) to which point the vehicle could be detonated and, hopefully, the target obstacle cleared.
Only about fifty Springer carriers were built and operated by the German Army in the last year of the war. Despite their promising mission scope, they proved themselves mechanically unreliable and prohibitively expensive to mass-produce in the numbers required. By this point in the war, Germany was a nation on the defensive and few resources could be given to such a novel battlefield solution.
The Springer demolition vehicle was given the German Army designation of "SdKfz 304". Its full designation was " SdKfz 304 Mittlerer Ladungstrager Springer".
Manufacturing NSU Motorenwerke AG (NSU) - Nazi Germany
Production 50 Units
- Support / Special Purpose |
9.84 ft (3 m)
3.28 ft (1 m)
3.94 ft (1.2 m)
2 tons (1,550 kg; 3,417 lb)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the SdKfz 304 Mittlerer Ladungstrager Springer production model)
1 x Opel "Olympia" 4-cylinder water-cooled inline engine developing 36 horsepower.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the SdKfz 304 Mittlerer Ladungstrager Springer production model)
37 mph (60 kph)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the SdKfz 304 Mittlerer Ladungstrager Springer production model; Compare this entry against any other in our database)
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