Tuesday 16 September 2014

Sd.Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack Trials

"To the deputy People's Commissar of Defense and Chief of the Red Army GAU, Marshall of the Soviet Union, comrade Kulik

On the issue of testing German half-track tractors.

Along with the 305 mm Czech howitzer and 211 mm German howitzer, we received two halftracks from the GABTU proving grounds:
  1. 12-ton Daimler-Benz tractor
  2. 18-ton FAMO tractor
Since the Daimler-Benz tractor was received in nonfunctional condition, and the ANIOP garage could not repair it, only the 18-ton FAMO tractor underwent trials.

Trials took place between January 21st and February 5th, 1941, under the supervision of a special commission.

Mobility trials showed the following:
  1. The average technical speed of the tractor is 20 kph, which is the same as the speeds of domestic Comintern and Voroshilovets tractors.
    On good, flat, wide roads, when there is no oncoming traffic, the tractor can reach speeds of 50 kph with a trailer.
  2. Its robustness, reliability, and design show it to be a modern quality vehicle, capable of 2500 km marches without significant breakdowns. The engine is 50% weaker than the Voroshilovets engine, but the speed data is identical to the Voroshilovets tractor.
  3. The following components are of interest: gearbox, demultiplexer and double differential in one assembly, suspension, tracks with needle bearings, clutch, compressor, odometer.
  4. The tractor has poor traction with the ground. When towing a 3000 kg weight, its tracks begin to slip.
  5. The tractor does not turn in a satisfactory manner. A 180 degree turn is only possible in wide open spaces and crossroads of wide roads. When the tractor is towing a cannon, a 90 degree turn is only possible after detaching the cannon. Maneuvering while towing a cannon is impossible. 
  6. Due to high ground pressure of the front wheels (4-4.5 kg/cm^2) and tracks (0.7-2.33 kg/cm^2), poor maneuverability, and poor traction, off-road mobility of the tractor is limited.
  7. The tractor uses a gasoline engine. Its fuel is high quality aircraft gasoline, which makes use expensive. 
Since 8-ton and 12-ton tractors are identical to the 18-ton tractor, with the exception of the Daimler-Benz which uses a diesel engine, the same conclusions can be made about them.

Since the German half-tracked tractors have poor maneuverability, poor ground traction, and limited off-road capability, it is not sensible to make similar tractors for Red Army artillery units."

CAMD RF 81-12035-244


  1. Oddly enough regardless of this wartime conclusion, in the postwar period the Soviets tried several Zis 'maultier style' halftrack combinations, some of which used a [Czech?]copy of the sdkfz 11/ Sdkfz 251 running gear.

    1. These halftracks existed before the evaluation and even before the war. Enthusiasm for the style of vehicle was low since they ate up more fuel and the off-road mobility didn't increase much.