Germany’s Kubelwagen was based on the famous Volkswagen Beetle automobile and designed by Ferdinand Porsche. Like the Beetle, the Kubelwagen has an air-cooled engine mounted behind the passenger compartment. The engine had no radiator, making it less susceptible to gunfire or shrapnel damage.
Over 50,000 of the light military vehicle type were built during World War II. Kubelwagens were employed by German forces all over Europe, Russia, and North Africa. The basic and tough machines were built with a simple, geometric form for ease of construction. The cars also had a flat underbody, allowing it to “sled” over mud, snow, and sand rather than bogging down and vehicle’s air-cooled engine performed well in both hot and cold weather extremes.
Though roughly similar to America’s “Jeep,” fewer Kubelwagens were built and the German machines were used primarily as staff cars and reconnaissance vehicles near the front lines.
History of the Artifact
This version of the Kubelwagen was built as a three-place radio car and wears a three tone camouflage scheme seen in Occupied France during the Battle of Normandy in 1944.
Did you know?
Kubelwagen means “bucket car.”