From Battleground Europe Wiki
Trucks and Movers
|Maximum speed||70 km/h|
Even before it felt the sting of Blitzkrieg, the British Army had devised a doctrine that called for tanks to penetrate enemy lines while infantry followed up to consolidate gains. If, however, the tanks raced ahead too quickly for troops to keep up, they might win a great deal of ground but not hold it for any length of time. The army needed to make infantry fast and mobile, and the answer was trucks. Throughout the war, Britain relied primarily on the four-wheeled, two-wheel-drive Bedford OY series that could haul up to 8,500 lb (3,800 kg) despite its three-ton (3,000 kg) designation.
In 1923, General Motors (GM), an American company, sold its first truck, a Chevrolet, in the U.K. Two years later, GM bought Vauxhall Motors and in 1931 started producing the Bedford brand of trucks with Vauxhall’s assembly lines. Bedford trucks had become a popular and respected breed by the mid 1930s: sales broke 30,000 units in 1937.
When war broke out in 1939, the War Department controlled some 85,000 vehicles, including more than 26,000 it had shanghaied from civilians. Vauxhall, in the meantime, was casually developing a 4x4 military truck and while war hurried the development process, production geared up to produce Bedford 4x2s, including more of the OY family.
The Bedford OY was a commercial design made ready for service with simplified bodywork and single rear tires. Early-war models had wooden rear bodies. More OYs were produced during the war than any other British three-ton truck, numbering more than 72,000 of all the 250,000 Bedford trucks made.
The OY series, in particular the "Truck, Three-Ton, 4X2, Bedford OYD" general-service truck, played a variety of roles: mobile workshop; office; and transporter of troops, machine guns, and supplies. The Bedford OYC tanker carried 800 Imp gal (3,637 L) of fuel. The Armadillo was a Bedford OYD (or another truck) that carried a wooden pillbox with pebble-filled, double-wall "armour" mounted on the back. Some 660 Armadillos were built in 1940. Several trucks in this class also served as radio-laden command vehicles.
Just about the only thing the two-wheel-drive Bedford OY couldn’t do was tow a decent-sized gun; four-wheel-drive was needed for that. Obviously, Bedford drivers tried to limit front-line exposure as much as possible.
The British Army used the Bedford OY throughout the war, in all theaters. So, for that matter, did the Wehrmacht. German forces captured many Bedfords after the Dunkirk retreat and added more in Greece. Numerous pictures exist of gray Bedfords serving German masters on the Russian front.
In Battleground Europe, the Bedford OYD is used for general troop transport, towing the lighter anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, and, of course, as a means to create a mobile spawn point (MSP) for British forces in the forward parts of the battlefield. An MSP can also be used as a remote defensive spawn point away from the town currently being defended from attack.
|Type||Heavy Prime Mover|
|Maximum speed||65 km/h|
The CDSW was a most reliable and versatile tractor/puller in its class. It could haul any of the Allied guns used for AT, AA and artillery duties, although it is most often associated with the Bofors 40mm AA gun which requires a heavy hauler to be moved around the battlefield for any distance or if time is important, which it usually is!
|Laffly S-20 TL|
|Type||Truck and Heavy Prime Mover|
|Maximum speed||68 km/h|
During the 1930s, Etablissements Laffly, the French vehicle manufacturer, produced a range of six-wheel-drive military vehicles, many in conjunction with the motor and armaments manufacturer S.A. des Anciens Etablissements Hotchkiss. The collaboration produced trucks, cars, ambulances, fuel transporters, artillery tractors, troop carriers, prime movers, and even armoured cars and tank destroyers. These Laffly vehicles incorporated Hotchkiss engines and were often manufactured by either company. All featured an additional set of small wheels in front to help the vehicle cross ditches and obstacles. A similar set of wheels were suspended beneath the driver’s cab. The range of basic truck models upon which variants were built up included the Laffly S-15, W-15, S-20, S-25, and S-35, in rough order of size from smallest to biggest.
In 1928, the French military staff decided to motorize the cavalry of its Rhine army. This army, occupying Rhenania (the German term for the Rhineland), was intended to intervene quickly if Germany displayed any aggression or refused to pay its war tribute. Trucks were needed to transport platoons of seven men with their weapons both on and off-road.
By 1929, the Citröen-Kégresse P17 half-track constituted the backbone of the French motorized artillery, and the French military chose an infantry transport variant of that prime mover, the P19, as its troop carrier. Almost 500 P19s served in the Régiment de dragons portés (Mounted Dragoon Regiment; RDP).
(The early 17th-century term “dragoon” was used for footsoldiers who would ride horses to battle but dismount to fight. The English word derives from the French dragon, originally a synonym for the fire-spitting arquebuses some of these soldiers used. In time, the term was applied to the soldiers themselves.
Over time, practical and social pressures forced dragoons to train in mounted combat so that by the end of the 18th century, most dragoons were trained cavalrymen, either light or heavy depending on nationality. The French retained formations of foot dragoons well into the Napoleonic wars, possibly the consequence of a shortage of horses and a large mass conscript army, but this meant that the French associated the term with dismounted cavalry for longer than other nations, and with a period of military glory.
The French refreshed the old dragon to name the soldiers who would accompany tanks. Some British armour enthusiasts favoured the term “tank marines”, but the British Army adopted the more prosaic “motorised infantry” for its equivalent troops. The Germans at first used Schuetzen with its light infantry connotation, but later turned to Panzergrenadier, which resurrected a different historical term. US forces used the term “armoured infantry” from the start.)
Exercises in 1931 proved that the Citröen-Kégresse troop transports were too visible on the battlefield, and the infantry on board too vulnerable. The French staff drew up a new requirement for an armoured transport. This was a fresh departure from French military thinking of the time, as this concept had been previously abandoned for forces in metropolitan France. In North Africa and Indochina, however, armoured transports had been adopted for colonial troops. These troops often found themselves ambushed by brigands and wild tribes in desert and jungle, and armoured transports were vital for their safety. Examples of armoured transports adopted outside of Europe were the Berliet VUDB, Panhard 179, and Citröen-Kégresse P104.
With the French staff deciding to establish the Division légère mécanique (Light Mechanised Division; DLM) in 1932, it needed a way to transport infantry on a large scale. It requested tenders from manufacturers for a Camion tracteur léger à roues (light, wheeled truck) able to transport a ten-man platoon and its weapons. The military did not consider half-tracks for this role as it felt that technology was available to produce suitable wheeled cross-country vehicles.
In autumn 1934, the Lorraine company proposed its Lorraine 28, a 4x6 vehicle with four driving wheels on two axles at the rear and two steering wheels at the front. Laffly put forward its Laffly S-35 C - the “C” stands for chassis court (short chassis) - with six driving wheels (6x6). Both were heavy cross-country trucks. Lorraine won the contract, and produced 328 Lorraine 28 vehicles. It was apparently not well liked by its crews.
A year later, Laffly produced a new vehicle, a cross between its light S-15 and heavy S-35 C, the S-20 TL - the TL stands for tracteur, chassis long (tractor, long chassis). The new Laffly S-20 TL was generally superior to the Lorraine 28, especially in cross-country performance, and had a better power-to-weight ratio. Laffly was awarded an order for 140 S-20 TLs in early 1937, and they were delivered in the summer.
The Laffly offered ample storage boxes, 20 of them, in which passengers could store equipment. The truck was innovative for its time, because only one body type was needed to transport different types of platoons. Each Régiment de dragons portés in a DLM had 65 Laffly S-20 TLs. These trucks were able to transport one of:
• ten fusiliers (riflemen) and their two light machine guns
• a heavy-machine-gun group of ten men
• an 81mm mortar group of seven men
• a 60mm mortar group of seven men
• a 25mm anti-tank gun and team of eight men
In the early 1930s, the Dragons portés had successfully mounted an anti-tank gun on a P19 half-track and could fire it on the move. The Dragons portés did the same with the Laffly S-20 TL, primarily because the 25mm SA-L 34 L/72 anti-tank gun proved too fragile for prolonged towing. The gun could be mounted facing forward or backward. When the gun faced forward, the Laffly’s windshield had to be lowered. In 1938, 40 special S-20 TLs were ordered and produced with a split windshield that allowed the driver’s side of the windshield to remain up while the truck mounted a forward-facing SA-L 34 L/72 gun. All 40 were delivered during the Phony War/Sitzkrieg.
By March 1940, the 2ème and 3ème DLMs were completely equipped with Laffly S-20 TLs. The trucks and crews destined for the 4ème DLM - due to be created June 1940 - were instead dispatched to replace the May losses, and were finally given to the 4ème Division cuirassée de réserve (Reserve Armoured Division; DCR) of General de Gaulle.
The Laffly is unique in the game in that it has eight forward gears: 1-4 are low-range gears for towing heavy ordnance; 5-8 are high-range gears for normal driving. As well as troop transport and hauling AT and AA guns for the French Army, it is the Mobile Spawn Point vehicle.
|Maximum speed||80 km/h|
The 1920s was a decade of exapnsion for the American firm of General Motors (GM). In 1929, GM acquired the motor firm Adam Opel AG, based in Russelsheim, Germany, and with it, one of the most well regarded manufacturing plants in Europe.
In the early 1930s, Opel introduced a fast light truck it called the Opel Blitz (lightning) and in 1935 opened the best and most modern truck factory in the world in Brandenburg. Although light in weight, the Blitz design could carry a considerable payload. A proven six-cylinder engine from another GM company, Buick, provided the power.
The Blitz evolved over the decade. The payload increased in steps from the original 1.75 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes, and finally to the three tonnes that the S type could transport cross-country.
German authorities were leery of Opel and did not entirely trust its American management, but coveted the company’s reliable, tough, and easily maintained vehicles. To solve its dilemma, the German government took control of the Opel factory in 1940. GM would only regain control in November 1948.
By war’s end, Opel factories had churned out over 100,000 Blitz trucks alone for the German war effort. These took many different forms, such as general-purpose trucks, buses, radio trucks, ambulances, and even large limousines for high-ranking officers.
The Blitz proved far superior to any of its competitors. It could go where no other two-wheel drive vehicles could, it was the most reliable and toughest of all German trucks in its class, and, best of all, Opel’s excellent production facilities kept spares flowing that kept the Blitz going. The gasoline engines also provided an advantage – gasoline was easier to obtain than the diesel fuel required by other trucks. Studies carried out by German forces in regions such as North Africa and Russia gave the Blitz glowing reports while slighting vehicles such as the Mercedes and NSU.
The A type Blitz, a four-wheel-drive version, entered service in 1940 (over 25,000 built) and a half-track version entered production in 1942 as the Opel Maultier (mule). Approximately 4,000 Maultiers were built.
In the game, the Opel Blitz trucks tow light anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, ferry troops around, and also act as a German mobile spawn point (MSP) creator.
|Type||Halftrack Heavy Prime Mover|
|Maximum speed||50 km/h|
The Mittlerer Zugkraftwagen 8t (Eight-Tonne Medium Towing Vehicle), more commonly known as the Sonderkraftfahrzeug 7 (Special Purpose Vehicle 7; shortened to SdKfz 7), was Germany's most numerous prime mover (towing vehicle) during World War II.
Although originally designed by Krauss-Maffei AG as the Typ (Type) Krauss-Maffei mittlerer 8 (KM m 8), Daimler-Benz and Büssing-NAG also built these halftracks under license - the fruits of their production runs were called the Daimler-Benz mittlerer 8 (DB m 8) and Büssing-NAG mittlerer 8 (BN m 8), respectively. The vehicles weighed 11 tonnes (12.1 tons) and their 8-tonne (8.8-ton) pulling capacity made them ideal for towing the legendary and dreaded 8,8cm (3.46in) FlaK anti-aircraft guns.
From 1935 through the end of 1936, Krauss-Maffei produced the KM m 9, which was specifically designed to haul a 105mm (4.13in) artillery piece or the FlaK gun. A collapsible canvas cover and a fold-down windshield protected its crew of 12 from the elements. A 130hp (97kW) Maybach HL57 engine powered the machine. In late 1936, Krauss-Maffei introduced the KM m 10, which improved on the KM m 9 with a 140hp (99kW) Mayback HL62 TUK engine.
Krauss-Maffei and Hansa-Lloyd-Goliath introduced the KM m 11 and HL m 11 respectively in mid 1939. These vehicles sported two more road wheels in the running gear but otherwise remained identical to the KM m 10. This final version of the SdKfz 7 series continued in production until late 1944.
The Italian firm of Breda built several hundred Mittlerer Zugkraftwagen 8t under the name Breda 61. Other than having the driver’s position on the right and only a 130hp (97kW) engine, the Italian halftracks were identical to the KM m 11.
Pressed into service in an anti-armor role, 8,8cm (3.46in) FlaK guns decisively influenced many engagements during the 1940 invasion of France, and later in North Africa and on the Eastern Front. Firing over open sites, they were deadly out to extreme ranges. Almost all were towed by SdKfz 7s. The versatile halftracks also often hauled fully tracked vehicles to new assignments, to prevent unnecessary wear and tear on and to increase the mobility of the Panzer divisions.
In every sense of the word, the SdKfz 7 proved essential to the Wermacht. Over 12,000 SdKfz 7s were manufactured by the time production ceased in 1944. It was the most numerous of all the German Zugmaschinen (towing machines) built between 1934 and 1944.
In game, the SdKfz 7 is the dedicated heavy hauler required to move the FlaK 36 and FlaK 28 guns around the battlefield.