The HK 101 Was a Strange yet Functional Vehicle from World War II

The HK 101 is one of the most distinctive vehicles ever to see military action. Designed and patented in 1939 for use by forestry workers, it was adapted for military purposes when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Powered by an Opel four-cylinder 36 hp engine, it had a top speed of 44 mph. The operator steered the vehicle by turning the handlebars; for sharp turns the track brakes would kick in. The Wehrmacht used the HK 101 as a general-purpose utility vehicle, employing it to lay wires, transport soldiers, and total aircraft. The vehicle came with a separate cargo trailer, enabling it to haul fairly sizable loads. In muddy terrain it was common to remove the front wheel altogether and rely entirely on the tracks for transport. RELATED: See Photos of the 1952 Willys M38 Military Jeep German factories turned out 8,345 units during the course of the conflict. In 1944, the Allies bombed the factory where it was built, which brought an end to war-time production. Germany’s defeat led to its governance by American officials, who forbade German industry from building military vehicles. As the HK 101 had originally been developed for agricultural purposes, it gained an exemption from this rule. As a result, renewed production went on until sometime in 1948 or 1949, during which time between 500 and 600 were manufactured. RELATED: See Photos of the 1945 GPW Military Jeep The sheer volume of units built during the war and afterward make the HK 101 a common site among hobbyists and history buffs in Europe. Many have been restored to their full wartime glory (minus munitions), and the modern German government allows owners to drive them on public streets. Some of these vehicles have even been modified by farmers for use as tractors. The HK 101’s unique design and unconventional profile make it one of the more interesting examples from military history. RELATED: Check Out These Unique Amphibious Military Vehicles Photo Credit: _____________________________________ Click Here to Read the Original Article on BoldRide