The German light amphibious car, which resembles a small
civilian sports car and has a boat-shaped open body, is highly
maneuverable. The Germans call this vehicle a Schwimmwagen,
literally enough, while on the Allied side it sometimes is spoken
of as an amphibious Volkswagen. The light amphibious car
represents a development of the original Volkswagen ("Peoples
Car"), a light civilian vehicle that Hitler once promised to
manufacture in huge quantities and bragged about as one of the
future blessings of German National Socialism.
The light amphibious car has the following dimensions:
|Over-all length (with propulsion unit in
| ||11 ft. ||8 in.
||4 ft. ||10 in.
|Over-all height (with top up)
||5 ft. ||2 in.
|Tread width, center line to center line
||4 ft. ||
|Ground clearance (unloaded)
|Approx. depth of immersion when floating
||2 ft. ||6 in.
The following details have obtained from a manufacturers
plate in the engine compartment of a car which was examined
|| ||166 |
|Permissible axle load (front)
|Permissible axle load (rear)
|Permissible total weight
This specimen was fitted with "run-flat" tires, size 7.85 by 16.
|The German Light Amphibious Car|
The engine is of the 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, horizontally-opposed,
air-cooled type, similar to that of the ordinary Volkswagen,
Model 82, and has a capacity of 1,131 cc. When the car
is afloat, the crankshaft leading through the back of the vehicle
effects the propulsion. The crankshaft ends in teeth which form
a dog-clutch, which engages either with the propeller drive,
when the latter is in position, or with the starter handle.
There are four forward gears, and one reverse, and also an
auxiliary lever for a low gear for cross-country driving and for
engaging or disengaging the 4-wheel drive. When the auxiliary
lever is in the forward (cross-country) position, gear must not
be changed, according to a warning notice on the instrument panel.
For starting under winter conditions, a specially volatile starting
fuel is used. This is contained in a small auxiliary fuel tank
with a capacity of about 1 liter, connected by a synthetic rubber
tube to the fuel pump. This auxiliary tank is situated in the
engine compartment, which is in the rear of the vehicle.
The cooling-fan intake is between the two rear seats. A
transverse exhaust silencer is mounted over the engine compartment,
and discharges on both sides. The body is of pressed steel with
welded seams. The shaft entrances are made watertight by
corrugated rubber tubing. An independent torsion-bar suspension
is employed on each of the front wheels.
When the three-blade propeller unit is not in use, it folds
over the back of the vehicle. This unit is provided with a chain
drive to a sprocket, the shaft of which is provided with teeth
which engage with those on the crankshaft end. In water, as on
land, steering is effected by the conventional steering wheel,
which governs the front wheels of the vehicle. When the car is
traveling through water, the transmission is neutral, and the
accelerator regulates the speed.
The instrument panel is fitted with a switch for speedometer
lighting, a charging indicator (red), an oil indicator
lamp (green), a plug for the inspection lamp, a speedometer,
and a combined lamp-and-ignition switch. Beneath the instrument
panel are a gasoline filter, the auxiliary fuel pump, and a
lever for operating the pump for one-shot lubrication.
The foot controls comprise (from left to right) a dimmer
switch, clutch, foot brake, and accelerator.
The hand controls are the gear lever, a lever for putting the
4-wheel drive and the cross-country gear — or both — into
operation, a small lever for operating the choke, and the hand-brake.