the German Fieldwagon type 40
It was the horse and not the panzer that determined the image of the German Army during World War 2. More than 2,5 million horses served the German warmachine between 1939 and 1945. More then 85% of Heer Units, mostly infantry divisions, were horse drawn. Statistical this means three soldiers for one horse. The German Army was in fact fighting a "poor man's war". Especially after the invasion on the Western front, the German Infantry divisions were in action against fully motorised Anglo-American units.
Animals and men against machines...
The fieldwagon in this project is an original Ersatzfeldwagen 40 (Erfa 40). This type of wagon was produced from 1940. A cheaper, lighter and more simple model than the "leichte Feldwagen Hf.1" and the "Stahlfeldwagen Hf.7" was needed. The Hf.1-type had its origin in WW1 and its construction was more complicated than the Erfa. In the '30's the Stahlfeldwagen Hf.7 was planned to be the replacement for the Hf.1. Although the first experiences in the field showed that the heavy iron Stahfeldwagons were real horse-killers, especially later during wartime on the rough Russian roads. Also the iron wagons were too expensive to construct, so returning to the simple wooden wagons was the best sollution.
Only in 1944, 150 000 fieldwagons of several types were produced!
The Erfa was towed by two horses and had a loading capacity of 1 ton.
The original Ersatzfeldwagen 40 used in our project is in a Belgian provincial collection, "Provinciaal domein Lippensgoed Bulskampveld Beernem".
After the war, the fieldwagon was used by a local farmer. In these years, they shortened the adze so only one horse could pull the wagon instead of two. Also the hooks to attach the wooden eveners have disappeared. The ironwork, like the handbrake, was originally painted yellow.
The handbrake can be flipped to make manoeuvres and loading easier.
On the wagon we found some original markings:
- Tragkraft 1000 Kilo (capacity 1000 kilo)
- Verladungsklasse II (loading type for traintransport)
These are the attachments at the rear side to build up the canvas canopy over the wagon, curved tubes were shoved into this iron pieces.
Typical for the regular German fieldwagons are the four similar wheels, simplifying repairs and replacement. On pictures, you often see a spare wheel attached to the back of the wagon.