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The Main Artery of the Empire: Railways, the Heavy Transporter of the German Army in World War II

Updated: Aug 16

Adapted from War Park Weibo News Release 2021-12-27 12:53

As a traditional European land based country, Germany's rail transport is undoubtedly the core of her national operations and military transportation. Since the mid-19th century, a well-developed railway network had been built in Germany. As the Third Reich continued to expand outward, this rail network stretches across the European continent and strongly supported the logistics and strategic mobility of the German army in World War II.

All railways and trains in the Third Reich were managed and operated by the Reichske Bahn, part of the Reichstal Ministry of Transport. During the invasion of Western European countries, the use of European standard gauges in the occupied areas facilitated the continuous integration of these small railways into the Imperial railway network of the German Imperial Railway Company, in essence, through the plundered resources from the occupied countries.

At the time of the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Soviet railway gauge was wider than the European standard gauge and this hindered the German invasion. In order to meet the massive material demand on the Eastern Front, the German Reichsbahn had to build about 16,000 kilometers of European standard gauge railways in the Soviet Union.

During World War II, German armored units were transported by rail to the vicinity of the battlefield. This is more efficient, and tank vehicles and personnel can also be brought into the battle front, in well prepared condition. The German army, in general, uses the following three kinds of railway flatbed transporters, as show in the figure above from top to bottom:

1. 30-ton Ommr double-axle flatbed transporter, mainly transporting Panzer 3, light vehicles, etc.;


2. 50-ton TSSys four-axle flatbed transporter, mainly transporting Panzer 4, Panther tank, etc.;


3. 80-ton SSyms six-axle flatbed transporter, mainly transporting Tiger, King Tiger, Ferdinand and other heavy equipment.

This 80-ton SSyms six-axle flatbed transporter transporting King Tiger tanks.

This 80-ton SSyms six-axle flatbed transporter transporting a Ferdinand tank destroyer.

The Tiger tank is a giant beast that is wider than the width of a flatbed transporter. Before long-distance journeys were made, the outer load wheels are usually removed and replaced with narrower transport tracks. Above picture shows the factory hoisting a brand new Tiger tank onto a six-axle flatbed truck. It is be seen that the outer load wheels have been disassembled and the tracks are transport tracks.

The replaced combat tracks will usually be tiled under the tank as shown above.

However, there are also cases whereby direct transportation using combat tracks are done due to tight timeline contraints. In the picture above, it can be clearly seen that the load wheels on the outside of the Tiger tank have not been disassembled, and the outer side of the tracks extends beyond the flatbed body.

Close-up of the tracks of the Tiger tank when the combat tracks were not replaced for transport tracks.

This month War Park unveiled the 80-ton six-axle flatbed transporter and the railroad platform diorama base. When making your decision, please note that two diorama bases are needed to fit one flatbed transporter. Three diorama bases can accommodate two flatbed transporters. Please do check the dimensions.


https://www.toysoldiersgalleria.com/product-page/ax014-german-railway-ssyms-6-axle-80t-flatcar


https://www.toysoldiersgalleria.com/product-page/war-park-ws033-railway-scenic-base

Config1:

A single six-axle flatbed + two rail platforms, the flat plate is 440mm long, and the two scenic bases are 600mm long.


Config 2:

Two six-axle flatbeds + three rail platforms, two plates are 880mm long and three scenic bases are 900mm long.

Original Weibo Chinese text follows:

帝国大动脉:二战德军铁路重型运输车

战争公园 战争公园 2021-12-27 12:53


德国作为老牌的欧洲陆权国家,铁路运输毋庸置疑地是国家运转和军事运输的核心。从19世纪中期开始,德意志地区就已经建设出了发达的铁路网。随着第三帝国不断地向外扩展,纵横欧洲大陆的铁路网有力地支撑了二战德军的后勤运输和战略机动。


第三帝国境内所有铁路及列车均由帝国运输部下属的德意志帝国铁路公司负责管理和运营。在入侵西欧国家时期,由于占领区采用的是欧洲标准轨距,方便了德意志帝国铁路公司不断地将这些小的铁路并入帝国铁路网,更加有效地从占领区掠夺资源。


而在入侵苏联时,由于苏联的铁路轨距比欧洲标准轨距要宽,给德军入侵造成了阻碍。为了满足东线海量的物资需求,德意志帝国铁路公司不得不在苏联境内修建了约1.6万公里欧洲标准轨距的铁路。


二战期间,德军装甲部队需要通过铁路运输到战场附近。这样速度更快,坦克车辆及成员也可以以较好的状态投入战斗。通常德军一般采用以下三种铁路平板运输车,上图中从上到下依次为:

1、30吨级的Ommr双轴平板运输车,主要运输三号、轻型车辆等;

2、50吨级的TSSys四轴平板运输车,主要运输四号、豹式坦克等;

3、80吨级的SSyms六轴平板运输车,而虎式、虎王、费迪南等重型装备则必须采用80吨级六轴平板运输车。


80吨级的SSyms六轴平板运输车在运输虎王坦克

80吨级的SSyms六轴平板运输车在运输费迪南坦克歼击车


虎式坦克这种巨兽,宽度超出了平板车的宽度。在长距离运输前,会拆掉外侧负重轮,并更换成较窄的运输履带。上图为工厂将崭新的虎式坦克吊装到六轴平板车上。可以明显看到外侧负重轮已拆卸,并且履带为运输履带。


更换下来的战斗履带则会如上图这样平铺在坦克车底。


但是也存在使用战斗履带直接运输的情况。上图中可以明显看到虎式坦克外侧负重轮并未拆卸,履带外侧超出了平板车车体。


虎式坦克未更换运输履带进行运输时履带特写


本月战争公园推出了80吨级六轴平板运输车和铁路地台。


六轴平板运输车单车销售不配铁轨,需要另外搭配购买铁轨地台。


套装一:

单个六轴平板车+两个铁轨地台,平板长440mm,两地台长600mm

套装二:

两个六轴平板车+三个铁轨地台,两平板长880mm,三地台长900mm。


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