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Armor/AFV: Softskins
Softskins group discussions.
Hosted by Darren Baker
Volkswagen-Saved By The Brits
long_tom
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Illinois, United States
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Posted: Saturday, December 07, 2019 - 11:19 AM UTC
Wikipedia has mentioned that at the end of WW2, Volkswagen acquired a new customer-namely the British occupation forces, who needed cars for themselves, and it was more economical to have the defeated Germans make cars for them than have to have cars shipped over from Britain.

Rye Field has started making the WW2 Beetle, but I wonder what the ones made for British forces looked like. The article showed no examples.
18Bravo
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Colorado, United States
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Posted: Saturday, December 07, 2019 - 11:41 AM UTC
Lots of cool images online. I think they were used extensively in Berlin after the war. I think I remember old photos in the Berlin Brigade library.


brekinapez
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Georgia, United States
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Posted: Saturday, December 07, 2019 - 12:01 PM UTC
They generally didn't look too different from the Type 82e that was produced during the war, as those were the parts the factory workers had to start off with. There were a few minor differences, such as the odd roller-looking thing you see in place of a front bumper on some. That was a Brit's idea of a way to negotiate small barriers. Kubelwagens and Schwimmwagens continued to be produced in this manner as well, but the supply of available parts was much less for those vehicles. As new post-war parts became available the 'Beetles' looked more and more like the civilian production version.

As the factory had been damaged during the war, production of the civilian version didn't begin in earnest for a couple of years until enough equipment had been restored to working order. Less than 40 years later 21 million had been built.
barkingdigger
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
#013
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England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
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Posted: Saturday, December 07, 2019 - 12:07 PM UTC
IIRC the first order of 50 for the British was built with what was on hand, so they had beetle bodies but kubelwagen "tall" suspension.
panamadan
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Minnesota, United States
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Posted: Saturday, December 07, 2019 - 01:25 PM UTC
The RFMs is a 82E, which is a VW on a Kubelwagen chassis. I would imagine (but am not 100% sure) that the Brit Wolfsburg versions are plain VWs.
Dan
panamadan
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Minnesota, United States
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Posted: Saturday, December 07, 2019 - 01:27 PM UTC
Here is a good article about post war VWs-
https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/after-battle-magazine-vw-beetle-war-160864021
brekinapez
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Georgia, United States
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Posted: Saturday, December 07, 2019 - 01:44 PM UTC



You know that's not a link to an article but one to an item auction, right?
covkid
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United Kingdom
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Posted: Saturday, December 07, 2019 - 11:01 PM UTC
The real force behind VolksWagens revival was Major Ivan Hirst. A membet of the Royal engineers he was tasked with finding a use for the KDF factory, renamed Wolfsburg

If the toolings could not be proven of use to the West then they were to be given to the USSR as war reparations.


With the dawning of the as yet, un-named cold war nobody wanted to give anything to them. Initially working for food and shelter workers used what was left over to make vehicles.

Eventually, toolings were repaired or remade and VW started making around a 1000 vehicles a month. Within few years the factory was returned to Germany and a greatful

VW ensured he got a new car for free whenever he needed it. Without him, VW and by default Porsche would not exist. They would be a Soviet curiosity.

RFM's model, despite what it says on the box is actually a Typ87 or a Typ877 as it is actually 4wd.

Regards Jason
covkid
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Posted: Saturday, December 07, 2019 - 11:12 PM UTC
As an addition the US and France were users of VW's.

The US, Uk and France all used large numbers of Opels in this period. The US particularly liked the Kapitan due to its mechanical similarity to contemparary Chevrolets.

It soon became apparent that Germany would be the first battleground between any conflict between East and West and it was essential that German factorys were able to operate fully.

It was largely a way of subsidizing the factories reconstruction that such contracts were placed with the factories.

Even Mercedes who were closely associated with the Nazi's were bought back into the fold.

Regards Jason
southpier
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Alberta, Canada
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Posted: Saturday, December 07, 2019 - 11:32 PM UTC
slightly off-topic: how was the power transmitted to the front axle on the 4 wheel drive version? thanks
covkid
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United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, December 08, 2019 - 12:39 AM UTC
A connection from the rear of the gearbox runs a propshaft to the front axle. Runs through the tunnel in the floorpan. Also used on the schwimmwagen

Basicalky the same set up was also used on the later VW T3 Syncro.

Regards Jason

panamadan
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Posted: Sunday, December 08, 2019 - 02:23 AM UTC

Quoted Text




You know that's not a link to an article but one to an item auction, right?


Yes, and I assume a person could use their own common sense to google the info given.
brekinapez
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Georgia, United States
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Posted: Sunday, December 08, 2019 - 04:12 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text




You know that's not a link to an article but one to an item auction, right?


Yes, and I assume a person could use their own common sense to google the info given.



Might be tough locating an article from a niche magazine published in 1976. Be a lot easier to find a copy of Small Wonder, which is a history of the Beetle and the beginnings of VW.
Frenchy
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Rhone, France
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Posted: Sunday, December 08, 2019 - 04:31 AM UTC
https://www.volkswagen-newsroom.com/en/stories/volkswagen-and-its-british-roots-5423

https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/group/history/chronicle/1945-1949.html

More about Ivan Hirst's involvement :

https://www.volkswagenag.com/presence/konzern/documents/history/englisch/Heft4_EN.pdf

H.P.
long_tom
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Posted: Sunday, December 08, 2019 - 05:42 AM UTC
Would be neat if Rye Field could come up with a civilian version too. I assume there were enough of them around even in the 1940's (after WW2 obviously).
brekinapez
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Posted: Sunday, December 08, 2019 - 08:16 AM UTC
The first two exported to the United States were at the end of 1949, so there definitely would be quite a few on the roads in Germany. No buses though; the Type 2 didn't become a thing until the end of the decade.

But for the immediate post-war era you can do a few different variants of the Beetle if you're doing a city diorama like the Postal Service van or the pickup bed (very small bed, admittedly). TheSamba.com has reference material for all manner of VWs and should have exterior/interior color codes for that era so you can do other than black.
southpier
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Alberta, Canada
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Posted: Sunday, December 08, 2019 - 10:33 AM UTC

Quoted Text

...find a copy of Small Wonder, which is a history of the Beetle and the beginnings of VW.



I read that in high school - 1970; when I bought my '58 bug. spray painted it orange in my parent's basement garage. s i g h . . .
southpier
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Alberta, Canada
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Posted: Sunday, December 08, 2019 - 10:40 AM UTC

Quoted Text

[url]https://www.volkswagen...
H.P.



great links (as usual!) - thanks