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Winter/mud tracks for Pz.Kpfw III/IV and variants

winterketten ostketten tracks

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Tin_Omen #1 Posted Dec 20 2012 - 10:08

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Winterketten, could be fitted to any Panzer III or IV based vehicle.

Winterketten were developed in early in the war for use in winter conditions on the Eastern Front. These are wider than stock tracks that protrude passed the fenders.
Each track segment has been cast at the factory with a thin triangular veined blade on one side of the drive sprocket holes and used a standard length track pin.
Every few track segments a special ice cleat segment was added for extra grip on ice.

Close up of Saratov Stug 3 winterketten,note the angled teeth on the Ice cleat track segment (a.k.a grouser shoes) and thin triangular veined blades

front
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back
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inside back part of track
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Note the standard track pin length

Pz.Kpfw III

Panzerkampfwagen III (Pz.Kpfw III)(Sd Kfz. 141)
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Panzerkampfwagen III (Pz.Kpfw III)(Sd Kfz. 141)
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Note the extra Winterketten carried on the front hull (blade extensions pointing up)

Panzerkampfwagen III (Pz.Kpfw III)(Sd Kfz. 141)
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Note the standard track carried on the front hull

Panzerkampfwagen III (Pz.Kpfw III)(Sd Kfz. 141)
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Panzerkampfwagen III (Pz.Kpfw III)(Sd Kfz. 141)
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Note the extra track carried on top of the turret

Panzerkampfwagen III (Pz.Kpfw III)(Sd Kfz. 141)
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Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
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Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
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Note the standard track carried on the front hull

Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
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Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
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Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
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Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
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Note the broken “blades” on right

Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
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Pz.Kpfw IV

Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV)(Sd.Kfz.161)
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Note the standard track carried on the front hull

Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV)(Sd.Kfz.161)
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Note the extra Winterketten carried on the front hull (blade extensions pointing down)

Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV)(Sd.Kfz.161)
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Apparently the extra bit of track was fragile, these two tanks mangled their winterketten  

Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV)(Sd.Kfz.161)
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Hummel SdKfz 165Hummel (SdKfz 165)
http://imageshack.us...interketten.jpg
Note the standard track carried on the front hull

Ostketten, could be fitted to any Panzer III or IV based vehicle.

Ostketten were developed later in the war for use in the muddy conditions (Rasputitsa) in the Spring and Autumn on the Eastern Front.
Ostketten were made wider at the factory in much the same way as Winterketten except there were no triangular veined blade extensions or ice cleats, just oversized tracks that used a longer than standard length track pin
They work much in the same way as the tiger 2 transport tracks and the oversized combat tracks work (no road wheels are added or subtracted during the process).
The larger surface area of the tracks lowered the total ground pressure of the tank and allowed the tank to move over muddy ground without getting stuck in the mud.

Pz.Kpfw III

Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
http://img707.imageshack.us/img707/6103/stug3ostketten1.jpg
Note how the tracks stick out pass the fenders and the space left for the Schürzen (spaced armor)
Note the extra Ostketten carried on the front of the hull (the Ostketten extensions point up)


Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
http://img547.imageshack.us/img547/8227/stug3ostketten3.jpg
Note the standard track carried on the front hull

Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
http://img846.imageshack.us/img846/7821/stug3ostketten2.jpg

Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
http://imageshack.us...3ostketten4.jpg
Note the standard track carried on the side of the hull

Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
http://imageshack.us...3ostketten5.jpg
Note the extra Ostketten carried on the front of the hull  next to the gun(the Ostketten extensions pointing left)


Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)(SdKfz 142)
http://imageshack.us...3ostketten6.jpg
Note the extra Ostketten carried on the front of the hull (the Ostketten extensions point up)

Bergepanzer III armored recovery vehicle
http://imageshack.us...ergepanzer3.jpg

Pz.Kpfw IV


Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV)(Sd.Kfz.161)
http://imageshack.us...er4osketten.jpg

Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV)(Sd.Kfz.161)
http://img855.imageshack.us/img855/1604/panzer4ostketten1.jpg
Note how the tracks stick out pass the fenders and the space left for the Schürzen (spaced armor)
Note the extra Ostketten carried on the front of the hull (the Ostketten extensions point down)


Sturmgeschütz IV (StuG IV) (Sd.Kfz. 167)
http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/9046/stug4ostketten2.jpg
Note the extra Ostketten carried on the front of the hull (the Ostketten extensions point up)

Bergepanzer IV armored recovery vehicle
http://imageshack.us...rgepanzeriv.jpg

For those of you that are wondering what the “Rasputitsa” is…
Wikipedia article states….
The Rasputitsa refers to the biannual mud seasons when unpaved roads become difficult to traverse in parts of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The word may be translated as the "quagmire season" because during this period the large flatlands become extremely muddy and marshy, as do most unpaved roads. The term applies to both the "spring rasputitsa" and "autumn rasputitsa" and to the condition of the roads during those seasons. The rasputitsa occurs more strongly in the spring due to the melting snow but it usually recurs in the fall due to frequent heavy rains.
The rasputitsa seasons of Russia are well known as a great defensive advantage in wartime. Napoleon found the mud in Russia to be a very great hindrance in 1812. During the Second World War the month-long muddy period slowed down the German advance during the Battle of Moscow, and may have helped save the Soviet capital, as well as the presence of "General Winter", that followed the autumn rasputitsa period - this sort of wintertime hindrance to German military motor vehicle transport on the Eastern Front partly inspired the design and mass production of a unique fully tracked artillery tractor for such conditions.

The article is referring to the Raupenschlepper, Ost
http://imageshack.us...bild101i203.jpg
http://imageshack.us...bild101i154.jpg
http://imageshack.us...80/bundes11.jpg

Pictures of the Rasputitsa
http://imageshack.us...rchivbild10.jpg
http://imageshack.us...bild101i289.jpg
http://imageshack.us...bild1461977.jpg
http://imageshack.us...bild183b155.jpg
tigers stuck in the mud
http://imageshack.us...inr301et122.jpg
http://imageshack.us...203322020sp.jpg
http://imageshack.us...73efbfb9a11.jpg
http://imageshack.us...2spzabt5033.jpg
Hopefully someday the WG developers with implement these tracks for equipment slots. Better yet, Winterketten for winter maps in the same way that winter camouflage works.
I.e. if equipped, it only appears on winter maps.

Also I hope that whatever tracks are equipped will affect the tank model so other players will see it.

Edited by Tin_Omen, Jan 02 2013 - 10:13.


Sukyake #2 Posted Dec 20 2012 - 10:26

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Would be nice buy track kits, just like you buy camo sets for each kind of scenario... snow, mud, hard terrain, sand...

+1

Lert #3 Posted Dec 20 2012 - 11:14

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Winter / ost ketten are already in the game as upgraded suspension for (at least some) Pz III / IV variats, they just don't have a visual model to distinguish them from stock tracks.

Tin_Omen #4 Posted Dec 20 2012 - 19:50

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I was wondering how long it would take for someone bring “grousers” up.

The North American definition of “grouser” in Wikipedia is…

A grouser or cleat is a protrusion on the surface of a wheel or continuous track segment, intended to increase traction in soil, snow, or other loose material, in the same manner as cleated shoes provide traction to athletes.
Track segments which incorporate grouser bars are known as grouser shoes, and typically include one to three grousers.

Grousers may take the form of flat plates or bars, or may take on more complex shapes, including spikes and involute curves, depending on the type of terrain and the performance requirements of the vehicle.
Unlike rubber tire treads or track shoe pads, grousers are typically made of metal, such as forged steel, and are not designed for use on paved roads.

Grousers may be permanently attached to, or formed as a single piece with, the track shoe, or they may be bolted on to the track shoe for ease of replacement as they become worn.

And they look like….

Hornisse/Nashorn with standard tracks with grousers attached (trapezoidal teeth mounted to the track)
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Modern day equivalent mounted to a bulldozer
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Notice the lack of any kind of mention of fitting wider tracks to the vehicle.

Winterketten are wider than stock tracks that also use grouser shoes (ice cleats) for improved traction on ice.

If we follow the cleated shoes Analogy, winterketten would be snow shoes with cleats sticking out the bottom. The snow shoes would lower your ground pressure and thus prevent you from sinking into the snow (wider tracks).
The cleats (grousers) would prevent you from sliding while crossing ice.

Following the same logic, Ostketten (east tracks) are all about fitting wide than stock tracks for lowering the vehicle ground pressure for crossing boggy ground (Rasputitsa).
Since Ostketten seemed to have the standard track shoe design that has just been widened and seem to be missing any kind cleat (grouser) I’m hard pressed to call Ostketten just another set of grousers.

In game terms grousers wouldn’t show up on a tank model because your just adding cleats to your tracks. Winteketten and Ostketten would make your tank model tracks wider and lower your tank ground pressure.

Edited by Tin_Omen, Dec 29 2012 - 03:15.


Xlucine #5 Posted Dec 20 2012 - 21:46

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He's referring to the upgraded suspension you research in the tech tree, not the equipment.

View PostTin_Omen, on Dec 20 2012 - 19:50, said:

In game terms grousers wouldn’t show up on a tank model because your just adding cleats to your tracks.

Tracks in-game have texture, you can tell the pattern is different on the churchill compared to the sherman for instance so the cleats should show up

Cosmeister #6 Posted Dec 22 2012 - 08:47

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From what I have read in the past, the distinguishing feature was that the Winterketten was a quick add-on to existing track.  The actual width and linkages were identical to standard track with simply an overhang to increase surface area.  The Ostkettin was an actual widened track.  The main grouser was wider and the track pins were wider.  There was still an extension but if you look at those pictures close up, the extension is less than half as wide as the Winterkettin.

So basically the Winterketten was a standard track design with a large side extension for larger surface area, and the Ostkettin is a new, wider track design with a smaller extension.  Also, by widening the linked areas of track the Ostkettin would be a stronger and more durable track.

Edited by Cosmeister, Dec 22 2012 - 08:48.


Tin_Omen #7 Posted Dec 28 2012 - 07:39

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View PostLert, on Dec 20 2012 - 11:14, said:

Winter / ost ketten are already in the game as upgraded suspension for (at least some) Pz III / IV variats, they just don't have a visual model to distinguish them from stock tracks.

Yes you are correct Ostketten are in the upgraded path for the StuG III and JagdPz IV. Winterketten is missing from the tech tree and are not the same thing as Ostketten (East Tracks).
Admittedly there is a great deal of overlap between the earlier Winterketten (developed for winter mobility in the eastern front theater of war) and Ostketten which was developed because it was discovered that Winterketten helped with mobility during the “mud season” (Rasputitsa) but didn’t have the durability when traveling over rough ground (hence all the mangled Winterketten and broken track tips).

The way that WG handles the tracks/suspension upgrade path is fairly vague and the naming convention is inconsistent. The list of tanks that can use these tracks are extensive, some of the tanks based on Panzerkampfwagen III Sd Kfz. 141/ Panzerkampfwagen IV Sd.Kfz. 161 are…

Panzer III SdKfz 143
Sturmgeschütz III SdKfz 142
Sturmhaubitze 42, Sd.Kfz 142/2*
Sturm-Infanteriegeschütz 33B*
Panzer IV SdKfz 161
Jagdpanzer IV SdKfz 162
Sturmgeschütz IV SdKfz 167*
Sturmpanzer IV Brummbär SdKfz 166*
Heuschrecke Sd.Kfz. 165/1*
Dicker Max
Hummel SdKfz 165
Nashorn SdKfz 164*
Not in the game*

My hope is that Winterketten would have the same game mechanic as winter camouflage and that Ostketten would follow the same game mechanic as the rumored Schürzen (spaced armor) where the armor takes an equipment slot and show up on the tank model (like changing turrets on a tank)

View PostXlucine, on Dec 20 2012 - 21:46, said:

Tracks in-game have texture, you can tell the pattern is different on the churchill compared to the sherman for instance so the cleats should show up

That would be changing the textures on the tank model, not changing the tank model itself and if WG decided to make such details present in the game, I will reward them by buying more gold.

View PostCosmeister, on Dec 22 2012 - 08:47, said:

From what I have read in the past, the distinguishing feature was that the Winterketten was a quick add-on to existing track.  The actual width and linkages were identical to standard track with simply an overhang to increase surface area.

I also have read the same thing and I also believed that because of the fragile look of the extensions on the Winterketten that they must be a after the fact add-on to standard tracks. However while I was digging around while writing my original post, I found writings the contradicted the add-on theory and stated that Winterketten was cast at the factory. Then I found some pictures of the newly rescued Saratov Stug 3…

From the inside of the tracks the fact that each track segment is seamless from the tip to back makes clear that tracks are one piece
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I have taken enough metal shop classes and have sand casted enough hot metal to be 99% sure that each Winterketten track segment is cast whole in its entirety.
I can’t see any way the Winterketten extensions have been bolted on to the standard track.


From the outside of the tracks the webbing on the back of the extensions gives away the fact that that the individual track segment have been cast as they are seamlessly integrated with the “grip bar.
Posted Image

Although the ice cleat/grouser definitely appears bolted on from this angle

View PostCosmeister, on Dec 22 2012 - 08:47, said:

So basically the Winterketten was a standard track design with a large side extension for larger surface area, and the Ostkettin is a new, wider track design with a smaller extension. Also, by widening the linked areas of track the Ostkettin would be a stronger and more durable track.
I completely agree with this statement. In fact I found a picture
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Apparently a third hinge was added to the track extension, along with the longer track pin, that would definitely make for a much stronger track.

Edited by Tin_Omen, Dec 31 2012 - 12:24.


Meplat #8 Posted Dec 28 2012 - 09:32

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Seconding Tin_Omen.

I worked as a machinist for a while, and you can see where the basic master for the track section was modified for the extension In lieu of making a new master. (That bit of reinforcing flange where it jogs out from the actual "shoe" before tapering to the extension)

Great post/thread BTW. Love this kind of stuff.

Tin_Omen #9 Posted Dec 30 2012 - 05:39

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View PostMeplat, on Dec 28 2012 - 09:32, said:

Seconding Tin_Omen.

I worked as a machinist for a while, and you can see where the basic master for the track section was modified for the extension In lieu of making a new master. (That bit of reinforcing flange where it jogs out from the actual "shoe" before tapering to the extension)

I guess us metal heads think alike and yes that pun was intended.

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whole roll of Winterketten

Digging a little further into the Winterketten mystery, I discovered that one of the upsides of living in continental Europe is you can spend your golden years searching world war two battlefields for tanks parts.

Tread side, Winterketten on top, Ostketten on the bottom
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Inside, Winterketten on top, Ostketten on the bottom
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From top to bottom:
Two  track segments for Panzer 1(PzKpfw I, SdKfz 101.), Gleisketten-Lastkraftwagen  “Maultier” halftrack (SdKfz 4), Panzerwerfer 42(SdKfz 4/1.)
Two standard track segments for (Panzer III, SdKfz 143.)/( Panzer IV, SdKfz 161.) Note the difference in the castings of the standard tracks
Ostketten and Winterketten (with ice cleat/grouser fitted) segments for panzer III/IV  
Track segment for the Panther (PzKpfw V, SdKfz 171.)
Track segment Tiger I (PzKpfw VI, SdKfz 181.)

Tread side
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Inside

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I was surprised to see that there isn’t that much of a difference between the width of the panther track and the tiger track.
You can also tell that the Winterketten and Ostketten track extensions are about the same length and you can spot the extra hinge in the Ostketten extension.
Also the difference in length of Ostketten track pin vs. standard track pin and how the Winterketten track pin and Standard track pin is the same.
The Winterketten’s “blade” looks very fragile when compared to rest of the pieces.
This goes a long way to explaining why the Winterketten tracks got so mangled while traveling over rough ground and why the Germans would replace them with Ostketten after the snow melted; turning the ground into a sea of mud.

Edited by Tin_Omen, Jan 02 2013 - 08:13.


Richardsen #10 Posted Feb 22 2013 - 10:05

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View PostTin_Omen, on Dec 30 2012 - 05:39, said:


Track segment for the Panther (PzKpfw V, SdKfz 171.)
Track segment Tiger I (PzKpfw VI, SdKfz 181.)

Tread side
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Inside

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I was surprised to see that there isn’t that much of a difference between the width of the panther track and the tiger track.

There is not much of a difference: 72 cm for Pz VI E Tiger and 66 cm for Pz V Panther (all versions used the same track width if I am not mistaken). Being 12 tn lighter, the Panther had a much better ground pressure of 0.88 kg/cm2 vs 1.04 kg/cm2 of the Tiger. An M1A1, IIRC, boasts 1.019 kg/cm2.

BlackSunRising #11 Posted Feb 22 2013 - 15:59

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what a great post with fantastic pics.. i have never seen many of these before.

Xlucine #12 Posted Feb 22 2013 - 16:07

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View PostRichardsen, on Feb 22 2013 - 10:05, said:

An M1A1, IIRC, boasts 1.019 kg/cm2.

Pretty much, converting the value in hunnicutt gives 1.012kg/cm2

Vollketten #13 Posted Feb 22 2013 - 17:27

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Does anyone have technical schematics for the tracks? (The sort that would have been used to actually manufacture the track sections)