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The Kübelwagen, or Volkswagen Typ 82, was a light utility vehicle, similar to the US Jeep. It was based on the civilian Volkswagen Beetle, sharing its engine and gearbox, but increasing its ground clearence better off-road performance.

Initial production of the Kübelwagen starten in 1939, in time for it to be tested during the German invasion of Poland. In February 1940 it entered into full production, and saw service on every front during World War 2.

Although a 4x2 design, the Kübelwagen held up well in comparison to the Jeep, in part due to it being considerably lighter.

A number of different variants of the Kübelwagen were made, including a 4x4 and an ambulance version. As raw materials grew scarce, different models were introduced, including wooden bodied and coal dust powered versions.

After the war, production of the Kübelwagen stopped, with a total of about 52 000 build between 1940 and 1945. In 1969, a similar vehicle, the Volkswagen Typ 181, was adopted by the Bundeswehr, and later released on the civilian market.

Technical Details

  • Driver
  • 3 passengers
Physical Characteristics
Weight 0.715 t
Length 3.74 m
Width 1.6 m
Height 1.65 m
Speed (max) 80 km/h


Rear view of a Großdeutschland Kübelwagen
Kübelwagen of the Deutsches Afrikakorps
Kübelwagen production line

Further Reading


  1. WARE, Pat. World War Two Military Vehicles : Transport and Halftracks. Surrey : Ian Allan Publishing, 2007. 192p. ISBN: 07-1103-193-2.