Dieselpunks

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Lord K's Garage - #88. Belgian Military Vehicles

Today we honor a small country with great automotive industries.

Yes, Belgium, the homeland of Philip Vandenberg, can be proud not only of its excellent breweries and chocolate factories but also of the automobile works (which in many cases were subsidiaries of arms and armament companies). Let's see some military vehicles from Diesel Era:

A Brussels company belonging to Brossel brothers started production of trucks in the beginning of 1920s. But Belgian and German armed forces started to acquire them only since 1937. The most famous military product with the trademark of "Brossel" was heavy artillery tractor TAL (Tracteur Artillerie Lourde) 4x4 with all wheels steerable. The prototype was built in 1935, production lasted since 1937 till 1939.

Tractors in various variants were equipped with own-designed 70-95 h.p. 6-cylinder overhead valve gasoline or diesel engines 70-95 h.p. All vehicles possessed 4-speed gearbox, two-speed transfer, complete differential blocking, independent spring suspension, mechanical brakes and 6.5t centre-based winch. They featured 12 ton-force hauling capacity and made 50 km/h. Their chassis was used to create several recovery vehicles.

All in all 74 TAL tractors were built. "Brossel" took part in design and production of "FN-Brossel-Miesse 62C" 4x4 military truck.

The Belgian Army first Chevrolets seem to have been a batch of 56 1-tonners, acquired in 1928. These were bodied as (Hotchkiss) machinegun ammo carriers and used by the Carabiniers-Cyclistes Regiment (Karabiniers-Wielrijders). The Wielrijders of course followed on their bikes!

Here's a shot of the Auto-caisson Mitrailleuse, or Munitiewagen Mitrailleur. Some more of these trucks were apparently bodied as ambulances or GS trucks.

The Belgian Army also bought a number of 1938 4x4 GMC trucks. Some were bodied as GS trucks (above), but there is a picture showing a support truck of the 3rd Ardennes Rifles (Chasseur Ardennais/Ardeense Jagers). It was probably used as an ammo truck for the 47mm tank destroyers.

Passenger cars manufactured by Belgian national arms factory FN (Fabrique National d’'Armes de Guerre) were used in WWI. Military trucks production was launched only in the beginning of 1930s. The first FN special military auto was "Coloniale" 8-seat cargo-and-passenger variant with 8-cylinder 60 h.p. row engine, front individual suspension and big diameter wheels. It was designed on the basis of 2.5t truck for Belgian African colonies.

In 1934-1940 under agreement with "Citroёn" the company produced 130 half-tracked FN-Kégresse artillery tractors.

They were based on "Minerva" truck with 6-cylinder engine (4.0 l, 55-60 h.p.) or FN 8-cylinder engine.

In 1936 the company developed the first cab-over-engine 5t all-wheel-drive 63C (4x4) military truck with 4.0 power unit. Its light variant "63P" was planned to be supplied to Poland.

Before Belgium was occupied in 1940 500 "63s" were manufactured.

Simultaneously FN produced universal 3-wheeled "Tricar" chassis based on FN own mass-produced motorcycles.

It capacity was 550-675 kg. Belgian army used it for delivery of light cargoes, reconnaissance, mounting machine-guns and 20mm flak cannons.

T3 (12T3) was equipped with opposed 2-cylinder motorcycle engine (992 cubic cm, 22 h.p.), 3- or 4-speed gearbox with 2-stage reducer and reverse gear, mechanical brake drive and automobile-type rear axle with spring suspension.

In 1930s the Miesse company manufactured 5t military trucks with 8-cylinder row engine.

The most peculiar one was a 6x6 truck with middle drive axle, backbone frame and individual suspension. In 1940-1950s the company took part in production of "FN-Brossel-Miesse" (4x4) military truck.

In the second half of 1920s after the acquisition of Auto-Traction company Minerva produced CM-3 3-ton trucks with valveless engine (3.6 l, 40 h.p.) used by Belgian armed forces in African colonies.

Sources: CABAL @ militaryphotos.net, nuyt @ Network54

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