by: Adie Roberts [ ]
Originally published on:
In 1945 World War Two was over and Germany lay in ruins. Against that background, the Allied victors planned to convert the country into an agricultural state without any major industry to prevent a war ever starting again in Germany.
Albert Friedrich, formerly head of Daimler-Benz aircraft engine department, saw that the only chance to keep his job in those hard times was to develop a new type of agricultural engine. The new design was to be able to drive where hitherto only horses could go, and be much more than just a tractor for a plough. A small team around Albert Friedrich and Heinrich Rossler started work as early as autumn 1945.
In January 1946 the first fully developed proposal could be shown, and on 9th October the same year, a running prototype was completed.
After tests, an improved model was completed in 1947. The outcome was a vehicle that would create a new class and was nothing like an agricultural tractor.
The Unimog was so ahead of its time that soon other branches outside of agricultural and forestry became aware of it.
The first military customer for the Unimog was neutral Switzerland with its army ordering from 1950 a total of 44 Unimog U25 trucks
The review starts off with the technical and history of the Unimog S-type and includes a break down of the different variants that were made. After this first section, it then goes back to Tankograds fantastic way of providing plenty of information in a picture heavy way.
The first few pictures start by showing some of the prototypes, some of these are being put through their paces on a man made course. Right up and until the present day all Unimog have to under go extensively off road trials.
The ability of this vehicle is amazing as are some of the pictures that have been taken to show the Unimog doing its thing! One of the pictures shows it going through uneven muddy water troughs that virtually go up higher than the wheels and mud guards. An excellent diorama opportunity for someone with a creative imagination where the muddy water is thrown up over the top of the side panels on the flatbed.
The books then go on to talk about the different types starting of with Unimog S-series production models, the first picture shows one of this s-type Unimog is up to its axles in mud. Various black and white photo graphs showing side views and the back view of a Unimog with the back open show its potential for carrying personnel. But the picture that comes next really does look fantastic a Wesser-Flugeugbau WFS-64A carrying two Unimog's underneath showing that the compact size giving it the extra added potential for air transportation.
Some colour pictures just add to the look and feel of this remarkable vehicle that truly is capable of traversing such diverse terrain. Still, with the S-type model a coloured chart shows some of the uses that this remarkable vehicle coped with, from cargo, personnel, fire fighting, ambulance, radio communication to snow plough and military engineers vehicle.
In the 1970’s the Type S Unimog became partially replaced by the new 2-tonne Mercedes-Benz L508 DG Baureihe this was only a partial replacement and it is easy to see that the newer vehicle could not match the go anywhere ability of the Unimog.
The Technical section of the book comes next with various drafted pictures of the various parts of the S-type, some great cut away engine pictures, axles and chassis, gear box, clutch plates steering and steering racks also are shown. These are valuable to the modern day modeller who may want to do some extra detailing.
The final part of book one is the walk around section, which truly is amazing showing literally close ups as well as good photos of the vehicles in action which cover the cargo version and box body version.
The cargo version was the one that was the real work horse; some very impressive photos show you the interior of the cab of the truck along with close up shots of various parts. That includes the sides of the truck (lower) doors, mirrors, lights, tow bars, winch and axles
The box truck body version is from the signals variant carrying field communications, aerials etc. It also has close up walk around type photos that include the engine, plates, wheels, air intake, internal shots of the cab and loads of the box from various angles. All this will help the modeller greatly should they decide to go for a complete scratch build of the box from a standard version. The last picture in this book really gives you the complete idea of just how ‘anywhere’ it could go like a near sheer slope with two Unimogs helping one another by winch to make it to the top.
The second Unimog book 5067 starts with a wider look at the cargo version of the S-type, with tankograd doing it in their usual fashion of heavy picture with dual text German and English explaining what is going on in the picture.
The first of the pictures show the German army Unimogs at work with troops in the back of a truck in the snow with chains on the tires. Some fantastic 1/35th scale drawings of the cargo version (open) are very valuable again for the modeller.
There is another set of scale drawn pictures (1/35th scale) of the cargo version (closed)
Some further great photographs follow showing the open cargo version driving through a river during driver training. A couple of photographs show the law of physics and actually has one Unimog half on its side with the driver and some of the crew of the said truck trying to pull it back on its wheels.
Some pictures of the Unimog as a prime mover with a 90mm anti tank gun being towed behind it. Training saves lives, is the title of one of the photographs which show an S-type open back with decontamination equipment on training exercise for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC)
Two pictures from the Psychological operations (psyops) units shows how the Unimog was used in the psychological war fare, one carrying two large loud speakers the second one four but two of them are much larger than the other two.
Showing its compact size see the S-type tied down on the open transport flatbed of a train in Upper Bavaria. One that caught my eye was an S-type with a frame work over the cab showing a 360-degree platform for a machine gun.
Some great colour pictures showing the different colour schemes of olive drab and German NATO colour, brown, green and black in a museum in Munster.
Another useful diagram shows the colour scheme of the green, brown and black camo and where to put it with a key to the symbols and RAL colour numbers.
Various other photographs show the S-type cargo version many different guises from engineers and electrical engineers with huge generators being loaded on the back of them.
A further section of the book shows the Unimog S-cargo – specialised superstructures which again is picture heavy showing some of the more unusual uses of the S-type cargo version. Some of these vehicles were converted by the units that received them as some of them were not available as a standard vehicle like the pilot recovery versions with a forward mounted platform for fire fighters to stand on during a rescue.
Various tools can be mounted to the Unimog via power take –offs, though these were not standard many different tools could and were fitted to these fantastic work horses. A lot of these were fitted with snow ploughs and snow blowers for clearing runways and snow from roads during exercises or in winter around the camps.
Some of them had hi-abs and hole boring equipment, while a couple of pictures showed one flatbed carrying a Rheinmetall 20-2 20mm anti aircraft gun.
While another couple shows the S-Type being used LARS 1 introduced into the Bundeswehr in 1970. Two exceptional coloured pictures of an FIKfz fire engine that also featured a closed all steel cab.
The last section of book two is of the Unimog S Double –Cab Driver –Training a specialist vehicle with a double cab allowing for the drivers to be taken out for training purposes. There is also a drawn 1/35th scale double – cab very useful to the modeller that would like to build this type of the truck. A couple of colour photos show you in more detail the shape of this driver training vehicle.
The last picture on the back cover of this book shows S-type trucks driving in military column great for another diorama idea.
The third and final book 5068 takes a greater look at the S-type closed bodies a series of pictures with text start this first section in the book showing the standard box on the back of the Unimog. Most of the pictures are in colour allowing you to see the colour schemes used.
The kabine 1 box bodies on more modern army trucks were earmarked to replace Unimog S- mounted signals version.
Another 1/35th scale drawing of the Unimog S with standardised box body really does look very interesting as well as useful.
Some fantastic pictures of a Funkkoffer one with completely open showing all the equipment in the back aerials, radios and close up of the portable generator.
There is another fantastic drawn picture showing again where to paint the camouflage with clear painting guide which is so useful for the modeller. Another one of the good pictures is of a Unimog in winter colours fantastic for a winter diorama.
Unimogs with the box body played a pivotal role at an airfield and not just as a foam tender one of the first pictures in this section shows a flight safety officers version complete with red and white Battenberg Hi-vis markers. One Unimog picture shows a crash truck with amber flashing beacon and orange bands with the same colour crash words on it all in Hi-Vis.
The set of pictures in this section for me held a lot of interest being an ex-fire fighter and I would have loved to have a Unimog fire engine to play with especially for off road forest fires.
Unimog S- Specialised Box Bodies, the standard box too short for many of the crew members to be able to stand, had to bend or sit to be able to work inside the rear of the truck.
A prototype was built with a much larger box body which was built by Zeppelinmetalbau. It was based on the Einheitskoffer but features only one rear door and a different hatch design on the sides.
This gave a much easier working environment for the soldiers and staff who worked in the specialised bodies on forward control and engineer S-type trucks.
Unimog S – Ambulance, the interior was designed to hold four stretchers, retractable steps and side door all of these were still painted in bright colours, but later changed to yellow-olive camouflage.
Plenty of pictures of different S-Type ambulances follow which includes one colour olive drab to three colour camouflage; these are displayed in lots of different situations from on a test centre to working in the field.
Plenty of close up pictures offers good ideas for any scratch building. Four pictures of an early KrKw ambulance which are a bit sparse when looking at a modern ambulance.
A number of coloured pictures of the S-Type Unimog give an even better perception of the vehicle.
Unimog S- Dummy Training Tanks are to me at least bizarre with painted running gear looking like a bmp type vehicle, as bizarre as it is; it also looked from front and back like an APC.
Another fantastic dummy training tank HS-30 1/35th scale drawing which could be quite novel to build.
The final part of the Dummy tank section actually has a number of larger looking tanks with turrets on top of them, for anyone interested in this type of conversion then there are plenty of different types of dummy tanks.
Unimog S- FlKfz 750 Fire- engine this section is much closer to my heart, being an ex-fire fighter. The first KlKfz 750 fire engine bodies were built by Metz a now well-known manufacturer of modern fire engines.
Quite a few of the pictures of the fire engines follow, some of which look more like military police rather than fire engines.
It is fascinating to see just how many locations the Bundeswehr fire brigades were used from the obvious Luftwaffe stations to army camps.
One such vehicle, though I am sure there were more than one being on service at the IVG fuel depot in Bremen-Farge.
Although it is great that there is a scale drawn picture of the fire truck it is not like the others and is only one side view. Some fantastic colour pictures show various different fire engines and from the typical red to three tone camouflage versions.
Unimog SH and T Armoured versions, a fascinating section for which I had no idea they did make an armoured version. They actually look quite the part and considering the extra weight needed to protect the personnel travelling in the vehicle they still seem to be able to traverse some pretty impressive mounds and off road terrain.
One of the photos that are present is a vehicle taken at Daimler-Benz’s proving ground shows a Unimog T in an armoured personnel carrier version with a rotating turret and armed with a machine gun and smoke dischargers. Other pictures of the different vehicles show stowage points and various lockers.
The final picture shows the prodigious Unimog S Type with what looks like an old damaged windmill with an Alouette II Helicopter of the German Army Air Corps hovering just above the scene.