Improvised Light Tank – 1 Built
Despite being famous for its tanks during World War II, Germany never had enough of them to go around. Less important units, such as those fighting partisans in the Balkans had a very low priority as far as Armored Fighting Vehicle allocation was concerned. They received old, obsolete or captured vehicles that the main units deemed useless.
This led some of the units in the theater to get creative, as was probably the case with the Leichter Raupenschlepper Famo light tank.
Three photographs have shown that at least one Famo Boxer was converted into a light tank. It is not known by whom or the exact dates involved. The engine was protected by armor plate and the front section elongated to act as a counterweight. It had an armored louvered grill at the front to assist ventilation and help protect the engine and radiator. The lower glacis plate was angled to help it slide up muddy slopes.
The rear of the tractor was extended so the commander had somewhere to stand. In front of him was the driver. Both crewmen were protected by an armored superstructure. The thickness of the armor is not known but it would have been thin and only stopped small arms fire. It was angled and the domed turret was curved which would have helped with bullet deflection.
The Leichter Raupenschlepper Famo (Light tracked tractor built by Famo) improvised tank was built on an agricultural tracked tractor. It was armed with a 7.92 mm machine-gun in a 360-degree rotating turret. It had a 5.0 liter 4-cylinder 45 hp engine. The transmission had three forward gears and one reverse.
It is believed to have been operated in the Independent State of Croatia and used in a security role to prevent attacks by partisans. It does not display the Croatian Army markings of a red and white checkerboard shield. It has the German Army Balkenkreuz cross on the side. Therefore, it may be assumed that the vehicle was operated by a German Army tank crew in Croatia.
The tractor, on which this vehicle was based, was produced in 1932 and called the LHB Boxer. In 1934, Linke-Hofmann-Busch Werke AG was divided into several companies. On 15th November 1935, the vehicle manufacturing part of the company was taken over by Junkers. It continued to build wheeled and tracked tractors plus diesel engines under the new name Fahrzeug und Motoren-Werke GmbH (FAMO). They also developed and manufactured the very large heavy 18 ton half-track vehicle (Sd.Kfz.9) for the Wehrmacht.
FAMO continued the production of the LHB Boxer but it was now advertised for sale as the FAMO Boxer. The German Wehrmacht purchased them for use as towing vehicles. Their official designation was Leichter Raupenschlepper Famo, Typ Boxer.
The operational history of this vehicle is, sadly, unknown. It is also not known what happened to the vehicle. It is possible it was destroyed by the partisans, captured after the war and scrapped or simply dismantled and returned to its role as a tractor.
Illustration of the Leichter Raupenschlepper Famo produced by Yuvnashva Sharma, funded by our Patreon Campaign.
|Total weight, battle-ready||N/A|
|Armament||7.92mm Machine Gun|
|Crew||2 (commander/gunner, driver)|
|Propulsion||5.0 litre 4-cylinder 42 hp|
|For information about abbreviations check the Lexical Index|
Links & Resources
Traktore Schlepper Jahrbuch – Das Schlepperjahrbuch by Gerhard Siem
Legendary Farm Tractors by Andrew Morland
German Army Manuals of World War II by Charles Lemon
Kfz. der Wehremacht
6 replies on “Leichter Raupenschlepper Famo”
Is the type of the machine gun known? Looks rather odd to me.
I appreciate the detail in this article, but is there a way the US’ T32 Heavy Tank prototype could have a little light shed upon it? There are a lot of conflicting details in many articles I read on the machine, and I was hoping Tank Encyclopedia could sort some of this out.
Thank you for the kind words! While such an article is within our sights and within our scope, it is not currently in the works. It is already on our Public Suggestion List, but you can help by adding more sources (or other suggested articles)
Also, in order to help us with illustrating and publishing, please do consider donating through Patreon or Paypal.
When I first saw the pictures, I thought it was a World War 1 tank!
Soooo…..the German Bob Semple tank?
Bruh it looks like they just got some old tractors and put some bits of steel around it, put a gun on top and 💥 you have the most stupid looking tank on the planet