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Sd Kfz 9 18 Ton
Semi-Track Heavy Tractor
FAMO Model F3

by Paul Handel




Tamiya's 1/35 scale FAMO is available online from Squadron.com




The photos that accompany this article show general and detail views of a preserved Sd Kfz 9, and will assist model makers in their building of the Tamiya kit. 

The largest of the German semi-tracked vehicles produced during the period 1939 to 1945 was the Sd Kfz 9, designed and mostly built by Fahrzeug und Motorenwerke GmbH  (Famo) of Breslau.  Originally producing the F2 model (externally identical to the F3, but having a smaller 9.8 litre engine) from 1938, the F3 came into production in 1939, and continued throughout the war. 

The standard vehicle, as depicted by the Tamiya kit, was used for the towing of tank transporter trailers (usually the Sd Ah 116 rated at 22/23 tons capacity), and for the recovery of armoured vehicles using the integral vertical spindle winch rated at 18 000 kg straight line pull capacity.  As the weight of German armoured vehicles increased, so did the difficulty of recovery and these tractors were often used in tandem, or for Tiger 1s three were connected to exert the necessary force to tow the stranded armoured vehicle. Later in the war, an anchor spade was added to the rear of some vehicles to give greater purchase when winching, and other variants included  ones fitted with a 6 ton lifting crane and a 10 ton crane, as well as a self propelled gun mounting an 8.8 cm Flak. 

Captured vehicles were often used by the allies, the most well known of which was in North Africa where a Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) Recovery Section used one for tank recovery.  This vehicle had RAOC in large white letters on the body sides to aid in recognition. At least one REME Recovery Section  is recorded as using a captured Famo with the Sd Ah 116 trailer in the North West Europe campaign. 

The preserved vehicle pictured in this article is owned by the Wheatcroft Collection, whose proprietor Kevin Wheatcroft  was the driving force behind its restoration.  The photos were taken at the Invicta Military Preservation Society  War and Peace Show, held at the Hop Farm, near Beltring, Kent in the UK between 19 and 23 July 2000.  The Famo, as it was known to most visitors, appeared regularly on the arena and was often driven around the display area.  These trips really showed the vehicle at its best, a big and powerful machine but relatively quiet in running. 

I am indebted to my friends Bob and Trish Fleming, who allowed the use of their various AFVs as photographic stands during the arena displays, and all MV enthusiasts should be grateful to Kevin Wheatcroft and his team for the excellent restoration work and presentation of this truly great vehicle.



FAMO Close-Up in Photos


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Text and Images Copyright 2001 by Paul Handel
Page Created 04 August, 2001
Last updated 09 December, 2001

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