The German Jeep – 20 Wartime Images of The Kubelwagen

Italy, Sicily, 1943. A flat tire on a VW-Kübelwagen, soldier with jack going to replace the tire. Note the open engine compartment. - By Bundesarchiv CC BY-SA 3.0
Italy, Sicily, 1943. A flat tire on a VW-Kübelwagen, soldier with jack going to replace the tire. Note the open engine compartment. - By Bundesarchiv CC BY-SA 3.0

The Volkswagen Kübelwagen that was used during the Second World War by both the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS was a light military vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche. It was heavily based on the Volkswagen Beetle, which was to be “the people’s car.”

Kübelwagen is an abbreviation of the German “Kübelsitzwagen,” meaning “bucket-seat car.” All German light military vehicles that were without doors were fitted with bucket seats to prevent passengers from falling out.

Because the first VW test vehicles had no doors it was fitted with bucket seats, thus it was firste named VW Kübelsitzwagen which was later shortened to Kübelwagen.

The Kübelwagen was for the Germans what the Jeep and GAZ-67 were for the Allies.

Nordfrankreich, Soldaten mit VW-Kübelwagen
Northern-France, June 21st 1944. Four German soldiers with their Kübelwagen.- By Bundesarchiv
Jugoslawien, Kübelwagen, zerstörte Brücke
Yugoslavia, September 1943. Kübelwagens drive past a destroyed railway bridge.- By Bundesarchiv
Russland, VW- Kübelwagen
Russia, 21 June 1943. Soldiers of the Waffen-SS Totenkopf (deaths head) division in a Kübelwagen – By Bundesarchiv
Tobruk, Soldaten in VW-K¸belwagen
North Africa, Tobruk, August 1942. Soldiers in a Kübelwagen near a No Entry sign. – By Bundesarchiv
Walter Model im Kübelwagen
Germany, 16 October 1944. Generalfeldmarschall Model visits the headquarters of the 246 volksgrenadier division near Aachen. – By Bundesarchiv
Russia, 21 June 1943. A German soldier reads a book in a Kubelwagen – By Bundesarchiv
Nordfrankreich, Soldaten mit VW-Kübelwagen
Northern-France, 21 June 1944. Soldiers in a Kubelwagen look at a burning convoy. The soldier in the back seems to be on the lookout for allied airplanes. – By Bundesarchiv
North-Africa, 1942. German soldiers drive their Kubelwagen through the desert. – By Bundesarchiv
Nordafrika, Hans-Joachim Marseille neben VW-K¸belwagen
North Africa,1942. Leutnant Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert (left) and Feldwebel Maximilian Volke (right) stand next to the kübelwagen of Hans-Joachim Marseille, which he had named “Otto”. – By Bundesarchiv
Jugoslawien, Polizeieinsatz
Yugoslavia, 1943. Soldiers march past a Kubelwagen during an anti-partisan operation. – By Bundesarchiv
Jugoslawien, Polizeieinsatz, Truppentransport
Yugoslavia, 1943. Soldiers and a kubelwagen loaded on a ferry  during an anti-partisan operation. – By Bundesarchiv
Tunesien, Kriegsgefangene, Verwundete
North Africa, Tunesia, Sidi N’sir, February 1943. German Soldiers at a railway station in use as an aid station for wounded prisoners of war. – By Bundesarchiv
Nordafrika, VW-Kübel, Straßenschild
North Africa, August 1942. German soldiers pass an improvised  road sign. – By Bundesarchiv
Jugoslawien, Raupenschlepper Ost, VW-Kübel
Yugoslavia, September 1943. A Kubelwagen in a convoy, the vehicle behind the Kubelwagen is s Raupenschlepper Ost (RSO) with a trailer – By Bundesarchiv
Russland, PK mit VW-Kübel
Russia, 1943. A Luftwaffe propaganda unit in a Kubelwagen – By Bundesarchiv
Waffen-SS mit Pak und MG auf Straße
Balkans (probably), 1941. Waffen SS troops with a 5cm PAK 38 anti tank gun accompanied by a MG-34 machine gun on a street. Note the swastika on the Kübelwagens spare tire. – By Bundesarchiv
Russland, Panzer VI (Tiger I) mit Kettenschaden
Russia, 22 December 1943. A Mark VI Tiger tank with it’s tracks blown off in the snow, parked behind it a Kubelwagen – By Bundesarchiv
Nordafrika, Straßenkreuzung, Militärfahrzeuge
North Africa, Tunisia, 1942. A Kübelwagen on a road junction, note the Beetle parked behind the truck. – By Bundesarchiv
Jugoslawien, Split, Soldat mit Motorrad
Yugoslavia, September 1943. Motorized troops pose with a section of their vehicles. – By Bundesarchiv

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.