Benz-Bräuer Kraftprotze

Almost nothing is known about the history of this machine, but it was possible to gather some information from various sources.

This artillery tractor was demonstrated to German military authorities on tests held June 20, 1918 near Sauberg, located near the city of Gaggenau. As can be seen from the photo, the vehicle is in fact a conversion of the 3-ton Benz 3KL tractor, which had 45-horsepower engine and chain drive to the rear wheels. The new tractor was called the Benz КР (45PS) and probably re-utilized the old engine.

Front wheels had cast tires, and the rear wheels were the same with the distinct difference in that they were strewn with caterpillar treads. In fact, it was one of the first produced german half-tracks and wheel-cum-track vehicles.

After a successful demonstration the government ordered one hundred units. Of the one hundred vehicles ordered, various contradicting sources claim that anywhere that only three to fifty were actually completed by the end of the war, and none of them saw any action.

But there is another interesting relative of this vehicle. Before the end of the war, an improved model was tested. Apparently, the chassis was supplemented with hydraulic pistons to control it. Front idler wheels could be raised and lowered as needed, thereby changing the area and shape of the ground contact patch. On a solid soil it was possible to raise them higher, thus to ride practically on the wheels, on a soft ground the rollers lowered and created a large flat caterpillar. It is simultaneously a half-tracked and wheel-cum-track machine combining both schemes. This model identified as Benz CR (45PS).

Special thanks to Ki McKenzie for editing.


  • Waffen Revue Nr. 70 III. Quartal 1988.
  • Waffen Revue Nr. 71 IV. Quartal 1988.
  • Walter J. Spielberger – Die Rad- und Vollketten-Zugmaschinen Des Deutschen Heeres 1871-1945.
  • Е. Кочнев – Энциклопедия военных автомобилей 1769-2006 гг. | E. Kochnev – Encyclopedia of military vehicles 1769-2006.

Forgotten Sturmbegleitkanone

Probably every history researcher has some kind of his own riddle that is not solved for a long time and only brings up new questions the further they investigate. For me, this one photo, which attracted my attention. It was in very poor quality with a barely readable inscription about some kind of “assault gun”. Periodically on various forums I met mention of gun called a Sturmbegleitkanone or 3.7cm Sturmbegleitkanone. Digging deeper into the subject, I realized that this could perhaps be the most forgotten artillery piece of that war. I did not find exhaustive information about this gun in the encyclopedias and sites available to me, most often it was not even mentioned, almost unknown and forgotten.

Having decided to try my luck, 2 days ago I tried googling it and noticed something new – on one German site there was this photo in a larger resolution, on which it is possible to see many more details.

The caption reads: “From the eastern theater. Assault rapid-fire gun used in assault operations. (1st W., Eastern Front).

It is interesting that other versions of this picture are sold on a few online stores. Thanks to that, I managed to get the accompanying information to this photo, apparently written on the back of the photo.

Unfortunately, I can’t read most of the German text here, but something becomes clear. Firstly, the unit and the division are known for this stamp, but that is not important info in this case. What is important is the year and place: 1916, Koenigsberg. Therefore, I should not believe the 1914 date indicated in one of the online stores. Also, one of the descriptions to this photo mentioned that the photo was taken of the exercises with the new assault cannon in a forest on the Eastern Front, most likely it is.

Unfortunately, the gun shield hides all the interesting details that could shed light on the origin of this gun. What could it be? It is possible that this is an automatic cannon QF-1 or another Pom Pom derivative, captured and converted into an improvised assault gun. Or may be a trophy 42 mm Hotchkiss gun. One forum gave me the suggestion that it might be some small-scale Krupp assault gun, with some quotes from books to back it up,  but I still do not have access to the publications mentioned there. It is possible that in the epic work in two volumes “A Gun for All Nations: The 37mm Gun and Ammunition” there is detailed information, but alas, I do not yet have this book. In “Deutsche Artillerie: 1914-1918”, another book I do not possess, in the list of artillery is mentioned a certain 6-cm-Bootskanone L/21 as Sturmbegleitkanone. Also, 6cm Schnellade Boots Kanone L / 21 in Ladungslafette c/1900 has some similar visual dimensions. I do not presume to judge with all responsibility, since it is problematic for me to “determine by eye” the caliber of the gun in the picture, although the projectile itself is clearly visible in the photo, making calculation of the gun’s caliber easier.

For the time being, this gun’s origin remains a mystery.


Ahead of his time. Lewis Assault Phase Rifle – trial model

In last year, in search of information on the late developments of the famous Isaac Lewis, I found this entertaining video:

Great respect for the guys for showing and reviewing this rare and undeserved forgotten weapon. Finally, it is possible to see many details of the weapon, although it is a pity that the general view has not been shown.

Unknown WWI-era grenade launcher

Looking through archival videos, I recently caught a glimpse of a very strange grenade launcher, only visible for a few seconds. I compiled footage from the original video:

Searching on websites, books and photo collections did not help. In WWI there were several similar grenade launchers, which mostly fired flare grenades or canisters containing small notes for safe communication with neighboring units. But I have never before seen a grenade launcher with a rifle stock and a sideways barrel.

There is a clue that it could have been a pre-war police grenade launcher for throwing smoke and tear grenades, especially since the video shows the launcher with two different grenades. The presence of a French officer in the video gives a clue that the weapons are also of French origin. Similar grenade launchers produced from converted old rifles were used in the armies of many countries: including France, Belgium and Germany.

If someone knows more about this thing, then please share the information.

FIAT-Revelli M1914 converted into LMG

Several months ago I found this photo.

The caption to the photo read that this is an experimental modification of the Italian FIAT-Revelli Modello 1914 machine gun. Obviously, it is the main italian machine gun of the First World War converted into a portable light machine gun: equipped with a stock, bipod and, perhaps, slightly lightened. The dating could not be established, it could be WWI-era or early interwar era. In my opinion, this conversion is probably inspired by a possible trophy of the German MG 08/15 and was created approximately in 1917-1919.

In the handbooks, forums and online encyclopedias, there were no details or even any mention of this weapon (well, except about the original machine gun, of course). Does anyone have any information about this gun?

Unknown page of the Frommer Stop’s history

Recently I looked at old photos of soldiers and weapons of Austria-Hungary and discovered something that had not been seen before.

Notice the unusual modification of the Frommer Stop with a body kit? What is even more mysterious – I did not find any additional information or other photos of this version of this pistol.

In themselves, the extended magazines for the Frommer Stop have long been known, there were variants for 15, 25 and 30 rounds which were used with different automatic modifications of such pistols, but it is something entirely new to see one with a stock, and not as single exemplar. I’ve read text references to the use of certain submachine guns on the Italian front by Austro-Hungarian troops. And the Dual Monarchy had many of them in own arsenal, although they did not have a variety of original solutions.

A very unusual weapon, called Pistolen-MG M.17. It is literally the Frommer Stop’s twin, as lightened as possible and adapted for firing from a special tripod mount.

“Half” of a Pistolen-MG M.17.

Automatic Frommer Stop with an extended magazine and a slightly longer barrel (most likely based on the version of the pistol for the pilots). Maxim Popenker, the famous russian researcher, many years ago showed a very similar Frommer Stop, but that was much simpler. Presumably, it is a special pistol variant for a disabled officer with damaged fingers.

Automatic Frommer Stop with long barrel and an extended magazine. Only one sample and one photo is known to exist.

I can assume that in 1917, a small batch of Frommer Stop pistols was converted to automatic fire, equipped with an expanded magazine and butt, which were used in Jagdkommando – the Austro-Hungarian equivalent of legendary german Stoßtruppen, i.e. assault units.

The original photo, which was the cause of this micro-note.

Does anyone have any details on this enigmatic version of the Frommer Stop? Please share information if you know something.