The picture above shows a technological peculiarity, the Volkswagen Schwimmwagen. This is an automobile was meant to be able to travel on land and roads like a simple car, but this one also had the ability to float across the water making it an amphibious vehicle.
The name Schwimmwagen literally translates into “Swimming Car.” From German to English. As Volkswagen is a company of German origin, they were mostly utilized in WWII by the German Army. The photo actually shows three German soldiers riding in one. The car was also designed to be a four wheel drive vehicle, giving it tremendous ability and use in the war. They were mainly used for recon and transport through off-road environments.
One of the models of this line, the Type 166, was actually the most highly produced amphibious cars in history because of how in demand it was for the blitzkrieg and subsequent defense. Production on this particular model ended in 1944.
The motor in the Schwimmwagen was quite simple, being based off of the Volkswagen Beetle’s design. This made them able to carry out their jobs while still being economical to produce. The parts that were already in the original car’s design were re-purposed to aid in its aquatic travel. The wheels in the front would also serve as a makeshift rudder in the water, allowing them to be steered in the water the same as on land. A propeller was built in to the back that was meant to be lowered into the water in order to propel it, and it used the same engine and fuel as the car mode would.
Writer / Quiz Creator
Andrew Nicholas is a passionate reader and writer on the subjects of history and mankind. He is a published author, critic, and poet who grew up in the friendly scenery of rural Ohio. He is a graduate of Wright State University and a regular student of historical curiosities.