Capturing spoils of war is nothing new. All winners take away weapons, equipment, even uniforms from the defeated armies. Everything that may be of interest is taken from the territory of the defeated country - equipment, raw materials, goods, numerous experimental projects and ready-made technologies. Ships, planes and cars including. Sometimes things are in good condition, and if not, they can always be repaired or disassembled for parts, at the same time revealing some of the secrets of enemy designers-developers.
Have you ever wondered what happened to the cars seized in the occupied territory of Germany at the end of the Great Patriotic War? Those that were in a relatively intact condition safely moved to the Soviet Union, where they entered service and even went to the masses.
We have collected several samples of such captured vehicles. They keep the memory of the Second World War and tell an interesting story about what those times were like.
1. Opel Kadett (1936-1940)
Opel Kadett was one of the most popular cars in Germany in the 30-40s of the XX century. After the end of World War II, the Russians kept it for themselves as compensation for the damage caused by the war. In Rüsselsheim, all the production facilities for the creation of this machine, which survived during the war, were loaded into freight cars and sent to Moscow.
The low-power (23 hp / 60 Nm) two-door sedan first appeared in the 36th, following the Olympia subcompact, with which it divided the body structure and the main chassis units (but the inline 1, 1-liter 4-cylinder was transferred from the Opel P4).
The pre-war Cadets, despite the unusually modest power figures, effortlessly scattered to 90 km / h - a very decent speed at the time. The lighter weight of the model - 750 kg contributed to the commendable agility. The construction and design were progressive, only there was no variety in the lineup: like the large Olympia, the Kadett was initially offered only in two-door versions of the sedan and Cabrio Limousine convertible (a sedan-like variation with a fabric roof).
The 1st generation (1936-1940) had a lot in common with the KIM 10-50 car, produced in Moscow before the war, and became the prototype of the mass Soviet "people's" cars - "Moskvichs" 400-422.
2. DKW F8
The second most popular car after the Cadet was the 20-horsepower DKW F8, whose successor, the F9, has already been developed and is ready for series production. Since the Auto Union factories were located in the territory occupied by the Soviet Union, their property became the property of the USSR and its associates. Then, the German engineering industry, as now, was of interest to many. Not so much by products as by innovation of accompanying technical considerations.
The fate of DKW ("Dampf Kraft Wagen"), one of the largest German manufacturers, was tragic after the war. Part of the factories remained in the FRG, another, much larger, went to the GDR, where it was nationalized and renamed IFA. The DKW F8 continued to be produced, but under the name IFA F8 and the upgraded IFA F9. By the way, the famous GDR Trabant had a lot in common with the F8 / F9, including a 700 cc 2-cylinder two-stroke engine. cm with transverse placement, as in the pre-war DKW.
3. Mercedes 170V (W136, 1936 - 1942)
One of the most attractive models was the Mercedes 170V. A solid sedan with a 28-kilowatt 1, 7-liter 4-cylinder M 136 engine, an innovative X-shaped tubular frame, hydraulic drum brakes, independently suspended front wheels and a four-speed manual gearbox, transmitting power to the rear pair via a synchronizer, was a very advanced vehicle for of its time.
The 170 series was a Mercedes-Benz bestseller before and after WWII. Among other things, a wide variety of bodies were offered: four-door sedans, convertibles, limousines and vans, two-door two- and four-seat convertible roadsters and even pickups. The entire series built on the basis of the Type 170 (W15, introduced early 1931) was truly technically and stylistically advanced.
The bombing during World War II destroyed most of the car factories, and production of the 170V resumed only in 1947, but convertibles and other variations were no longer produced (with the exception of a series of police cars) - only four-door sedans. The petrol models received the designation 170 VA, and the diesel ones - 170 DA.
Such "Germans" were not uncommon on Moscow roads. They were supplied with a kind of Soviet tuning (a small scarlet flag or a five-pointed star instead of the traditional three-beam emblem on the nose) and were actively used until the 1970s and later, when official deliveries of Mercedes-Benz had already begun to the country. Many of them have now become museum pieces and valuable collectibles. Some are still in excellent working order.
4. BMW 326
The 326 was BMW's first mid-size four-door sedan, produced between 1936 and 1941, and then, under Soviet control, after 1945. By the time production was halted in 1941, the Eisenach plant had produced 15,949 of these machines.
In 1945, Eisenach was occupied by American troops, but according to an agreement between the military allies, Thuringia fell into the Soviet occupation zone. The BMW plant in Eisenach was not completely destroyed, but the surviving workers from the remaining stocks were able to collect only a few post-war copies.
Then the production was transferred to the disposal of Awtowelo (short for AWO) - an organization engaged in the production of cars, motorcycles, etc. in the Soviet zone of occupation. Instead of the 326, they began to build a version based on it called EMW 340. Later, the assembly plant was completely dismantled and taken to Russia as part of a war reparations package.
The model, which became the most successful in the pre-war BMW lineup, was distinguished by a box-section frame structure, which, if necessary, easily adapted to derivative versions of the car, and an all-metal body structure. Innovative features also included a torsion bar rear suspension, inspired by Citroen designs, and a hydraulic braking system pioneered in a BMW product. The 6-cylinder engine (1971 cc) generated 50 hp. and allowed the car to run at speeds up to 115 km / h. The 326 4-door sedan rolled off the assembly line first, followed by the 2- and 4-door convertibles. On its basis, other sedans, limousines, 2-seater coupes, roadsters and convertibles were created (series 320, 321, 327, 328 and 335).
At the end of the Second World War, luxury German small cars passed into the hands of the highest military personnel. When in 58th a decree was issued to remove all foreign cars from the Soviet military vehicle fleet, "three hundred twenty-sixths" were taken over by civilians. They could be found on the roads of many large cities in Russia and the union republics. One of the trophy copies even starred in a movie - in the famous Mosfilm film "17 Moments of Spring".
5. Horch 830/853
When Auto Union introduced the first Horch with a V8 engine in 1933, it reflected all the know-how available at the time. The new 830 had a three-liter engine and was immediately named "Little Horch". The digital designation of the model indicated the number of cylinders and the displacement of the engine.
Horch was a serious competitor to Mercedes-Benz in Germany, so it should come as no surprise that his products became valuable trophies for the winning side. In the Union, the most prestigious was the 853 convertible (1935-1940) - one of the most beautiful cars of its time with a high-performance 100-horsepower petrol engine, 4-speed gearbox, hydraulic brakes and other advanced technologies that allowed it to accelerate to 135 km / h.
Cinema figures could not pass by such a remarkable handsome man: Horch starred in more than 25 popular Soviet films, incl. Omega Option, Hello, I'm Your Aunt and Velvet Season.
However, not only cars from the Second World War became history, but also "Gangster" cars of the 90s.