Following on from yesterdays post about my Christmas presents, I thought I'd try to identify the panzer 'track link' that my Mother and Father-in-Law bought me. Before hitting the books I turned to that greatest of resources the internet and within minutes had struck gold and identified the piece. This is almost certainly not a track link but something even more interesting, a Schneegriefer or Ice-Cleat. Another name I have seen these called by is Gleiskettengreifer, but I'm not 100% sure which is the correct name for these track accessories although many sources refer to them simply as track cleats.
This picture does not show the 'grip' side which has a divided chevron ridge (like this: / \ ) and would have been the gripping surface. This would have been bolted onto the tracks to improve grip in winter ice and snow conditions.
A quick search of the internet turned up this really useful webpage along with this archive drawing showing various German anti-slip devices for German AFV's. And Figure 7 is a perfect match for my mystery item.
From what I can tell these are pretty rare items as they were a temporary feature added to tracks during the winter months only. Driving with these on roads would have damaged both road and track. I'm not sure which vehicle it would have been used on but given its width it could have been used on larger tanks...like the Tiger! Thats only speculation of course, but its a possibiity.
I'm currently working out how to clean and preserve it and when it's ready I'll take a few more pictures and post them here.
Definitely an unusual present. Will Mrs Lee mind having it on the mantelpiece?ReplyDelete
In its current condition she might, but once I have cleaned it up and stabilised the surface corrosion it'll look better. I think most of what I think is rust is in fact just dried mud with some oxidation in it. Not sure yet how to tackle preservation (ie to Prime the piece or leave as bare metal). Looking online to see what other collectors do.Delete
Certainly a talking point for when visitors, errrmmm, visit. What a great present to get. In terms of conservation, you'd probably be best off talking to your contacts at the museums.ReplyDelete
Check with a reputable (preferably military) museum. They are usually more than willing to give advice on preservation techniques and if preservation will damage the value of the item.ReplyDelete
It's "Schneegreifer", not "-griefer".ReplyDelete
"Gleiskettengreifer" is the more general name. It translates to "track cleat". ("Gleiskette" or just "Kette" -> "track", "Greifer" -> "cleat")
"Schneegreifer" is the more special name and means "track cleat for snow" or "snow cleat".
It was used to improve traction on snow.
Thanks for the correction. I will eventually post some more pictures once I have had a chance to clean it up a bit. Hopefully then I can better idea of when it would have been used (early or late war) and on what type of AFV.Delete
Fascinating. How big is this piece Lee?ReplyDelete
The whole piece is about 12 or 13 inches long (I haven't actually measured it yet) and looks like it would have fitted across the width of the track.Delete