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.