The Faun Kraka is a relatively unknown vehicle which was in use by the German Army from 1974 till the late 1990’s. The vehicle has quite a few special features like a foldable chassis, chain driven rear wheels, low pressure tires and an open building method without body. Although it has all these special features it is fully licensed to be driven op public roads. The Kraka is also a wanted vehicle for collectors of heavy vehicles and light tanks to tow them, wanted for it’s robustness and last but not least it’s unique appearance on the road.
In the autumn of 1962, Zweirad-Union AG Nuernberg presented a cross-country and foldable small vehicle with the name “Kraka”. Kraka is short for “KraftKarren”, freely translated “power truck”). Zweirad-Union at that time was a subsidiary of the Faun (= Fahrzeugfabrik Ansbach und Nürnberg) factory in Nuernberg which was founded in 1918.
The Kraka was originally intended for the employment in the land and forestry as well as for disaster protection (like floodings) and for emergency services. The first prototypes were equipped with a two-stroke engine which was used in the Goggomobil car of the Glas company in Dingolfing. This engine delivered 16HP with a capacity of 400 ccm. The rims with the tyre size 6,00-16 were identically constructed as the wheels of the DKW Munga.
Since the addressed clientele showed little interest in the vehicle and the German Armed Forces were looking for a cross-country, air- transportable weapon carrier for the air landing units, Krake made all efforts to win the German Armed Forces as a customer.
In the year 1965 50 vehicles were supplied for test purposes to the German Armed Forces and were being examined in detail at test site 41 and at the airborne division. These vehicles were already equipped with the special developed low-pressure tires of the size of 22 x 12 Lypsoid. With testing it soon turned out that the chassis was not dimensioned well enough for the intended pay load of 750 kg. In addition the two-stroke engine did not prove as strong enough.
Starting from 1971 fundamentally revised test models were therefore supplied by Faun to the German Armed Forces. Among other things the framework was strengthened and an additional leaf spring at the front axle was installed. The cover plates over the front wheels were closed stowage boxes, the instrument panel was redesigned and the drive unit got exchanged for a stronger one. Now the two-cylinder four-cycle double-piston engine originating from the BMW 700 (type 427) with 697 ccm was used including the transmission. Engine performance had been reduced by a changed carburetor as well as a speed limiter from originally 32HP to 26HP. After some further changes to the years 1974/75 altogether 862 pieces of the “truck 0.75 t gl”, like the Kraka was officially called, were supplied to the 1.LL-Division and were in use for approximately twenty years. The last vehicles were superseded by the late 1990′
The Kraka was characterised by a good air transport ability (release with a parachute and transport as external load were possible) and high robustness. The 1,400 mm x 1,400 mm large loading area was for the admission of different installations prepared. This way the Kraka could be used as a radio vehicle or as a small ambulance. In the role as weapon carrier the Kraka was equipped with the MK 20mm, the PzAbw recoilless rifle 106 mm, a 120 mm mortar launcher or the PzAbw system Milan and TOW. For the supply of the mortar troops there was an ammunition transport vehicle, which could transport 34 mortars. The Kraka was high 1,190 mm (measured at steering wheel), had an unfolded length of 2,780 mm and width of 1,510 mm. With the vehicle folded the length was reduced to 1,850 mm.
A light armored, two-seat version of the Kraka, which was supposed to be equipped with one 20 mm mounted gun or two antitank guided missiles of the type HOT, was presented in 1972, but was not manufactured in series. Likewise, the 1976 Kraka with 602 ccm / 29HP Citroën engine was not getting manufactured.