French automakers have always been creative and not afraid to make bold decisions. A striking example of this is Citroen, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Andre Citroen was truly a genius in the automotive industry. He was born in 1878 in a family of emigrants and was the youngest, fifth, child in the family. His mother came to Paris from Poland, and his paternal grandfather traded citrus fruits in Holland. Initially, their surname sounded like Citron ("lemon"), but the school teacher decided to write it in a classroom magazine in the French manner - Citroën.
In world automobile history, the Citroen company is known primarily for its numerous and original passenger cars, in military history for light semi-caterpillar tractors, and there was simply no place left for army trucks. Meanwhile, in the 1930s, one of the main areas of Citroën's business was civilian trucks, which without major changes entered the French Armed Forces. The main ones were simple bonnet 1.5-ton 23U cars with a wheelbase of 3380 mm and long-wheelbase 23LU (3750 mm), unified by units with the 11CV passenger model and equipped with a 1.9-liter engine with 42 hp. With a gross weight of 3,520 kg, they developed a speed of 70 km / h. Since the late 1930s, an army version of the T-23 (23R) was produced with a 48-horsepower version of the previous engine. The T-45 trucks of the second 3.5-ton series with a 5140 mm wheelbase were equipped with a 6-cylinder overhead valve engine (4.6 l, 73 hp), a 4-speed gearbox and had a gross weight of 7600 kg. In the basic version, they were equipped with wooden side platforms with folding benches and an awning, side tool boxes, various add-ons and even light anti-aircraft weapons. In the spring of 1937, the 84-horsepower R-112 wheeled tracked vehicle was built on the T-45 short-chassis chassis, equipped with a Kegress reinforced caterpillar crawler, which was mounted under the frame within the wheelbase and, if necessary, lowered to the ground, increasing the vehicle's cross-country ability. After the occupation, the Citroen company continued to work actively and until 1944 produced 35 thousand trucks entering the army of the countries of the Nazi block. Only in the Wehrmacht machines of the 23 series consisted of 6 thousand units, of the 45 series - 15 thousand units.
The experience of creating front-wheel drive cars was also useful in the design of military equipment, if only a light-duty delivery van TUB with a carrying capacity of 850 kg, created in November 1939, could be attributed to it. Nevertheless, it was adopted by the French army as a light TAMN ambulance and was produced from February to December 1940, and then fell into the medical units of the Wehrmacht. It was powered by an 11UB passenger car model (1.9 l, 41 hp) and a low all-metal body, in which six stretchers or places for nine seated wounded were located in three tiers. The car with a length of only 4200 mm and a height of 2200 mm had a wheelbase of 2350 mm, curb weight - 1715 kg and reached a speed of 65 km / h. They were collected 650 copies.