One controversy among those who are versed in Kubel-lore concerns whether the Kubel was ever meant to pull a trailer.
On the one hand ,the rear cross-member of the Kubel has had, since 1942, five holes ( a big one surrounded by four little ones ) after the pattern of the standard Wehrmacht tow hook.
On the other hand, I have never seen a war-time picture of a Kubel towing a trailer , and the people I know who have tried towing express disapointment at the performance of the Kübel+trailer .
The question thus remains open as to whether the Kubel was in fact built to tow a trailer .
Recently-published information give us a partial answer: Yes , at least for a small series of prototypes: a number of Kubels were modified specially for towing a gun or a trailer, within the frame of a basic unit which comprised two modified Kubels (Schlepperfahrzeug Typ 276), a small caliber antitank gun (37 PaK), an ammunition trailer laden with 16 cases of three rounds of A. P. shell , and seven men (drivers included).
These Typ 276 differed from the standard Typ 82 on the following points:
On a first model, the rear suspension was beefed-up, and the car shod with bigger tyres(BF 200C16) on 7.00C16 rims (with a smaller offset inwards: 13 mm. instead of 33: those same tyres and rims fitted on the Schwimmwagen). To improve traction which proved to be grossly inadequate when towing off-road, these Typ 276 were later fitted with different gears in the rear axle reduction boxes (14:29 = 1:2.07 instead of 15:21 = 1:1.4); this increased the ground clearance by 15 mm. (19/32'') at the rear, brought the top speed down from 80 Kmh. (50 Mph) to 54 Kmh.(34 Mph) at an engine speed of 3300 rpm., and lowered the mileage to 37 Mpg. on the road.
To prevent over-revving, especially when driving without a trailer, the engine was fitted with a governor on the generator shaft (as fitted on the Typ 155). With these modifications, the drawbar pull reached, on tarmac, 700 Kg. (1550 Lbs.) when starting, and 500 Kg. (1100 Lbs.) at a speed of 8 Kmh.(5 Mph) and the Typ 276 would (happily ?) pull a load of about 550 to 565 Kg.(1210 to 1250 Lbs.)
The Typ 276 only saw light at the end of 1944 and never went in mass production. It is thus not surprising that collectors have remained largely unaware of its existence.
It must be pointed out to those who would like to transform their Typ 82 into a Typ 276 that fitting Schwimmwagen wheels on your Kübel increases the load on the front wheel spindles and steering system due to the offset of the larger tyres; this can lead to a failure of a front stub-axle, specially the left-hand one which is weakened by the speedometer gears. The 'Janowski Spindle Fix' described in 'Baja Prepping Your V.W. Sedan Or Dune Buggies' ( Bob Waar, H.P. Books, Tucson, AZ ) may be found of interest if you consider fitting Schwimwagen wheels ( or just for very rough off-road driving ).
This text, translated from the bulletin of L' Escadron De L'Histoire, is mainly based on V.W. archives reproduced in 'der Kübelwagen Typ 82 im zweiten Weltkrieg'. ( Motor Buch Verlag ).
KTRAILE R.Olgiati 29 05 1999