Steyr RSO (Early War)
Very fine resin WW II military vehicle kit, in 1/56 scale (28mm). Needs to be assembled and painted. Crew figure and stowage included.
Master by Mike Broadbent.
Raupenschlepper Ost, literally "Caterpillar Tractor East", is more commonly abbreviated to RSO. This fully tracked, lightweight vehicle was conceived in response to the poor performance of wheeled and half-tracked vehicles in the mud and snow during the Wehrmacht's first autumn and winter on the Soviet Front.
The vehicle was introduced in 1942 as the Raupenschlepper Ost (RSO). The original version had a pressed-steel cab with a truck-like configuration similar to the wheeled trucks. The next two versions - RSO/02 and 03 - had a simpler, soft-top, slab-sided metal cab. All models had wooden, drop-side cargo beds typical of light trucks of the era. It had a ground clearance of 55 centimetres (22 in) and was originally powered by a gasoline Steyr V8 cylinder engine of 3.5 l giving 85 horsepower (63 kW), which in the RSO/03 Magirus-produced vehicles was replaced by a better-performing (although lower powered -66 hp) Deutz diesel air-cooled engine.
The RSO was a contemporary with somewhat similar Allied full-tracked small artillery tractors in use in other armies (such as the Soviet STZ-5 "Stalingradec", and the U.S. Army's M4 Tractor), mostly originated from the pre-war light to medium series of Vickers artillery tractors.
Two variants of this vehicle were built: the basic cargo carrier, and a self-propelled antitank vehicle armed with a PaK 40 gun. Both shared the same chassis.
After the Wehrmacht's first fall and winter (1941–1942) on the Russian front, they found that the extremely primitive roadways in Russia and seasonal mud required a fully tracked supply vehicle to maintain mobility. Steyr responded by proposing a small, fully tracked vehicle based upon its 1.5-tonne truck (Steyr 1500A light truck) already in use in the army.