Steyr RSO (Late 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 later model used a Cletrac-type final drive (instead of the automotive-type differential unit used previously) along with many other improvements. The engine was mounted on the floor of the driving cab with the drive taken through a single plate clutch to the transmission. The transmission had four forward gears and one reverse. The suspension consisted of four large pressed-steel disk wheels on each side, mounted in pairs with elliptic springs. Steering involved upright steering levers to four hydraulic brakes on the sprockets and idlers. A spring-loaded pintle was fitted at the rear, and towing hooks were fitted in the front. It had a speed of about 30 kilometres per hour (19 mph).
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.