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The man who does his weekly shopping in German World War II tank

Posted on 6:25 AM by Sameer Shah

No problem getting a parking space at the supermarket with this baby.

Shoppers stop and stare when Tim Hayes rumbles up in this German World War II armoured motorcycle halftrack to carry away the baked beans and washing powder.

'The looks on people's faces whenever I rumble down the street is priceless, I swear some of them think Birmingham is being invaded,' the 52-year-old lorry driver said.



The 2,500 lbs vehicle comes equipped with tank-style tracks which are powered by a 1500cc engine and steered by handlebars at the front.

The vehicles appeared in the film Saving Private Ryan when US paratroopers used an abandoned Kettenkrad to draw the attention of German forces planning to attack the fictional French town of Ramelle.

Tim who works during the evenings but during the day loves nothing more than taking the Kettenkrad out for a spin around his home in Acocks Green, Birmingham.

'The Kettenkrad is my pride and joy, in fact it is the only road worthy tank in the UK.

'I work nights but in the day when I have to go out and do my shopping or go to town, I take the Kettenkrad with me. I get some very interested stares to put it mildly.

'Passers-by are absolutely fascinated by it, when I pull into the local Tesco supermarket a lot of shoppers have to double take.

'I get the same reaction when I stop at the petrol station and when I go past schoolkids at the bus stop.'

The three-seaters which have a top speed of 50mph were deployed during the war mainly on the Eastern Front, where they were used to lay communication cables, pull heavy loads and carry soldiers through the deep Russian mud.

Later in the conflict, Kettenkrads were also used as runway tugs for aircraft, including jets such as the Me 262, in order to conserve aviation fuel.

Prior to that they were used as an agricultural tool because they were slender but powerful enough to pull logs out of forests.

Tim bought the machine, found in an abandoned farm shed in Austria, four years ago for £40,000 but only picked it up last September after it had been lovingly restored.



Tim who works during the evenings but during the day loves nothing more than taking the Kettenkrad out for a spin around his home in Acocks Green, Birmingham.

'The Kettenkrad is my pride and joy, in fact it is the only road worthy tank in the UK.

'I work nights but in the day when I have to go out and do my shopping or go to town, I take the Kettenkrad with me. I get some very interested stares to put it mildly.

'Passers-by are absolutely fascinated by it, when I pull into the local Tesco supermarket a lot of shoppers have to double take.

'I get the same reaction when I stop at the petrol station and when I go past schoolkids at the bus stop.'

It was Tim's wife who found the Kettenrad up for sale in Germany via the internet.

'I had a bit of cash spare so I thought why not splash out? It would certainly be something unique.

'My one, though, was built in February 1944 and would've been used in the German retreat through Europe in the latter stages of the war.

'My guess is that it was abandoned by a German soldier and left in this Austrian village for so many years.



'For something that is more than 60 years old, it still drives quite well and although you definitely know you're driving it, it's still quite comfy.

'The furthest I've taken it is to Redditch, about 15-20 miles from my house. You don't have to have a special licence, a normal driver's licence will suffice.'

NSU Motorenwerke AG, based in Neckarsulm, Germany, first started producing Kettenkrads in 1938 and when production finished six years later only 8,345 were made.

Tim's wife, Jennifer, 25, added: "I knew he really wanted one but the Kettenkrads he was looking at all needed a lot of work to them.

'I actually found the one he has now via the internet and made him buy it because the seller had promised to restore it to it's former glory himself.

'That way Tim wouldn't be able to disappear for hours on end to tinker around in the garage.'

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