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   HB 82901
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       German Kriegslokomotive BR 52
 
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Kit features:
Model length: 317 mm
Width: 42 mm
Height: 61 mm
Plastic parts: 281

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The Deutsche Reichsbahn's Class 52 was the most-well known of the so-called Kriegslokomotiven or Kriegsloks (war locomotives), a class of 2-10-0 German steam locomotive built in large numbers during the Second World War.

They were a wartime development of the pre-war DRG Class 50, designed down to use less expensive materials. They were designed by Wagner who was Chief Engineer of the Central Design Office at the Locomotive Standards Bureau of the DRG. About a dozen classes of locomotive were referred to as Kriegslokomotiven, however the three main classes were the Class 50, Class 52 and Class 42.

Over 6,700 locomotives of this type were built, mainly for use on the Eastern Front of the European war theatre. It therefore has a claim to being one of the most numerous steam locomotive classes in the world. To accomplish such a challenging task, the German locomotive manufacturers were merged into the Gemeinschaft Grossdeutscher Lokomotivhersteller (GGL), which was a subdivision of the Hauptausschuss Schienenfahrzeuge (HAS) founded in 1942. Key HAS figures were the Reichsminister for munition and armament, Albert Speer, and the Reich transport minister, Julius Heinrich Dorpmüller.

The class 52 was a radically simplified version of the pre-war Reichsbahn class 50 locomotive. Over 3000 of these were constructed, mostly between 1938 and 1942. The simplified design of the class 52 was intended to minimise the man-hours and skills used in its manufacture, and to adapt to war-time shortages of materials. Additional design changes gave the locos and their crew better protection against the very cold winters experienced after the invasion of Russia.

Between 1942 and the end of the war in May 1945 over 6300 class 52 locomotives were built. Additional locomotives were built in the immediate post-war years giving a class total of probably 6719 units, delivered by seventeen different manufacturers.

The Class 42 was a larger version of the Class 52 and was produced only in relatively small numbers.

In the early post-war years the 52s were used by many European countries, the largest user being the Soviet Union which had more than 2100 of this type. Poland was another country with more than a thousand, and East Germany had about 800 examples. The type was also quite widespread in most of the other east European nations. West European countries replaced them with more modern locos as soon as possible, with the exception of Austria where they were used until 1976.

The simplicity and effectiveness as well as the large production number meant that many east European countries were slow to withdraw Kriegslokomotiven, with Poland using them until the early 1990s. Turkey and Bosnia were also late users of the type.
 
 
                           
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