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WW2 German Windscreen Defroster / Demister Units

Steve 82

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I am trying to assemble some more knowledge about the defrosting / demisting units fitted to many German Forces soft-skin vehicles during WW2. Information collected so far is limited to photographic evidence and images of surviving examples.

Wartime images

Here are a few images randomly taken from various wartime winter pics (pardon the Kubel – bias). Unfortunately, none are particularly clear, and it would be great if someone could contribute better quality images to help more positively identify the types of unit used at the time.






The above images seem to suggest more than a single type of unit – although as noted, clearer images would help confirm this. From surviving examples it has been possible to identify the principal components:


  • A glass panel (hardened) set in an unpainted metal frame.
  • Strung along the length of the frame are up to 5No electrically powered heating elements (wires) – suspended from small metal arms - which are capable of being used with 12v and 6v electrical systems.
  • The glass sheet is separated from the windshield with a rubber surround – which also serves to hold the heated air – hopefully improving the unit`s effectiveness.
  • Units are mounted to the windscreen by 2 adjustable arms – extending up and downwards at each end of the unit. The tips of the arms are very thin and sit in between the windscreen glass and the rubber surround
  • Units comprised an on/off switch and employed a standard KAKO plug for conveying power. Cable is woven cloth covered.

Notwithstanding the above, the following differences appear to exist:

Type 1 – German Forces WW2 Production – the glass panel and metal surround is in turn embedded in a square, dunkelgelb – painted fame. A small on-off toggle switch is mounted on the left of the frame. The unit appears to provide a very `narrow` viewing window.



Type 1 mounted of restored Schwimmwagen


Type 1 frame, without mounting arms

Type 2 – German WW2 production – Military / civilian ?

Identical in principle to the German Forces units but, minus the dunkelgelb – painted outer frame. Also, the on/off switch is a much larger toggle device mounted at the base of the unit. The unit appears to provide a `larger` window area.


Type 2 - minus the KAKO plug.

American Forces production – WW2

As a comparison, the following images illustrate the US forces equivalent of this unit – as produced by Durkee-Atwood. The basic unit is more similar to the Type 2 unit, with the exception that the US units are mounted to the windscreen using suction-cups and, the on/off switch is mounted away from the unit. The unit was also produced after the war and presumably modified for operation with 24v electrical systems.



As noted previously, further information / images of these little units, would be much appreciated.


Steve 82

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