An aerosan (Russian: aэросани, aerosani, literally 'aerosled') is a type of propeller-powered snowmobile, running on skis, used for communications, mail deliveries, medical aid, emergency recovery and border patrolling in northern Russia, as well as for recreation. Aerosans were used by the Soviet Red Army during the Winter War and the Second World War.

The first aerosans may have been built by young Igor Sikorsky in 1909–10, before he built multi-engine airplanes and helicopters. They were very light plywood vehicles on skis, propelled by old airplane engines and propellers.

Military aerosans

Military use of the aerosan goes back to at least the 1920s. During the 1939–40 Winter War against Finland, some were equipped with a machine-gun ring mount on the roof. They could carry four to five men, and tow four more on skis. The aerosans were initially used for transport, liaison, and medical evacuation in deep snow, and mostly used in open country and on frozen lakes and rivers because of their poor hill-climbing ability and limited manoeuvrability on winding forest roads.

During WWII, aerosans were found to be useful for reconnaissance and light raiding in northern areas, thanks to their high mobility in deep snow (25–35 km/h, where many vehicles couldn't move at all). Responsibility for aerosans was transferred to the Soviet Armoured Forces (GABTU) and orders were submitted for design and fabrication of lightly-armoured versions, protected by ten millimetres of steel plate on front. They were organized into transport or combat battalions of 45 vehicles, in three companies, often employed in co-operation with ski infantry. Troops were usually carried or towed by transport aerosans, while fire support was provided by the heavier machine gun-armed, armoured models. Aerosans were not used for direct assault because of their vulnerability to explosives such as mortar rounds.

The ANT-I through ANT-V were a successful series of aerosans of the 1920s and ’30s, designed by aircraft engineer Andrei Tupolev. The first military aerosans used in Finland, the KM-5 and OSGA-6 (later called NKL-6), were initially built at the Narkomles Factory in Moscow. During WWII, improved NKL-16/41 and NKL-16/42 models were built, and production started at the ZiS and GAZ car factories, and at smaller industries such as the Stalingrad Bekietovskiy Wood Works. In 1941 the armoured NKL-26, designed by M. Andreyev, started production at Narkomles. The following year, Gorki Narkorechflota developed the smaller, unarmoured GAZ-98, or RF-8, powered by a GAZ-M1 truck engine and durable metal propeller. There was also an ASD-400 heavy assault sled used in WWII.


Zaloga, Steven J., James Grandsen (1984). Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two, London: Arms and Armour Press.

The ANT-IV was one of three aerosans introduced in 1924. This model, operated by a crew of two, doubled the ANT-III's 50 horsepower with its new Bristol engine, and outperformed the ANT-V's 100-horsepower Fiat engine.

In 1930 the ANT-IV began regular trips between Cheboksar and Kanash, carrying mail and priority passengers. The following year the ANT-IVs were overhauled with Soviet-produced M-11 radial aviation engines, allowing them to travel at 28 km/h.

In 1934, an ANT-IV was delivered aboard the Smolensk to Ualen where it helped rescue remotely-stranded explorers from the icebreaker Chelyuskin.

The NKL-26 was an armoured aerosan introduced by the Soviet Union during the Second World War, based on the earlier NKL-6 (OSGA-6). It was made of plywood and had a ten-millimetre armour plate on the front only, and was armed with a 7.62mm DT machine gun in a ring mount. It was powered by an M-11G aircraft engine.

The RF-8, or GAZ-98, was an aerosan used by the Soviet Union during the Second World War. The GAZ-98K was a version with a more powerful GAZ M-11 110-hp aviation engine in place of the standard automotive engine.




Geschützwagen MkVI(e)
150mm howitzer mounted onto Vickers tank chassis

Country Codes for Adopted Foreign Equipment

a - United States

b - Belgium

e - England

f  - France

h - The Netherlands

i  - Italy

k - Canada

ö - Austria

p - Poland

r  - Russia

t  - Czechoslovakia



SdKfz-251 with T-34 turret



Acetylene Training Panther

Raketenwerfer auf Fahrgestell PzKpfw IV

Ballistik-Messfahrzeug auf schwere Panzerspähwagen
Ballistic Measuring Vehicle



PzKpfw III Ausf N als Schienen-Kettenfahrzeug

Feuerleitfahrzeug für V-2 Rakenten fire control vehicle

Tracked Kübelwagen

1940 experimental V-809 Tatra All-Wheel-Drive vehicle
with 3 liter OHC in-line 4 engine

Completely unknown armored tractor prototype… captured by Germans

Ambi-Budd Werke Flying Car Concept, DELA, Berlin, 1932



SPA Radschlepper 110 PS (i) towing a V-2!!!

NSU-2 Kettenkrad half-track motorcycle

Kettenkrad towing a Me-262 jet fighter

Kettenkrad towing an Arado 234 jet bomber


TWN (Triumph Werke Nürnberg) proposed airborne scooter

The outline specification was:

Speed: 30mph
Cruising range: 180 miles
Weight: 132lbs
Engine: 125cc
Load capacity: 300lbs
Tire size: 4.00 x 7.

Captured Danish armored Harley-Davidson motorcycle
used by the Germans!




Development of the Landwasserschlepper (Land-Water-Tractor) started in 1936, but the first 7 vehicles were completed in July of 1940. An additional 14 were produced by March of 1941. It was designed by Rheinmetall-Borsig as an amphibious vehicle for use by engineers but it lacked storage and loading/unloading access. To overcome this problem, special 10 and 20 ton amphibious trailers were made. It carried 3 to 5 men crew and 20 passengers. Another problem was that it was unarmored and could not operate effectively in the combat area. LWS saw service in Russia and North Africa

Despite being unarmored the LWS proved to be an extremely useful vehicle in the always changing terrain conditions of the Russian landscape.

Weight: 17000kg

Crew: 5 men

Engine: Maybach HL 120TRM / 12-cylinder / 300hp

Speed: Road: 35km/h

Water: 12km/h

Range: Road: 150km

Lenght: 7.68m

Width: 2.34m

Panzerfähre amphibious vehicle

Another view of the Panzerfähre

PzKpfw 38(t) with flotation equipment



German experimental amphibious craft

Schwimmpanzerwagen II swimming tank


Schildkröte amphibious armored car


Schildkröte III








   PzKpfw III Tauchpanzer underwater tank 




Underwater Tiger Design w/ twin Schnorkels
(1 for crew and 1 for motor)



   Underwater Maus w/Schnorkel


Middle vehicle is rare Wasser-Goliath amphibious prototype


Heuschrecke 10 mobile pillbox

1935 HL K1 37mm ATG


German Armored Trolley

Hitler’s experimental 1941 DRG 19.1001 train




Trans-European Wide-track Project




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