Until the advent of the internal combustion engine and thus the gradual motorization of the armed forces, the horse as a train and transport was the main component of the German army until the end of World War II.
Already since the early beginnings of military conflicts animals, especially the horse, were used in the military. Whether as a mount for soldiers, draft animals for teams or as porters, these had to fulfill different tasks.
In the German Empire began before the First World War, the field wagon on the respective branch of force to specialize and adapt the respective use and equipment.
Generally the field vehicles were differentiated into:
- show off
- Trolley with 4 wheels
- Carts with 2 wheels
or in the material used:
- steel vehicles
- iron vehicles
- wooden vehicles
also a classification according to the purpose was used:
- Supply truck
- Food cart
- Feeding car
- Field kitchen
For the production mainly white beech was used. For field vehicles that had to carry a heavy load such as sling or ammunition car more steel was used.
The requirements of the field vehicles were mainly based on the fact that they were not necessarily bound to intact roads but also in rough terrain ready for use and ready to drive. So, if possible, the weight of the car had to be kept low because up to 60% of the empty weight had to be carried as a load. In addition, the cars had to be secured against handling and have an easy maneuverability. So there were some field vehicles, the drawbar of the center line made possible 80 or 90 degrees Einlenkungen.
As factors for influencing the off-road capability and maneuverability was set up:
The installation of the mobile parts of the field vehicle, e.g. the wheels or axles according to the formula: the larger the wheels, the lower the required pulling force for movement. So the tire size was standardized and set at the field artillery at a wheel height of 1400mm, at the Fußartiller to 1550mm
- The ability to maintain the chosen direction while driving
- The steering possibilities
- The flexibility between front and rear axle
- The length of the field vehicle
- The load on the front and rear axles
- The existing device for attaching the horses
Although the specialization of the field vehicles on the respective application was an optimal adaptation to the intended use, it led already before the First World War to a wealth of different vehicles, which made the training of soldiers difficult, as well as high costs in maintenance and use. Thus, the Ministry of War required a standard model on which the respective requirements could be built. The first introduced standard model was a short time later the c / 95 field car.
During the war of the First World War, war-related shortages of raw materials led to the standardization of the field vehicles, whereby in the course of the small field car 16 and the heavy field car 05 were introduced as standard vehicles.
As a coat of paint the ministry ordered the color "field gray", later a camouflage was added.
According to the report of the Kriegs Veterinary Office, the performance of horses used as draft animals for field vehicles was between 4 and 8 hours per day and about 30 km of marching performance. During the First World War, about 1,236,000 horses were used with a loss rate of an estimated 68%, which is about 840,480 dead animals. Another 405,101 horses were wounded.