pzkpfw ii

Panzer IIIs equipped with Winterketten, not to be confused with Ostketten. During the second world war the Germans had several approaches to improve the maneuverability of their tanks in the winter time, winterketten was one of those solutions. Winterketten was just some tracks with offshoots from the side, they easily broke off because very little was there to support them. Some of the other solutions to this problem was the Mittelstollen and Hammerstollen, which basically acted as cleats for the tanks.

The Hammerstollen was fitted into the holes on either side of the track and then held in place with some pins.

Mittelstollen actually had a spring mechanism that held it in place and was clipped into place using the hole where the track guide horn was to hold itself in place. Both of these were fitted to help improve traction in snowy and icy conditions. Below is some Mittenstollen fitted to a panther.

Winterketten itself was developed in 1942 and was just regular track links with flat protrusions coming out from either side, so technically you could have a tank with alternating regular tracks and Winterketten.

More Panzer iiis equipped with Winterketten. (Circa 1943)

Here you can see Winterketten (top) and Ostketten (Bottom). Winterketten was basically a modified version of the standard tracks the Ostketten was basically a new track design entirely. Ostketten were designed in 1944 to increase performance in the Russian mud. It was basically a larger track links. It having more connection points than a standard Panzer iii/iv track, thus it was not compatible with standard track links, but with the added benefit of being stronger than Winterketten. Below is a StuG IV equipped with Ostketten.