MAN fire service vehicles have been in action for almost 100 years.
No top, a spiral horn with a rubber bulb, and a reel with a hose at the back were typical of MAN’s first fire service vehicles from 1917. It was proudly occupied – up to ten men fit on the vehicle, which was modern for its time. MAN has almost 100 years experience in building vehicles that help to save lives every day.
When the first fire service vehicles were produced, many experts believed that it was not possible to travel to the source of a fire with a highly flammable petrol tank. But they were to be proven wrong. 1915 saw MAN (at the M.A.N. – Saurer truck plants) start to offer the first fire service vehicles together with renowned Swiss manufacturer Saurer under the truck brand M.A.N. – Saurer. The pump was mounted onto the chassis and even hoses, ladders, and other extinguishing equipment had enough room on the vehicle. At that time, the pumps were able to pass a considerable 600-2000 liters of water per minute.
Building on the industry expertise itself turned out to be worth MAN’s while. From 1916 onward, MAN supplied six of the vehicles to Munich’s voluntary fire service and eight to its professional fire fighting force. Augsburg City also added three MAN vehicles to its fleet in 1922.
1925 was a particularly special year for MAN. The first KVB truck newly built at its own production facilities left the factory buildings. The long wheelbase and body meant that there was room for a lot of equipment on it.This vehicle was then snapped up by the Gutehoffnungshütte site fire service in 1929. The Gutehoffnungshütte, Aktienverein für Bergbau und Hüttenbetrieb (kurz GHH) was a key company for coal and steel and for mechanical engineering. It was headquartered in Oberhausen in the Ruhr region. Founded purely as iron and steel works, GHH expanded to become Europe’s largest mechanical and plant engineering manufacturer in the 20th century. It was taken over by M.A.N. in 1921 and was ultimately merged into the current MAN Group in 1986.
In 1933, MAN kindled enthusiasm at the Berlin Auto Show with a variety of innovations. The new Z1 was designed to carry three tons and was the first MAN fire service vehicle to be driven by a diesel engine. The six-cylinder engine already boasted 70 horsepower.
From 1938 onward, MAN was only permitted to build heavy-duty trucks under the Schell Plan which was implemented by the government at the time in an attempt to reduce automobile models. The fire forces primarily needed lighter vehicles which is why it was not until the end of the 1950s that MAN was able to reposition itself among fire service vehicles. Following World War Two, a few of MAN’s MK series models were deployed. Nuremberg had an erection crane vehicle that lifted a total of ten tons.
The end of the 1950s brought a golden era for the fire service vehicles. The fleets of many professional fire-fighting forces in large German cities had to be replaced.
The 1960s saw MAN position itself as a supplier of fire service vehicles for the first time in many markets with its “Hauber” generation. MAN was able to provide what the fire forces needed: all-wheel drive and strong brands with 150 horsepower. Thanks to the new engine technology, the engine started in seconds which in turn enabled the fire forces to go out on a call immediately without losing time. At the start of the 1970s, MAN modernized the “Kurzhauber” and boosted its engine power to 192 horsepower. It was possible to tip the new Haube up in one piece – which was an advantage for mechanics.
In 1985, the last Haube vehicles went to the fire forces of Nuremberg and Feldkirchen near Munich. At the same time, MAN marked a new chapter in the history of fire service vehicles with its cab-over-engine models. The new M series enabled MAN to build up a good reputation for emergency vehicles. The vehicles are often on call every day for decades.
MAN’s vehicles played an important role in combating the flood in June 2013. Thousands of firefighters were in action with MAN at the sites impacted. In order to fight their way through the overflooded roads, transport tons of rubble away and ferry relief crews from scene to scene, the Technische Hilfswerk (THW) and the German Armed Forces used MAN all-wheel giants that can also be used for long periods in water depths of up to 1.20 meters. Inhabitants were treated in MAN TGAs used as German Armed Forces ambulances. The THW brought its crews to the scenes in MAN TGM 4x4 vehicles and joined forces with the firefighters to pump water out of cellars. A total of around 3,000 MAN vehicles were constantly in action with the relief workers – from 30-year-old emergency vehicles to the latest special equipment such as that to load and transport the large boats of the THW in action.
Today, MAN is very well represented on the German market with the TGL, TGM, and TGS series. In addition to purely on-road drive, the vehicles are available with all-wheel drive to make easy work of difficult terrain. All series of MAN fire service vehicles comply with emission standard Euro 6.