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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 234 (8 rad) armored cars

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Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 234 (8 rad) armored car:
Germany's Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 234 (8 rad) armored car

Design

In 1940 the German Army put out a requirement for an 8x8 armored car that could be used in hot climates and Tatra was asked to do the design.

Büssing developed the hull and superstructure and Daimler-Benz and Schichau were to develop the turret. Improvements were made to the engine and a third engine that was tropically proofed was delivered in June 1942. However, this engine was canceled.

Hull

On the hull side were mudguards that went along the complete side of the armored car. Four storage compartments were located in the mudguards.

Engine

It was requested that the engine be air cooled which made it usable in hot and cold climates.

Prototype

Prototypes were ready in July 1942.

Production

Production on the series started in July 1943.

  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (2cm) (SdKfz 234/1), Gerät 95: 200
    • Production: June 1944 - January 1945
    • Manufacturer: Büssing-NAG
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (5cm) (SdKfz 234/2), Gerät 93: 101
    • Production: September 1943 - September 1944
    • Manufacturer: Büssing-NAG
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm KwK) (SdKfz 234/3), Gerät 94: 88
    • Production: June 1944 - December 1944
    • Manufacturer: Büssing-NAG
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm PaK40) (SdKfz 234/4), Gerät 96,
    Schwere Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm lang) SdKfz 234/4
    : 89, 98
    • Production: December 1944 - March 1945
    • Manufacturer: Büssing-NAG

Variants

  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (2cm) (SdKfz 234/1), Gerät 95: Had the same hull as the SdKfz 234/2 but with a different turret. The Hängelafette 38 (turret) was similar to the SdKfz 222, but had a simpler construction. Range was later increased to 625 miles by adding a larger fuel tank. The turret contained the 20 mm and a machine gun which allowed them to be raised to a high elevation. The turret had a wire mesh screen on top.
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (5cm) (SdKfz 234/2), Gerät 93: Named Puma. Had an 5 cm antitank gun in the turret. On August 5, 1940, an order was given to develop an 8-wheeled armored car similar to the SdKfz 231 but with the armored body as the chassis. The 234/2 was only one with turret. Turrets were originally designed for Leopard tank.
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm KwK) (SdKfz 234/3), Gerät 94; Schwere Panzerspähwagen (sPzSpWg) (7.5cm L/24); Panzerspähwagen mit 7.5cm StuK L/24: Had a short barrel 75 mm gun installed in an open topped fighting compartment.
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm PaK40) (SdKfz 234/4), Gerät 96; Schwere Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm lang) SdKfz 234/4; Pakwagen: Hitler ordered PaK 40 to be installed on a SdKfz 234. Had a complete carriage and shield of a PaK 40 75 mm antitank gun installed in an open topped fighting compartment.

Usage

SdKfz 234/1

There were 19 issued to the Panzerspähwagen company of the Panzer Aufklärungs battalions.

SdKfz 234/2

Organized into Panzerspähwagen companies of 25. These were issued to 4 Panzer divisions which fought on the Eastern and Western fronts.

SdKfz 234/3

6 made up a platoon of the Panzerspähwagen company to support the SdKfz 234/1s.

Specifications

  SdKfz 234/1 (8 rad)
Crew 4
Radio FuG Spr Ger 'a', FuG12
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 10.33 tons, 10.5 tons, 11.5 tons
Length 19' 9", 20' 1"
6 m, 6.02 m
Height 6' 11", 7'
2.1 m
Width

7' 9", 7' 10"
2.4 m

Ground clearance 36 cm
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure (psi)  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 20 mm KwK38 L/55
1: 2cm
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.92 mm MG42
1: 7.92 mm MG
MG - coaxial MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 280, 480
Secondary  
MG 1,000, 2,400
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 8 - 30, 30
Hull Front, Upper 30@40°
Hull Front, Lower 30@35° & 30@50°
Hull Sides, Upper 8@35°
Hull Sides, Lower 8@35°
Hull Rear 10@31° & 10@38° & 10@46°
Hull Top 6@87°-90°
Hull Bottom 5@90°
Turret Front 30@40°
Gun shield: 10@40°
Turret Sides 8@40°
Turret Rear 8@38°
Turret Top Open
Engine (Make / Model) Tatra, Tatra 102, Tatra 103
Cooling Air
Cylinders V12
Net HP 220@2,250 rpm
Power to weight ratio 21 HP/ton
Transmission Claw
6 forward, 6 reverse.
Fuel type Diesel
Octane  
Capacity 240 liters
Fuel used per 100 km road traveled: 40 liters
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand.
Speed - Road 52 mph, 53 mph
80 kph
Speed - Cross Country 31 kph
Range - Road 372 miles, 375 miles
900 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius 14.9 m
Elevation limits 0° to +75°
-4° to +70°
Fording depth 1.2 m
Trench crossing 1.24 m
Vertical obstacle  
Wheels (Type)  
Tires 8
Wheels centers/tread 1.4 m
  SdKfz 234/2 (8 rad)
Crew 4
Radio FuG Spr Ger 'a', FuG12
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 10.83 tons, 11 tons, 11.5 tons, 11.74 tons
11,700 kg, 11,740 kg
Length w/gun 19' 8.2", 20' 1", 22' 3.66"
6 m, 6.8 m
Length w/o gun 19' 9"
Height 7' 6", 7' 7.5", 7' 9.5", 7' 9.6"
2.28 m, 2.38 m, 2.33 m
Width 7' 6.5", 7' 7.7", 7' 9", 7' 10"
2.33 m, 2.4 m
Ground clearance 36 cm
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure (psi)  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 50 mm KwK 39/1
1: 50 mm KwK 39/1 L/60
1: 5 cm
1: 5 cm KwK L/60
Secondary  
MG 1: MG
1: 7.92 mm MG42
1: 7.92 mm MG
MG - coaxial 1: MG42
1: 7.92 mm MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 55
Secondary  
MG 1,000, 1,050
1,980
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 5 - 15, 10 - 100, 30
Hull Front, Upper 30@35°
Hull Front, Lower 30@30° & 30@55°
Hull Sides, Upper 8@30°
Hull Sides, Lower 8@30°
Hull Rear 10@22° & 10@40°
Hull Top 6@87°-90°
Hull Bottom 5@90°
Turret Front 30@20°
Turret Sides 10@25°
Turret Rear 10@25°
Turret Top 10@90°
Engine (Make / Model) Tatra, Tatra 103
Cylinders  
Net HP 210, 220@2,250 rpm
Transmission (type) Claw, 6 forward, 6 reverse
Fuel (type) Diesel
Octane  
Capacity 240 liters
Fuel used per 100 km road traveled: 40 liters
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand.
Speed - Road 52 mph, 53 mph, 55.5 mph
80 kph, 85 kph, 90 kph
Speed - Cross Country 31 kph
Range - Road 372 miles, 559 miles, 625 miles
900 km, 1,000 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius 14.9 m
Elevation limits -10° to +20°
-7° to +25°
Fording depth 3' 10.75"
1.2 m
Trench crossing 4' 5"
1.35 m
Vertical obstacle 1' 7.75"
0.5 m
Wheels (Type)  
Tires 8
Wheels centers/tread 1.4 m
  SdKfz 234/3 (8 rad)
Crew 4, 5
Radio FuG Spr Ger 'a', FuG12
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 25,882 lb
9.7 tons, 10.5 tons, 11.5 tons
Length 22' 7"
6 m
Height 7'
2.21 m
Width 8'
2.4 m
Ground clearance 1' 1.75"
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure (psi)  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 75 mm KwK 51 L/24
1: 7.5 cm StuK L/24
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.92 mm MG
MG - coaxial  
Side arms 7.92 mm MG34
OR 7.92 mm MG42
Quantity  
Main 50, 60
Secondary  
MG 1,000, 1,950
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 30@35°
Hull Front, Lower 30@30° & 30@55°
Hull Sides, Upper 8@30°
Hull Sides, Lower 8@30°
Hull Rear 10@22° & 10@40°
Hull Top 6@88°
Hull Bottom 5@90°
Turret Front shield: 15@40°
Turret Sides shield: 15@0°
Turret Rear shield: 15@38°
Turret Top shield: Open
Engine (Make / Model) Tatra 103
Cylinders  
Net HP 220
Transmission (type) Claw
6 forward, 6 reverse.
Fuel (type) Diesel
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse 12° left, 12° right
Speed - Road 80 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 559 miles
900 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -10° to +12°
Fording depth  
Trench crossing 4' 0.5"
Vertical obstacle  
Wheels (Type)  
Tires 8
  SdKfz 234/4 (8 rad)
Crew 4, 5
Radio FuG Spr Ger 'a', FuG12
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 25,882 lb
9.7 tons, 10.5 tons, 11.5 tons
Length 22' 7"
6 m
Height 7' 7"
2.21 m
Width 8'
2.4 m
Ground clearance 1' 1.75"
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure (psi)  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 75 mm Pak 40 L/46
1: 7.5 cm Pak L/48
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.92 mm MG
MG - coaxial  
Side arms 7.92 mm MG34
OR 7.92 mm MG42
Quantity  
Main 12, 60
Secondary  
MG 1,000, 1,950
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 30@35°
Hull Front, Lower 30@30° & 30@55°
Hull Sides, Upper 8@30°
Hull Sides, Lower 8@30°
Hull Rear 10@22° & 10@40°
Hull Top 6@88°
Hull Bottom 5@90°
Turret Front shield: 15@40°
Turret Sides shield: 15@0°
Turret Rear shield: 15@38°
Turret Top shield: Open
Engine (Make / Model) Tatra 103
Cylinders  
Net HP 220
Transmission Claw
6 forward, 6 reverse.
Fuel type Diesel
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse 12° left, 12° right.
Speed - Road 80 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 559 miles
900 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -3° to +22°
Fording depth  
Trench crossing 4' 0.5"
Vertical obstacle  
Wheels (Type)  
Tires 8

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary Doyle, 1999
  3. German Tanks and Armoured Vehicles 1914 - 1945, B. T. White, 1966
  4. Profile, AFV Weapons #55, German Self-Propelled Weapons, Peter Chamberlain, H. L. Doyle, 1973
  5. Profile AFV Weapons #33, German Armoured Cars, Major General N. W. Duncan, 1971
  6. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site