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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's schwerer Panzerspähwagen (6-Rad) SdKfz 231, SdKfz 232 Fu (6-Rad), SdKfz 263 (6-Rad) armored cars

Photos

Panzerspähwagen (6-Rad) SdKfz 232 Fu armored car:
Germany's Panzerspähwagen (6-Rad) SdKfz 231 armored car
Aberdeen Tank Museum

Panzerspähwagen (6-Rad) SdKfz 231 armored car:
Germany's Panzerspähwagen (6-Rad) SdKfz 231 armored car

Design

The SdKfz 231 was based on experimental armored cars that were constructed on six wheeled truck chassis during the early 1930s. Initially the automobile industry developed an 8x8 model but it was deemed too expensive for production.

Engines

There were three different engines that were used, the Büssing (65 HP, 4 cylinder), Daimler-Benz M 09 (68 HP, 6 cylinder), and Magirus (70 HP, 6 cylinder).

The engine drove the four rear wheels. Steering was by the front wheels only.

Chassis

The SdKfz 231 could be steered from either the front or the rear as there was a duplicate set of steering controls. The chassis was from a 6x4 Daimler-Benz truck.

The SdKfz 231 was basically an armored shell put onto a truck chassis that just wasn't strong enough for it. It was found not to perform very well, but at the time it was going to the German Army units it was well needed as a training tool.

Body

The superstructures were built by Deutsche Werke of Keil and Deutsche Edelstahl.

Prototype

The Army Weapons Department in 1929 issued specifications for 6 wheeled motor trucks with rear 4 wheel drive. Magirus produced M 206, Büssing the G 31, and Daimler-Benz the G 3. Based on preliminary tests on the G 3 it was determined that the chassis might be able to be used with an armored frame on it.

In the 1930s Germany and the Soviet Union had an agreement that allowed the Germans to develop armored theory and vehicles at the Kazan test center in the Soviet Union, and the SdKfz 231 was one such vehicle.

Production

In 1932, the Army Weapons Department ordered 37 Daimler-Benz chassis of the G 3a version. Büssing also received a contract for 12 chassis for armored cars.

  • SdKfz 231: 1,000
    • Production: 1932 - 1935
  • SdKfz 231 and SdKfz 232: 123
    • Production: 1932 - 1937
  • Panzerspähwagen (6-Rad) SdKfz 231:
    • Production:
    • Manufacturer: Daimler-Benz, Büssing-NAG, Magirus
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (Fu) (SdKfz 232) 6 rad:
    • Production: 1933
    • Manufacturer: Bussing NAG, Deutche-Werke, Keil , Daimler-Benz, Magirus
  • Panzerfunkwagen (SdKfz 263) 6 rad: 28
    • Production: 1932 - 1937
    • Manufacturer: Daimler-Benz, Büssing-NAG, Magirus

Variants

  • Daimler-Benz Type G3(p): Prototype. Had a weight of 4.9 tons. There was large gap between front wheels and rear set. In the turret was a 7.92 mm machine gun. A Daimler 6 cylinder 70 HP engine power the armored car. Tracks could be fitted around the rear pairs of wheels to increase traction going cross country.
  • Daimler-Benz Type G3a(p): Prototype.
  • Büssing-NAG Type G31(p): Prototype. Powered by a 4 cylinder engine.
  • Magirus Type M206(p): Prototype. Powered by a 6 cylinder engine.
  • schwere Panzerspähwagen (6-Rad) SdKfz 231: Six wheeled armored car with 2 cm gun and a machine gun.
  • schwere Panzerspähwagen (Fu) (SdKfz 232) 6 rad: Radio version. It was fitted with 100 watt long range radio and frame aerial. Hand traversing turret could still move beneath frame. The 20 mm gun fired a 5.2 oz AP shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,625'/sec. The aerial consisted of parallel tubes on the rear.
  • Panzerfunkwagen (SdKfz 263) 6 rad: Radio equipped command vehicle. Had a frame aerial. Turret was fixed and had singe MG13. Had extra radio equipment and extra radio operator. The had different supports in the front than the SdKfz 232.

Usage

Issued to Aufklärungs detachments.

These formed the major portion of the reconnaissance units from 1932. Were only going to be issued until the new 8 wheeled armored cars were delivered to units.

The SdKfz 231s were used during the occupation of Czechoslovakia.

Used in Poland and France but then withdrawn for training and internal security.

SdKfz 232 Fu

Issued to Aufklärungs detachments.

SdKfz 263 Fu

Issued to Nachrichten (signals) units.

Specifications

  Daimler Benz G3a 1929
Crew 4
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 4.9 tons
Length 18' 8"
Height 7' 10"
Width 6' 2"
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 7.92 mm MG
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 8 - 14.5
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Daimler Benz MO9
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders 6
Net HP 68@2,900 rpm
Power to weight ratio 14 HP/ton
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 38 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 150 miles
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Tires (Type)  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
Wheel arrangement  
Tire size  
Wheel centers  
Wheel base  
  Daimler Benz G3(p)
Crew  
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 5.5 tons
Length  
Height  
Width  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders 6
Net HP 60@2,800 rpm
Power to weight ratio 10.9 HP/ton
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Tires (Type)  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
Wheel arrangement  
Tire size  
Wheel centers  
Wheel base  
  Büssing NAG G31(p)
Crew  
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 5 tons
Length  
Height  
Width  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders 4
Net HP 65@2,000 rpm
Power to weight ratio 13 HP/ton
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Tires (Type)  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
Wheel arrangement  
Tire size  
Wheel centers  
Wheel base  
  SdKfz 231 (6 Rad)
Crew 4
Radio FuG Spr Ger 'a'
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 12,540 lb
5 tons, 5.61 tons, 5.35-6 tons, 5.7 tons, 5.9 tons, 6 tons
5,700 kg
Length 18' 4", 18' 3.3", 18' 6.75", 18' 8"
5.57 m
Height 7' 4", 7' 4.5", 7' 4.6", 7' 6"
2.25 m
Width 5' 11.5", 5' 11.6", 6', 6' 2"
1.82 m
Ground clearance 25 cm
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 2 cm KwK 30
1: 20 mm KwK30 L/55
1: 2 cm
OR 1: 2 cm KwK 38
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.92 mm MG 34
1: 7.92 mm MG
1: 7.92 mm MG13
MG - coaxial 1: 7.92 mm MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 200
Secondary  
MG 1,500, 2,000
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 8, 14.5
Hull Front, Upper 8@25°
14.5
Hull Front, Lower 8@25°-35°
14.5
Hull Sides, Upper 8@37°
Hull Sides, Lower 8@35°
Hull Rear 8@30° & 80@25°-42°
Hull Top 5@80°-90°
Hull Bottom None
Turret Front 8@0°
Mantlet: 8@0°
14.5
Turret Sides 8@30°
Turret Rear 8@30°
Turret Top 5@75-90°
Engine (Make / Model) Daimler-Benz MO9, Daimler-Benz
OR Büssing-NAG, Büssing-NAG G
OR Magirus s88, Magirus
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders  
Net HP 60 - 80, 65
Power to weight ratio 13.6 HP/ton
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 4 forward, 1 reverse.
Sliding pinion, 6 forward, 6 reverse
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand.
Speed - Road 37 mph, 38 mph, 40 mph, 40.4 mph
65 kph , 70 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 124 miles, 150 miles, 156 miles
300 km, 250 km, 200 km
Range - Cross Country 125 miles
150 km, 200 km
Turning radius 13.5 m
Elevation Limits -12° to +20°
Fording depth 2'
0.6 m
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side 3
Tires (Type)  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 2.7 m
Wheel arrangement  
Tire size  
Wheel centers  
Wheel base  
  SdKfz 232 Fu (6 Rad)
Crew 4
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 13,788 lb
6.15 tons
Length 18' 4"
Height 9' 6" to top of antenna
Width 6', 6' 1"
Ground clearance 9.5"
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 2 cm KwK 30
20 mm KwK
Secondary  
MG MG 34
MG - coaxial 7.9 mm MG34
1: MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 200
Secondary  
MG 3,000
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 14.5
Hull Front, Upper 0.6"@0°
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 0.28"@0°
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front 0.6"@0°
Turret Sides 0.28"@0°
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Büssing-NAG
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders 6
Net HP 65, 100
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Constant mesh
6 forward, 6 reverse
Steering Front wheels only, worm and nut
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 26.4 gallons
Road consumption 5.6 mpg
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Hand
Speed - Road 37 mph, 45 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 156 miles
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius 56' 6"
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth 1' 11"
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability 13° slope
Suspension (Type) Semi-elliptical springs
Wheels each side  
Tires (Type)  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
Wheel arrangement 6 x 6
Tire size 8.27 x 18
Wheel centers Front: 67"
Rear: 72"
Wheel base 98" + 35"
  SdKfz 263 Fu (6 Rad)
Crew 5
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 5.75 tons
Length 18' 4"
Height 9' 6"
Width 6'
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main MG 13
1: MG
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 14.5
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Büssing-NAG
OR  
OR  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Net HP 65
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 37 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 156 miles
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Tires (Type)  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
Wheel arrangement  
Tire size  
Wheel centers  
Wheel base  

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. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Tank Data 2, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, E. J. Hoffschmidt and W. H. Tantum IV, 1969
  5. German Tanks and Armoured Vehicles 1914 - 1945, B. T. White, 1966
  6. Profile AFV Weapons #33, German Armoured Cars, Major General N. W. Duncan, 1971
  7. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
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