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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Schwere Panzerspähwagen (SdKfz 231) 8 rad, Achtrad armored cars

Photos

SdKfz 233 armored car captured by the allies in North Africa:
Germany's SdKfz 233 armored car captured by the allies in North Africa
United States Army in World War II, Pictorial Record, The War Against Germany and Italy: Mediterranean and Adjacent Areas, 1951, pg 50

Design

There was a need for improved cross-country performance to replace the SdKfz 231 (6 Rad) and development was ordered in 1934 and started in 1935. Designated Versuchskraftfahrzeug (experimental vehicle) 623 and 624. In mid-1937 was designated SdKfz 233 & 234 and then in October 1939 was called SdKfz 231 & 232 (8 rad).

Chassis

The SdKfz 231 (8-Rad) was built upon a Büssing-NAG 8x8 truck chassis. The chassis was rather complex and expensive to produce. It provided all wheel drive and steering with independent suspension.

Engine

The engine was placed in the rear of the chassis.

Driving

Steering wheels and controls are provided for each direction in the SdKfz 231 (8 Rad). Steering was done by all wheels. Each wheel had its own suspension.

Turret

The seats for the commander and gunner were attached to a hand traversed turret.

Armor

Early in 1940 an 8mm plate was to the front of many of the models.

Production

Deutsche Werke of Kiel developed the vehicle, while assembly was done by Schichau.

  • schwerer Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 231 (8-Rad): 1,235
    • Production: 1937 - 1942
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm) (SdKfz 231): 600, 607
    • Production: 1936 - ? , 1936 - September 1943
    • Manufacturer: Deutsche Werke, Schichau
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (Fu) (SdKfz 232) 8 rad:
    • Production: 1936 - September 1943
    • Manufacturer: Deutsche Werke, Schichau
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm) (SdKfz 233): 109
    • Production: 1942 - 1945, December 1942 - October 1943
    • Manufacturer: Deutsche Werke in Kiel, Schichau
  • Panzerfunkwagen (SdKfz 263) 8 rad: 240
    • Production: April 1938 - April 1943
    • Manufacturer: Deutsche Werke, Schichau

Variants

  • schwerer Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 231 (8-Rad): Had 2 cm KwK 30 or KwK 38 with a coaxial 7.92 mm MG 34.
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm) (SdKfz 231):
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (Fu) (SdKfz 232) 8 rad: Had a large bedstead frame aerial above the turret and body with pivots on the turret so that the turret could still rotate. During 1942 models had aerial replaced with a simple pole aerial. Production ceased in September 1942.
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm); Panzerspähwagen mit 7.5cm StuK L/24; Panzerspähwagen (sPzSpWg) (7.5cm L/24); SdKfz 233: Gave reconnaissance squadrons ability to engage enemy armor. First issued in late 1942. 6 were issued to the Panzerspähwagen squadrons of the Aufklärungs battalions detachments. Used on all fronts during the war. Had 7.5 cm gun mounted in the open as the turret was removed.
  • Panzerfunkwagen (SdKfz 263) 8 rad: It was based on the SdKfz 231/232 with the turret removed and the side extended higher to make a larger crew compartment. A large frame antenna and a telescoping mast were provided for long-range communications. Issued to Nachrichten detachments of motorized and Panzer divisions. Sometimes were issued to Corps and Army headquarters.

Usage

Issued to heavy Panzerspähwagen squadrons of each motorized Aufklärungs detachments.

In 1935 the SdKfz 231 (8 rad) started to replace the SdKfz 231 (6 rad) in the armored car companies of the Panzer Divisions.

North Africa

SdKfz 231 (8 Rad)s were used widely in North Africa.

Specifications

  Schwere Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 231 (8 rad)
Crew Commander, gunner, drivers(2)
4
Radio FuG Spr Ger 'a'
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 16,700 lb
8.15 tons, 8.2 tons, 8.3 tons
Length 19' 1", 19' 2", 19' 6"
5.85 m, 5.8 m
Height 7' 8", 7' 9" 7' 10"
2.35 m, 2.34 m
Width 7' 2.5", 7' 3", 7' 4"
2.2 m, 2.21 m
Ground clearance 1'
28 cm
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 20 mm KwK 30/38
20 mm KwK30
2 cm KwK
OR 20 mm KwK38
Secondary  
MG 7.92 mm MG34
MG 34
MG - coaxial 7.92 mm MG34
1: 7.92 mm MG
Side arms 1 sub machine gun
Quantity  
Main 180
Secondary  
MG 1,000, 2,100
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 8 - 14, 14.5
Hull Front, Upper 15@28°
Hull Front, Lower 8+10@35°
Hull Sides, Upper 8@35°
Hull Sides, Lower 8@35°
Hull Rear 8@35° & 10@35°
Hull Top 6@84°-90°
Hull Bottom 5@90° & None
Turret Front 15@20°
Mantlet: 15@20°
Turret Sides 8@30°
Turret Rear 8@30°
Turret Top 6@80°-90°
Engine (Make / Model) Büssing-NAG L8V-G, Büssing-NAG L8V, Büssing-NAG, Büssing-NAG LBV-GS
Cooling Water
Cylinders V 8
Net HP 150, 150@3,000 rpm, 155, 155@3,000 rpm
Power to weight ratio 18 HP/ton
Transmission (Type) 6 forward, 6 reverse
Fuel (Type ) Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity 138 liters
Fuel used per 100 km of road traveled: 46 liters
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand.
Speed - Road 53 mph, 62 mph
85 kph
Speed - Cross Country 19 mph
30 kph, 31 kph
Range - Road 170 miles, 185 miles, 186 miles
270 km, 300 km
Range - Cross Country 95 miles
150 km, 170 km
Turning radius 10.5 m
Elevation limits -10° to +26°
-1° to +26°
Fording depth 3' 3 1/3"
1 m
Trench crossing 4' 1.25"
1.25 m
Vertical obstacle 1' 7.75"
0.5 m
Suspension (Type) Semi-elliptic leaf spring
Wheels each side 4
Tires 8
Tire centers/tread 1.35 m
  Schwere Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 232 Fu (8 rad)
Crew 4
Radio FuG12, FuG Spr Ger 'a'
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 8.35 tons
Length 19' 1"
Height 9' 6"
2.9 m
Width 7' 3"
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 20 mm KwK 30/38
Secondary  
MG  
MG - coaxial 7.92 mm MG34
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG 1,050
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
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Net HP 155
Power to weight ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Fuel (Type )  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 53 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 186 miles
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Tires  
Tire centers/tread  
  Schwere Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 233 (8 rad)
Crew 3, 5
Radio FuG Spr Ger 'a'
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 19,219 lb
7.55 tons, 8.3 tons, 8.7 tons
Length 19' 6"
5.85 m
Height 7' 9"
2.25 m
Width 7' 4"
2.2 m
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 75 mm StuK37 L/24
7.5 cm
Secondary  
MG 7.92 mm MG42
MG - coaxial 1: 7.92 mm MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 32, 85
Secondary  
MG 1,000, 1,500
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 8 - 14
Hull Front, Upper 15@30°
Shield: 15@30°
Hull Front, Lower 30@35°
Hull Sides, Upper 8@35°
Hull Sides, Lower 8@35°
Hull Rear 8@35° & 10@25°
Hull Top 6@84° & open
Hull Bottom 5@90° & None
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Büssing-NAG L8V, Büssing-NAG LBV-GS
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Net HP 150@3,000 rpm
Power to weight ratio 18 HP/ton
Transmission (Type) 6 forward, 6 reverse.
Fuel (Type )  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse 12° left, 12° right
Speed - Road 62 mph
80 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 185 miles
300 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -10° to +12°
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Tires 8
Tire centers/tread  
  Panzerfunkwagen SdKfz 263 Fu (8 rad)
Crew 5
Radio Sätz Funkgerät für Pz Funktrupp b
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 7.95 tons, 8.1 tons
Length 19' 1"
5.85 m
Height 9' 6"
2.9 m
Width 7' 3"
2.2 m
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 7.92 mm MG34
MG 34
1: 7.92 mm MG
Secondary  
MG  
MG - coaxial  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 1,000, 1,050
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 14.5
Hull Front, Upper 18@17°
Hull Front, Lower 8@30°-35°
Hull Sides, Upper 8@35°
Hull Sides, Lower 8@35°
Hull Rear 10@31° & 10@35°
Hull Top 6@90°
Hull Bottom 5@90° & None
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Büssing-NAG L8V, Büssing-NAG
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Net HP 155
Power to weight ratio 18.4 HP/ton
Transmission (Type)  
Fuel (Type )  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 53 mph
100 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 186 miles
300 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Tires  
Tire centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary Doyle, 1999
  2. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  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
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