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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's SdKfz 9 schwerer Zugkraftwagen 18t half track

Photos

8.8cm Flak 37 (Sf) auf Zugkraftwagen 18t:
Germany's 8.8cm Flak 37 (Sf) auf Zugkraftwagen 18t
Imperial War Museum - MH9045

Design

In 1936 the Wehrmacht put out a requirement for a heavy recovery vehicle.

The SdKfz 9 was the largest halftrack used during World War II. It was designed as a heavy recovery vehicle for tanks. Eventually an artillery tractor version was made. The tractor version was used to tow the heavy artillery and some heavy engineering equipment which included bridging equipment that was towed.

The recovery version of the SdKfz 9 had stabilizing legs and a crane. For really large tanks such as the Tiger I two SdKfz 9s had to be used for towing.

Some of the heavy artillery towed:

  • 128 mm FlaK 40 (Luftwaffe anti-aircraft gun)
  • Krupp 210 K 38
  • 240 mm K 3 (had to be towed in 5 loads)

Prototype

The first prototypes appeared in 1936.

Production

  • FM gr 1: 1
    • Production: 1936
  • SdKfz 9 schwerer Zugkraftwagen 18t:
    • Production: 1936 - 1944
    • Manufacturer: Famo Fahrzeugwerke und Motorwerke AG at Breslau
  • 8.8cm Flak 37 (Sf) auf Zugkraftwagen 18t: 14, 15
    • Production: 1940
    • Manufacturer: Krupp, FAMO

Variants

  • FM gr 1: Prototype.
  • FM gr 2: Prototype. Had a bigger and more powerful engine installed.
  • FM gr 3: Prototype. Had a bigger and more powerful engine installed.
  • SdKfz 9 schwerer Zugkraftwagen 18t:
  • SdKfz 9/1 schwerer Zugkraftwagen 18t: Recovery model. There was a crane with a 13,228 lb / 6,000 kg lifting capacity.
  • SdKfz 9/2 schwerer Zugkraftwagen 18t: Recovery model. Had a 22,046 lb / 10,000 kg capacity crane, outrigger legs, and an extra jib that would suspend a counter weight. These could handle tanks up to PzKpfw IVs by themselves. They were used as pairs when trying to recover Tigers.
  • 8.8cm Flak 37 (Sf) auf Zugkraftwagen 18t: Had a 88 FlaK 37 gun mounted on the rear with a platform and outrigger arms to stabilize the vehicle.

Usage

The 8.8 cm Flak 37 (Sf) auf Zugkraftwagen 18t saw action in Poland and France.

Specifications

  SdKfz 9
Crew 9
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 39,600 lb, 39,683 lb
18,000 kg
Weight - empty 15,130 kg
Weight - loaded 18,000
Length 27' 0.8"
8.25 m
Height 9' 0.7"
2.76 m, 2.85 m
Width 8' 6"
1.6 m, 2.6 m
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure (psi)  
Armament  
Main  
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  
Superstructure Front  
Superstructure Sides  
Superstructure Rear  
Superstructure Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL, Maybach HL108
Cylinders V-12
Net HP 250
Transmission (type)  
Fuel (type) Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity (gallons)  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 31 mph
50 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 162 miles
260 km
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth 2'
0.6 m
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle 6' 6.7"
2 m
Suspension (Type) Wheels: Trans leaf spring
Tracks: Torsion bar
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  
  8.8cm Flak 37 (Sf) auf Zugkraftwagen 18t,
88 mm FlaK18 (Sfl)
Crew 9, 9 - 10
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 25 tons
Weight - empty  
Weight - loaded  
Length 9.32 m
Height 3.67 m
Width 2.65 m
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure (psi)  
Armament  
Main 88 mm FlaK18 L/56
8.8 cm Flak
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 40
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 14.5
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 14.5
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 8
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Superstructure Front 14.5
Gun Shield: 10@10°
Superstructure Sides 14.5
Superstructure Rear 8
Superstructure Top Open
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL108TUKRM
Cylinders  
Net HP  
Transmission (type) 4x2 forward, 1x2 reverse.
Fuel (type)  
Octane  
Capacity (gallons)  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand.
Speed - Road 50 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 280 km
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits -3° to + 85°
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track 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. Halbkettenfahrzeuge, German Half-Track Vehicles 1939-1945, J. Williamson, 1972
  4. Profile, AFV Weapons #55, German Self-Propelled Weapons, Peter Chamberlain, H.L. Doyle, 1973
  5. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site