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Germany's Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 221 armored car

Photos

Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 221 armored car:
Germany's SdKpfw 221 Armored Car
Aberdeen Tank Museum

Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 221 mit 2.8 cm armored car6:
Germany's Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 221 mit 2.8 cm armored car
Bundesarchiv, Koblenz

Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 261 armored car:
Germany's Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 261 armored car

Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 221 armored car:
Germany's Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 221 armored car

Design

A replacement for the Kfz 13 and Kfz 14 was developed by Eisenwerk Weserhütte of Bad Oeynhausen and was to be used for reconnaissance.7

Chassis

The chassis was made from a standard Auto-Union Horch 801 (heavy car) chassis with an armored body and turret.4

The SdKfz 221's chassis was built by Auto-Union in Zwickau and they were assembled by F. Schichau of Elbing and Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen in Hannover-Linden.

Engine

The engine was placed in the rear.4,7

Steering

All four wheels were steered when turning.4

Armor

The armor was rolled and welded at an angle. The early models had visions ports cut from the rolled plates, and these were simplified by making cast vision ports.

Turret

Had a seven sided turret, sometimes with a grenade netting over the top.3

Production

  • Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 221: 3392, 340
    • Production: 1935 - ?, 1935 - May 19402, 19373
    • Manufacturer: Horch3, Weserhütte2
  • SdKfz 260, SdKfz 261: 4932
    • Production: November 1940 - April 19432
    • Manufacturer: Weserhütte2, Ritscher2

Variants

  • Leichter Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 221: Had machine gun.7
  • Leichter Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 221 mit 2.8cm Panzerbüchse 41; 2.8cm sPzB 41 auf SdKfz 221; SdKfz 221 mit 2.8cm: In 1942 a 28 mm sPzB41 was put in a modified turret.5,7 Was issued to Panzerspähwagen squadrons of the Aufklärungs detachments of light, Panzer, and motorized infantry divisions. Crew of two and weighed 4.5 tons.6
  • Leichter Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 222 (2 cm): Had 2 cm gun with coaxial machine gun.7
  • Leichter Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 223 (Fu): Had machine gun for armament and radio equipment.7
  • Kleine Panzerfunkwagen SdKfz 260: These were designed to provide mobility and armor protection for signals units. These were later replaced by the half-track series of radio vehicles. Had medium range radio with a rod aerial.4,5,7
  • Kleine Panzerfunkwagen SdKfz 261: Had longer range radio with a collapsible frame aerial.4,7

Usage

Were issued to the signals troops at headquarters level of the regiments, brigades, and divisions of the panzer troops. First came into service in the spring of 1941.

China

Some SdKfz 221s were sold to China.3

Specifications

  Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 221
Crew 21,2,4,7, 33,5
Radio FuG Spr Ger 'a'2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 8,818 lb3, 8,960 lb
4,000 kg1
3.94 tons1, 3.95 tons4, 4 tons2,7
Length 15' 6"4, 15' 9"1,3, 16'7
4.8 m1,2
Height 5' 7"3, 5' 8", 5' 11"1,4, 6' 6"7
1.7 m2, 1.8 m1
Width 6' 4.8"1, 6' 5"3, 6' 6"7, 6' 7"4
1.95 m1,2
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 9"3
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 7.92 mm MG1,5,7
7.92 mm MG34
2,3,4
OR 1: 2.8 cm7
Later models: 28 mm sPZB412
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms 9 mm MP38 or MP40 submachinegun3
Quantity  
Main 7.92 mm: 1,050 Patr sS & SmK2
2,0003,7
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms 3503
Armor Thickness (mm) 6 - 87, 8 - 147, 14.51,4
Hull Front, Upper 0.3"@0°3, 8@37°2
Hull Front, Lower 8@36°2
Hull Sides, Upper 0.3"@0°3, 8@35°2
Hull Sides, Lower 8@35°2
Hull Rear 5@31°2 & 5@65°2
Hull Top 5@90°2 & Open2
Hull Bottom 5@90°2
Turret Front 8@35°2
0.3"@0°3, Gun shield: 8@10°2
Turret Sides 0.3"@0°3, 8@35°2
Turret Rear 8@35°2
Turret Top Open2,4
Engine (Make / Model) Auto-Union/Horch3, Horch4,7, Horch 3.51,2, Horch 1087
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water3
Cylinders V 83,7
Capacity 3.5 liters7
Net HP 754,7, 81@3,600 rpm7, 853
Power to weight ratio 20.3 HP/ton7
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Crash type3
5 forward, 1 reverse2,3,7
Steering 2 or 4 wheels3
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline3
Octane  
Quantity 29 gallons3
Road consumption 7.1 mpg3
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°3
Hand2,3
Speed - Road 30 mph3, 46 mph4, 46.6 mph1, 50 mph7, 56 mph
75 kph1, 90 kph2
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 174 miles1, 175 miles3,4, 200 miles7
280 km1, 320 km2
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius Front wheels turning: 46' 4"3
All wheels turning: 26' 3"3
Elevation limits 28 mm: -5° to +45°2
Fording depth 2'3
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability 20° slope3
Suspension (Type) Independent coil spring for each wheel3,4,7
Wheels each side 2
Wheels (Type)  
Wheel arrangement 4 x 43
Tire size 8.27 x 183
Wheel centers 63"3
Wheel base 110"3
  SdKfz 260 Fu, 261 Fu
Crew Commander, driver, 2 radio
37, 42
Radio 260: FuG7 and FuG Spr Ger 'a'2
261: FuG12 and FuG Spr Ger 'a'2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 4.3 tons2
260: 8,556 lb
261: 8,646 lb
Length 16' 1"
4.83 m2
Height 5' 11"
1.78 m2
Width 6' 7"
1.99 m2
Width over tracks  
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) 6 - 87
Hull Front, Upper 8@35°2
Hull Front, Lower 8@35°2
Hull Sides, Upper 8@35°2
Hull Sides, Lower 8@35°2
Hull Rear 8@30°2 & 5@30°2
Hull Top 5@90°2 & Open2
Hull Bottom None2
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Horch4, Horch 3.52 or 3.82
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders V 84
Capacity  
Net HP 75@2,000 rpm4
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 5 forward, 1 reverse.2
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 85 kph2
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 310 km2
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side 2
Wheels (Type)  
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. Tank Data 2, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, E. J. Hoffschmidt and W. H. Tantum IV, 1969
  4. German Tanks and Armoured Vehicles 1914 - 1945, B. T. White, 1966
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. Profile, AFV Weapons #55, German Self-Propelled Weapons, Peter Chamberlain, H. L. Doyle, 1973
  7. Profile AFV Weapons #33, German Armoured Cars, Major General N. W. Duncan, 1971
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site

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