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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 1935.2,3 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.2 The chassis was rather complex and expensive to produce.2 It provided all wheel drive and steering with independent suspension.2,5

Engine

The engine was placed in the rear of the chassis.5

Driving

Steering wheels and controls are provided for each direction in the SdKfz 231 (8 Rad).3,5 Steering was done by all wheels.3 Each wheel had its own suspension.3,5

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): 1,2352
    • Production: 1937 - 19422
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm) (SdKfz 231): 600, 6071
    • Production: 1936 - ? , 1936 - September 19431
    • Manufacturer: Deutsche Werke, Schichau1
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (Fu) (SdKfz 232) 8 rad:
    • Production: 1936 - September 19431
    • Manufacturer: Deutsche Werke, Schichau1
  • Schwere Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm) (SdKfz 233): 1091
    • Production: 1942 - 1945, December 1942 - October 19431
    • Manufacturer: Deutsche Werke in Kiel, Schichau1
  • Panzerfunkwagen (SdKfz 263) 8 rad: 2401
    • Production: April 1938 - April 19431
    • Manufacturer: Deutsche Werke, Schichau1

Variants

  • schwerer Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 231 (8-Rad): Had 2 cm KwK 30 or KwK 38 with a coaxial 7.92 mm MG 34.2,5
  • 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.2,3,5 During 1942 models had aerial replaced with a simple pole aerial.3 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 1942.2 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.2,5
  • 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.2,3,5 A large frame antenna and a telescoping mast were provided for long-range communications.2,5 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.5

North Africa

SdKfz 231 (8 Rad)s were used widely in North Africa.2

Specifications

  Schwere Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 231 (8 rad)
Crew Commander, gunner, drivers(2)
41,2,3,5
Radio FuG Spr Ger 'a'1
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 16,700 lb
8.15 tons3, 8.2 tons, 8.3 tons1,2,5
Length 19' 1"3, 19' 2"2, 19' 6"5
5.85 m1,2, 5.8 m
Height 7' 8"2, 7' 9"5 7' 10"3
2.35 m1, 2.34 m2
Width 7' 2.5"2, 7' 3"3, 7' 4"5
2.2 m1,2, 2.21 m
Ground clearance 1'
28 cm
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 20 mm KwK 30/383
20 mm KwK301,2
2 cm KwK5
OR 20 mm KwK381,2
Secondary  
MG 7.92 mm MG341
MG 343
MG - coaxial 7.92 mm MG342
1: 7.92 mm MG5
Side arms 1 sub machine gun
Quantity  
Main 1801,5
Secondary  
MG 1,0005, 2,1001
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 8 - 145, 14.53
Hull Front, Upper 15@28°1
Hull Front, Lower 8+10@35°1
Hull Sides, Upper 8@35°1
Hull Sides, Lower 8@35°1
Hull Rear 8@35°1 & 10@35°1
Hull Top 6@84°-90°1
Hull Bottom 5@90°1 & None1
Turret Front 15@20°1
Mantlet: 15@20°1
Turret Sides 8@30°1
Turret Rear 8@30°1
Turret Top 6@80°-90°1
Engine (Make / Model) Büssing-NAG L8V-G2, Büssing-NAG L8V1, Büssing-NAG3, Büssing-NAG LBV-GS5
Cooling Water2
Cylinders V 83,5
Net HP 1502, 150@3,000 rpm5, 1555, 155@3,000 rpm3
Power to weight ratio 18 HP/ton5
Transmission (Type) 6 forward, 6 reverse1,5
Fuel (Type ) Gasoline2
Octane  
Capacity 138 liters
Fuel used per 100 km of road traveled: 46 liters
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand.1
Speed - Road 53 mph2,3, 62 mph5
85 kph1,2
Speed - Cross Country 19 mph2
30 kph2, 31 kph
Range - Road 170 miles2, 185 miles5, 186 miles3
270 km2, 300 km1
Range - Cross Country 95 miles2
150 km2, 170 km
Turning radius 10.5 m
Elevation limits -10° to +26°1
-1° to +26°2
Fording depth 3' 3 1/3"2
1 m2
Trench crossing 4' 1.25"2
1.25 m2
Vertical obstacle 1' 7.75"2
0.5 m2
Suspension (Type) Semi-elliptic leaf spring3
Wheels each side 4
Tires 8
Tire centers/tread 1.35 m
  Schwere Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 232 Fu (8 rad)
Crew 43
Radio FuG121, FuG Spr Ger 'a'1
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 8.35 tons3
Length 19' 1"3
Height 9' 6"3
2.9 m
Width 7' 3"3
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 20 mm KwK 30/383
Secondary  
MG  
MG - coaxial 7.92 mm MG34
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG 1,0501
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 14.53
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-NAG3
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Net HP 1553
Power to weight ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Fuel (Type )  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 53 mph3
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 186 miles3
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 31,2,4, 55
Radio FuG Spr Ger 'a'1
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 19,219 lb
7.55 tons4, 8.3 tons5, 8.7 tons1
Length 19' 6"5
5.85 m1
Height 7' 9"5
2.25 m1
Width 7' 4"5
2.2 m1
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 75 mm StuK37 L/241,3,4,5
7.5 cm2
Secondary  
MG 7.92 mm MG421
MG - coaxial 1: 7.92 mm MG5
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 321, 855
Secondary  
MG 1,0005, 1,5001
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 8 - 145
Hull Front, Upper 15@30°1
Shield: 15@30°1
Hull Front, Lower 30@35°1
Hull Sides, Upper 8@35°1
Hull Sides, Lower 8@35°1
Hull Rear 8@35°1 & 10@25°1
Hull Top 6@84°1 & open1
Hull Bottom 5@90°1 & None1
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Büssing-NAG L8V1, Büssing-NAG LBV-GS5
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Net HP 150@3,000 rpm5
Power to weight ratio 18 HP/ton5
Transmission (Type) 6 forward, 6 reverse.1
Fuel (Type )  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse 12° left, 12° right1,3
Speed - Road 62 mph5
80 kph1
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 185 miles5
300 km1
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 51,3,5
Radio Sätz Funkgerät für Pz Funktrupp b1
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 7.95 tons3, 8.1 tons1,5
Length 19' 1"3
5.85 m1
Height 9' 6"3
2.9 m1
Width 7' 3"3
2.2 m1
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 7.92 mm MG341
MG 343
1: 7.92 mm MG5
Secondary  
MG  
MG - coaxial  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 1,0005, 1,0501
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 14.53
Hull Front, Upper 18@17°1
Hull Front, Lower 8@30°-35°1
Hull Sides, Upper 8@35°1
Hull Sides, Lower 8@35°1
Hull Rear 10@31°1 & 10@35°1
Hull Top 6@90°1
Hull Bottom 5@90°1 & None1
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Büssing-NAG L8V1, Büssing-NAG3
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Net HP 1553
Power to weight ratio 18.4 HP/ton5
Transmission (Type)  
Fuel (Type )  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 53 mph3
100 kph1
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 186 miles3
300 km1
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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