Leichter Panzerspähwagen

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Leichter Panzerspähwagen
IWM-E-3776-SdKfz-222-19410624.jpg
British soldiers inspect a captured SdKfz 222, North Africa, 1941
Type Armored car
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
Used by Nazi Germany
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Eisenwerk Weserhütte
Manufacturer Auto Union, F. Schichau
Produced 1935 - 1944
Specifications
Weight 4,000 kg
Length 4.8 m (15 ft 9 in)
Width 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
Height 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in)
Crew 4

Armor 5 - 14.5 mm
Main
armament
1 × Maschinengewehr 34 (for Sd.Kfz 221)
1 × 2 cm KwK 30 L/55 autocannon (for Sd.Kfz 222)
Secondary
armament
1 × Maschinengewehr 34 (for Sd.Kfz 222)
Engine Horch 3.8 V8 petrol
90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp)
Suspension 4x4
Operational
range
300 km (186 mi)
Speed road: 80 km (50 mi)
cross-country: 40 km (25 mi)
SdKfz. 222 in private collection.

The Leichter Panzerspähwagen (German: roughly "light armoured reconnaissance vehicle") were a series of light four-wheel drive armoured cars produced by Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1944.

They were developed by Eisenwerk Weserhütte of Bad Oeynhausen by using the chassis of type Horch 108 standard heavy off-road car with an angled armoured body and turret.

Chassis were built by Horch (Auto Union) in Zwickau and assembled by F. Schichau of Elbing and Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen in Hanover-Linden.

The rear-mounted petrol engine was a 3.5 Litre Horch V8 with 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp) (Ausf. A chassis); from 1942 on 3.8 Litre with 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp) (Ausf. B chassis), giving it a road speed of 80 km/h (50 mph) and a cross-country speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). It had a maximum range of 300 km (186 mi).

Used by the reconnaissance battalions (Aufklärungs-Abteilung) of the Panzer divisions, the type performed well enough in countries with good road networks, like those in Western Europe. However, on the Eastern Front and in North Africa, this class of vehicle was hampered by its relatively poor off-road performance. In those theaters, it gradually found itself replaced in the reconnaissance role by the Sdkfz 250 half-track. The Sdkfz 250/9 was the Sdkfz 250 with the same turret as the Sd. Kfz 222.

The Sd. Kfz. 222 was examined by Soviet designers before they created the similar BA-64 light armoured car.

Front and sides were made of 8 mm (0.3 in) RHA; thinner 5 mm (0.2 in) plates protected the top, rear, and bottom. Cast vision ports later replaced ports cut into the armour. The open-topped turret was fitted with wire mesh anti-grenade screens. Starting in 1939 the front armour was increased to 14.5 mm (0.6 in).

Variants[edit]

Sd. Kfz. 221

Base model and first production series of light armoured car built on a standardized chassis for military use. The Sdkfz. 221 was armed with a single 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 13 machine gun (from 1938 a Maschinengewehr 34), manned by a two man crew, and had 4-wheel drive. Production ran from 1935 to 1940 with a Minimum of 339 vehicles produced for the Heer. Some Sd. Kfz 221 were rearmed with a 2.8 cm sPzB 41 "heavy anti-tank rifle" in a modified turret. Its full name was Leichter Panzerspähwagen (M.G.).

Sd. Kfz. 222

This version of the vehicle was armed with a 2 cm KwK 30 L/55 autocannon and a 7.92 mm MG 13 machine gun. Crew increased to three by the addition of a gunner, relieving the commander of that task. In 1938 the MG 13 was replaced by a Maschinengewehr 34, in 1942 the KwK 30 was replaced by the faster firing KwK 38 of the same calibre. Starting in 1942 the Ausf. B chassis with a more powerful engine and 30 mm of frontal armour was used. Production ran from 1937 to late 1943 with a Minimum of 990 vehicles produced from the Heer. Its full name was Leichter Panzerspähwagen (2 cm)

Sd. Kfz. 223

An armored car like the 221 but with a medium range Radio set and a raisable frame antenna. It was originally armed with a 7.92 mm MG 13 machine gun but in 1938 this was changed to a Maschinengewehr 34. Crew increased to three by the addition of a radio operator. Starting in 1942 the Ausf. B chassis with a more powerful engine and 30 mm of frontal armour was used. Production ran from 1936 to January 1944 with a Minimum of 567 vehicles produced from the Heer. Its full name was Leichter Panzerspähwagen (Fu).

Kleiner Panzerfunkwagen Sd. Kfz 260/261

Unarmed radio car versions with long range radio equipment and a large raisable "bed-frame" antenna over the vehicle. Generally used for signals use, three were used as armoured cars in Finland.[1] The Sd. Kfz 260 was equipped with radio sets to communicate with aircraft, the Sd. Kfz 261 with radio sets to communicate with other Heer units. By September 1, 1940 the manufacturers had orders for 36 Sd. Kfz 260 and 289 Sd. Kfz 261, production ran from April 1941 to April 1943 with 483 vehicles of both types produced. Starting in 1942 the Ausf. B chassis with a more powerful engine and 30 mm of frontal armour was used.

User[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Panzers in Finland, Kari Kuusela, 2000

External links[edit]