Schwerer Wehrmachtschlepper

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Schwerer Wehrmachtschlepper
SdKfz-1.jpg
Panzerwerfer 42 auf sWS
Type Half-track
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1944—5
Used by Nazi Germany
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Büssing-NAG
Designed 1942—43
Manufacturer Büssing-NAG, Tatra
Produced 1943—5
Number built 825
Variants 15 cm Panzerwerfer auf sWS
3.7cm FlaK 43 auf sWS
Specifications
Weight 13.5 tonnes (14.9 short tons; 13.3 long tons)
Length 6.92 metres (22 ft 8 in)
Width 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in)
Height 2.07 metres (6 ft 9 in)
Crew 2

Armor 6-15 mm (certain models only)
Engine 4.198 litres (256.2 cu in) gasoline inline 6 cylinder, water-cooled Maybach HL42TRKMS
100 horsepower (75 kW)
Payload capacity 4,000 kilograms (8,800 lb)
Transmission ZF kb 40D
Suspension transverse leaf-spring and torsion bar
Ground clearance 46.5 centimetres (18.3 in)
Fuel capacity 240 litres (53 imp gal; 63 US gal)
Operational
range
300 kilometres (190 mi)
Speed 27.4 kilometres per hour (17.0 mph)

The Schwerer Wehrmachtschlepper (Heavy Military Tractor), or sWS for short, was a German World War II half-track flat-bed cargo vehicle used in various roles between 1943 and 1945. The unarmored models were used as supply vehicles and as tractors to haul things. The semi-armored version could mount a medium anti-aircraft gun, while the fully armored model carried a 10 barrel rocket launcher (Nebelwerfer). Less than a thousand were built before the end of the war, but production continued after the war of an improved model in the Tatra plant in Czechoslovakia.

History[edit]

On 7 May 1942 Hitler ordered development of a simple, low-speed, half-track, load-carrying vehicle for use on the Eastern Front. Büssing-NAG was selected to develop a new 5 t (4.9 long tons; 5.5 short tons) tractor (Zgkw. 5t neuer Art) to replace the earlier 5 tonne Sd.Kfz. 6 and 3 t (3.0 long tons; 3.3 short tons) Sd.Kfz. 11 half-tracks, as well as the various lesser-known vehicles of the same class. Production started in December 1943 at Büssing-NAG.[1] Early examples used a truck-like, unarmored cabin similar to the earlier Sd.Kfz. half-tracks it replaced, while later examples featured an armored cabin and engine compartment that looked similar to the famous Sd.Kfz. 251 armored personnel carrier.

Tatra also joined in production, but together both factories produced only 825 vehicles in total.[2] Tatra continued production of an improved vehicle after the war as the T809.[3]

In addition to the basic cargo role, the vehicle was adapted as a mount for the medium 3.7 cm FlaK 43 anti-aircraft gun, which was placed at the front of the cargo area on a mounting with a large gun shield. The sides of the cargo compartment folded down to give the crew more room to maneuver. Ammunition was carried at the rear of the cargo area. The only other known modification was the Panzerwerfer 42 auf sWS, a 10-barreled 15 cm (5.9 in) Nebelwerfer 42 rocket launcher placed over an armored ammunition storage compartment; it was built over the cargo area that was intended to replace the 15 cm Panzerwerfer auf Sf (Sd.Kfz. 4/1), commonly called the Maultier.[3]

Armor[edit]

The Panzerwerfer mount had armor 10 millimetres (0.39 in) thick.[3]

Thickness/slope from the vertical Front Side Rear Top/Bottom
Gun Shield (Flak 43 only) 10 mm (0.39 in)/30° none none none
Superstructure 15 mm (0.59 in)/30° 12 mm (0.47 in)/8° 8 mm (0.31 in)/30° 6 mm (0.24 in)/87°
Hull 15 mm (0.59 in)/15° 12 mm (0.47 in)/15° 8 mm (0.31 in)/0° 6 mm (0.24 in)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Spielberger, p. 50
  2. ^ Vehicles of the Wehrmacht
  3. ^ a b c Chamberlain & Doyle, p. 188

References[edit]

  • Chamberlain, Peter, and Hilary L. Doyle. Thomas L. Jentz (Technical Editor). Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two: A Complete Illustrated Directory of German Battle Tanks, Armoured Cars, Self-propelled Guns, and Semi-tracked Vehicles, 1933–1945, London: Arms and Armour Press, 1978 (revised edition 1993). ISBN 1-85409-214-6
  • Spielberger, Walter J. Halftracked Vehicles of the German Army 1909-1945, Atlgen, PA: Schiffer, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7643-2942-5

External links[edit]