SdKfz 4

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SdKfz 4
Panzerwerfer alias Maultier.jpg
15 cm Panzerwerfer auf Sf (Sd.Kfz. 4/1) at the Saumur Tank Museum
Type Half-track
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
Used by Nazi Germany
Wars World War II
Specifications
Weight 7.1 tonnes
Length 6 m
Width 2.2 m
Height 2.5 m
Crew 4

Armor 8 mm
Main
armament
7.92 mm MG34 or MG42
2,000 rounds
Engine 6-cylinder Opel 3.6-litre engine.
Operational
range
130 km
Speed 40 km/h

The SdKfz 4 Gleisketten-Lastkraftwagen ("chain-track truck"), was a 4.5-tonne military truck of Maultier ("mule") half-track family developed during World War II by Germany. Its manufacturer designation was Mercedes-Benz L4500R.

Development[edit]

The SdKfz 4 was developed after the 1941 invasion of the USSR to deal with the ice and mud, which bogged down the road-bound commercial vehicles that were used to supply German forces. It was modified Standard Mercedes-Benz L4500S (4x2) with Horstmann suspension instead of back axle. Another manufacturer of 4.5-t truck, Büssing planned similar conversion of its Büssing-NAG L4500S, but didn't proceed.

A total of 22,500 Maultier halftracks were produced by 1944, among which 1480 were 4.5-t. SdKfz 4, others — 2-t. SdKfz 3. In 1943 Opel was ordered to build armored vehicles outfitted with 15 cm Panzerwerfer 42 rocket launchers.[1] These vehicles were designated SdKfz 4/1, with around 300 produced. Given the extra weight of the Panzerwerfer, the top speed was only 24 mph (40 kph).

The vast majority of Maultiers operated using British-pattern Carden-Loyd running gear, with the exception of the Type L4500R, which used PzKpfw. II running gear. The 6-cylinder engines were mated to a transmission with 5 forward / 1 reverse gears and could attain a maximum forward speed of 40 km/h. Each halftrack was equipped with the FuG Spr G f radio.

Aside from the SdKfz 4/1, the SdKfz 4 was armed only with a light 7.92 mm MG34 or MG42 machine gun with a traverse of 270° and elevation limits of -12° to +80°.

Notes[edit]