The SdKfz 221 Leichter Panzerspähwagen was an armored car that was used by Germany during World War II.


The SdKfz 221 had a Horch 3.5 engine that was capable of propelling the Panzerspäwagen at speeds of up to 75 km/h on roads. The SdKfz 221 had a crew of two and an armament that consisted of a single MG 34 machine gun mounted in the upper turret area.

The total weight of the SdKfz 221 was approximately 4,800 kg and the total length was 4.8 meters. The SdKfz 221 also had a five speed forward, one speed reverse transmission system and armor that was 14.5 mm at its thickest. The maximum range of the SdKfz 221 was approximately 320 kilometers and the maximum fuel capacity was about 110 liters.[1] Some versions of the SdKfz 221 featured a special netting at the top of the turret to prevent grenades being thrown into the crew compartment and other early versions had no radios installed.


The SdKfz 221 armored car series had several modifications made to it over the course of its service life. The first of these variants was the SdKfz 221 mit 28 mm which featured a sPzB 41 (2.8 cm) mounted in a modified turret. The next variant, the SdKfz 222 had several more key upgrades that greatly helped the design. One of these was the fact that the commander was no longer forced to fire the main gun as the SdKfz 222 included a third crew member, the gunner.[2]

It also had a KwK 30 (20 mm) autocannon and an MG 34 as its armament. Like the earlier models, some SdKfz 222s had a special grenade screen that gave a little more protection for the crew. The next variant of the Leichter Panzerspähwagen series was the Panzerfunkwagen SdKfz 223 which had an MG 34 for protection and additional radio equipment. The intended radio was the FuG 10 Radio and a collapsable radio antenna was attached to the turret. The final variants were the SdKfz 260 and SdKfz 261 which were similar to the SdKfz 223 only that they were unarmed and had different radio ranges.


The Leichter Panzerspähwagen series was first developed in 1935 and was soon rushed into production later that year. The series continued to be used until 1944 when it became fully obsolete. Production spanned well into the 1940s and it saw widespread use in North Africa and the Eastern Front. During which time, combat reports had indicated poor performance in the harsh conditions of both theaters of war. It had also indicated half-track superiority here.



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