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The SdKfz 234 Schwerer Panzerspähwagen was an eight wheeled armored car that was used by Germany during World War II.

Description

The SdKfz 234 had a Tatra 102 engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 80 km/h. The SdKfz 234's armament consisted of a 20 mm KwK 38 and a 7.92 mm MG 34.[1]

The total weight of the system was around 10,600 kg and its total length was 6.8 meters. In order to operate at maximum efficiency, the 234 required a crew of four men and it had around 30 mm worth of armor protection for its crew.

It had a maximum road range of 997 kilometers and the design proved to be a versatile one. The original SdKfz 234 proved to be quite the vehicle and in the reconnaissance roles it was so often assigned, it was extremely effective. Furthermore, the 234's speed proved vital in dealing with heavy armored vehicles. The chassis itself was also useful in that it provided a reliable platform for which improved designs could be based upon.[2]

Variants

Schwerer Panzerspahwagen SdKfz 234 Puma01:52

Schwerer Panzerspahwagen SdKfz 234 Puma

A documentary describing the SdKfz 234/2 "Puma"

The first variant in the SdKfz 234 series was the SdKfz 234/2 "Puma" which was the most famous and second most produced version of the series. The main feature of the SdKfz 234/2 was that it featured a 50 mm main gun mounted in a closed turret, which was originally designed for the German Lepard tank. With this upgraded armament, the "Puma" was capable of even dealing with light and medium tanks if engaged properly and this added to its high speed made the vehicle even more effective.

The next variant was the SdKfz 234/3 which served as a fire support vehicle with a 75 mm low velocity main gun. However, it did have the drawback of having a fixed turret meaning unlike the Puma, it had to face its target directly oftentimes exposing it to enemy fire. The final variant was the SdKfz 234/4 which was fundamentally a dedicated tank killer platform. It had a high velocity 75 mm main gun mounted but similar to the SdKfz 234/3, its armament was mounted in a fixed turret. 

History

The SdKfz 234 was first developed in 1940 as a cooperative project by Büssing NAG, Daimler Benz, and Tatra. It was a response to a requirement for a new eight-wheeled armored car that was capable of withstanding desert heat and improve upon the design of the previous eight-wheeled SdKfz 231 series of designs. In total, around 520 SdKfz 234s were produced and they saw extensive service in most places where the German Wehrmacht served.

References

  1. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/germany/armored-cars/sdKfz-234.asp
  2. http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=365


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