Land Weapons

Deutsche Werke / Schichau

SdKfz 231/232/233 (8-Rad)

Limitations in the cross-country performance of the SdKfz 231/232 6-Rad six-wheeled armored cars resulted in the SdKfz 231 8-Rad family of eight-wheeled vehicles which would be the best of their kind used by German Army during World War II. Despite borrowing the SdKfz ordinance designation of their 6-Rad predecessors, the 8-Rad series was an entirely different design based on a Büssing-NAG chassis with eight-wheel drive and with a rear-mounted enigne which was better for protection and cooling. Armament was identical to its predecessors, consisting of a turret-mounted 20-mm KwK 30 or 38 gun in both the SdKfz 231 as well as the similar SdKfz 232 that followed. This was then upgraded to a 75-mm KwK 37 short-barreled gun in an open top superstructure. The 8-Rad series benefitted from thicker armor, reaching a maximum of 15 cm, with the heavy sloping that characterized most other German wheeled vehicles. Compared to the 6-Rad series, the 8-Rad vehicles had far better off-road performance and this enabled them to quickly replace the former in production and become the standard vehicles in the heavy platoons of each Panzerspähwagen squadron, with the more heavily armed SdKfz 233s used for anti-tank and anti-infantry support. The 8-Rad series was widely employed on all fronts with production lasting until the second half of 1943.

The Schwerer Panzerspähwagen 8-Rad (SdKfz 231) first entered production in 1936 with subsequent developing mirroring (and sharing the designation of) its 6-Rad predecessors. This included the Schwerer Panzerspähwagen (Fu) 8-Rad (SdKfz 232) with a more powerful radio and large frame aerial. The Schwerer Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm) (SdKfz 233) was a support version featuring a 75-mm StuK 37 gun in a modified superstructure while the Panzerfunkwagen 8-Rad (SdKfz 263 was a dedicated radio car with a modified crew compartment, long-range radio, and both large frame and telescoping mast antennas.

Preceded by:

SdKfz 231/232 (6-Rad) (1932)

Succeeded by:

SdKfz 234 (1943)


DesignsPzSpWg 8-RadsPzSpWg 8-Rad (7.5cm)
OrdnanceSdKfz 231SdKfz 233
TypeArmored CarArmored Car
Length (w/Gun)5.85 m5.85 m
Width2.20 m2.20 m
Height2.35 m3.25 m
Loaded8,300 kg8,700 kg
SuspensionWheeled (8x8)Wheeled (8x8)
Speed (Off-Road)85 km/h (31 km/h)80 km/h (31 km/h)
Range (Off-Road)300 km (170 km)300 km (170 km)
Fording1 m1 m
Vertical Obstacle0.48 m0.48 m
Trench1.24 m1.24 m
Engine1 x 180-hp
1 x 180-hp
FuelGasoline: 150 LGasoline: 150 L
Power/Weight21.69 hp/t20.69 hp/t
Main1 x 20-mm L/55
2cm KwK 30
Autocannon (180)
↑ 26° / ↓ -10° / ↔ 360°

1 x 75-mm L/24
7.5cm KwK 37
Rifled Gun (55)
↑ 12° / ↓ -10° / ↔ 360°

Secondary1 x 7.92-mm (c)
1 x 7.92-mm (c)
Thickness5 - 18 mm5 - 30 mm
Max Effective16 - 22 mm RHAe17 - 37 mm RHAe
Hull Upper Front15 mm / 28°15 mm / 30°
Hull Lower Front18 mm / 35°30 mm / 35°
Hull Upper Sides8 mm / 35°8 mm / 35°
Hull Lower Sides8 mm / 35°8 mm / 35°
Hull Upper Rear8 mm / 35°8 mm / 35°
Hull Lower Rear10 mm / 25°10 mm / 25°
Hull Top6 mm / 6°6 mm / 6°
Hull Bottom5 mm5 mm
Turret Mantlet15 mm / 20°-
Turret Front15 mm / 20°15 mm / 30°
Turret Sides8 mm / 30°-
Turret Rear8 mm / 30°-
Turret Top6 mm / 10°-