Land Weapons

Büssing-NAG

SdKfz 234

The SdKfz 234 was the final development of the successful 8-Rad series of armored cars. Despite their superficial similarity to the SdKfz 231 8-Rad family, the SdKfz 234 was a completely new design, which could be distinguished from its predecessors by having single piece mud guards. Many features such as eight-wheel drive and a rear driver's position were also incorporated, but a major internal change was the switch to a Tatra 103 diesel engine. Armor protection was also considerably upgraded, to a maximum of 30 mm. One of the distinguishing features of the SdKfz 234 was the variety of armaments across its four different versions, which ranged from the 2cm KwK 38 gun found in earlier 8-Rad vehicles to a much more powerful 5cm KwK 39 gun mounted on the SdKfz 234/2 Puma (the only variant to be named) and even 75-mm anti-tank and infantry guns, making them among the most powerful of their type fielded by any army during World War II. Ironically, despite its diesel engine being chosen to perform best in North Africa and the Russian steppes, the SdKfz 234 entered service too late to see combat in either of these environments, but saw widespread combat in the Eastern and Western Fronts until the end of the war with the Panzerspähwagen companies of reconnaissance batallions.

Confusingly, the first version of the new eight-wheeled vehicle was the Schwerer Panzerspähwagen (5cm) (SdKfz 234/2) better known as the Puma. It was armed with the 5cm KwK 39/1 gun and began production in September 1943. This was followed by the Schwerer Panzerspähwagen (2cm) (SdKfz 234/1) which featured a similar open-top turret as that of the SdKfz 222 four-wheeler, which housed a 2cm KwK 38 cannon. Production began in June 1944 for this variant as well as the Schwerer Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm) (SdKfz 234/3) and Schwerer Panzerspähwagen (7.5cm PaK 40) (SdKfz 234/4). These were support versions meant to provide heavier firepower in the form of a short-barreled 7.5cm KwK 51 infantry support gun and 7.5cm PaK 40 anti-tank gun respectively. Neither vehicle featured a turret, having instead an open superstructure and gun shield.

Preceded by:

SdKfz 231/232/233 (8-Rad) (1937)

Succeeded by:

None

Datafile

DesignsPzSpWg (5cm)sPzSpWg (2cm)sPzSpWg (7.5cm kurz)sPzSpWg (7.5cm lang)
OrdnanceSdKfz 234/2SdKfz 234/1SdKfz 234/3SdKfz 234/4
TypeArmored CarArmored CarArmored CarArmored Car
Year1943194419441944
Crew4444
Dimensions
Length (w/Gun)6.00 m (6.80 m)6.00 m6.00 m6.00 m
Width2.40 m2.40 m2.40 m2.40 m
Height2.28 m2.10 m2.21 m2.21 m
Weight
Loaded11,740 kg11,500 kg11,500 kg11,500 kg
SuspensionLeaf springLeaf springLeaf springLeaf spring
Performance
Speed (Off-Road)80 km/h (31 km/h)80 km/h (31 km/h)80 km/h (31 km/h)80 km/h (31 km/h)
Range (Off-Road)900 km (535 km)900 km (535 km)900 km (535 km)900 km (535 km)
AmphibiousNoNoNoNo
Fording1.20 m1.20 m1.20 m1.20 m
Vertical Obstacle0.48 m0.48 m0.48 m0.48 m
Trench2.10 m2.10 m2.10 m2.10 m
Gradient30%30%30%26%
Powerplant
Engine1 x 220-hp
Tatra 103
1 x 220-hp
Tatra 103
1 x 220-hp
Tatra 103
1 x 220-hp
Tatra 103
FuelDiesel: 360 LDiesel: 360 LDiesel: 360 LDiesel: 360 L
Power/Weight18.74 hp/t19.13 hp/t19.13 hp/t19.13 hp/t
Armament
Main1 x 50-mm L/60
5cm KwK 39
Rifled Gun (55)
↑ 20° / ↓ -10° / ↔ 360°

1 x 20-mm L/55
2cm KwK 38
Autocannon (480)
↑ 70° / ↓ -4° / ↔ 360°

1 x 75-mm L/24
7.5cm K 51
Rifled Gun (50)
↑ 12° / ↓ -10° / ↔ 360°

1 x 75-mm L/46
7.5cm PaK 40
Anti-Tank Gun (12)
↑ 22° / ↓ -3° / ↔ 360°

Secondary1 x 7.92-mm (c)
1 x 7.92-mm (c)
1 x 7.92-mm (l)
1 x 7.92-mm (l)
Armor
TypeSteelSteelSteelSteel
Thickness5 - 40 mm5 - 30 mm5 - 30 mm5 - 30 mm
Max Effective37 - 40 mm RHAe39 - 39 mm RHAe20 - 37 mm RHAe20 - 37 mm RHAe
Hull Upper Front30 mm / 35°30 mm / 40°30 mm / 35°30 mm / 35°
Hull Lower Front30 mm / 35°30 mm / 35°30 mm / 30°30 mm / 30°
Hull Upper Sides8 mm / 30°8 mm / 35°8 mm / 30°8 mm / 30°
Hull Lower Sides8 mm / 30°8 mm / 35°8 mm / 30°8 mm / 30°
Hull Upper Rear10 mm / 22°10 mm / 38°10 mm / 22°10 mm / 22°
Hull Lower Rear10 mm / 40°10 mm / 46°10 mm / 40°10 mm / 40°
Hull Top6 mm / 8°6 mm / 3°6 mm / 2°6 mm / 2°
Hull Bottom5 mm5 mm5 mm5 mm
Turret Mantlet40 mm10 mm / 40°--
Turret Front30 mm / 20°30 mm / 40°15 mm / 40°15 mm / 40°
Turret Sides10 mm / 25°8 mm / 40°15 mm15 mm
Turret Rear10 mm / 25°8 mm / 38°15 mm / 38°15 mm / 38°
Turret Top10 mm---
Production
Built1012008889
Total478