Schwerer Panzerkampfwagen SD.KFZ.234, 19
Armoured Fighting Vehicles 1918-1945
In 1940 the Heereswaffenamt issued a specification for a new eight-wheeled armoured car based on the Sd. Kfz. 231 series but for hot climates. Cars of the 234 series appeared in the winter of 1943-44 – by which time the desert war was over but they were used extensively on the Russian and European fronts. In the snow and mud of the Russian winter they were at least the equal of some contemporary tanks. In 1933 the six-wheeled Sd. Kfz. 231 and 232 came into service. They were adequate but not spectacular. In 1938 the 231 was replaced by a new series which, from 1941 were used on all fronts until replaced by the 234 series. The car used a large Büssing NAG engine of 155-bhp. Büssing were ordered to develop an improved version, employing a Vl2 air-cooled diesel engine built by Tatra in Czechoslovakia. Designated Sd. Kfz. 234, this machine had increased armour protection of 30-mm, raising the overall weight to between 10 and 11tons. Capable of 60 mph the first production vehicles appeared in July 1943. Production of the 234 was divided between three models. Panzerspähwagen 234/2, or Puma, was the only one of these to have a fully enclosed turret and carried a long-barrelled 5-cm gun and co-axial machine gun. The remaining two types both had 7·5-cm guns; a short assault gun in 234/3 and a long anti-tank Pak weapon in 234/4 – the final development of the series. The 234/4 differed from the others in that no turret at all was used, the gun was pivot-mounted on the floor of the car with only very limited lateral movement. This construction followed a personal order of Adolf Hitler and was probably part of the Germans’ last-ditch effort to boost their production of tank-like vehicles by the up gunning of existing machines. In all about 2,300 cars of the series were used from 1944 onward, and they were among the best and most advanced of the wheeled armoured fighting vehicles built during the Second World War.
|Dimensions||47.5 × 35.6 cm|