GERMAN “PUMA” of the 1940s

GERMAN Under the Versailles peace Treaty, Germany until the early 1930s did not produce armored vehicles, and only in 1932 the firm “Daimler-Benz” has started the production for the army of light biaxial armored car Kfz. 13 and Kfz. 14 machine – gun and communication, weighing just over 2 tons They were created on the chassis of the machine, “Adler DDG” (Adler 3Gd) engine 60 HP, had an open top body of the 8-mm plates and armed with a 7.92 mm MG13 machine guns mounted in the middle of the body behind armored shields. Their crew consisted of two or three people.

In the mid – to-late 1930s, the firm “Weserhutte” began to produce new light biaxial armored cars Sd.Kfz.221 – machine gun, and armed with heavy anti-tank rifles of 7.92 mm РzВ 39 or 2.8 cm sРzВ 41. These machines with 75-horsepower engines and a weight of approximately 4 t was a small open top turret, armor remained bullet-proof with a thickness of 14.5 mm. the Crew – two people. There were about 340 such vehicles.
 
Another light armored vehicle Sd.Kfz.222 had 20-mm automatic gun, which could fire and the aircraft, and a 7.92-mm machine gun MG 34. From 1936 to 1943 they built almost 1000 copies.
 
On the same chassis started the production of armored vehicles to the divisions of the Wehrmacht – Sd.Kfz.223 and Sd.Kfz.260/261, equipped with radio Fu10, Fu12, or Fu19; they are to establish a framework or a telescoping whip antenna. Tower used from armored car Sd.Kfz.221. Weight of cars increased to 4.5 tons; the crew consisted of four people. They produced 550 and 493 units, respectively.
Heavy armored cars in Germany began to produce since 1932 at First it was a three-axis Sd.Kfz.231 6-rad with a 65-horsepower engine and wheel formula 6×4. They were armed with 20 mm cannon and a 7.92 mm MG13 machine gun mounted in a small rotating turret, and had the front and rear control stations. The rear axle of the car was leading, front -driven. The thickness of the armor was 8 to 14.5 mm. the Crew consisted of four people. Weight armored vehicle was 5.3 – 6 t
 
German eight-wheel armored car Sd.Kfz.234/3. In 1944 they were vypushena 88 units
 
German eight-wheel armored car Sd.Kfz.234/3. In 1944 they were vypushena 88 units
 
Sd.Kfz.234/1
Sd.Kfz.234/1
 
Armored Car Sd.Kfz.234/1 with a 20mm automatic cannon and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun
 
Armored Car Sd.Kfz.234/1 with a 20mm automatic cannon and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun
 
Many such machines existed in the Wehrmacht until 1943 that remained by the time armed with 75-mm guns to deal more effectively with armored vehicles.
 
Later, on the basis of these armored cars were made for Sd.Kfz.232 6-rаd and Sd.Kfz.263 b-rаd. I-232-machine high regard – with a loop antenna mounted on the tower and in the rear of the hull. 263-I – radiomaria with the radio long-range, with framework and telescopic (located aft) antennae. This model had a single machine gun МG34.
 
To replace three-axle armored car at the end of the 1930s came a heavy four-axle, more than satisfied the troops and maneuverability. The greatest confidence was won by Sd.Kfz.231 8-rad. They had a chassis GS firms Bussing-NAG (“Bussing-NAKED”) and produced by Deutsche Werke Aktiengesellschaft (“Deutsche Werke”) in Kiel and Schihau-Werke (“shihou-Werke”) in Elbing.
All eight wheels of the car was leading and managed with mechanical brakes. Suspension-semi-independent lever springs. Engine – 8-cylinder L8V-GS 150 HP, later it was brought to 180 HP Case and a hexagonal tower – welded. Weapons left like three-axis machines – 20-mm gun and a 7.92 mm machine gun. Modification Of Sd.Kfz.232 8-rad was equipped with two radios: Fu11SE80 and shortwave FuSpr”a” with a loop antenna. Another produced a coherent model of the Sd.Kfz.263 8-rad had the tower and the machine gun ball mount was standing right in the hull.
 
Since 1941, the thickness of the frontal armor of these machines increased from 15 to 30 mm, and from next year, part of Sd.Kfz.231 began to arm short-barreled 75-mm guns that were mounted on tanks Pz.IV. This model assigned the index of the Sd.Kfz.233.
 
Armored car “231” was in the Wehrmacht throughout the Second world war. They were in the platoon, the reconnaissance battalions of the armored brigades and divisions. In 1945, they remained in the army about three and a half hundred.
 
Armored Car Sd.Kfz.234/2 “Puma”
 
After the European triumph, the German command began to Mature a plan for the so-called Indian campaign involving the attack on India via the Balkans, Turkey, Iran, aiming to capture the main British colonies. For action in the complex natural conditions of deserts and the tropics, intended to create a highly mobile compounds, equipped with special types of armored vehicles. So, in August 1940 the head of the weapons of the German army issued an order to develop intelligence heavy armored car Sd.Kfz.234 from three firms: Bussing-NAG, Daimler-Benz AG and F. Schichau.
 
In the tactical-technical task, it was noted that armored car must have the air-cooled engine, frontal armor thickness of 30 mm and to withstand the fire from small arms armour piercing bullets, to be armed with a 20mm cannon and a machine gun. It was also suggested to use a number of units and designs used in the creation of the eight-wheel Sd.Kfz.231.
 
Sd.Kfz.234/2
 
Sd.Kfz.234/2
 
Armored Car Sd.Kfz.234/2 is considered the best heavy armored car of the Second world war
 
Armored Car Sd.Kfz.234/2 is considered the best heavy armored car of the Second world war
 
Sd.Kfz.234/3
Sd.Kfz.234/3
 
Armored Car Sd.Kfz.234/3 with the short-barreled 75-mm gun
 
Armored Car Sd.Kfz.234/3 with the short-barreled 75-mm gun
 
Armored Car Sd.Kfz.234/3 with the short-barreled 75-mm gun
 
The roles were distributed as follows. For the chassis of said Bussing-NAG, the Czech Tatra for the engine power exceeding 200 HP Tower designed in the Daimler-Benz – under 50-mm cannon KwK 39/1 and F. Schichau – to 20-mm KwK38 gun, hulls produced by Deutsche Edelstahlwerke.
 
Although the prototype machine was to submit by December 1941, to test improved sample started only next summer. It looks very similar to the previously released Sd.Kfz.231 8-rad, but it was a brand new armored car. One of the main differences it is the bearing housing, the frame as such was absent.
 
Armored cars Sd.Kfz.234 is designed with a rear engine. Internal space divided into sections: – in front, fighting with a rotating turret and armament – centered and motor in the rear. The weight of the car amounted to 11T. The crew – four people.
 
The body of the car is welded from armor plates, supplied with rational angles to the probable direction of enemy fire, which substantially increased security. The thickness of the frontal armor were as described in the specifications of 30 mm, which protect the crew not only from gun bullets and fragments of mines and shells, but also from anti-tank rifles, and even from 20-mm anti-tank guns. On Board were 8-mm armor plates, and in the stern with a thickness of 10 mm. According to some, the front hull mounted additional armored plate thickness of 8 mm.
 
The tower was hexagonal, tapered shape. There were 20-mm automatic gun KwK 38 L/55 and coaxial 7.92-mm machine gun MG 42 with deflection angles in the vertical plane from – 4 to +70°. Ammunition – 250 rounds to 20-mm cannon and 2850, to the machine gun.
 
In 1945 the command of the Wehrmacht decided to equip the remaining building machine 20-mm anti-aircraft guns MG 151/20 and even new Flak 38 L/112.5. Created an experimental model.
 
The tower had no roof. It replaced the flap with a metal mesh. In combat they were covered, protecting the crew from grenades, which could throw on top.
The machine had two control – front and rear. Front driver located in a seat in the center of the machine. Before him was the steering wheel on the steering column, levers, gear shift and dual were right, the dashboard on the left. On the sides were placed the boxes of batteries and spare parts.
 
The driver’s view was supported by three observation Windows with layered glass in front of the driver and two left and right side walls of the housing. In combat they closed the armor-lids with holes. In the upper part of the front plate housed the emergency escape hatch.
 
The rear control was used to drive in reverse without any prior reversal of the armored car. The driver, who was in this position, could drive a car by watching the road through the window in the stern and the other on the left side. Both sides from its seat in case there were two weekends of the hatch.
 
In the aft engine-transmission compartment housed a 210-HP high-efficiency diesel engine “Tatra 103”, developed by the Czech eponymous firm, 12-cylinder, V-shaped, providing high specific power. Its working volume – 14 825 cm3, the camber angle of the cylinders is 75°. Engine cooling air is a priority for the use of the armored car in a hot climate and arid desert. However, the developers had to put two fans, which ensured the normal thermal mode of the engine.
 
In the roof of the compartment had blinds ventilation, on either side of which houses service hatches of the motor. In addition, in its rear part had additional ventilation hatch.
 
Mufflers removed on the sides for the wings of the car.
 
Sd.Kfz.234/4
Sd.Kfz.234/4
 
Armored Car Sd.Kfz.234/4 with an anti-tank gun Pak 40
 
Armored Car Sd.Kfz.234/4 with an anti-tank gun Pak 40
 
Torque to the wheels from the engine was transmitted via a three-speed gearbox with preselector control, which created the possibility of movement both forward and backward in the six speeds.
 
The chassis of the armored car – a four-wheel-drive with all the steered wheels. Each of them is attached to the body on the beams, the vertical stroke which was depreciated independent semi-elliptic leaf springs. The wheels have air brakes and was shed with low-pressure tyres and self-sealing rubber.
 
The connection was performed through radio Pu Spr Ger “f” with a range of on-the-go about 1 km and parked up to 3 km. Whip antenna was mounted in the rear of the turret.
 
A model of the armored vehicle was adopted by the Wehrmacht in 1943 under the symbol Sd.Kfz.234/1. The machine was considered a reconnaissance and was armed reconnaissance battalions of the armored and motorized divisions.
 
All the Bussing-NAG from September 1943 to March 1945, produced 200 of these vehicles.
 
However, to combat armored vehicles by the allies by 1943 were defending is already much more powerful armor, it was necessary heavy armored vehicles with reinforced arms. The German designers have offered to use on Sd.Kfz.231 50-mm gun, standing earlier a 20-ton medium tank Pz.Kpfw III. These machines are mass produced from 1938, but by that time it had been discontinued; only a few even fought on the front.
 
Their gun KwK 39/1 L/60 long-barreled with a barrel length of 60 calibres and could penetrate the sub-caliber projectile I’m 40 at a distance of 500 m armor thickness 57 mm at an angle meeting of 60°, and at twice the range is 44 mm. It was possible quite deal effectively with our T-70 and T-34, which, we will remind, 45-mm frontal and side armor.
 
Gun, intended for reconnaissance tank VK 1602 Leopard was placed in a welded oval-shaped tower, designed by the firm “Daimler-Benz”. The tower had frontal armor thickness of 30 mm and ramps – 14.5 mm, the thickness of the mask is 100 mm. on the right side of the gun mounted coaxial 7.92-mm machine gun MG42. On the sides of the set of three smoke grenade launchers. To reduce the rollback gun was supplied with a muzzle brake.
 
For communication, the crew used two radio stations. One of them is a Ger Fu 12 Se – had the usual two-meter whip antenna on the tower, the other Ar Spr Ger “a” antenna with a “whisk” that were left in the hull rear.
 
This modification of the index had Sd.Kfz.234/2. It was produced from September 1943 to September 1944 – and produced 101 unit. Thanks firepower, maneuverability, survivability of this machine, called “Puma” is considered the best heavy armor vehicle of the Second world war.
 
Strengthened firepower of the armored car statement on a 75-mm short-barreled gun. Place rotating tower took a low fixed superstructure with no roof, in which were cannon and machine gun МG42. She could only direct the left and right sector 25°.
 
Basic data of the German armored cars
Basic data of the German armored
 
These cars had an index of “234/3”. From June to December 1944 they produced 88 units.
 
The following modification of the Sd.Kfz.234/4 already could be considered a self-propelled anti-tank installation because its open on top of the wheelhouse posted serial cannon Cancer 40, which just took off the wheels, but left with her shield. There was in the wheelhouse and gun MG 42. Sector of fire remained the same as in the previous model, and 25°. To restore used sight
 
3×8. Ammunition tinkered very small – 12 shots and 1950 rounds. By March of 1945 he produced 89 of these machines.
 
From September 1943 to March 1945, produced about 500 armored cars Sd.Kfz.234 all modifications. However, despite its relatively small circulation, they used the troops of the Wehrmacht very popular. In fact, they have identified areas for further development vosmiklasnica war machines, laying the foundations of creation and the current models.
 
V. TALANOV

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