The successes of the "Blitzkrieg" at the beginning of the Second World War often mislead about the fact that the German armed forces were motorized to a small part only and that the mass of the infantry divisions was dependent on foot marches or horse carts.

The constant lack of transport vehicles led soon to a confusing variety of vehicles, since often civilian vehicles were requisitioned in the occupied countries.


Standard Vehicles

The standard wheeled vehicles of the Wehrmacht were marked by Kfz-numbers (Kfz is the abbreviation of Kraftfahrzeug [Motor vehicle]). Most of the other special vehicles like tanks were marked with SdKfz-Numbers („Sonder-Kraftfahrzeug“ [Special motor vehicle]).

The Kfz 1 for example was the „leichter gelaendegaengiger  Einheits-Personenkraftwagen“ [common light cross-country passenger motor vehicle] and the Kfz 69 was the  „Krupp-Protze L2 H43“ [Krupp-Tractor L2 H43].


Reconnaissance Vehicles

At the beginning of the Second World War Germany had 3 different chassis available that were used as basis for armored reconnaissance vehicles [Spaehpanzer] and armored radio vehicles [Funkpanzer].

The smallest was the 4-wheeled, which had a heavy passenger car chassis as basis. About 2,300 light armored reconnaissance vehicles (Mainly SdKfz 221, SdKfz 222 and SdKfz 223) were built between 1935 and 1943.The Passenger car chassis was very fast on roads, but it had difficulties in heavy terrain.

A further base was a 6-wheeled truck chassis dated from 1929 on which simply an armored superstructure was mounted. Only about 160 vehicles of the SdKfz 231 (6-Rad [6-wheeled]) and the SdKfz 232 (6-Rad) were built between 1932 and 1937, since the vehicle was practically useless abroad.

The only really cross-country chassis was an 8-wheeled one, which was developed particularly for armored reconnaissance vehicles. On basis of this chassis approximately 600 armored reconnaissance vehicles of the types SdKfz 231 (8-Rad) and 232 (8-Rad) were built between 1936 and 1943. The same chassis was also basis for the SdKfz 233, which was the first armored reconnaissance vehicle equipped with a short 7.5 cm assault gun instead of the 2 cm guns used so far.

Starting from 1943 production was taken up by armored reconnaissance vehicles of the type SdKfz 234, which had a self-supporting body with 8 wheels and all-wheel drive and -steering. In addition these vehicles had a second drivers place, facing the rear, so that the vehicle could be driven equally forward and backward. The SdKfz 234 was built in 4 differently variants: with 2 cm cannon, with 5 cm cannon, with 7,5 cm assault gun and with 7,5 cm antitank cannon. About 480 SdKfz 234 were built until the end of the war.

The Models:

SdKfz 223

SdKfz 234/2 "Puma"
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