Armored car Sd.Kfz. 234

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Sd.Kfz. 234
Sd.Kfz.  234/4 with 7.5 cm PaK 40 L / 46 in the Munster tank museum

Sd.Kfz. 234/4 with 7.5 cm PaK 40 L / 46 in the Munster tank museum

General properties
crew 4 soldiers
length 5.86 m
width 2.33 m
height 2.10 m
Dimensions 11.5 t
Armor and armament
Armor 8-30 mm
Main armament 2 cm KwK 38 L / 55
Secondary armament 1 × 7.92mm MG 34
drive V12 diesel engine Tatra
220 hp
Top speed up to 90 km / h (forwards and backwards)
Power / weight 19 hp / t
Range 600 km

The armored car Sd.Kfz. 234 was a wheeled armored vehicle of the German Wehrmacht .


Armored wheeled vehicles were developed early in Germany because they were not subject to the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty . The Sd.Kfz  234 belonged to the ARK series (type designation of the chassis) and was the successor to the earlier Sd.Kfz. 231/232/233 (8-Rad) of the GS series were built because their armament and armor were inadequate. The compact design, in which the frame and tub consisted of one part, provided good protection. The vehicles had all-wheel steering and drive and were able to change direction quickly thanks to a second rear-facing driver's seat and a transmission with six forward and reverse gears. Their common feature was the monocoque construction method, the drive all eight wheels and the use of an air-cooled 12-cylinder - diesel engine , originally from the Tatra 111 came. Initially intended for use in the Afrikakorps , but no longer used there, the vehicles of the ARK series served in all other theaters of war.

The first and best known version Sd.Kfz. 234/2 received a turret with the Kampfwagenkanone 5-cm-KwK 39 , which was originally intended for the Leopard reconnaissance tank , which was designed on the basis of Panzer II and was finally abandoned. This armament, which was relatively strong for a reconnaissance tank, tempted crews more than once to intervene in combat instead of investigating. A total of 101 vehicles were built between December 1943 and June 1944.

The second version Sd.Kfz. 234/1 was again equipped with a simple tower of the 2 cm KwK 38 . Around 200 copies were produced from mid-1944 to early 1945.

Due to scarce resources and weight savings, the following types Sd.Kfz. 234/3 and Sd.Kfz. 234/4 equipped with superstructures open at the top. The 234/3 version received the 7.5 cm K 51 L / 24 stub cannon known from the early versions of the Panzerkampfwagen IV . This served as a support weapon for the reconnaissance vehicles armed with the 2 cm KwK 38 . The short cannon was intended for use against "soft" targets, but the penetration performance of the 7.5 cm L / 24 cannon with a shaped charge grenade , which was available from late 1942, exceeded that of the 234's 5 cm KwK 39 L / 60 / 2. About 90 vehicles were built in 1944, then production was switched to the 234/4 version with 7.5 cm PaK 40 . The 234/4 represented another attempt to make the anti-tank gun 40 movable. The 234 landing gear had reached its limit with this weapon. 30 shell cartridges were carried, 12 in a container on the right in the direction of travel, a further 18 rounds in a container under the anti-tank pivot. A source gives 36 shell cartridges, but does not name the location where the additional six rounds are supposed to be housed. Around 90 vehicles were built between the end of 1944 and the end of the war.

Technical specifications

Sd.Kfz. 234/2 (model)
Sd.Kfz. 234/3
Radpanzer Sd.Kfz. 234/2 probably in Bruck an der Leitha
Historic 5 cm KwK in front of Sd.Kfz armored car. 234
  • Weight: 11.5–11.74 t (depending on type)
  • Length: 5.86–6.8 m (depending on type)
  • Width: 2.33 m
  • Height 2.1–2.38 m (depending on the type)
  • Ground clearance: 35 cm
  • Wading ability: 120 cm
  • Ability to cross: 200 cm
  • Gradeability: 30 °
  • Turning circle (diameter): 14.9 m
  • Drive: air-cooled V12 cylinder Tatra diesel engine with 14.8 l displacement and 220 hp in the rear
  • Fuel supply: 240 or 360 l
  • Driving range: 600 or 900 km on the road / 400 or 600 km off-road
  • Speed: up to 90 km / h (on road)
  • Armor:
    • construction
      • front: 30 mm
      • side: 8 mm
      • back: 10 mm
    • tower
      • front: 30 mm
      • laterally u. back: 14.5 mm
  • Tires: 270–20 (bulletproof)
  • Armament:
  • Quantity:
    • 234/1: 200
    • 234/2: 101
    • 234/3:88
    • 234/4:89
  • Crew: 4


In the version with a closed turret and 5 cm cannon (Sd.Kfz. 234/2), the vehicle is also referred to in the literature as the "Puma". However, there is no reference to this designation in contemporary documents.

The Bundeswehr's Luchs reconnaissance vehicle is based on the Sd.Kfz armored reconnaissance vehicle concept. 234 or its predecessor armored car Sd.Kfz. 231, of which he kept the 8-wheel steering and, as an additional crew member, the reverse driver.

Beret badge of the former tank reconnaissance troops

The beret badge of the formerly independent armored reconnaissance force of the Bundeswehr shows a Sd.Kfz armored car. 234 with iron cross on the tower in front of two crossed cavalry lances.

See also


  • Walter J. Spielberger: Military vehicles. Vol. 4, The armored wheeled vehicles of the German army 1905–1945. Motorbuch Verlag, ISBN 3-87943-337-2 .
  • Horst Scheibert: Waffen-Arsenal - Puma and other heavy armored vehicles of the ARK series and Sd.Kfz. 254 from Saurer and Beutespähwagen. Podzun-Pallas Verlag, Friedberg 1995, ISBN 3-7909-0264-0 .

Web links

Commons : Sd.Kfz. 234  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. Ferdinand von Senger and Etterlin : Die Deutschen Panzer 1926–1945 , 3rd edition, Bernard & Graefe, Bonn 1998, p. 232
  2. Bryan Perrett: German Armored Cars and Reconnaissance Half Tracks 1939–1945 , 2nd edition, Oxford 1999, p. 12
  3. ^ Jean-Denis Lepage: German Military Vehicles of World War II: An Illustrated Guide to Cars, Trucks, Half-Tracks, Motorcycles, Amphibious Vehicles and Others , Jefferson (NC) 2007, p. 198
  4. Bruno Benvenuti I Corazzati , Milan 1976, p. 114