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SdKfz 234/1 - Schwerer Panzerspähwagen - 2cm - case report

     She's fast and dangerous... Let's met the Schwerer Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 234/1, the anti-aircraft version of the SdKfz 234 family!! Achtung !! Jabo!!!
SdKfz 234-1 ready for action
   The Sd.Kfz. 234 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 234, Special Purpose Vehicle 234), was a family of armoured cars designed and built in Germany during World War II. The vehicles were lightly armoured, armed with a 20, 50 or 75 mm main gun, and powered by a Tatra V12 diesel engine. The Sd.Kfz. 234 broadly resembles the appearance of Sd.Kfz. 231 (8 rad).
SdKfz 231 8 rad
      Armoured wheeled vehicles were developed early in Germany after the end of World War I, since 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. 231/232/233/263 (8-Rad), which belonged to the GS series.
SdKfz 232 8 rad radio

SdKfz 233 captured by Second U.S. Army Corps from the 10th German Panzer Division - Tunisia,  1943. 
      The combat experience of fast-moving, hard-hitting wheeled reconnaissance vehicles during the Wehrmacht's early invasions of Poland and France impressed German military officials, but indicated some deficiencies in existing designs. A new armoured car project was thus undertaken in August 1940, incorporating several lessons from the Wehrmacht's own external operations. The latest Büssing-NAG Sd.Kfz. 232 variant, the Sd.Kfz. 234 was designed later that year. It was to have a monocoque chassis with eight wheels, and an air-cooled engine for use in North Africa.
Sd.Kfz.263 Funkspähwagen (radio recce car) with improvised antena
Afrika Korps - 1942
      Chassis were built by Büssing-NAG in Leipzig-Wahren, while armoured bodies were provided by Deutsche Edelstahlwerke of Krefeld and turrets by Daimler Benz in Berlin-Marienfelde and Schichau of Elbing, with engines from Ringhoffer-Tatra-Werke AG of Nesselsdorf.

      The first trials with the prototype started around July, 1942. Due to problems with the excessive noise of the first engine, a second model was developed, the Tatra 103. Power was provided by an air-cooled Tatra 103 diesel engine. The Sd.Kfz. 234 was the first and only German armoured vehicle to use an air cooled diesel engine. This was originally intended as a temporary solution until the engine could be redesigned to function better in harsher tropical climates, however, this never eventuated and thus the Tatra 103 was used until the end of production.
Tatra 103 V12 diesel  air cooled 14,825cc - 210 hp
     The vehicle had eight-wheel steering and was able to quickly change direction thanks to a second, rear-facing, driver's seat; the transmission had six forward and reverse gears, with traction over the eight wheels.
      The first and possibly best known version was the Sd.Kfz. 234/2; it had a turret armed with a 5 cm L/60 gun, which was originally intended for the VK 1602 Leopard light tank.
VK 1602 Leopard light tank
     Nicknamed the "Puma", the SdKfz 234/2 heavy reconnaissance car was produced from late 1943 to mid 1944.
SdKfz 234/2 Puma
   This variant was replaced in production by the second version, the Sd.Kfz. 234/1, which had a simpler open turret (Hängelafette 38) armed with a 2 cm KwK 38 gun; it was manufactured from mid 1944 to early 1945.
Sd.Kfz. 234/1 mit 2,0cm
      The SdKfz 234/3, produced simultaneously with the 234/1, served as a support vehicle for the reconnaissance vehicles. It had an open-topped superstructure, in which a short-barreled 7.5 cm K51 L/24 gun was installed. This gun was intended for use against "soft" targets; however, when using a hollow charge shell, the penetration power exceeded that of the 5 cm L/60 gun. This variant was produced from mid 1944 to the end of 1944, before switching production to the 234/4.
SdKfz 234/3 mit 7,5cm
      The final variant produced was the Sd.Kfz. 234/4, which replaced the L/24 gun with the 7.5 cm L/46 PaK 40. This was yet another attempt to increase the mobility of this anti-tank gun; however, the 234 chassis was stretched to its limits. This variant was manufactured from the end of 1944 to the end of hostilities in 1945.
Sd.Kfz. 234/4 "Pakwagen" mit 7,5cm Pak 40
Service records:
      Protracted engine development meant that the desert campaign was over before the 234 arrived, but it nevertheless proved useful on the Eastern and Western Fronts. It was quite formidable, but not many were built before it was replaced by the simpler 234/1, with a 20mm gun, in 1944.
A SdKfz 234/1 with canvas in the open turret
Notice the headlights...
      The Sd.Kfz. 234 was commonly used in pairs, one equipped with a long-range radio communications kit while the other possessed only a short-range radio. The long-range unit was identifiable by the large "star" antenna on the left side of the vehicle.

  • 234/2 "Puma" - 1 x 5 cm KwK 39 L/60 gun, 1 x MG 34. Employed a fully enclosed turret originally designed for the VK 1602 Leopard light tank. The turret front was protected by 30 mm (1.2 in) armor at an angle of 20° from the vertical. The sides and rear had 10 mm armor set at 25°, and the top plate was 10 mm (0.39 in) armor. The gun mantlet was rounded and was 40 to 100 mm (1.6 to 3.9 in) thick. 101 built between September 1943 and September 1944.
  • 234/3 - 1 x 7.5 cm K51 L/24 gun in open-topped superstructure replacing the turret. 88 built between June and December 1944.
  • 234/4 "Pakwagen" - 1 x 7.5 cm PaK 40 L/46 gun in open-topped superstructure replacing the turret. 89 built between December 1944 and March 1945.

  • 234/4 with AK 7B - 75mm Kwk L-48 gun - only drawing of viability. None built.

Sd.Kfz 234/1:
      The Schwerer Panzerspaehwagen (2 cm) was basically the same vehicle as Sd.Kfz.234/2, but fitted with lower profile turret (2 cm Hangelafette 38 - suspended mount) armed with 20mm KwK 38 L/55 gun and 7.92mm MG 42 machine gun. The turret was a simplified version of that used on Sd.Kfz.222 4-wheeled armoured cars.
Sd.Kfz.222 4 rad.
     The main armament allowed it to be used against ground targets as well as low flying enemy planes and some 250 rounds of ammunition were stored inside the vehicle. The vehicle was lighter than Sd.Kfz.234/2.
SdKfz 234/1 in open field, with 20mm gun in high elevation
      Some 230 vehicles were produced by Buessing-NAG from June of 1944 to March of 1945 - chassis number 5101 to unknown. Vehicles were issued to reconnaissance units in Panzer and Panzergrenadier Divisions but some were also issued as replacements to other units. The Sdkfz 234/1 was issued to troops starting in June 1944.
A semi-destroyed SdKfz 234/1. Notice the absence of 7.92mm MG 34 machine gun
Allocation list of Sd.Kfz 234/1:
June - 1944:
13 x 234/1 to 116. Pz. Div. (unit full)
13 x 234/1 to 9. Pz. Div.
13 x 234/1 to 11. Pz. Div.

August - 1944:
3 x 234/1 to 6. Pz. Div

Sptember - 1944:
9 x 234/1 to SS-Pz. Div. 2 "Reich" (unit full)
13 x 234/1 to 8. Pz. Div. (unit full)
10 x 234/1 to 6. Pz. Div. (unit full)
6 x 234/1 to FGB

October - 1944:
3 x 234/1 to SS-Pz. Div. "LAH"
8 x 234/1 to Pz. Lehr Div.
1 x 234/1 to SS-Pz.Div. "HJ"
4 x 234/1 to Pz.Gren. Div

November - 1944:
2 x 234/1 to Panzer Lehr
2 x 234/1 to 2. Pz. Div.
4 x 234/1 to 9. SS. Pz. Div.
10 x 234/1 to 9. SS-Pz. Div.
4 x 234/1 to 116 Pz Div.
3 x 234/1 to 12. SS-Pz.Div."HJ"

December - 1944:
4 x 234/1 to Pz.Gren.Div. Brandenburg
8 x 234/1 to 1./190. Pz.Gren.Div (became part of AA Hirschberg, Pz. Brigade 103)

January - 1945:
3 x 234/1 to Pz. AA Lehr-Kp
2 x 234/1 to Pz. AA "München"
8 x 234/1 to 24. Pz. Div.
6 x 234/1 to Ersatzheer
5 x 234/1 to Polizei Schule Wien.
4 x 234/1 to SS-Pz.Div. "Totenkopf"
1 x 234/1 to 1./ Pz. AA 190
1 x 234/1 to 4 Pz. Div

February - 1945:
5 x 234/1 to Pz. (Gren) Div. Kurmark (Neuaufstellung)
2 x 234/1 to 25 Pz.Gren.Div
4 x 234/1 to FBD (Auffrischung)

March - 1945:
4 x 234/1 to 25. Pz.Div.
4 x 234/1 to Pz. Div. Müncheberg
3 x 234/1 to Begl.Kp.z.b.V (Begleitkompanie I, KG Moews)

SdKfz 234 family
Armoured car
Place of origin                            
Nazi Germany
Production history
No. built
478 (all types)
10,500 kg 
6.02 m
2.36 m 
2.10 m 

9-30 mm rolled homogeneous armour
• 234/1- 20mm  autocannon
•234/2- 50mm L/60 KwK39/1
•234/3- 75mm K 51
•234/4- 75mm PaK 40
Sec. armament
1x7.92 mm MG-34
14,825cc Tatra 103 V12 diesel  210 hp
Independent on each wheel
Operat. range
1,000 km  on-road
600 km off-road.
90 km/h

The kit:
      Well...this project was born after a gift of a friend: a kit in a bag!!
New version of kit's package!!!
      I got this semi-assembled kit from a colleague and decided to get it out of its "packaging". As you can see, it is a SdKfz 234/1 from Italeri (#294).
Italeri's box kit
     It came without instruction manual and with many parts missing ... but still with decal shet!!!
Candy in the bag!!!

But the typical jery cans in the fenders are missing...
And wheels suffered excessive sanding, which deformed some treads.
    Well...lets start!! For the damaged wheels: Replacement. Wheels with chains from Electric Products. A good exchange !!!
Wheels with chains. Full traction!!!

Testing the new shoes...

Very good, indeed!
       I decided to change the markings of my young lady. I chose the famous 116th Panzer Division (116. Panzer-Division), the Greyhound Division (Division Windhund). This SdKfz 234/1 was serving in Saint Vith, Ardennes, at the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944.

Greyhound Division badge: 116th Panzer Division

Painting cammo and markings

116. Panzer-Division

      The absence of the jerry-cans in the front fenders requires compensation: Time to use the always great Value Gear Details  I love these accessories!!!
Testing the Value Gear stuff in place...

Value Gear stuff painted...

Almost there...

      After a scolding from my friends Alain Drèze and Christophe Jacquemont, I repainted the extinguisher, removing the flashy red color for something more real. Many thanks, guys !!! And I took advantage and made this field adaptation to overcome muds: two logs of wood (pomegranate branches) tied in the front bumper. Let there be the thaw and the spring of 1945.
The extinguisher in dark-yellow... Much better!!!
Notice the mud in the wheels...
Winter cammo...

          And the girl was ready: Schwerer Panzerspähwagen  SdKfz 234/1 2cm116. Panzer-Division, Division Windhund. Saint Vith, Ardennes, Battle of the Bulge, December 1944.
Schwerer Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 234/1 2cm.
116. Panzer-Division - Division Windhund. Saint Vith, Ardennes
Battle of the Bulge, December 1944.

SdKfz 234/1 with Kojak and Rover, the dog.

SdKfz 234/1 with AEC Mk I armoured car
for size comparison

Schwerer Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 234/1 2cm.
116. Panzer-Division - Division Windhund. Saint Vith, Ardennes
Battle of the Bulge, December 1944.

      I loved this project... i really like transform old, cheap or crapy kits in beautiful girls for my collection. This "bag-kit" landed in my workbench with missing parts and without many expectations, but with a little care, dedication and lots of fun I think I could turn this little scrap in a representative part of the History of the Human Conflicts. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I liked.

Bye for now, Ladies and Gents!!

12 comentários:

  1. Excelente como sempre :) Obrigado por compartilhar!

  2. Hi Marcos. Nice job with this antiquity but Italeri was a very nice base. Why did you paint the fire extinguisher in red ? normally it was always in the same colour of the vehicle. Do you plan to add the standard jerry cans on the fenders as usually seen on most 250/1 ? It's always a pleasure to follow your posts.

    1. Hi, Alain... Indeed...italeri is old, but very, very good. About the extinguisher, was a concession to the aesthetic factor, but I am actually reviewing this decision. It's really wrong. Thank you for your alert. About jerry-cans, I've already decided not to put them on. I added some Value Gear accessories and I liked it a lot ... What do you think ?? A big hug

  3. Well Marcos, the Value Gear are beautiful but I my opinion It's quite pity to delete the standard jerry cans mounts and replace by crews gears. It's too similar as US vehicles but It's your choice and I respect it. You are always an example for me and a very talentuous modeller so my remark is certainly not a critiquism. Big hug my friend.

  4. Alain...hi... I did not install the jerry-cans because these parts disappeared from the kit. I got the semi-assembled kit ... Take a look above, in the kit presentation ... And I'm using this SdKfz 234/1 as a test bench for some ideas. Although rollbags and tents were almost a feature of Americans, the Germans crew also used this method of "loading" their belongings. But do not worry. Critics are always welcome, even more of a friend and great modeler like you !! Big hug, Alain... In time: I redone the extinguisher, in Tatra original colors... Red is toooooo fake!!! Thanks, again!!!

  5. Hi Marcos. Much more acurate for the fire extinguisher;=) and your winter camo is really nice with a good balance with the 3 tones summer camo. The logs on the front of tne vehicle is a very nice idea, these kind of field adaptation is very often seen on WWII pictures. Very nice job with this "bag-kit" my friend.

    1. Thanks again, Alain. You always are welcome here, in our Bunker!!! Take care, my friend!!

  6. Is there anything you can't turn into a great model? Lovely work on this one looks different without all the jerry cans. Nice finish as well.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Nicholas!! I like soooo much turn old relics in gorgeous girls for my collection!! Hugs, my friend!!!