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"German 6-Wheeled Armored Cars" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A U.S. intelligence report on WWII German 6-wheeled armored cars, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 39, December 2, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


German armored cars, in general, may be divided into three major classes: the 4-wheeled light (see Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 38, p. 10), the 8-wheeled heavy (see Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 32, p. 8), and the 6-wheeled medium. It is reported that the 6-wheeled vehicles are no longer being manufactured but inasmuch as many are still in use and unquestionably will be encountered in the European theater, the following information is presented.

The 6-wheeled armored car was produced in three basic types. It is believed that all types are similar in chassis design and that only the superstructure was modified in each type to meet its requirements.

The chassis and engine were built by Bussing-NAG and the superstructure added by Deutsche Werke, Kiel. Six-wheel drive is employed and the vehicle may be driven from either end, duplicate controls being fitted. Steering is by front wheels only.

The rear wheels are dual double wheels, sprung by half-elliptic leaf springs. Special gripper chains are available for fitting over the rear wheels, giving each pair on each side in effect, the function of a track. Slightly smaller wheels may be fitted outside the existing front wheels for the purpose of obtaining extra traction in soft ground. As the additional wheels are smaller than the normal front wheels they do not interfere with the steering of the car.

[WWII German 6-Wheeled Armored Car Type 232]

The car is powered by a gas engine of approximately 70 brake horsepower. Other details, applicable to all 6-wheeled types are:

Armor Ranging from 5 mm to 15 mm in thickness
Ground clearance
   Axles9 in
   Belly8 in
   Between axles 1 and 28 feet, 3 in
   Between axles 2 and 32 feet, 11 in
   Front wheels5 feet, 7 in
   Rear wheels6 feet, 7 in
Width of wheels
   Front7 in
   Rear14 in
   Fording2 feet
   Maximum gradient12 degrees
   Stability, longitudinal50 degrees
   Stability, lateral32 degrees
   Maximum speed, approx50 mph
   Turning circle, outside52 feet
   Fuel capacity22 gallons
Theoretical fuel consumption
   Roads6.9 mpg
   Cross-country4.2 mpg
Theoretical radius of action
   Roads156 miles
   Cross-country93 miles

Following are individual descriptions of the three types of vehicles:

a. Sd. Kfz.* 231

This car mounts a 20-mm automatic cannon and a M.G. 34 (7.92-mm--.31inch) coaxially in the turret with 360° traverse. A small radio set, employing a rod-type aerial, may be fitted. An attachment which permits a machine gun to be used in an antiaircraft role is fitted to the roof of the turret. A crew of 4 is carried. The car weighs approximately 5 1/4 tons unloaded, and approximately 6 tons loaded. It is 18 feet 5 inches in length, 6 feet 1 inch in width, and 7 feet 4 inches in height.

b. Sd. Kfz. 232

This type mounts the same armament as the Sd. Kfz. 231 but it is definitely known that it is equipped with radio. The vehicle is surmounted by a grid type aerial lying in a horizontal plane and held in position by two struts at the rear of the car and a pivot coupling on the top of the turret. The aerial extends from the rear to two-thirds of the way to the front of the vehicle and is curved down slightly at the rear and front. The turret can still traverse through 360° but it is limited in that the guns may shoot the aerial away when firing over the rear of the vehicle. There is no antiaircraft mounting. A crew of 4 is carried.

The weight of the vehicle is approximately 5 1/2 tons unloaded, and slightly over 6 tons loaded. It is the same as the Sd. Kfz. 231 in length and width but is 9 feet 6 inches in height.

c. Sd. Kfz. 263

This type has a fixed turret with one machine gun firing forward. It is equipped with radio. A grid aerial is fitted, mounted on 4 struts, no pivot coupling being necessary above the turret. There is no antiaircraft mounting. The crew numbers five. The car weighs slightly over 5 tons unloaded, and slightly under 6 tons loaded. It is 18 feet 4 inches in length, 6 feet in width, and 9 feet 6 inches in height.

*sonder Kraftfahrzeug -- special motor vehicle


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