Thanks to a unique approach to building the chassis, could rapidly compared to the mass production of the new armored car. But the total number of six-wheeled vehicles was limited to just over 120. The reason was of the ordinary: the modified chassis of civilian trucks could not withstand the heavy armor and lost the applicable driving characteristics, including permeability. Due to a number of design flaws fundamentally ineradicable Sd.Kfz. 231 6-Rad in 1934, the Wehrmacht claimed to design a new heavy armored car from scratch, but with the introduction of mass-produced devices. The new terms of reference provided for equipping the armored car engine and all-wheel drive, the power of which would be sufficient for movement on rough terrain.
In accordance with the competitive job by Bussing-NAG was created a special four-axle chassis 8×8. The project received a firm indication Schwerer Panzerspahwagen 8-Rad and Army Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad. In order to avoid confusions with the previous armored car, which, according to the initial plans, was due in some measure to become the new layout, I had to enter in the title of both vehicles an additional index indicating the number of wheels (8-Rad and 6-Rad). Eight-chassis came a fascinating and promising from a technical point of view, but still quite challenging in the coming affected the rate of production.
Armored Corps machine Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad had its own base frame of welded T-sections. To him bolt-on armor plates were attached. Thickness varied reservation body from 5 mm to 15 mm to the bottom of the upper front plate. The design of the tower was similar to the structure of the main body — frame and attached armored plates. The tower was mounted on the body with the help of a ball bearing of the respective size. The tower Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad was used original decision, until now not been used on armored vehicles: under the tower has a particular structure with Polycom crew compartment. Thanks to this innovation could greatly facilitate the work of the combat crew members who were in the tower, and right now they can not change their own position in the horizontal tip weapons.
The internal volume of the housing Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad was divided into two parts: the military and the power pack compartment. The first was located in front of the armored car, there were jobs 4 crew members. MTO, in turn, is located in the rear of the chassis. The basis of the power plant was a gasoline engine carburetor Bussing-NAG L8V-GS, developing up to 150 horsepower. Motor torque is transmitted through a dry clutch on the box, which had a three speed on the front and reverse. Specifically for driving on rough terrain box Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad equipped with special gear. In the upcoming new versions of armored cars have new engines and refreshed box. With all of this suspension of machines from variant to variant remained practically without changes. All eight wheels suspended by 2-pendulums on each, which took place between the axle shaft. Rather unusual method solved the problem of depreciation. Upper pendulums wheels on one axle connected together through spring. This saves space and a sprung part two wheels at once. In fact, the wheel armored car Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad stamped out of sheet iron and equipped with low pressure tires Continental 210×18. The surface of the rubber coated wheels chambers sheet which is compensated for punctures and damage. In practice, the wheel could be operated with six bullet holes.
The basis of weapons Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad was a 20-millimeter cannon 2 cm KwK 30 L/55, or later KwK 38 L/55. Automatic rifled gun had 200 rounds ammunition and could beat lightly armored targets and poorly protected shelters. With gun was paired 7.92mm MG34 or MG42 machine gun with ammunition rounds in 1300. Cannon and machine gun could be induced in the range from -10 ° to +26 ° in the vertical plane and in a horizontal circle. Curiously, as required the crew to keep the fire of a machine gun and a huge rise. After manipulation of the lock of his gun angle vertical lay increased to +37 °, but lost the ability to simultaneously pointing paired weapons. Aiming conducted through an optical device TZF6.
In the initial equipping of a heavy armored vehicle Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad had a combat weight of 8300 kg. It was quite a lot for such technology, but the 150-horsepower engine, and not a bad chassis provides a good sliding properties. So, on the highway armored car a top speed of 90-100 km per hour on one tank of petrol could drive about three hundred miles. Patency Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad was followed: the car was rising along the slope to 30 °, overcame half-meter wall, crossed the water obstacles up to a meter deep to wade through the trenches and moved up to a width of 1.2-1.3 meters. As noted in the test report armored car, his cross was not worse than that of some tanks since. After receiving a lot of positive reviews, brand new armored car in 1937 was put into service. As soon as possible a good armored Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad ousted from army units own "ancestor» Sd.Kfz. 231 6-Rad. Three-axle vehicles were written off evenly from the Wehrmacht and sent police units, where they served to develop the resource.
Already during the first months of the new armored car, called in the troops Achtrad («an eight"), it became clear quite good potential not only as an armored car, and light wheeled tank. For this reason, in a few years things were made several modifications, differing from the unique composition of the machine equipment, weapons, etc. Revision History "an eight" looked then as follows:
Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad. The main modification on the basis of which all the others were going. Was manufactured from 1937 to the 42-th year, when it was considered obsolete and removed in favor of newer versions.
Sd.Kfz. 232. It differs from the unique presence of armored vehicles and radios FuG11 SE30 loop antenna. Since 1941, this modification armored cars were equipped with walkie FuG12 SE80. The antenna has remained the same.
Sd.Kfz. 233. The armored cars of this model went to the army in 1942. With a base machine removed the tower, and the vacant seat set short-barreled gun 7.5 cm Sturmkanone 37 L/24 w
ith small angles leads. The rest of weaponry and equipment armored vehicle is not significantly changed.
Sd.Kfz. 263. The future development of Sd.Kfz. 231 in the direction of the creation of this machine communications. Instead of turning the tower this modification is stationary armored cockpit comparable to a huge size. On the roof of the case and the control room were racks of multiple antennas connected to the radios inside the housing. Defensive armament consisted of the 1st machine gun.
Sd.Kfz. 234/1. In 1944 was held the harsh modernization armored car with a substitution engine, increasing the thickness of the body panels, etc. Thus, the frontal sheet now has a thickness of 30 mm. The basis of the power plant has a 12-cylinder engine Tatra-103 with the highest capacity of 210 hp In view of operating experience has been slightly strengthened chassis and changed the tire. In the legacy of the Sd.Kfz. 231 brand new armored car had a tower with a 20-mm cannon and coaxial machine gun, but with a modern armored mask.
Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma. A thoroughly armored car "234/1" became the basis for several new armored vehicles for different purposes. First it was finalizing the Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma. In practice, this was a heavy armored car the previous model, but with a modern tower and weapons. Tower "Cougar" was a great size and was armed with 50-millimeter cannon 5 cm KwK 39 L/60. Since it was paired MG42 machine gun with several bands 1050 rounds of ammunition. Vertical guidance tools can be performed in the range from -10 ° to +20 °. Puma on the tower to install two triple-smoke grenade caliber of 90 mm.
Sd.Kfz. 234/3. The forthcoming development immediately Sd.Kfz. 233 and Sd.Kfz. 234/1. Instead of the tower mounted on the body of the latest comparable low armor plates, formed a bridge. On the front sheet cuttings mounted 75-mm cannon 7.5 cm KwK K51, Ammunition ammunition which was 50 rounds. The fastening system helps to build a tool within the 12 ° to the side in a horizontal plane and in the range from -10 ° and +12 ° vertically. Relatively large volume of the crew compartment, self-propelled armored car has permitted immediately to carry up to 1,950 rounds of ammunition for the machine gun MG42. Instead smoke grenade on the body located smoke bombs with remote fuse.
Sd.Kfz. 234/4. Anti-tank armored car. On the basis of past armored turret was designed brand new cutting motionless. It was put 75-mm anti-tank gun PaK 40 L/46. Arc of fire in the horizontal plane was similar to the same parameter in Sd.Kfz. 234/3, and a vertical aiming sector conducted 3-22 degrees from the horizontal. Equipment, additional weapons, etc. remained the same.
ADGZ. The last member of the family of armored cars based on the Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad was the car ADGZ. It is quite very different from other armored vehicles, and therefore, in spite of direct descent from the Sd.Kfz. 231, is often seen as a self-development. In the engine compartment ADZG installed Austro Daimler M612 engine with 150 horsepower. For some reason, this modification were only four leading wheels of the second and third pairs. With all of this tribute for traction on the second and third semi-axis was set on two wheels instead of the 1st. ADGZ main armament was a 20-mm automatic cannon 2 cm KwK35 L/45 in a rotating turret. It should be noted, the gun was mounted in a rotating installation that was unusual for such weapons. The gun was set in the right half of the tower. The left has been given over to the MG34 machine gun in a similar ball mount. Vpribavok ball to the rotation of the tower installation provides additional guidance within the sector width of 20 ° in the horizontal plane. Angles vertical lay — from -12 ° to +18 °. Unlike all the previous family of armored vehicles, ADGZ could fire at two targets at once.
All family armored Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad had a chassis identical construction, which is why they have had a good cross prototype that is substantially worsened with increased combat weight. At the same time, the suspension was quite complicated to manufacture. As a result, it was collected under 2-thousand armored cars of all models. More successful in terms of quantity was unique Achtrad, which came out "edition" of 1200 with redundant units. The remaining vehicles in different proportions divided the remaining output. One of the main reasons for this was that the complexity of suspension: in time of peace was established the creation of Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad, but the war is no longer able to deploy massive assembly of new models.
Combat use of armored cars came down to support the infantry in coming and its cover-up their fire. Modifications, armed with 75-mm guns, not once used in combat against tanks, but due to the relatively weak little reservation sample to apply as armored tank destroyers quickly ceased. Greater of success Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad and his "followers" have gained in North Africa, where the permeability of the eight-chassis allowed to conduct combat actions perfectly with the track armored vehicles. Despite all the success and totality of fighting the devil, by the middle of the second World Achtrad armored fighting vehicle were missing. Because of this, their use steadily decreasing, and their main task was to escort convoys, support the troops on the march and other actions that are not related to a specific encounter with the enemy. Before our time has survived multiple instances of German armored languid, with most of them belong to the family of Sd.Kfz. 234.
As throughout the second world war armored Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad fell into the hands of the Allies. A proportion of these trophies was in pretty good condition and has been used for the tests. Testers Russian Union of England and the United States have recognized the positive aspects of the unique design of the chassis. But the eyes of the military since been oriented towards tanks and self-propelled guns. Armored vehicles, including the languid, were considered to be typical of an anachronism. For this reason, the subsequent armored wheeled vehicles were representatives of a class "armored". Still, a fascinating assembly of the chassis with 2 levers intrigued by the designers of the Allies. Noteworthy that similar ideas, for example, in our country there before, but just did not find mass adoption. The German experience has shown that two of the lever and axle between them is a promising and exciting system. Perhaps precisely because of trophies Russian BTR-60 received a similar suspension. At the same time, it is just like the chassis of the Sd.Kfz. 231 8-Rad. The fact that these have different armored suspension system. The German armored car used leaf springs, one on the axis, and the Russian armored vehicle equipped with a fascinating system of the torsion bar and hydraulic shock absorbers.
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