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280138 SdKfz 234 & Variants

Regular price $ 29.00

The SdKfz 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 SdKfz 234 broadly resembles the appearance of SdKfz 231 (8 rad).

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 SdKfz 232 variant, the SdKfz 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.

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. 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. Power was provided by an air-cooled Tatra 103 diesel engine. The SdKfz 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.

The first and possibly best known version was the SdKfz 234/2; it had a turret armed with a 5cm L/60 gun, which was originally intended for the VK 1602 Leopard light tank. It was produced from late 1943 to mid 1944. This variant was replaced in production by the second version, the SdKfz 234/1, which had a simpler open turret (Hängelafette 38) armed with a 2cm KwK 38 gun; it was manufactured from mid 1944 to early 1945.

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 7.5cm 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 5cm L/60 gun. This variant was produced from mid 1944 to the end of 1944, before switching production to the 234/4.

The final variant produced was the SdKfz 234/4, which replaced the L/24 gun with the 7.5cm 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.

Product Highlights:
- Option to build a SdKfz 234/2, SdKfz 234/3, or SdKfz 234/4
- SdKfz 234/2 with a 5cm KwK 39 L/60 gun
- SdKfz 234/3 with a 7.5cm K51 L/24 gun
- SdKfz 234/4 with a 7.5cm PaK 40 L/46 gun
- Comes with simplified chassis interior
- SdKfz 234/1 require the 2cm KwK 38 L/55 autocannon (280048) expansion kit, sold separately

Product Code: 280138

Number of Parts: 148 pieces / 3 sprues