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Leichter Panzerspähwagen
British soldiers inspect a captured SdKfz 222, North Africa, 1941
Type Armored car
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
Used by Nazi Germany
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Eisenwerk Weserhütte
Manufacturer Auto Union, F. Schichau
Produced 1935 - 1944
Weight 4,000 kg
Length 4.8 m (15 ft 9 in)
Width 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
Height 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in)
Crew 4

Armor 5 - 14.5 mm
1 × Maschinengewehr 34 (for Sd.Kfz 221)
1 × 2 cm KwK 30 L/55 autocannon (for Sd.Kfz 222)
1 × Maschinengewehr 34 (for Sd.Kfz 222)
Engine Horch 3.5 V8 petrol
67 kW (90 hp)
Suspension 4x4
300 km (186 mi)
Speed road: 80 km (50 mi)
cross-country: 40 km (25 mi)

SdKfz. 222 in private collection.

The Leichter Panzerspähwagen (German: roughly "light armoured reconnaissance vehicle") were a series of light four-wheel drive armoured cars produced by Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1944.

They were developed by Eisenwerk Weserhütte of Bad Oeynhausen. Chassis were built by Auto Union in Zwickau and assembled by F. Schichau of Elbing and Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen in Hanover-Linden.

It used the chassis of the standard sPkw I Horch 801 (heavy car) with an angled armoured body and turret.

The rear-mounted engine was a 67 kW (90 hp) Horch 3.5 petrol engine, giving it a road speed of 80 km/h (50 mph) and a cross-country speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). It had a maximum range of 300 km (186 mi).

Used by the reconnaissance battalions (Aufklärungs-Abteilung) of the Panzer divisions, the type performed well enough in countries with good road networks, like those in Western Europe. However, on the Eastern Front and in North Africa, this class of vehicle was hampered by its relatively poor off-road performance. In those theaters, it gradually found itself replaced in the reconnaissance role by the Sdkfz 250 half-track. The Sdkfz 250/9 was the Sdkfz 250 with the same turret as the Sdfkz 222.

The Sdkfz 222 was examined by Soviet designers before they created the similar BA-64 light armoured car.

Front and sides were made of 8 mm (0.3 in) RHA; thinner 5 mm (0.2 in) plates protected the top, rear, and bottom. Cast vision ports later replaced ports cut into the armour. The open-topped turret was fitted with wire mesh anti-grenade screens.


SdKfz. 221

Base model and first production series of light armoured car built on a standardized chassis for military use. The Sdkfz. 221 was armed with a single 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34 machine gun, manned by a two man crew, and had 4-wheel drive. Armour protection was originally 8 mm thick, but increased to 14.5 mm later in production.

SdKfz 221 mit 2.8cm

Armed with a 28 mm sPzB41 "heavy anti-tank rifle" in a modified turret.

SdKfz. 222

This version of the vehicle was armed with a 2 cm KwK 30 L/55 autocannon and a 7.92 mm MG34 machine gun. Crew increased to three by the addition of a gunner, relieving the commander of that task. Some versions included a 28 mm anti-tank cannon.

SdKfz. 223 Panzerfunkwagen

A radio car version, armed like the 221 with a 7.92 mm MG34 machine gun. Included additional radio equipment, and had a large "bed-frame" antenna over the vehicle. Over 500 of the SdKfz 223 were produced.

Kleiner Panzerfunkwagen SdKfz 260
Kleiner Panzerfunkwagen SdKfz 261

An unarmed radio car version. Included additional radio equipment, and had a large "bed-frame" antenna over the vehicle. Generally used for signals use, three were used as armoured cars in Finland.[1]


  •  Nazi Germany
  •  Republic of China
  •  Romania

Notes and references

  1. Panzers in Finland, Kari Kuusela, 2000

External links

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