Military Review

Sd.Kfz.250 / 10 combat reconnaissance vehicle (Germany)

By the fall of the 1941, it became clear that the Sd.Kfz.222 armored vehicles that were in service with Germany and equipped with an all-wheel-drive two-axle wheeled chassis were not able to fully solve combat missions in the Eastern Front. The permeability of this technology left much to be desired, which is why it required a replacement. At the beginning of 1942, in order to replace the existing armored vehicles, a project was developed to upgrade a light armored personnel carrier with a remake of it in a combat reconnaissance vehicle Sd.Kfz.250 / 9. In addition, another version of the modernization of the Bd Sd.Kfz.250 of a similar purpose soon appeared.

Modernization of the equipment on the project Sd.Kfz.250 / 9 or leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (2 cm) was a slight change in the existing building with the installation of the finished tower from Sd.Kfz.222. In this case, the armored personnel carrier turned into a reconnaissance vehicle with a fairly high mobility and "main caliber" in the form of an 20-mm automatic cannon. As tests and troop exploitation later showed, this version of the reconnaissance vehicle had significant advantages over existing armored cars. In the middle of 1943, it was even decided to curtail the mass production of wheeled vehicles in favor of half-tracks.

Sd.Kfz.250 / 10 combat reconnaissance vehicle (Germany)
BRM Sd.Kfz.250 / 10 based on armored personnel carrier version Alte. Photo by

In 1942, another proposal appeared concerning the modernization of the Sd.Kfz.250 armored personnel carrier with a change in the use of technology. It was proposed to create another combat reconnaissance vehicle with artillery weapons that could be operated in parallel with the newest leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (2 cm). The new modification of the BTR should have been equipped with an instrument of increased caliber, which allowed it to rely on a new tactical role.

The main objective of the new project was to equip the existing armored 37-mm anti-tank gun. Thanks to this, the firepower of the reconnaissance vehicle should have increased significantly. In this regard, there was a proposal to give the technique an appropriate role. The Sd.Kfz.250 armored personnel carrier with the 37-mm gun was supposed to be the combat vehicle of the reconnaissance platoon commander. Thus, in one unit it was possible to exploit a significant amount of Sd.Kfz.250 / 9 and a smaller number of vehicles with weapons of larger caliber. Armored vehicles with 37-mm guns were supposed to be equipment for the commanders of the unit, and the functions of "linear" equipment were assigned to Sd.Kfz.250 / 9 with less powerful weapons.

The new project of the combat reconnaissance vehicle received the designation leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (3,7 cm). In addition, the project was given a name reflecting the order number of the development: Sd.Kfz.250 / 10. The use of the alternative designation Gerät 881 is known. All these names were equivalent and denoted the same version of the combat vehicle with artillery weapons.

Armored Sd.Kfz.250 earlier version. Photo

The basis for the commander of the reconnaissance vehicle, as is the case with the "linear" technology of a similar purpose, was supposed to be the Sd.Kfz.250 light armored personnel carrier of the existing modification. These armored vehicles were mass-produced from 1941 of the year and were actively used by the troops. Until a certain time, the mass production of the basic version of the BTR, which eventually received the additional name Alte (“Old”), was carried out. By the fall of 1943, a machine retrofit project with the symbol Neu (“New”) was developed, which used an updated case of a simplified design. As a base for reconnaissance vehicles during their mass production, armored personnel carriers of both versions were used.

The Bd Sd.Kfz.250 Alte was equipped with an armored corps with anti-bullet protection. The front part of the case was given under the engine-transmission compartment, covered with a complex-shaped reservation. There was a wedge-shaped front wall of the case, over which a sloping roof and sloping side plates were placed. The latter in the central part of the hull without any joints passed into the sides of the habitable compartment. The central and aft parts of the hull had the characteristic polygonal shape of the sides with the lower sheets diverging outwards and the upper sheets heaped inwards. The stern leaf was mounted with a slope inward.

The “new” armored personnel carrier had a simplified design with a single roof sheet of the larger engine compartment and boxed architecture of the habitable compartment. There were the usual nadgusenichnye niches that could be used to transport the payload. The updated hull consisted of just 9 armor parts, while the old version was assembled from 19. This greatly simplified and cheapened the production of equipment. At the same time, the upgrade of the hull design in its time did not prevent the continuation of the production of serial reconnaissance vehicles and other equipment based on such a chassis.

Anti-tank gun 3,7 cm PaK 35 / 36 on a wheeled gun carriage. Photo of Wikimedia Commons

Protection of the frontal projection of the machine was provided by sheets with a thickness from 10 to 14,5 mm. Boards and feeds were made of 8-mm armor. There was a 6-mm roof. In the course of the modernization, the protection parameters remained almost unchanged. For technological reasons, the thickness of some parts has increased to 15 mm, the characteristics of the remaining booking elements remained the same.

Sd.Kfz.250 Alte was equipped with a Maybach HL 42TRKM gasoline engine with an 99 horsepower. After the upgrade, the HL 42TUKRM motor of the same manufacturer with similar characteristics was used. At the rear of the engine compartment was placed a manual transmission based on the gearbox, providing seven forward speeds and three rear. The transmission transmitted engine torque to the drive wheels of a tracked propulsion unit. Power transfer to the front wheel axle was not envisaged.

A characteristic feature of the Sd.Kfz.250 armored personnel carriers, which affected their choice as the basis for reconnaissance vehicles, was the semi-tracked undercarriage. Directly under the engine compartment placed steering axle with suspension on leaf springs. There was also a tracked propulsion unit with four support rollers of chess arrangement with an individual torsion suspension on each side. Driving wheels were placed in front of the track, guides - in the stern of the machine. Movement control was carried out using the front axle swivel wheels. There were no turning mechanisms in the transmission of the tracks, which to some extent simplified the design and cheapened the production of equipment.

Serial reconnaissance vehicle based on Alte type armored personnel carriers. Photo by Chamberlain P., Doyle H. "Complete German Reference tanks and self-propelled guns of World War II "

In the configuration of an armored personnel carrier, the vehicles of the family were controlled by a crew of two people and transported up to four paratroopers. To monitor the situation used viewing instruments in the front of the habitable compartment. It was possible to get into the car through the aft door or through the sides, taking advantage of the lack of a roof. Armament consisted of one or two rifle caliber machine guns. The use of personal weapons landing, which contributed to the hull design, which had no roof.

To increase the firepower of the commander combat reconnaissance vehicle, it was decided to use an existing weapon with sufficient characteristics. The requirements met the towed gun 3,7 cm PaK 35 / 36, which they decided to use in the new project. The production of such tools was conducted from 1935 year and ended at the beginning of 42 in connection with the final obsolescence of the structure. During this time, managed to make more than 10,5 thousand guns, much of which still remained in the army and could be used for various purposes. One option for using an outdated system was to be a reconnaissance vehicle.

The leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (3,7 cm) project involved the use of existing products with minimal changes. For this reason, it was decided to maximize the use of the available units of the PaK 35 / 36 guns without significant modification of their design. Such an approach was implemented in the form of using an artillery unit and some launchers of the existing structure, but now the gun had to be mounted not on the wheeled chassis, but on the corresponding system mounted in the front part of the armored hull compartment. Also changed the design of the armor shield of the gun. Instead of an inclined part of a relatively high height, in the center of which there was an embrasure for the gun, it was proposed to use shields of smaller dimensions. In most cases, the shield was placed only to the left of the gun and covered exclusively the gunner.

Variant of appearance BRM. Figure

Due to the maximum preservation of the existing components and assemblies, the weapon targeting parameters remained at the same level. Horizontal targeting was carried out within the sector width 60 °. Vertical guidance varied from -8 ° to + 25 °.

37-mm gun was equipped with a barrel length 45 calibers and could use several types of ammunition, accelerating the projectile to the initial speed 1030 m / s. Depending on the type of projectile, the gun could penetrate up to 50 mm of homogeneous armor from a distance of 300 m. There were also two variants of fragmentation shells with a maximum range of fire up to 7,2 km and an explosive charge of no more than 44. Such possibilities allowed the weapon to fight unprotected or lightly armored vehicles or with manpower of the enemy. However, as of the beginning of the forties, the available characteristics were clearly insufficient, due to which the PaK 35 / 36 instrument at the beginning of 1942 was removed from production and gradually began to be decommissioned.

Inside the fighting compartment, we managed to place several racks for ammunition on 216 unitary loading shells. Due to the existence of several variants of ammunition, it was possible to build ammunition in accordance with the expected risks and features of future combat work.

The car based on the "New" armored personnel carrier. Figure

The 37 mm caliber gun was the main and only standard armament of the Sd.Kfz.250 / 10 reconnaissance vehicle. Additional weapons in the form of a machine gun was not provided. However, the lack of a roof allowed the crew to use personal weapons for self-defense with a certain efficiency. In addition, if necessary, protection from enemy infantry commander machine could count on the help of other crews who have machine guns. According to others, the machine gun was still present, but there is reason to believe that in such cases there was a revision of the equipment by the forces of combat troops. Ammunition machine gun could reach 1100 cartridges.

The reconnaissance vehicle leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (3,7 cm) was to be operated by a crew of four. In front of the habitable compartment were placed the driver and commander, who monitored the situation with the help of viewing instruments in the front plate and the sides of the hull. They were also responsible for using the radio station. In the fighting compartment, located on the site of the former amphibious branch, located gunner and loader. Their duty was to search for targets with subsequent shooting, as well as maintenance of the gun.

Alteration of the armored vehicle with the installation of new weapons did not lead to a significant change in the size or weight of the machine. The length of the reconnaissance vehicle remained at the level of 4,56 m, width - 1,95 m, and the height due to the gun increased to 1,97 m. It should be noted that the height of the machines of different series could change due to the use of armor cannon guns of different designs. The combat weight of the new equipment was 5,67 tons. The mobility parameters remained the same: speed up to 60 km / h, power reserve - 320 km.

Calculation tools. Photo

Work on the project leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (3,7 cm) / Sd.Kfz.250 / 10 continued until the beginning of the 1943 year. After that, several prototypes were collected and tested, verification of which confirmed the correctness of the chosen path of development of the existing technology. Soon, the commander's intelligence vehicle of the new model was put into service, and also ordered the serial assembly of such equipment. The new Sd.Kfz.250 / 10 was planned to be built both on the basis of new armored vehicles and during the repair of equipment that returned from the front with damage.

The first serial reconnaissance vehicles were assembled at the start of the 1943 of the year. According to various sources, the assembly of such equipment lasted for about a year: until the end of 43 or until the start of 1944. During the first few months, the German industry released the Sd.Kfz.250 / 10 based on the chassis of the Alte variant with a more complex shape. In the autumn, assembly of vehicles based on updated and simplified Neu armored personnel carriers was mastered. As a result, the troops received two variants of reconnaissance vehicles with some technical differences, but with similar characteristics. From the point of view of operation of the machine on different chassis almost did not differ.

By the beginning of 1943, the war on the Eastern Front finally and irrevocably assumed a protracted nature, which led to specific consequences for the German military industry and the production of new technology. Enterprises were loaded with current orders, because of which the deployment of the assembly of new samples was constantly associated with a lot of difficulties. In the case of the leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (3,7 cm) project, such difficulties led to limited equipment production rates. For all the time of production, the army managed to transfer only the 151 commander reconnaissance vehicle with the 37-mm gun. This technique was distributed among various units of the army, in service of which various models of armored vehicles, including reconnaissance vehicles, were already in service.

Sd.Kfz.250 / 10 with his crew. Photo

The operation of serial Sd.Kfz.250 / 10 led to the emergence of ambiguous conclusions. In terms of maneuverability and other technical characteristics, this technique exceeded the existing Sd.Kfz.222 and other wheeled vehicles. There were also advantages in firepower, provided by a larger caliber gun. At the same time, there were serious drawbacks in the form of relatively weak reservations and limited gun capabilities. As a result, the equipment in the event of a meeting with the enemy was exposed to serious risks. The leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (3,7 cm) reconnaissance vehicles could be destroyed by almost any Soviet artillery system or any tank from outside the effective destruction of their own gun.

The specific characteristics of reconnaissance vehicles led to the fact that for about two years of operation, all such equipment was lost in the battles. The enemy destroyed some of the vehicles, taking advantage of their superiority in performance, and some of the samples were captured as trophies. The result of such exploitation of Sd.Kfz.250 / 10 was the complete write-off of all existing machines by the end of 1944. As of the beginning of the 45, the Wehrmacht no longer had such equipment due to the loss of all the available machines.

The draft reconnaissance vehicle Sd.Kfz.250 / 10 or leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (3,7 cm) is of particular interest in the context of the development of German semi-tracked armored personnel carriers. Equipping an existing 37-mm chassis with an anti-tank gun could have yielded some positive results, such as an increase in firepower and combat effectiveness of reconnaissance units. Nevertheless, the individual components of the new “complex” had characteristic flaws that adversely affected the course of operation. As a result, all one and a half hundred cars built over time were lost. Not a single sample of Sd.Kfz.250 / 10 has survived to our time. It is noteworthy that a similar machine Sd.Kfz.250 / 9 with less powerful weapons was much more successful in terms of production and operation.

Based on:
Chamberlain P., Doyle H. Complete reference book of German tanks and self-propelled guns of the Second World War. - M .: AST: Astrel, 2008.
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  1. igordok
    igordok 28 July 2016 07: 08
    Thanks for the series of articles.
  2. Kaiten
    Kaiten 28 July 2016 20: 43
    It is interesting to compare the German car with its American counterpart, the M3. In my opinion, the "German" is clearly losing. It has no front axle drive and a staggered suspension - exquisite torture for mechanics.
  3. Fidel
    Fidel 28 July 2016 23: 39
    Bravo! Gorgeous review. I read it with pleasure.)) drinks
  4. gladcu2
    gladcu2 29 July 2016 01: 02
    I wonder how to use these machines.

    It turns out, go to the direction, and then on foot 5 calculation person to see what and where. And leave the car in ambush in case of persecution on the way back.

    In reality, they drove everywhere by car until they came across a direct shot of a sufficient caliber.

    There is no perfection in the world.

    Thanks to the author.
    1. avdkrd
      avdkrd 2 August 2016 21: 22
      Quote: gladcu2
      I wonder how to use these machines.

      That’s all the salt. At the initial stage of the war with the USSR, this machine would be in demand and would become a serious headache for the RKK. In 1943, she was at least a year late - she no longer pulled reconnaissance in battle, and with a stable (solid) front line her function is generally mysterious. The only reasonable application method is as a convoy escort vehicle. The partisans' TCPs did not differ in variety and there were problems with their presence, but against the light rifle, and with 37mm, it’s even nothing.
  5. 135lm
    135lm 13 November 2016 19: 11
    Why does he need wheels? Wasn’t it easier to make it fully tracked? No, when instead of 2 rear axles they put short tracks to increase cross-country ability it is still clear. But they didn’t hold out a bit ...