Leichter Panzerfunkwagen Sd.Kfz 261

The Leichter Panzerfunkwagen Sd.Kfz 261 was a long range radio car based on the same basic design as the Panzerspahwagen (FU) Sd.Kfz 223, but without a turret.

Leichter Panzerfunkwagen Sd.Kfz 261 from the left
Leichter Panzerfunkwagen Sd.Kfz 261 from the left

The Sd.Kfz 223 was the first radio car in a series of light armoured cars, which were based on the Horch 801 chassis. This was the lightest of three chassis that had been designed to be the basis of a family of four wheel drive vehicles, and had four wheel drive, individual suspension and all wheel steering. The Sd.Kfz 223 was armed with a 7.92mm machine gun carried in a manually powered turret.

The Sd.Kfz 261 had the same superstructure as the Sd.Kfz 223 with sloped armour all round. Frontal armour was 30mm thick, and elsewhere it was 5-8mm thick. Unlike the Sd.Kfz 223 the Sd.Kfz 261 had no turret, but instead had a raised area on the superstructure.

The Sd.Kfz 261 used a later version of the chassis, the Horch Type 801/v, which was powered by a 90hp Horch engine.

The Sd.Kfz 261 was used with the FuG 12 radio, a medium wave radio used by command tanks. At first this was used with a frame aerial carried above the vehicle, but this was a rather cumbersome arrangement and also made the radio car a rather too obvious a target, so later in the war this was replaced with a rod aerial.

The Sd.Kfz 261 also carried a FuSpr.A short range radio, which was used for communication between vehicles in the same unit.

The Sd.Kfz 260 and Sd.Kfz 261 entered service in 1941. They were used by the signals troops of the HQ units of regiments, brigades and divisions in the Panzer Truppen and to armoured companies in signal corps battalions (Nachrichten battalions). Both remained in use to the end of the war.

Hull Length: 4830mm
Hull Width: 1990mm
Height: 1780mm
Crew: 4
Weight: 4300kg
Engine: 90hp Horch/ Auto Union 8-cylinder V-petrol engine
Max Speed: 90km/ hr
Max Range: 300km (road), 200km (terrain)
Armament: None
Armour: 5-30mm

German Half-Tracks and Wheeled Vehicles 1939-1945, Alexander Lüdeke. Looks at the armoured cars and half-tracks used by the German Army before and during the Second World War, focusing on the development and technical descriptions of each type and its major variants. Each type gets one or two pages, supported by photos of the vehicle. A useful short reference book on these essential vehicles, covering both the many types developed in Germany and the smaller number of captured vehicles pressed into service. [read full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 February 2023), Leichter Panzerfunkwagen Sd.Kfz 261 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_leichter_panzerfunkwagen_sdkfz_261.html

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