Leichter Panzerspahwagen (FU) Sd.Kfz 223

The Leichter Panzerspahwagen (FU) Sd.Kfz 223 was a radio car based on the Leichter Panzerspahwagen (2cm) Sd.Kfz 222 armoured car, and which remained in production for longer and in service to the end of the war.

Leichter Panzerspahwagen (FU) Sd.kfz 223 captured in North Africa
Leichter Panzerspahwagen (FU) Sd.kfz 223 captured in North Africa

The Sd.Kfz 222 was the second armoured car to be based on the Horsh 801 chassis, which had been developed in the mid 1930s as the lightest of a range of three standard chassis which were to be the basis of a family of four wheel drive vehicles being produced for the German army. It had four wheel drive, all wheel steering and individual suspension, giving it better cross country capabilities than the earlier Maschinengewehrkraftwagn (Kfz 13) and Funkkraftwagen (Kfz 14), although still not good enough to cope with the Eastern Front. The Sd.Kfz 222 carried a 20mm cannon and 7.92mm machine gun in a ten sided turret. It came in two versions – ‘A’ used the Horsh 801/ EG 1 chassis with a 75hp engine, while version ‘B’ of 1941-42 used the Horsh 801/v engine with a 90hp engine.

The Sd.Kfz 223 used the same chassis and superstructure as the Sd.Kfz 222, changing from version ‘A’ to version ‘B’ at the same time as the Sd.Kfz 222. It had a nine sided turret similar in appearance to the seven sided turret of the Sdf.Kz 221 and carrying a single 7.92mm MG 34. Initially it used a FuG 10 radio, combined with a frame aerial that could be folded down when not needed. However this aerial was cumbersome, and easily recognisable, making the radio cars a priority target. Later production used a FuG 12 SE 80 radio with a 2m high collapsible rod arial. It carried a crew of three – driver, commander and radio operator.

As with the earlier vehicles, the chassis was built by Auto-Union and the superstructure at Weserhutte. The vehicles were then assembled at MNH of Hannover. By the time production ended in 1943 a total of 550 had been built. Most were used by the Germans but a small number went to Bulgaria. The Sd.Kfz 223 remained in service on all fronts to the end of the war, unlike the Sd.Kfz 222 which was largely withdrawn from the Eastern Front.

Leichter Panzerspahwagen (FU) Sd.Kfz 223 from the rear
Leichter Panzerspahwagen (FU) Sd.Kfz 223 from the rear


Production: 550
Hull Length: 4800mm
Hull Width: 1950mm
Height: 1750mm (exluding aerial)
Weight: 4400kg/ 4475kg
Engine: 75hp or 90hp Horch/ Auto-Union 8-cylinder V-petrol engine
Max Speed: 80-90km/ hr
Max Range: 300km road/ 200km terrain
Armament: 7.92mm MG 34
Armour: 5-14.5mm (later 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 (13 February 2023), Leichter Panzerspahwagen (FU) Sd.Kfz 223 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_leichter_panzerspahwagen_FU_sdkfz_223.html

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