The Schwerer Panzerspahwagen Sd.Kfz 234/4 (7.5 cm PaK 40) was an eight wheeled heavy armoured car armed with a 7.5cm anti-tank gun, and which served with the German Army and Waffen SS during 1945, giving their reconnaissance units an effective anti-tank weapon.
Work on what would be come the Sd.Kfz 234 began in 1940, in respond to a specification for an armoured car capable of operating in hot climates and undeveloped areas. It was to be similar to the Sd.Kfz.231 (8-rad), but with an air cooled diesel engine, a monocoque fuselage and thicker armour.
Initially two versions of the vehicle were produced, the Sd.Kfz 234/1 armed with a 20mm cannon in an open turret and the Sd.Kfz 234/2, armed with a 50cm gun in a small enclosed turret. The /2 entered service at the end of 1943, the /1 in the summer of 1944.
The reconnaissance troops wanted more firepower. The initial response was the Sd.Kfz 234/3. This replaced the turret with an open topped fighting compartment, and was armed with a short barrelled 7.5cm Kanone 51 (L/24), mounted at the front of the compartment. This version of the vehicle effectively replaced the 50cm armed /2, and began to enter service in the summer of 1943.
The idea of mounting a longer barrel 75mm gun on the Sd.Kfz 234 was first recorded in a meeting with Hitler on 28 October 1944. By early November a basic plan had been produced and the first vehicles were produced in December 1944. This was achieved by using the chassis of Sd.Kfz 234/3s, which already had an open topped fighting compartment, combined with a slightly modified Pak 40 carriage.
The Sd.Kfz 234/4 was armed with a 75mm Pak 40 anti-tank gun. This was bolted to the side plates of an open topped fighting compartment and to reinforced crossbeams below the gun. It retained the normal gun shield of the Pak, but with double the normal armour. Traverse and elevation controls and the mount for the telescopic gun sight were all of the left of the gun. No coaxial machine gun was mounted, but there was a pivoting mount for an anti-aircraft gun to the right of the 75mm gun. As with the /3, the gun could be traversed 20 degrees to the left or right. Vertical elevation was from -5 to +22 degrees.
Space was provided for twelve rounds of 7.5cm ammo, a mix of armour piercing Pzgr.39 shells and high explosive Sprgr.34 shells. The armour piercing shell could penetrate the front and side armour of most Allied tanks
Production plans for the Sd.Kfz 234 kept changing. In November 1943 it was decided to produce 100 Sd.Kfz 234/2s first. Production would then be split equally between the Sd.Kfz 234/1 and the Sd.Kfz 234/3.
In March 1944 this was changed to a ration of thirteen Sd.Kfz 234/1s for every three Sd.Kfz 234/3s.
The first Sd.Kfz 234/1s and Sd.Kfz 234/3s were delivered in June 1944, when sixth of the two types were completed.
In October the ratio was change to nine /1s for every seven /3s.
Production of the /3 ended in December 1944, after about ninety had been completed. Work them moved onto the Sd.Kfz 234/4.
About ninety /4s were completed between December 1944 and April 1945.
The first to be issued went to the Panzer-Aufklaerung-Abteilung of the Panzer Grenadier Division Brandenburg, which was the last division to get a full complement of sixteen vehicles (although not all were /4s).
After that the /4 was issued in small numbers , with six going to the Fuhrer-Begleit-Division, three to Panzer Division Juterbog, three to Panzer Division Schlesien, three to 25.Panzer Division, four to Panzer Division Muencheberg and three to Begl.Kp.z.b.V. In most cases they were issued alongside a similar number of /1s.
Hull Length: 6m (without barrel)
Hull Width: 2330mm
Engine: 220hp Tatra 103 V-12 diesel engine
Max Speed: 90km/ hr (road)
Max Range: 900km (road), 600km (terrain)
Armament: One 7.5cm Pak 40 L/46, one 7.92mm MG 42