MANUFACTURER(S): CKD - Czechoslovakia
LENGTH: 14.80 feet (4.51 meters)
WIDTH: 7.05 feet (2.15 meters)
HEIGHT: 7.05 feet (2.15 meters)
WEIGHT: 10 Tons (8,845 kilograms; 19,500 pounds)
ENGINE: 1 x Praga 6-cylinder, liquid-cooled gasoline engine developing 180 horsepower at 2,800rpm.
SPEED: 28 miles-per-hour (45 kilometers-per-hour)
RANGE: 130 miles (210 kilometers)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Aufklarungspanzerwagen 38 (2cm) (SdKfz 140/1) Armored Fast Reconnaissance Tank / Light Tank Destroyer.
Entry last updated on 4/10/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Using captured enemy tracked vehicles for other battlefield purposes proved the norm for the pressed German Army during World War 2 (1939-1945). Early on, the pre-war Czech LT vz. 38 Light Tank was captured in some number and over 1,400 were eventually produced by Czech-firm CKD for the German Army as the Panzer 38(t). In time, the design was evolved to become the Aufklarungspanzerwagen 38 (2cm), SdKfz 140/1.
Due to its lightweight nature and compact profile, Panzer 38(t) tanks held evermore limited battlefield value as the war went on. As such, it was decided to covert the line to fulfill an armored "fast reconnaissance" tank requirement. An existing, open-air turret fitting the 2cm (20mm) KwK 38 L/55 anti-tank gun was added and this featured a coaxial 7.92mm MG42 machine gun. The turret was given mesh screens to protect the turret crew from grenade attacks. The engine make was Praga and this installation was a 6-cylinder, liquid-cooled system outputting 180 horsepower (uprated from the 150 horsepower units originally featured in the Panzer 38(t) tanks). Road speeds could reach 28 mph and ranges were out to 130 miles. The crew numbered four in cramped fighting conditions. The radio fit was the Fu.Spr.Ger.f series kit.
The first vehicles were delivered by CKD in October of 1943 and a total of 70 units were built to the standard. These arrived into March of the following year and were assigned to Panzer divisions into late 1944. The series saw action on both the East and West fronts until the end of the war in May 1945 - their 20mm guns proving a disadvantage against more advanced modern armor but suitable against light-armored vehicles and infantry.
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