The SdKfz 223 was part of a larger family of German light armored cars that began with the SdKfz 221 (detailed elsewhere on this site). Each vehicle playing a specific role on the battlefield for the German Army and was adopted in the hundreds. The SdKfz 223 served as a Command and Communications (CC2) vehicle, distinguished from the other primary models (SdKfz 221, SdKfz 222) by the large collapsible aerial antenna frame affixed above the vehicle's gun emplacement. As with the 221- and 222-series vehicles before it, the SdKfz 223 line benefitted form its dedicated armored car chassis which provided it the necessary strength for military service. Additionally, the same Horch V8 gasoline engine gave the system cross-country travel capabilities required of modern mechanized warfare. Production of SdKfz 223 vehicles totaled 567 vehicles and these were produced from 1936 into January of 1944. Unlike the original SdKfz 221, the SdKfz 223 featured a crew of three (instead of two) made up of the driver, commander, and dedicated machine gunner.
The SdKfz 223's design was closely associated with that of the original SdKfz 221 and not so much the SdKfz 222 series. It could be differentiated by its antenna frame as well as a stepped rear upper hull section - features not found on the SdKfz 221 variant. A tapered hatch also covered the engine compartment unlike the rectangular hatch found on the 221 line.
At its core, the SdKfz 223 series was a 4x4 wheeled armored vehicle with light armor protection intended for the reconnaissance and communications role. It was armed simply with a 7.92mm MG34 standard Army machine gun for local defense though early production saw the MG13 series guns fitted prior to 1938. 1,050 x 7.92mm rounds of ammunition were carried aboard. Specialized communication and radio equipment were fitted aboard the vehicle. Early forms featured a 30-watt Fu 10 radio set while later models replaced this with an 80-watt Fu 12 set. A spare tire was carried along the hull right side for replacement in the event of damage. The left side of the outer hull contained an external stowage box. From 1942 onwards, the SdKfz 223 line was given a more powerful engine for improved performance as well as a more robust chassis (producing the Ausf. B variant). Its armor was improved along the frontal facings to 30mm thickness.
Dimensions included a length of 4.56 meters with a width of 1.95 meters and height of 2 meters. Its listed weight was 4.4 tons. Maximum road speeds reached 46 miles per hour with a range out to 185 miles, less in cross-country travel.