MANUFACTURER(S): State Arsenals - Nazi Germany
OPERATORS: Nazi Germany; Poland
Detailing the development and operational history of the Panzertriebwagen Nr.16 (PzTrWg 16) Armored Railway Cruiser.
Entry last updated on 3/3/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Panzertriebwagen Nr.16 (PzTrWg 16) was a "one-off" armored heavy railway cruiser manufactured by the Germans for service in World War 2 (1939-1945). It appeared in late-1942 and saw service under the German banner until the end of the war in Europe in May of 1945. Its primary use was in patrolling the volatile southwest portions of occupied Poland until the areas were quickly overrun by advancing Soviet troops - it was captured in the Soviet advance during the war's closing days. The train was then assigned to the Polish People's Army in the post-war years where it served communist Polish forces until about the 1960s before it was given up for good.
The heavily armored railway cruiser used a WR550D14 diesel-powered locomotive which outputted 550 horsepower. To this base vehicle was applied armor plating along all visible panels creating a most boxy appearance. The original armament called for 20mm FlaK 38 series Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns to be seated on car sections ahead and behind the locomotive unit. Before the end of 1942, this was changed to feature turreted Putilov 76.2 Mod. 02/30 field guns (one gun to each car platform). The guns came from captured enemy stocks. Firepower was increased during mid-1944 when flatcars mounting complete Soviet T-34 Medium Tank turrets were used at fore and aft positions of the PzTrWg 16.
Panzertriebwagen Nr.16 (PzTrWg 16) (Cont'd)
Armored Railway Cruiser
In 1943, the unit was on patrol in the Polish southwest against rebel forces and, in the early and middle part of 1944, it was pressed into service with Army Group Center and saw action at Rawa Ruska and Lublin. It they patrolled near Radom and participated in the fighting around Kielce before being removed from service for needed repair work. In April of 1945, the unit was back in action and seen at Neuruppin until it fell to the Soviet Sixty-First Army at Neustadt.
Under Polish ownership some modifications were made to the design including the addition of more armor and installation of additional machine guns. After its use in anti-partisan actions the system was retired and passed on to the Railway Museum (Warsaw) where it remains as a showpiece to this day (2015).