SdKfz 10 leichter ZugKraftwagen lt
1-Ton Light Half-Track
Requiring the services of a light-class half-track, several German manufacturers produced the SfKfz 10 series for World War 2 service.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Like other German military systems of World War 2 (1939-1945), the SdKfz 10 series half-track was designed and developed in secret, its testing completed under the guise of a commercial product. The model was classified as a lightweight half-track vehicle and intended as a mover for light-caliber artillery such as the 2cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun up to the 7.5cm leIG infantry support gun (the vehicle was given an official towing capacity of 1 ton). Design work by Demag of Dusseldorf spanned 1934 to 1938 with production running from 1938 to the end of the war in 1945. Its manufacture yielded some 14,000 units by war's end and several prominent production models to boot. Participants in bringing the SdKfz 10 to the war fronts (beyond Demag) included Adlerwerke, Bussing-NAG, MWC, MNH, MIAG, and Sauerewerke.
The vehicle weighed 10,800 pounds and featured a length of 15.5 feet, a width of 6.3 feet, and a height of 6.6 feet. A standard operating crew was two and included the driver while a further six-to-eight passengers could be carried. Power was through a Maybach HL42 TRKM series 6-cylinder, liquid-cooled gasoline fueled engine developing 100 horsepower (earlier versions yielded only 90 horsepower from their Maybach engines). This engine was mated to a Maybach VG 10218H series transmission system. Interestingly, drive power was only to the rear track component and not the front rubber-tired wheels. Having non-powered front wheels meant that steering could become difficult in soft terrain. Nevertheless, the overall design allowed for rather excellent off-road mobility or when attempting to traverse uneven terrain. The chassis was suspended on a torsion bar system and sported a ground clearance of thirteen inches which also aided off-road travel and allowed travel through low water sources. Road speeds could reach 47 miles per hour and operational range was out to 190 miles. Off-road travel reduced range to 93 miles.
The SdKfz 10 was seen in a myriad of configurations throughout its wartime existence. Major (official) variants included the base SdKfz 10 hauler model. The SdKfz 10/1 was a chemical detection variant and the SdKfz 10/2 a chemical decontamination model. The SdKfz 10/3 was another chemical warfare-related vehicle fitted with a 130 US gallon tank for spraying poison. The SfKfz 10/4 (1,370 built) mounted the 2cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun system. The SdKfz 10/5 incorporated the faster-firing 2cm FlaK 38 series AA guns instead. Both AA models featured fold-down panels to serve as a platform for the gunnery team when in action and the gun units could be dismounted and use in their tradition stationary role.
Beyond these forms, there were plenty of other non-official standard and non-standard models that emerged. A soft-top could be erected over the passenger and driving compartment to protect from the environment. When left uncovered, the passenger section featured sidewalls that were inherently low enough to allow for quick unloading of infantry. The passenger area could just as easily accommodate the towed artillery piece (say a 3.7cm gun) while the rear of the vehicle could still tow additional hardware to the front. Signal vehicles and command/observation vehicles were also born by slightly modifying (if at all) the base SdKfz 10 design. Other models installed (in a semi-permanent nature) their artillery in the passenger area to serve as mobile gun platforms while still other field-improvised modifications existed, some supporting 3.7cm PaK 36 and 5cm PaK 38 anti-tank guns.