The battlefields of World War 2 (1939-1945) were vast and complicated, eventually requiring specialized vehicles to accomplish specialized tasks. Such was the case with the Germany Army which commissioned Krupp to developed a new heavy-class armored command car for use by reconnaissance staff. The SdKfz 247 entered service in 1937 and persevered in the conflict even when the fortunes of war changed for the worse for Germany. In the end, just sixty-eight of the type were completed but these saw service into 1945.
The SdKfz 247 appeared in two major production forms - the first built under the Krupp brand label (Ausf. A models) and the second by Daimler-Benz (Ausf. B models). Krupp devised the armored car around the purpose-built L2H143 chassis which carried the Krupp M305 4-cylinder powerplant of 65 horsepower driving the six-wheeled arrangement ("6-Rad"). The engine was fitted to a forward compartment in the traditional automobile-style manner. While armored, the car was only sufficiently protected against small arms fire and artillery spray (protection reached 6mm to 8mm thickness) from the front and sides - it had an open-topped design for the crew of six (to include one driver). Additionally, no self-defense armament was installed on the car leaving the occupants to engage potential threats through only personal weapons carried into combat. Production began in 1937 and lasted until 1938 to which just 10 x SdKfz 247 Ausf. A vehicles were completed to the standard.
In 1938, the German Army returned with an order for fifty-eight more vehicles. The same SdKfz 247 designator was used but these vehicles emerged from Daimler-Benz as four-wheeled designs based on the Horch Einheitsfahrgestall II (Uniform Chassis) chassis - and were known as "SdKfz 247 Ausf. B". Steering power was only given to the front wheel set despite the car being of four-wheeled makeup. Power was from a Horch Model 801 V8 liquid-cooled engine developing 81 horsepower. Production of this four-wheeled form - or "4-Rad" - began in July of 1941 and ended in 1942.
By the time the vehicles became available in useful numbers, their original purpose in the war no longer existed. It was also found that the 6-rad, despite its three axles, was a poor off-road performer. The 4-rad performed slightly better but its lack of armament severely limited its ability to fend off attackers. Without a steerable rear axle, the 4-rad was restricted in its maneuverability and escape capabilities. Rather interestingly, neither production model was not fitted with communication gear of any kind which further reduced its tactical and strategic value on the fluid battlefields of World War 2. In the end, the line served primarily as transport vehicles and were attached to German Army battlefield HQs.
The 6-rad exhibited a length of 5.2 meters, a width of 1.96 meters and a height of 1.7 meters. Weight was 5.2 tons. Maximum speed reached 43.4mph with operational ranges out to 217 miles (220 miles cross-country).
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Krupp / Daimler-Benz - Nazi Germany Manufacturer(s)
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