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Leichter Panzerspähwagen (Sd Kfz 221)


As Germany began building its armored force, the need for armored cars for reconnaissance purposes became apparent. Initially, the Kfz 13 and Kfz 14 armored cars, based on commercial chassis, were built. The first armored car built on a purpose-built four-wheeled chassis was the Sd Kfz 221, entering production in 1935.

While the armored car was equipped with a machine gun, it was not intended for combat. Furthermore, it was initially not equipped with a radio. Later, the 28 mm schwerer Panzerbüchse 41 and radios were installed in some vehicles.

Being wheeled, the Sd Kfz 221 was furthermore largely confined to roads and hard ground, being unable to drive through rough terrain.

Production ended in 1940, at which point more capable eight-wheeled armored cars, such as the schwerer Panzerspähwagen Sd Kfz 231 and 232 were in production.

Technical Details

Leichter Panzerspähwagen (Sd Kfz 221)
  • Commander
  • Driver
Physical Characteristics
Weight 4 t
Length 4.8 m
Width 1.95 m
Height 1.7 m
Armour (range) 5-8 mm
Speed (max) 80 km/h
Engine Horch 801
Net h.p. 75
Cylinders 8
Displacement 3500 cc
Primary weapon 7,92 mm MG 34 (1)


Leichter Panzerspähwagen (Sd Kfz 221) in Poland.
Demonstration of anti-aircraft capability.
Leichter Panzerspähwagen (Sd Kfz 221) with 2,8 cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41.

Further Reading


  1. DOYLE, David. Standard Catalog of German Military Vehicles. Iola, WI : KP Books, 2005. 512 p. ISBN 0-87349-783-X.