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German SdKfz 232 Heavy Armored Vehicle

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Schwerer Panzerspahwagen (heavy armored car)

German SdKfz 232 armored car

Heavy armored car showing wheels with independent steering. This vehicle has been painted in Africa Corps colors. Note partially visiable armored shield ahead of perforated brace (right side of image). Public domain photo.

The mission of the armored cars was to find out where the Allied armies were located.

The SdKfz1 232 was a, heavy armored vehicle used for reconnaissance during World War II. It was built in both six and eight wheeled versions.

The heavy armored car usually had a crew of four which included a commander, gunner, driver, and a secondary driver. The heavy armored car could travel at 50 mph. Later models had an additional front shield added and the space behind this shield was used for supplementary storage. See photo above.

With three forward gears and two reverse gears, the heavy armored car had dual controls - one in the front and one in the rear, with a separate driver at each end.

German Schwerer Panzerspahwagen

SdKfz232 armored car in the Ardennes forest during th Battle of France, May 1940. U.S. War Department photo from "Divide & Conquer".

These German armored cars would come into contact with the British and French, shoot at them, and then the secondary driver in the rear could put the car in reverse and drive away quickly, without having to turn around.

Use of the armored cars enabled the Germans to stay abreast of where the French and British units were located. In many cases, the Germans probably had a better idea of deployment of French troops than even the French high command had during the invasion of France.

The heavy armored car did not prove to be so effective when roads or weather were bad. Extreme weather and poor roads in Russia often left the armoured cars immobilized.

1SdKfz is the abbreviated form of the word Sonderkraftfahrzeug, which was a German special purpose vehicle used during World War II.