Schwerer Panzerspahwagen 8-Rad SdKfz 232 "Fu"

Schwerer Panzerspahwagen 8-Rad (8-wheeled Heavy Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle) SdKfz 232 "Fu" (for Funkapparat or Radio) is seen in whitewash during the Russian Winter. Armed with a 20mm (.78 caliber) KwK 30 L/55 automatic cannon with a firing rate 280 rounds per minute, the same gun as mounted in the Panzerkampfwagen II, and a 7.92mm (.31 caliber) MG34. The "Bedstead" antenna, seen mounted over the turret, used a universal joint to allow a full 360-degree rotation. The SdKfz 232 8-Rad was a logical extension of the 6-Rad design that afforded better road performance. The 8-Rad was manufactured from 1937 to 1942, when the 20mm cannon was upgraded to the 50mm gun from the Panzer III, designated as the SdKfz 234/2 Puma. SdKfz 232 8-Rads saw combat in Poland, the Low Countries, and France, successfully leading infantry assault teams. While the desert environment taxed the SdKfz 232's engine and transmission, they were the preferred long-range strike reconnaissance platform. In Operation Barabarossa, the Russian rain and mud immobilized the SdKfz 232s, and the lack of winter-rate oil meant the engines froze in winter. In combat, the SdKfz 232 would be organically grouped with motorcycle units, SdKfz 250/251 Half Tracks, and light armored cars to form a Aufklarungs-Abteilung (Reconnaissance Battalion) for a Panzer or Panzergrenadier Division. The composition of these units varied from division to division. In 1944, an anti-tank company was added to counter the Allies' superior numbers of T-34 and M4 Sherman tanks, which the 232s could not defeat.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Thursday, January 1, 1942
Soviet Union