German Bundeswehr SPz kurz (Hotchkiss) Armoured Personnel Carrier

German Bundeswehr SPz kurz (Hotchkiss) Armoured Personnel Carrier with 20 mm Autocannon

In 1958, the German Bundeswehr adopted a new TO&E, called Heeresstruktur 2, which divided the available forces into 12 Divisions of 3 Brigades each. Panzerdivisions consisted of 2 tank and 1 armoured or mechanized infantry brigade; Panzergrenadierdivisions had 2 armoured, mechanized or motorized infantry brigades and 1 tank brigade. The Bundeswehr at the time was short of Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) to mount its Panzergrenadiers. Three types of Panzergrenadierbattalions existed: armoured PzGrenBtl (SPz) using the Swiss SPz lang (long) HS 30 with its powerful 20 mm Autocannon, mechanized PzGrenBtl (MTW) using the American M 113 APC, and motorized PzGrenBtl (mot) using 1.5 ton UNIMOG trucks.

To improve the firepower of mechanized and motorized Panzergrenadier units, the Bundeswehr ordered an upgraded version of the French Hotchkiss TT 6 infantry fighting vehicle. The vehicle received a longer chassis with one additional road wheel, and the turreted 20 mm Autocannon of the HS 30. SPz kurz (Halbgruppe und Funk) – Infantry Fighting Vehicle short (Halfsquad and Radio) – was deployed in dedicated fire support Gun Platoons of PzGrenBtl (MTW) and PzGrenBtl (mot). In addition, SPz kurz served as an armoured reconnaissance vehicle in the PzAufklBtl (armoured recon battalions), until replaced by Luchs (Lynx) 8-wheeled amphibian armoured cars.

Available Scale Model Kits

  • 1:87 ROCO 214 – Schützenpanzer, Spähpanzer
  • 1:300 Heroics&Ros GM22
  • 1:87 ROCO 215 – Sanitätspanzer
  • 1:87 ROCO 216 – Beobachtungspanzer
  • 1:87 ROCO 217 – Mörserträger

A new TO&E – Heeresstruktur 3 – was introduced in 1970, and the modern Schützenpanzer Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicle replaced the older SPz kurz (Hotchkiss) and SPz lang (HS 30) between 1972 and 1974. Some PzGrenBtl (MTW) retained the M 113 APC, and PzGrenBtl (mot) were redesignated Jäger – light infantry.

Technical Specifications

  • Schützenpanzer kurz (Hotchkiss) – Infantry Fighting Vehicle short
  • Motor: 6-cylinder Hotchkiss (Klöckner Deutz) in-line petrol engine, 4678 cc, 122 kW
  • Gear-change: semi-syncromesh, 4F 1R, dry clutch
  • Steering: Hotchkiss steering gear (Cleveland type), cable brake control via steering levers, doubles as operational brake.
  • Speed: 58 km/h on raods
  • Range: 400 km on roads; 125 km cross-country
  • Length: 4476 mm
  • Width: 2340 mm
  • Height: 2015 mm
  • Weight: 7200 kg
  • Payload: 1000 kg
  • Armour: 8-30 mm
  • Armament: 20 mm Autocannon L/85 with 500 Rounds
  • Laying Gear: manual traverse and elevation
  • Crew: Commander/Gunner, Driver and 2-3 Grenadiers
  • Production: 1958–1962
  • Output: 2374 (all variants)
  • Cost (1960): 200.000,00 DM


  • Anweiler, Karl: Rad- und Kettenfahrzeuge der Bundeswehr.
  • Gau, Lutz-Reiner: Deutsche Militärfahrzeuge. Bundeswehr und NVA.

Museum Exhibits

Historical Employment

  • German Federal Army – Bundeswehr, 1959–1970
    • Spähpanzer kurz, 11-2 with 20 mm Autocannon (ROCO 214),
      deployed in Panzeraufklärungskompanie, 1959–1970
    • Schützenpanzer kurz, 11-2 with 20 mm Autocannon (ROCO 214), deployed
      in the 5. (heavy) Company of PzGrenBtl (MTW) and PzGrenBtl (mot).
      • Gun Platoon with 7 SPz kurz (20 mm), 1959–1967
      • Gun Platoon with 5 SPz kurz (20 mm), 1967–1970
    • Sanitätspanzer kurz, for 2 stretcher cases (ROCO 215)
    • Beobachtungspanzer 22-2 for Artillery Forward Observer (ROCO 216)
    • Mörserträger 51-2 with 81 mm Mortar (ROCO 217), deployed in the
      5. (heavy) Company of PzGrenBtl (SPz), (MTW) and (mot).
      • Mortar Platoon 81 mm (6 SPz kurz), 1959–1967
    • Radarträger with Battlefield Radar AN/TPS-33

Schützenpanzer kurz (Hotchkiss) was a small, and lightly armoured vehicle for Panzergrenadiers and Panzeraufklärer (Armoured Recon) of the Bundeswehr. Because of its angular shape, SPz kurz was popularly known as Bremsklotz – Chock Block – And many Bundeswehr reservists remember it by that name.

Cold War Miniatures