Sd.Kfz. 234/3 was the support version of the improved Achtrad (8×8) series of heavy armoured cars. Six vehicles made up the 4th (heavy) platoon of the armoured car company type D. Improved Achtrad Sd.Kfz. 234/3, and earlier Achtrad Sd.Kfz. 233 support vehicles were equipped with the short 7.5 cm L.24 Sturmkanone 37 originally mounted in Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. A-F1 support vehicles. When Pz.Kpfw. IV was upgraded to a main battle tank in 1942 (Ausf. F2), its short 7.5 cm KwK was used to convert Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. N, Sd.Kfz. 250/8 and 251/9 half-tracks, Sd.Kfz. 233 and 234/3 armoured cars, and Gw. 38 (t) to support vehicles. Their main role was to eliminate dug-in machine guns and anti-tank guns with direct high-explosive fire. Armour penetration was better than that of the 2 cm KwK with which the Sd.Kfz. 234/1 in the other three armoured car platoons was equipped, but neither vehicle was expected to stand up to tanks.
The Achtrad series of armoured cars featured bi-directional driving, and the improved Achtrad had a more powerful engine than the earlier version. In action, one crew member was assigned to the rear driving position, ready to back the vehicle out of a tight spot at full forward speed. 8-wheel steering and low ground pressure made the Achtrad armoured car very popular with crews serving in the extreme terrain and weather conditions encountered on the Eastern Front.
Available Scale Model Kits
- Sd.Kfz. 234/3, 1:72 Roden 707
- Sd.Kfz. 234/3, 1:76 Milicast G49
- Sd.Kfz. 234/3, 1:87 ROCO 123
- Sd.Kfz. 234/3, 1:285 GHQ G53
- Sd.Kfz. 234/3, 1:300 Heroics&Ros G106
- Sonderkraftfahrzeug 234/3 schwerer Panzerspähwagen (7.5 cm L.24 StuK 37)
- Manufacturer: Büssing-NAG
- Engine: rear-mounted Tatra 103 diesel engine; V-12 air-cooled; 164 kw
- Transmission: 3 foward 3 reverse; 2 gear ratios
- Fuel Capacity:
- Range: 900 km
- Speed: 80 km/h
- Wheelbase: 2.75 m (1.35 m bogie)
- Length: 6.02 m
- Width: 2.36 m
- Height: 2.21 m
- Weight: 11.5 t
- Armament: 7.5 cm L.24 Sturmkanone 37 with 50 rounds, one 7.92 mm MG 34 or MG 42
- Traverse: 12 degrees left and 12 degrees right
- Elevation: -10 to +12 degrees
- Crew: Commander, Gunner, Driver, Rear Driver
- Production: 88 vehicles
- 4. Zug, Panzerspähwagen-Kompanie Type D, July 1944 – May 1945
4th (heavy) platoon of six support vehicles. The other three platoons had six Sd.Kfz. 234/1 each, and there was one Sd.Kfz. 234/1 for the company commander.
- Sd.Kfz. 234/4 Pakwagen with 7.5 cm L.46 PaK 40, January 1945
Sd.Kfz. 234/3 was an important element of the armoured car company, it provided direct fire support to protect the other vehicles in the company from dug-in anti-tank guns. In action, the 4th (heavy) platoon was deployed immediately behind the two lead platoons, covering them, and advancing in bounds to keep up with forward elements. Simulation gamers will want several 234/1 and 234/3 armoured cars to recreate this activity.