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Reconnaisance vehicles

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  • Reconnaisance vehicles

    Anyone know anything about the German's philosophy regarding vehicles conducting reconnaisance post 1942? I note that no Pz II's were built in 1943 (see "German AFV Production," Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two). It looks as though they were going to rely on armored cars and perhaps the SdKfz 250. I am surprised that a full-tracked vehicle...a light tank, was no longer built for reconnaisance purposes. It would seem that the absence of roads and rough terrain of the Eastern Front would warrant a light tank for mobility reasons. Thoughts, anyone?

  • #2
    The 250's offered the cross country and with the open body a much better view. Smaller than most all other track and many wheeled vehicles and able to carry a crew for just such recon on foot if needed.

    HP
    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Half Pint View Post
      The 250's offered the cross country and with the open body a much better view. Smaller than most all other track and many wheeled vehicles and able to carry a crew for just such recon on foot if needed.

      HP
      But were they as mobile across country as a full-tracked vehicle like a PzII Lynx for example? And, they did have less armor protection....

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tom D View Post
        But were they as mobile across country as a full-tracked vehicle like a PzII Lynx for example? And, they did have less armor protection....

        I'll say no to both. What about speed? Then the II had less possiblity for dismounted recon. I'm a big fan of both so I'd like to have seen them paired.

        HP
        "Ask not what your country can do for you"

        Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

        you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

        Comment


        • #5
          I am going to go out on a limb here , and say that given the Germans much more defensive posture from 1943 onwards they had no real need for a heavy forward reconnaisance vehicle. The Sdkfz. 230 series 8rad armoured cars filled the role of short ranged, quick movement recon, however it's main useage was as rear area security. Therefore reconnaisance vehicle development declined as the war progressed.

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          • #6
            What you say makes sense to me, except when encountering rough terrain, especially in the East.

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            • #7
              Can someone say...... Puma! Off topic, but it was recon, so to speak. Now if it was used that way......??

              Cheers, gentlemen

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              • #8
                I'm sure the Puma was used for recon purposes. How it would do off-road in rough or soft terrain is questionable in my mind.

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                • #9
                  Tom D

                  We all know that the Germans their firepower.

                  As to off-road capabilaties, tracked is better, I think, but in putting together a multi-wheeled recon vehicle such as the Puma, may be easier to make and cost? Trying something different, Russain terrain was quite different than in Normandy, but they were used on both fronts, "testing" purposes to see what they made and if it was better than the ones your original thread talked about......

                  Just a guess really on my part!

                  Tom

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                  • #10
                    8 wheeled vehicles are not all that much worse in "off-road" maneuverability than tracked vehicles (they are yes, but not by a large amount), and are worlds faster and better in the "on-road" performance category.
                    By late '43 on wards the Germans were constantly retreating westwards, into terrain with a better road network, less of the rough terrain found in Russia, and areas that they were already familiar with. The Germans also needed to be able to respond quickly to rear area security issues, partisans and the such, a situation that would favor quicker movement by road .

                    Keep in mind also that wheeled vehicles are lighter, cheaper, easier to build, easier to maintain, go faster, and get better fuel economy than tracked vehicles of comparable size. Fuel economy being of foremost need to Germany's military by this time.

                    A large number of countries, (actually almost all) are currently using 8 wheeled armoured vehicles with very good results.

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                    • #11
                      German recce vehicles

                      Originally posted by deterrumeversor View Post
                      I am going to go out on a limb here , and say that given the Germans much more defensive posture from 1943 onwards they had no real need for a heavy forward reconnaisance vehicle. The Sdkfz. 230 series 8rad armoured cars filled the role of short ranged, quick movement recon, however it's main useage was as rear area security. Therefore reconnaisance vehicle development declined as the war progressed.
                      Yes, these were luxuries that Germany could ill-afford to build so late in the war. Although the fuel economy of the 234 series was enhanced by the use of a diesel engine, the raw materials would have been better used to build tanks. Only about 100 Pumas were built, while the 234/1 with 20mm was much more numerous but really armed only for self-defence. Lynx was similarly a tank of dubious value so late on. German doctrine tended to concentrate on gathering information rather than fighting with such vehicles, and the 234/4 PaKwagen was really a desperate and improvised attempt to boost mobile AT capability.

                      Big and heavy armoured cars in Italy and NW Europe tended to be white elephants that caused traffic jams - the British AEC III being a classic example, most being discarded once the Breakout had occurred.

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                      • #12
                        Charles

                        Great post there, would'nt recon be vital to the defense that the Germans found themselves in, compared to more tanks? I'm not sure, it it just popped in my mind while reading your post.

                        Cheers

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                        • #13
                          Recce

                          Originally posted by TRDG View Post
                          Great post there, would'nt recon be vital to the defense that the Germans found themselves in, compared to more tanks? I'm not sure, it it just popped in my mind while reading your post.

                          Cheers
                          What you say makes sense, but on the western front recce vehicles would have to keep their wits about them in daylight and I would have thought a low slung fairly 'standard' SdKfz 250 was a better bet than a long wheeled vehicle in such circumstances. One both fronts by 1944 I would have thought the main German priority was to work out where the next offensive blow would fall and radio interception and recce missions by things like Arado 234 or fast fighter fitted with cameras would be effective, or to use the foot recce teams so beloved by the Soviets. Building something like Luchs or Sdkfz 234 produced something of low combat value and survivability and their life expectancy cannot have been great, even with the German tendency to avoid combat and get information instead.

                          Its only my opinion of course. Hindsight is 20 20 vision...

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