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German armoured rail-cruisers, 1941-45.

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German armoured rail-cruisers, 1941-45.

Postby Francesco Baracca » 17 Oct 2009, 22:50

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1. steyr schweren Schienenpanzerspahzug (sSp.),2. Panzerjager-Treibwagen,3. Panzertriebwagen Nr. 16

Steyr-Daimler-Puch was assigned the task of developing a family of light and heavy armored railway reconnaissance vehicles in the winter of 1943. The schweren Schienenpanzerspahzug (heavy armored scout train) shown here came in two basic forms, an Artilleriewagen (artillery car) fitted with a surplus turret from older model PzKpfw IV tanks with a short 75mm gun, and a Kommandowagen (command car) to carry infantry and the command element of the train; a proposed flak version never entered production. Each Eisenbahnpanzerzug (railroad armored train) sSp. would have been deployed with 12 of these self-propelled vehicles; two Flak, four artillery, and six command vehicles, plus supporting control wagons and other equipment. These units could operate as a single train, but were intended to be operated independently or in small groups depending on the mission. Sixteen of these units were planned but only six were formed starting in May 1944, numbered 201 (sSp.) to 206 (sSp.) and became operational from November 1944 to April 1945.

Steyr was also assigned to develop a Panzerjager-Treibwagen (roughly, "tank destroyer car") armored rail-cruiser configured like the Soviet MBV D-2 that had been captured and employed since the summer of' 941. They were armed with two turrets from the PzKpfw IV Ausf H, and production began in December 1944 with five planned, numbered from 51 to 55. Only three were completed, too late for combat deployment.

Panzertriebwagen Nr.16 was a unique design, beginning in 1942 as an armored version of the WR550D14 diesel locomotive. The original SP 42 scheme was to fit special armored cars forward and aft for 20mm Flak 38 antiaircraft cannon. In December 1942 the program shifted to the creation of an armored rail-cruiser fitted with artillery turrets at either end, armed with captured Soviet Putilov 76.2mm Mod. 02/30 field guns. It was deployed in the summer of 1944, supplemented by a pair of Panzerjagerwagen on either end with Soviet T-34 turrets on flatcars. It was used for patrols in southwestern Poland through the end of 1944, and finally retreated after the January 1945 Soviet offensive, being captured in the final days of the war by the Soviet Sixty-First Army. It served after the war with the Polish People's Army in anti partisan operations in southeastern Poland and was finally withdrawn from service in the late 1960s.


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