Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Maschinengewehrkraftwagen (Kfz 13) / Funkkraftwagen (Kfz 14)

History: The Kfz 13 and 14 were developed in 1929-1932 as reconnaissance vehicles for the developing motorized forces of the German Army.

This was a medium 4 x 2 armoured car based on the chassis of the widely-used Adler Standard 6 Kublesitzer passenger car-although it is said that some of these vehicles were built around the Adler Standard 3U chassis. It was built to a military requirement issued by the Reichsministerium / Heereswaffenamt during 1932, when the German Army required a light armoured wheeled vehicle of a type not yet in existence. Being inexpensive and easy to produce, it appeared in relatively large numbers after 1934 and was issued to cavalry regiments until the appearance of newer versions in 1937. It is believed that even as early as 1932 the car was never intended to represent the ideal reconnaissance car but was purely an expedient until funds became available for the production of a more efficient and more versatile vehicle.

During 1933 Daimler-Benz, in Berlin·Marienfelde, acted as parent firm for the vehicle; and the armoured body was the responsibility of Deutschen Edelstahl, in Hannover- Linden.

The vehicle had a front-located 3-litre, 6-cylinder, in-line engine developing 60hp at 3200rpm. A sliding pinion 4-speed gearbox drove the conventional rear axle; and the hull, of welded construction, was box-shaped. Closely resembling a sports car, the vehicle had curved mudguards. Its rigid wheel suspension was by semielliptic leaf springs, and only the front pair of wheels was steered.

With a two-man crew and machine-gun armament the vehicle's official designation was MG-Kw (Kfz. 13) Maschinengewehrkraftwagen mit Fahrgestell des mittleren Personenkraftwagen (O)-machine-gun vehicle with the chassis of the medium passenger car, commercial. With a three-man crew and radio equipment it was Fu-Kw (Kfz. 14) Funkkraftwagen mit Fahrgestell des mittleren Personenkraftwagen (O)-wireless vehicle with the chassis of the medium passenger car, commercial.

The Kfz. 13s carried no radio equipment, communication being by means of flags alone. But this was not considered much of a handicap since they were always accompanied by a Kfz. 14 with its long-range wireless telegraphy and radio-telegraphy transmitter and receiver -the aerial for which was of a frame type and could be folded down around the vehicle when not in use. Because of the bulk of its radio equipment-which had a range of about twenty miles-the Kfz. 14 mounted no armament. Both models were open-topped and protected all round by 8mm armour, their construction representing one of the earliest German attempts at welding armour plate.

Combat service: The Kfz 13 and 14 were issued to motorized Aufklarungs detachments from 1932. In 1935 they were supplemented by, and in 1938 had been fully replaced by the Sd Kfz 221 and 223, and were then relegated to the reconnaissance units of non-motorized divisions. Many were used during the campaign in Poland and several were still in service in France, but they had been withdrawn from service by 1941.

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