The battlefields of North Africa became the ideal place to test German armored reconnaissance units. Ahtrad act in front of a tank column Rommel`s Afrika Korps, providing troops necessary information. Almost immediately after the mid-1930s first triaxial armored vehicles entered service of the German army, it became clear that these machines have no prospects, since they were underpowered and characterized by low permeability. As a result, the command of the Wehrmacht was tasked to create a new four-armored car with a powerful motor. Full-scale development of such a machine using chetyrehosnogo wheel drive chassis firm Büssing-NAG began in 1935, and first samples received by the army in 1937. The car was designated heavy armored car SdKfz 231 schwerer Panzerspahwagen SdKfz 231, and to avoid confusion with the triaxial armored car, who had the same designation, new series had the prefix 8-Rad. The troops of these machines called Ahtrad Achtrad.
SdKfz 231 8-Rad has become one of the best all-terrain vehicles of the time, but the high speed and mobility were achieved high price-the car was difficult to production and maintenance, and also had a high silhouette. She had a full drive and independent suspension, which provided the ability to move even thick layer of mud, as often happened on the Eastern Front. Family SdKfz 231 cars produced until 1942, when it started to release type armored SdKfz 234. By the time it was built in 1235 units which were widely circulated on all fronts. Most notable was their participation in the African campaign. SdKfz 231 8-Rad was equipped with a turret with a 20 mm gun KwK 30 or KwK 38 and coaxial 7.92-mm machine gun.
The machine is due to the large antenna frame was designated SdKfz 232 8-Rad, and command-staff car SdKfz 263 8-Rad had a fixed tower and a large distant radio antenna. On the SdKfz 233, designed for fire support intelligence units of tank units, has been established barreled 75-mm tank gun, which were equipped with early models of tanks T-IV. The crew of such a machine was three. The first production model SdKfz 233 was released in late 1942 and has proved itself quite good, despite the disadvantages such as restrictions on the horizontal angles and low guidance armor piercing projectiles. SdKfz 233 successfully resisted reconnaissance vehicle of the enemy and provide cover fire other machines Ahtrad family.
On The Right. The crew sits in an armored car SdKfz 231 Ahtrad. Judging by the characteristic beret worn over protective leather helmets, the photo was taken before war or in Poland, as in 1940 such berets canceled.
One of the first examples of an armored car SdKfz 231 8-Rad with 20-mm cannon and armored packing box open type in the front of the case.