Panzerbefehlswagen (Sd. Kfz. 266, 267 & 268)






For the direction of tank units in the rank of battalions, regiments and brigades, as well as for purposes of the armoured signals units, different Panzerbefehlswagen, abbreviated Pz.Bef.Wg., were designed beginning in 1938. The Panzerbefehlswagen - armoured command vehicle - (Sd. Kfz. 266, 267 and 268) differed only by the installed radio equipment. The Pz.Bef.Wg. Ausf. D1, E and H were based on the chassis of the Panzerkampfwagen III (Z.W.). These vehicles had a Dachantenne - roof antenna - on the engine deck and a fixed turret with dummy gun. The vehicle in the photo is a Pz.Bef. Wg. Ausf. H. (Photo: German federal archive via Wikimedia Commons; License: Creative Commons BY-SA-3.0-gb)









The troop was never pleased with the dummy gun. This was solved with the introduction of the Pz. Bef.Wg. Ausf. J and K in 1942, which were armed with a 5 cm Kw.K. L/42 resp. L/60. The suspicious Dachantenne was replaced by the Sternantenne D. The vehicle in the photo is a Pz. Bef.Wg. Ausf. J which was retrofitted with Schürzen - armoured skirts - in 1943.









Because serial production of the Panzerkampfwagens III was stopped in 1943, new solutions had to be found. So in the following time, Panzerbefehlswagen based on the Panzerkampfwagen III, IV, Panther and Tiger were newly manufactured and some were made by conversion. These corresponded widely to the normal Panzerkampfwagen but had fewer ammunition mountings to create space for the additional radio equipment. The coaxiale machine gun in the turret was often removed. These Pz.Bef.Wg. are identifiable by the additional antennas. Similar Pz.Bef.Wg. were also created based on Sturmgeschütze, Jagdpanzer and Sturmpanzer.






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