The heavy eight wheeled armored car, the Sd.Kfz.234/2 «Puma»,
was one of the finest technical developments of World War II. Apart
from the basic model, intended in the first place for conducting
forward reconnaissance, and also for infantry support, various other
versions of this armored car were designed. The final model of this
armored car to be put into series production was the Sd.Kfz.234/4.
In 1944 the German Army found itself on the verge of catastrophe.
The War's victory laurels had long since turned to thorns for the
Third Reich, and the main objectives of the Germans became those
of defense. In order to counter the Soviet armies' numerical advantage
in armored cars, it was decided to set the PaK-40 75 mm cannon,
which had a formidable combat reputation, onto a few of the most
suitable chassis for it, including that of the Sd.Kfz.234. The wheels
were removed for this purpose, and the cannon was fitted into the
open upper part of the car's armored body.
In tests the Sd.Kfz.234/4 showed an insufficient ability to conduct
an effective fight - first of all for its too narrow sector of fire,
and then for its limited number of rounds (there were only 36);
but in general this particular model appeared to be mobile enough,
and it was decided to begin series production at the Büssing-NAG
plant at the end of 1944. By April 1945, when Germany's arms industry
appeared on the verge of complete collapse because of continuous
Allied bombing raids, only 89 of the Sd.Kfz.234/4 had been produced.
In conditions of growing chaos at the front line new armored cars
were passed to newly formed military units, which immediately started
the fight for the 'defense of the Vaterland'. Some Sd.Kfz.234/4s
were passed to the First Division of the Russian Liberation Army
under the command of General Vlasov. In May 1945, in the last days
of war in Europe, this military formation took part in the struggle
At least one example of the Sd.Kfz.234/4 was saved, and today it
is exhibited in the Deutsches Panzermuseum in Münster.