Sd.Kfz. 10

The Sd.Kfz. 10 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug - special motorized vehicle) was a German half-track that saw very widespread use in World War II. Its main role was as a prime mover for small towed guns such as the 2 cm FlaK 30, the 7.5 cm leIG, or the 3.7 cm PaK 36 anti-tank gun. It could carry eight troops in addition to towing a gun or trailer.

The basic engineering for all the German half-tracks was developed during the Weimar-era by the Reichswehr's Military Automotive Department, but final design and testing was farmed out to commercial firms with the understanding that production would be shared with multiple companies. Demag was chosen to develop the smallest of the German half-tracks and spent the years between 1934 and 1938 perfecting the design through a series of prototypes.

The chassis formed the basis for the Sd.Kfz. 250 light armored personnel carrier. Approximately 14,000 were produced between 1938 and 1945, making it one of the most widely produced German tactical vehicles of the war. It participated in the Invasion of Poland, the Battle of France, the Balkans Campaign and fought on both the Western Front and the Eastern Front, in North Africa and in Italy.

Sd.Kfz. 10
Class Vehicle
Type Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Manufacturer Demag
Production Period 1938 - 1945
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1938
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Germany 1938 1945 View
Romania View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Adlerwerke vorm. Heinrich Kleyer 1938 1945 View
Büssing 1938 1945 View
MNH 1938 1945 View
MIAG 1938 1945 View
Demag 1938 1945 14000 View

Preliminary design of all the German half-tracks of the early part of the war was done by Dipl.Ing. Ernst Kniepkamp of the Military Automotive Department (Wa Prüf 6) before the Nazis took power in 1933. His designs were then turned over to commercial firms for development and testing. Demag was assigned to develop the "Liliput" Kleinster geländegängiger Kettenschlepper (smallest cross-country tracked towing vehicle) with the first D ll 1 prototype produced in 1934. It had a six-cylinder, 28 horsepower (28 PS) BMW Type 315 engine mounted in the rear and only had three roadwheels per side. The D ll 2 followed in 1935 and kept the same engine, but added an extra roadwheel. It weighed 2.56 tonnes (2.52 long tons; 2.82 short tons).

While the first two vehicles were only automotive prototypes, the 3.4 tonnes (3.3 long tons; 3.7 short tons) D ll 3 had a 42 horsepower (43 PS) BMW Type 316 engine mounted in the front, 5 roadwheels and a troop compartment that could fit six. The D 4 prototype never left the drawing board. There was no D 5. It was succeeded by eight trial series (Versuchs-Serie) D 6 prototypes in 1937. This weighed 3.85 tonnes (3.79 long tons; 4.24 short tons), had a 83 horsepower (84 PS) Maybach NL 38 TRK engine and a different transmission, but otherwise differed only in detail from the D ll 3. Several D 6s and the D ll 3 were used as prototypes for the models intended for service with the Chemical Troops (Nebeltruppen) and the Air Defense Troops (Luftschutztruppen). A series of 60 pre-production (0-serie) D 6s were ordered in 1937 from Demag, Adler and Mechanische Werke Cottbus (MWC) which differed only in details from the trial series. They were all delivered by November 1938.[6] On 17 March 1937 the vehicle was renamed as the leichter Zugkraftwagen 1 to (Sd.Kfz. 10) (light 1 ton semi-tracked towing vehicle).

The D 7 was the mass-production model and differed mainly from the D 6 by having different tracks and a NL 38 TRKM engine. The NL 38 TRK had proven to have too much compression for the 74 octane (OZ 74) gasoline decreed for use after 1 October 1938 and had to be modified with new cylinder heads and shorter pistons than the TRKM, but this did not change the engine's power. Deliveries began in October 1938 with one of the first machines off the production line demonstrated for the army on 11 October 1938. Early machines had two fuel tanks, one of 58 litres (15 US gal) and the other of 31 litres (8.2 US gal), but they were replaced by a single 110 litres (29 US gal) tank early in the production run. The NL 38 TRKM engine was replaced in late 1939 by the HL 42 TRKM which differed little other than it had been bored out to 4.192 litres (255.8 cu in) to increase its power to 100 horsepower (100 PS). During 1940 the hull rear was reinforced to allow the vehicle to tow heavier loads like the 7.5 cm PaK 40 anti-tank gun, 15 cm sIG 33 infantry gun and the 10.5 cm leFH 18 howitzer. An air compressor was added later for loads equipped with air brakes. These were designated as Model (Ausführung - Ausf.) B. In 1943 the semi-automatic transmission was replaced by a manual transmission. During 1943–44 the original metal upper bodies were replaced with wood to conserve steel.

The D 7p chassis for the Sd.Kfz. 250 light armored personnel carrier was based on that of the D 7 with a shortened suspension, but actually shared very few components with it other than the engine.

Demag was contracted to design a new version of the Sd.Kfz. 10 in 1944 with ten road wheels, a strengthened front axle, a strengthened idler crank arm, an improved track tensioner and increased ground clearance. Three prototypes were completed; two were delivered in September 1944, but the third was retained at the factory. Development, however, did not proceed any further. Yet another new version of the Sd.Kfz. 10 was proposed in the Emergency Development Program (Entwicklungs-Notprogramm) of 20 February 1945 with armored engine and driver's compartments that was to have had its development completed in June 1945.

Initially it was planned to use the Sd.Kfz. 10 as a towing vehicle for various light guns and trailers, but it was authorized as a substitute for the Sd.Kfz. 250 light armored personnel carrier in 1939. The Ausf. B model saw its use broadened to tow heavier weapons like the 5 cm PaK 38 as well as their ammunition trailers. They also served in the maintenance and supply companies of motorized and tank units. Nine were delivered to Romania in 1942 as tractors for anti-tank guns.

For the Chemical Troops (Nebeltruppen) each decontamination battery (Entgiftungs-Batterie) was authorized six Sd.Kfz. 10/1 and six Sd.Kfz. 10/2. Eighteen Sd.Kfz. 10/3 were held at the battalion level for issue to the batteries in lieu of their Sd.Kfz. 10/2s if needed. If necessary they could be substituted for Sd.Kfz. 11s of the appropriate type. When the decontamination units were authorized to be re-equipped with heavy rocket launchers in November 1941 seven Sd.Kfz. 10/1s were used to tow the 28/32 cm Nebelwerfer 41 launchers and another was used by the platoon leader to tow an anti-tank gun. Similarly decontamination units usually retained their Sd.Kfz. 10/2s and used them just like the 10/1s after removing their special equipment. However, it seems that the 10/3s were turned in when the unit was reorganized.

An early-war Army anti-aircraft company (Flugabwehr-Kompanie) was organized in three platoons with a total of eighteen Sd.Kfz. 10/4s, twelve with guns and six carrying ammunition. When the four-barrel 2 cm Flakvierling 38 was fielded in 1941 each platoon had four Sd.Kfz. 10/4s towing the guns and another for ammunition. Later these companies were reorganized with a total of eight Sd.Kfz. 10/4s carrying guns, two towing Flakvierlings and three carrying ammunition. These are just examples of some of the Army organizations which differed depending on the unit and the period. Sd.Kfz. 10/5s were substituted for 10/4s on a one for one basis. Detailed records do not survive for the Luftwaffe light anti-aircraft units, but they appear to have been organized into batteries of nine or twelve guns.

Usage in Sweden

When war broke out in September 1939, Sweden maintained a policy of neutrality. To support this policy a rapid upgrade of aging military equipment was necessary. Guns, vehicles and aircraft was both manufactured domestically and purchased abroad. Artillery guns, 10.5 cm leFH 18 and towing vehicles was purchased from Germany in the winter of 1939/1940 and deliveries started in 1940. The towing vehicles were partly Klöckner-Deutz A330 4x4 trucks and partly Demag D7 halftracks. The halftracks were would be used in sub-arctic climate and all twelve Demags were, in the autumn of 1940, delivered along with twelve guns to the 8th Artillery regiment (A8) in the northern city of Boden, close to the arctic -circle. Noteworthy is that the 10.5 cm leFH 18 ("Haubits m/39" in Swedish terms) is a significantly heavier gun than the ones the German army towed with this vehicle. In Sweden the Demag was called "Artilleritraktor m/40" or "Arttrak m/40" for short.

Already in 1941 Sweden tried to purchase more Demags, but the ongoing war made this impossible. Orders then went to Volvo to make a "copy" (the "Artilleritraktor m/43" or "Volvo HBT"), were the only specific requirement from the Swedish army was that the track links had to be interchangeable with the Demag. This Volvo was never in use at A8.

After the war another twelve Sdkfz 10, bought as surplus from Norway and elsewhere, were delivered to A8. The total of 24 Sdkfz 10 were used in training gun crews all through the 1950s and early 1960s. 1966 all were sold to the highest bidders at Kalix airfield and they ended up in he villages surrounding Kalix and Boden. In the mid 1970s they were traced down and sold abroad. The last known one left Sweden in 1992. Of the 24 sold in 1966, as of 2014 fourteen have known locations with collectors and in museums all over the world.

Type Light half-track
Place of origin  Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1938–45
Used by  Nazi Germany
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Demag
Designed 1934–38
Manufacturer Demag, Adlerwerke, Büssing-NAG, MWC, MNH, MIAG, Saurerwerke
Produced 1938–45
Number built Approx. 14,000
Variants Sd.Kfz. 10/1, Sd.Kfz. 10/2, Sd.Kfz. 10/3, Sd.Kfz. 10/4, Sd.Kfz. 10/5
Specifications (Sd.Kfz. 10 Ausf. B)
Weight 4,900 kilograms (10,800 lb)
Length 4.75 metres (15.6 ft)
Width 1.93 metres (6.3 ft)
Height 2 metres (6.6 ft) (overall)
Crew 2 + 6
Engine 3.7L Maybach HL42 TRKM petrol 6-cylinder, water-cooled
100 horsepower (100 PS)
Power/weight 21.3 HP/ton
Transmission 7 + 3 speed Maybach VG 102128H
Suspension torsion bar
Ground clearance 32 centimetres (13 in)
Fuel capacity 110 litres (29 US gal)
300 kilometres (190 mi) (road)
150 kilometres (93 mi) (cross-country)
Speed 75 km/h (47 mph) (road)

End notes