The le.Pz.Sp.Wg. Sd.Kfz. 221 (Leichter Panzerspähwagen, Sonderkraftfahrzeug 221), first produced in 1935, was a German armoured car used as a reconnaissance vehicle for the German Panzer Divisions during World War II. At 339 vehicle manufactured between 1935 to 1940, the Sd.Kfz. 221 saw use in Nazi Germany's early campaigns in Europe, North Africa, and the Eastern Front. Some of these vehicles were armed with the 2.8 cm sPzB 41, a squeeze-bore anti-tank weapon that was capable of producing high-velocity projectiles to penetrate armour. The Sd.Kfz. 221 in German service was eventually succeeded by the larger Sd.Kfz. 222 design, or the more off-road capable Sd.Kfz. 250 half-tracks.
Introduced into War Thunder in Update 1.79 "Project X", the le.Pz.Sp.Wg. (s.Pz.B.41) Sd.Kfz.221 is a unique armoured car with its squeeze-bore armament attached to the car's high mobility and relatively thin armour on the body. The squeeze-bore armament, named the 28/20 mm S.Pz.B.41, functions by firing a 28 mm caliber shell down a barrel that narrows it to 20 mm at the muzzle end. This method creates a very high pressure within the barrel that causes the projectile to exit with a high velocity to penetrate more armour relative to the caliber diameter. While providing a bigger punch for the caliber size, the weapon only fires APCR shots as a consequence. Due to this, players using the gun would find some issues such as relatively poor armour-piercing performance against highly sloped armour plating and poor post-penetration damage.
Survivability and armour
The Sd.Kfz.221 has almost no armour at all: it gets penetrated on every side even by rifle-calibre rounds. The main problem of the Sd.Kfz. 221 is that the gunner is exposed: a single coaxial bullet can knock him out and due to the vehicle only having two crew members, will either take out the vehicle entirely from the game in RB/SB or leave it a sitting duck in AB due to crew replenishment.
- Rolled homogeneous armour
- Wheel (tires)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 8 mm (18-36°) Driver viewport
6 mm (71°) Upper glacis
8 mm (36°) Lower glacis
8 mm (36°) Bottom glacis
|8 mm (35°)|| 8 mm (66°) Upper glacis
4-8 mm (32°) Lower glacis
4-8 mm (67°) Bottom glacis
| 10 mm (79°) Front glacis |
8 mm Crew compartment
8 mm (24°) Rear glacis
3 mm Engine vents
|Turret|| 8 mm (33°) Turret front
4 + 4 mm (23°) Gun shield
|8 mm (35°)||8 mm (35°)|
- Wheels are 10 mm thick.
- Belly armour is 6 mm thick.
- Mudguards and storage boxes are 4 mm thick.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The mobility is great for a wheeled vehicle. The double steering axles allow it to make tight turns even though it is a wheeled vehicle. There is, however, one main flaw with the double steering axles design, it is difficult to drive straight forward after making the slightest turn. The vehicle has a tendency to oversteer by itself and requires adjustments to keep it driving straight. This is extremely problematic if driving at full speed. To counter this problem, it is best to simply slow down before making turns. An alternative is to enable "Driver Assist" in the controls, so slight adjustments of the mouse steer it properly instead.
Modifications and economy
Due to this vehicle's extremely limited survivability, the Parts and FPE modifications are not as important as they are on most other tanks. Instead, the most important modifications are the mobility-based modules.
The 28/20 mm s.Pz.B.41 squeeze-bore cannon fires only one ammo type, the 2.8/2 cm PzGr.41. The round has an extremely high muzzle velocity of 1,400 m/s and penetrates 95 mm at 10 m distance against flat armour. Against 30-degree armour, it penetrates an acceptable 73 mm, but at steep angles, it penetrates just 22 mm. Rate of fire is excellent like most low-rank guns, but currently, like all APCR, the post-penetration damage is poor.
|28/20 mm s.Pz.B.41||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Fuse delay|| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|60||55 (+5)||49 (+11)||43 (+17)||37 (+23)||31 (+29)|
|25 (+35)||19 (+41)||13 (+47)||7 (+53)||1 (+59)||No|
- Rearmost ammo racks empty: 37 (+23) shells.
Usage in battles
This vehicle has a powerful cannon and very weak survivability and therefore is effectively played as a sniper at medium to far ranges. However, the positioning will be very important if the player decides to pursue this play-style, as opportunities to engage at long range are rare at this battle rating. Most fights occur at short to medium ranges.
Unfortunately, it is in these close combat scenarios that this vehicle suffers. Gun traverse is limited, so the vehicle is easily flanked, and when up close, enemies will be able to dispatch the crew with a short machine-gun burst. So, brawling is often an ineffective strategy. More useful is an ambush-based play-style, where the vehicle can use its incredible speed (on paved surfaces, at least) to reach a favourable position early in the game, and destroy enemies passing by.
Again, this vehicle has virtually no armour protection, and what it does have will not protect it against anything but the lightest shrapnel blasts. Again, one of the two crew members is completely exposed, and if they are knocked unconscious, then the vehicle is destroyed. This means that the player should avoid taking damage at all costs. If an enemy plane is in the air, it is advisable to find cover immediately. If there is an artillery strike inbound, it is similarly advised to leave the area as soon as possible.
If sniping and ambushing are both not working, it is also possible to use this vehicle as a highly-mobile strike attacker. By constantly moving around, this vehicle can quickly find the best firing positions throughout the map, and its high penetration allow it to destroy enemies from almost any angle. Combined with this vehicle's high speed, a small profile means that enemies will have a difficult time aiming and achieving a hit. Still, the most important thing is to stay out of sight, using speed as an advantage to destroy vehicles without the enemy knowing.
Pros and cons
- Very fast in a straight line, comparable to the infamous BT-5 on road
- Excellent power/weight ratio allows for great acceleration
- Small profile
- Good rate of fire, follow-up shots are easy
- Good penetration and muzzle velocity
- -10° gun depression is great for mountainous terrain
- Limited and unsymmetrical gun traverse
- Limited post-penetration damage
- Low survivability: only 2 crew members who can be easily taken out by all vehicles and aircraft
- Poor mobility on soft surfaces
- Can easily tip over in a sharp turn at high speed
- Can't ram over tiny obstacles like wooden fences and parked cars, limiting mobility
The Sd.Kfz. 221, also known as the PSW 221, along with its sister Sd.Kfz. 222 was the standard German light armoured car in 1939. A total of 339 Sd.Kfz. 221 and 989 Sd.Kfz. 222 vehicles were built. The Sd.Kfz. 221 carried a machine gun in an open-top turret, while the Sd.Kfz. 222 carried a 20 mm cannon, sometimes with or without a shield.
The 2.8 cm sPzB 41 taper-bore heavy anti-tank rifle had a 28 mm breech calibre, but due to malleable skirts around the projectile, the projectile emerged from the barrel with a 20 mm calibre. This greatly increased the possible muzzle velocity (4,600 ft/sec at the muzzle) but required rounds with tungsten carbide cores to prevent shattering on impact, and rapidly wore out the gun bore. In 1942 the other requirements for and scarcity of tungsten forced its discontinuation in anti-tank round production, and the weapons that could only use tungsten ammunition were no longer usable after existing ammo supplies ran out. During its short service life, it was sometimes mounted on light armoured cars like the 221 and armoured half-tracks in place of their usual machine gun.
The Sd.Kfz.221 served mainly in the Aufklärungsabteilung (reconnaissance battalion) attached to the Panzer divisions. It was deployed in various fronts, but was ineffective in battlefields in the Eastern and the North African fronts due to its poor offroad mobility. Hence, the Sd.Kfz.221/222 was taken out of service by the end of 1942, and replaced with the famous Sd.Kfz. 250 half-track.
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|Sd.Kfz.222||Sd.Kfz.222 · ␗Sd.Kfz.222|
|Germany light tanks|
|Pz.II||Pz.II C · Pz.II C (DAK) · Pz.II C TD · Pz.II F · Pz.Sfl.Ic|
|Sd.Kfz.234||Sd.Kfz.234/1 · Sd.Kfz.234/2 · Sd.Kfz.234/2 TD|
|Marder||Marder A1- · Marder 1A3 · Begleitpanzer 57 · DF105|
|Wheeled||Sd.Kfz.221 (s.Pz.B.41) · Class 3 (P) · Radkampfwagen 90|
|Other||Ru 251 · SPz 12-3 LGS|
|Argentina||TAM · TAM 2C · TAM 2IP · JaPz.K A2|
|Czechoslovakia||Pz.35(t) · Pz.38(t) A · Pz.38(t) F · Pz.38(t) n.A. · Sd.Kfz. 140/1|