Samochód pancerny wz.34 file photo [32198]

Samochód pancerny wz.34

CountryPoland
ManufacturerArmoured Weapons' Technical Research Bureau, Warsaw, Poland
Primary RoleArmored Car

Contributor:

ww2dbaseIn 1933, the Chief of the Technical Department of the Ministry on Military Affairs decided to have the wz.28 half-track armoured cars rebuilt with wheeled rear axles to correct the relatively short life of the rubber band tracks. This work was supervised by the Technical Research Office of the Armoured Force (B.B.T. Br Panc.) and the first rebuilt vehicles were ready for trials in March 1933 with the 3rd Tank and Armoured Car Battalion. The success of these trials led to the 3rd Battalion rebuilding eleven wz.28 in their workshop on the basis of data furnished by the B.B.T Br Panc. The rebuilt armoured cars were designated Samochód pancerny wz.34 (English: "car, armoured, year 1934 model").

ww2dbaseEighty-six of these light armoured cars were built in Poland between 1934 and 1937 using commercial chassis and turrets and some of the armour from the half-tracks. The layout was conventional for armoured cars of the time, although with only a two-man crew it was more compact than its contemporaries and rather tall in relation to its length. These armoured cars were built in three versions depending on the type of components used in the rebuilding. The basic model used the original wz.28 powertrain, plus a rear axle from the Polski-Fiat 614. The wz.34-I used the same axle, but re-engined with a Polski-Fiat 108 engine from the Polski-Fiat 508 automobile, and the later wz.34-II used an improved Polski-Fiat 108-III engine plus an improved rear axle assembly. All vehicles were virtually identical apart from the internal changes. Like the earlier wz.28 armoured car, the wz.34 armoured car could be found with one of two alternate armaments, either a Hotchkiss Model 25 7.92-millimeter machine-gun or a SA-18 Puteaux 37-millimeter tank gun.

ww2dbaseDuring the invasion of Poland there existed eleven armoured reconnaissance squadrons attached to the horsed cavalry brigades. Ten of these had an armoured car squadron with wz.34 armoured cars, while the other had the wz.28 medium armoured car. Each troop consisted of a squadron of tankettes and a squadron of armoured cars. The armoured car squadron comprised a headquarters and two armoured car platoons. The headquarters had one armoured car and each of the platoons had three armoured cars (one with a 37-millimeter gun and two with machine-guns). Although this gave them a nominal strength of seven armoured cars per squadron, in fact, most troops had a reserve armoured car so each platoon could be allocated four wz.34. The armoured car squadron totalled three officers, 14 non-commissioned officers and 28 other ranks, 7-8 armoured cars, a staff car with radio, three Lorries, five motorcycles, a petrol trailer and a field kitchen trailer.

ww2dbaseOne of the main problems experienced by the armoured car squadrons was that their armoured cars had been used extensively during the summer 1939 manoeuvres, and when committed to the fighting in 1939, many were in a poor state of mechanical repairs, for there had been insufficient time to repair them before the war broke out. Additionally the wheeled configuration limited its ability for off-road travel.

ww2dbaseDuring the course of the battle the wz.34 were employed mainly as a scout vehicle although the car's armour was too thin, too weak, and the cars too few in numbers to stand up against the well-equipped German tank divisions. Nevertheless they proved very useful in the hands of their dedicated crews, and even occasionally scored the occasional victory against German armoured forces. For example on 3 September, a platoon of armoured cars from the 51st Armoured Troop attached to the Krakowska Cavalry Brigade destroyed three German armoured cars in a brief encounter. Many of the wz.34 armoured cars were lost when they ran out of fuel, suffered mechanical breakdowns or became bogged down in soft soil. Some wz.34 armoured cars that were captured by the Germans were handed over to the German puppet Independent State of Croatia.

ww2dbaseSources:
Steven Zaloga and Janusz Magnuski: Polish Armoured Vehicles of W.W.2. (Military Modelling, June 1983)
B. T. White: Tanks and other AFVs of the Balitzkrieg Era 1939-41 (Blandford Press, 1972)
Wikipedia - Samochód pancerny wz.34

Last Major Revision: Jul 2022

SPECIFICATIONS

Samoch?d pancerny wz.34
MachineryOne Polski-Fiat 108N or 108-III 4cyl petrol engine rated at 23 or 25hp respectively, driving though a four speed gearbox
SuspensionQuarter-elliptic leaf springs at the front and semi elliptics at the rear, where there were dual wheels on a Polski-Fiat 614 rear axle
Armament1x37mm SA-18 Puteaux tank gun (96-100 rounds) or 1x7.92mm Hotchkiss Model 25 machine-gun (2,000 rounds)
Armor6-8mm
Crew2
Length3.62 m
Width1.91 m
Height2.20 m
Weight2.2 t
Speed54 km/h
Range250 km




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