Hobby Master HG4303 German Sd. Kfz. 234/4 Pakwagen 8-Wheeled Armored Car - Unidentified Unit, Battle of Berlin, May 1945 (1:72 Scale)
"We must do everything we can to promote anti-tank defense, and work just as hard to guarantee successful counter-attacks through the instrument of powerful tank forces of our own."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
On August 5th, 1940, an order was given to design an eight-wheeled armored car similar in design to the Sd. Kfz. 231. Unlike the previous design, where the armored body was bolted to the chassis, the Sd. Kfz. 234 armored hull was to serve as the chassis, thereby strengthening the overall integrity of the vehicle. Furthermore, the armored car was to have heavier armor and a 12-cylinder air-cooled diesel engine that would enable it to operate in the hot climate of North Africa as well as the cold steppes of western Russia. Two trial versions were built and an initial order was made for 500 vehicles, which was later increased to 1,500. The initial requirement was for a vehicle equipped with the 5cm KwK 39/1 gun (Sd. Kfz. 234/2). In January 1944, the order was cut to limit the Puma production to 100 vehicles so that two new variants could be created, one mounting a 2cm KwK gun and the other a more powerful 7.5cm KwK gun.
The 234/4 "Pakwagen" sported 1 x 7.5 cm PaK 40 L/48 in an open-topped superstructure replacing the turret. Eighty=nine were built between December 1944 and March 1945.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a German Sd. Kfz. 234/4 Pakwagen 8-wheeled armored car that participated in the Battle of Berlin during May 1945.
Length: 3-1/4 inches
Width: 1-1/4 inches
Release Date: January 2011
Historical Account: "For May Day" - The Battle of Berlin was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II and was designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union. Starting on January 16th, 1945, the Red Army breached the German front as a result of the Vistula -Oder Offensive and advanced westward as much as 40 kilometres a day, through East Prussia, Lower Silesia, East Pomerania, and Upper Silesia, temporarily halting on a line 60 kilometres east of Berlin along the Oder River. During the offensive, two Soviet fronts (army groups) attacked Berlin from the east and south, while a third overran German forces positioned north of Berlin. The Battle in Berlin lasted from late April 20th, 1945, until the morning of May 2nd and was one of the bloodiest battles in history.
The first defensive preparations at the outskirts of Berlin were on March 20th, when the newly appointed commander of the Army Group Vistula, General Gotthard Heinrici, correctly anticipated that the main Soviet thrust would be made over the Oder River. Before the main battle in Berlin commenced, the Soviets managed to encircle the city as a result of the smaller battles of the Seelow Heights and Halbe. During April 20th, 1945, the 1st Belorussian Front led by Marshal Georgy Zhukov started shelling Berlin's city centre, while Marshal Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front had pushed in the north through the last formations of Army Group Centre. The German defences were mainly led by Helmuth Weidling and consisted of several depleted, badly equipped, and disorganised Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS divisions, as well as many Volkssturm and Hitler Youth members. Within the next days, the Soviets were rapidly advancing through the city and were reaching the city center, conquering the Reichstag on 30 April after fierce fighting.
Before the battle was over, German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler and many of his followers committed suicide. The city's defenders finally surrendered on May 2nd. However, fighting continued to the north-west, west and south-west of the city until the end of the war in Europe on May 8th (May 9th in the Soviet Union) as German units fought westward so that they could surrender to the Western Allies rather than to the Soviets.