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280080 – Schwimmwagen type 166

The Flakpanzer IV “Wirbelwind” (Whirlwind in English) was a German self-propelled anti-aircraft gun based on the Panzer IV tank. It was developed in 1944 as a successor to the earlier Möbelwagen self-propelled anti-aircraft gun.

In the first years of World War II, the German military forces had less interest in developing self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, but as the Allies began to gain air superiority the need for more mobile and better-armed self-propelled anti-aircraft guns increased. During the early summer of 1944 SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Wilhelm Krause with the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend came up with the concept of the Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind. He presented the concept to SS-Obersturmbannführer Max Wünsche, commanding officer of the 12th SS Panzer Regiment and it was approved by Adolf Hitler.

The Panzer IV’s turret was removed and replaced with an open-top nine-sided turret that housed a quad-barrel 2cm Flakvierling 38. A closed-top design would have been preferable, but this was not possible due to the heavy smoke generated by the four anti-aircraft guns. The shape of the turret earned it the nickname Keksdose (“Biscuit Tin”). Production of the tank was carried out by Ostbau Werke in Sagan, Silesia. However in combat the 2cm shells were felt to be insufficiently effective against aircraft and so a more powerful successor was produced which eventually replaced it. Known as the Flakpanzer IV “Ostwind” (East Wind), the successor was equipped with a single 3.7cm Flak 43.

The combination of armor and rapid fire from the four guns of the Wirbelwind made it very effective against lightly armoured ground targets such as trucks and armored cars; infantry were particularly vulnerable.

Between 87 and 105 Wirbelwinds were converted from repaired Panzer IV chassis, but due to discrepancies between the recorded production numbers at Ostbau Werke and Wehrmacht service records, the exact number may never be known.

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Product Description

Schwimmwagen Type 166

Amphibious 4WD Car

The VW Schwimmwagen Type 166 (Swimming Car) was used extensively by German ground forces during WW2.  It was one of the most numerous mass-produced amphibious four-wheel drive off-roaders in history.

The Volkswagen Schwimmwagen was a mix of the VW Type 86 four-wheel drive model with elements of the VW Type 87 command-car. This used the air-cooled “flat-four” boxer and a manual transmission with four speeds. It had two transfer cases and a 4WD capability on the first and reverse gears.  The initial prototype was called the Type 128.  The 128 was quickly put into production despite showing some flaws that became obvious in operational theaters of war like the eastern front; less than a hundred cars were produced.  When all the flaws were removed, and a new reinforced hull introduced the new Type 166 was born.  The Type 166 proved far more reliable and was also simplified for mass production.

The first of these vehicles equipped SS units on the eastern front and they proved valuable in marshy grounds like in the Pripet, many served also in Wehrmacht units in North Africa and Tunisia, Sicilia, and Europe.  They were seen, like the Kübelwagen, in nearly all theaters of war.  It was light and reliable and served for scouting, transport, dispatching, command cars, and regular officer cars on the frontline.  They were unarmed but proved versatile, sturdy and reliable.  Soldiers sometimes nicknamed them “the Frosche” (“frog”).

 

From 1941 to 1944, 15,584 Type 166 Schwimmwagen cars were produced.  The Schwimmwagen remains the most heavily produced amphibious car in history.  Its VW mechanical basis made it popular after the war and 166 survived to this day in museums and private collections, often in running condition.

Product Highlights:

– Detailed interior

– Foldable windshield

– Rear propeller in stowed or in-use position

– Optional side-mounted MG-34 or MG-42

– Driver included

Product Code: 280080

Number of Parts: 50 pieces / 1 sprue

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