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Schützenpanzerwagen PSH: Warsaw Pact Warrior


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  1. 1. Would You Like This Vehicle?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Maybe / I Don't Know
  2. 2. If Added, What BR Should It Be?

    • 1.0
    • 1.3
    • 1.7
    • Other (Please Comment)
    • I Don't Know / Don't Mind
  3. 3. If Added, How Should It Be Available To Players?

    • Researchable
    • Premium
    • Event / Tournament
    • Squadron Reward
    • I Don't Know / Don't Mind
    • Other (Please Comment)
  4. 4. If Added, How Should The Trim Board ("Splash Plate") Be Modelled?

    • Raised (Position For Amphibious Use; Provides Some Spaced Armour)
    • Lowered (Position For General Driving; Provides Extra Glacis Armour)
    • Optional Modification (Installed For Better Amphibious Performance)
    • I Don't Know / Don't Mind
    • Other (Please Comment)

The Schützenpanzerwagen PSH, often abbreviated as SPW-PSH, was the East German designation for the Hungarian-built PSZH-IV armoured car, a turreted variant of the earlier D-422 FUG. A small, light vehicle, the PSH was only armoured against small arms and came equipped with a 14.5mm KPVT heavy machine gun, making its combat abilities against 1960s tanks rather limited. It was, however, amphibious, and its 14.5mm main armament was sufficient to deal with West German scout vehicles, other light armour and infantry, suiting it well to its role as a light scout and APC. Unlike East Germany's other armoured cars, such as BRDM-1 and -2 (SPW-40P & P2), the SPW-PSH was not operated by the Soviet Union, offering a vehicle of this class and BR range which would not become a copy-paste in the event the USSR received a BRDM of their own.






After WWII, the Hungarian military had been working on a new armoured car design based on their wartime Csaba, but when the USSR offered them large numbers of cheap, obsolete BA-64s, they cancelled this promising design. No BA-64s were ever delivered. In the face of this unfortunate situation, the Hungarian People's Army set about developing their own, cheap wheeled APC to fill the gap left by the nonexistent BA-64s. They worked with civilian vehicle manufacturers to keep costs down, since they needed the new vehicle to be economical for large-scale production, and so the new vehicle reused the BRDM-1's belly wheels, adapted an existing Ikarus front suspension, and kept the engine, rear axle and winch from the Csepel D-344 truck. Rather than use more of the BRDM-1, Raba devised a unique transmission system for what would become the D-422 FUG, and in light of the BRDM's less-than-ideal river-crossing abilities, rather than go for a similar boat-shaped hull profile, the Hungarians sought local maritime expertise and wound up with a new, sharp-angled design developed by the Danube Shipyard.



An NVA trials FUG enters the water; note the two water jet ports at the rear.


The new vehicle had a rear-engined arrangement, with the crew compartment in the front behind the driver's cabin, and was only armoured up to 13mm on the front and 7mm on the sides, which was sufficient to stop small arms but wouldn't hold up under 12.7mm AP belts. Quality control for the vehicle's armour was carried out by shooting each plate with AK-series assault rifles and PK machine guns, ensuring that it had the desired protectiveness, which left telltale marks on the finished vehicles. Armoured shutters on the front contained integral vision blocks, giving them a resemblance to frogs' eyes or goggles, which would be lowered into place during combat, sealing the vehicle from external threats. Care was taken to reduce the amount of penetration points (places where components go through holes in the armour) on the hull, and as a result the front axle was mounted unconventionally via external fixtures rather than screws through the belly plate, leaving the steering axle as the only hull-penetrating component. The result of this, besides easing the task of making the FUG watertight, was that despite its thin armour the new APC had surprisingly good survivability against mines. In water, the FUG was propelled by two water jets, which could be steered by reversing the thrust of one jet and keeping the other running normally; to increase stability, a trim board is raised at the front before the vehicle enters water, which provides extra armour when not deployed. 



FUG on trials with the NVA, with the BDRM-derived belly wheels clearly visible.


East Germany received two FUG APCs in 1963, which it trialled extensively but ultimately decided not to adopt. The vehicle had some shortcomings, particularly that its infantry, like the BRDM-1 and -2, had to exit the vehicle via two hatches in the roof. FUG had an extra, circular hatch in the floor for escaping through, but this was not practical for deploying infantry. Another problem, also shared by BRDM-1, was the fact that FUG had no fixed armament and the pintle-mounted machine guns used by many militaries couldn't be operated from within the vehicle, exposing the gunner to return fire. In light of these problems, Hungary was already developing an improved derivative of FUG, the PSZH, which had a number of changes compared to its predecessor. The belly wheels, taken from the BRDM-1, were removed and the space saved used to fit more passengers, for a total of six; thanks to the addition of hatches in the hull sides, this larger embarked force could leave the vehicle more safely than in a FUG or BRDM-1. Armour was increased to 14mm on the front and buoyancy was also improved to cope with the increased weight. The most major change, however, was the addition of a one-man turret armed with a 14.5mm KPVT autocannon and a coaxial 7.62mm PKT GPMG; this turret, like the new hull front, was 14mm thick. Additional bonuses over the FUG was the installation of NBC protection and infared night vision devices, making the PSZH a more capable night-fighter and a safer vehicle overall. 



An SPW-PSH in NVA service.


The East Germans liked the new PSZH variant much better than the first, ordering 692 vehicles, which they designated SPW-PSH and modified into several distinct types. While the basic turret-equipped scout was the major type operated by the DDR, they also used NBC detection vehicles (SPW-PSH (Ch)), artillery observation vehicles with more sensors and a large optical rangefinder carried atop the engine deck (SPW-PSH (Artl)), and pioneer vehicles with extra equipment such as chainsaws, explosives and mine detectors for the combat engineers (SPW-PSH (Pi)). Turretless vehicles, essentially FUGs with the PSZH hull, were also used but although the DDR appears to have been their sole operator, the only known name for them is the Hungarian export designation PSZH-IV-10, rather than an official DDR SPW-PSH designation. The turretless models were exclusively operated by the Grenztruppen (militarised border guard), whereas the more standard SPW-PSH also saw use by the Bereitschaftspolizei, which served as the DDR's riot police. Many SPW-PSHs were still in service when Germany reunified, but these were all sold to other nations or scrapped, rather than kept and adapted the way many of the DDR's BMP-1s were.






Length: 5.69m

Width: 2.5m

Height: 2.3m

Weight: 7.6 tons

Crew: 3 (driver, gunner, commander) + 4-6 infantry

Hull Armour: 14mm front, 7mm sides and rear

Turret Armour: 14mm all round

Primary Armament: 14.5mm KPVT (500 rounds total; 10x 50 round belts)

Secondary Armament: 7.62mm PKT in a coaxial mount (2000 rounds)

Armament Traversal: -5 to 30 degrees elevation, 360 degrees traverse 

Max Speed: 50 mph (81 kph) road; 28.1 mph (45 kph) cross-country

Amphibious: Yes; max speed of 5.625 mph (9 kph) in water

Smoke: None / Unknown

NVD: Two infrared lamps mounted on the turret roof


Its Place In War Thunder:


The SPW-PSH is in an interesting position for implementation in War Thunder, since its specifications would place it at low Tier I, whereas its date of introduction is more in line with many Tier IVs. Personally, I'm fine with anachronistic vehicles so long as they aren't too blatantly modern, and to me SPW-PSH doesn't look all that much more advanced than WWII armoured cars, but I'm well aware that many players will disagree with a 1960s vehicle fighting in the 1940s, which is a point of view I respect. Concerns about anachronisms aside, let's discuss the vehicle's capabilities. With just 14mm of frontal armour, SPW-PSH can't withstand .50 Cal fire from vehicles like M2A2 (although M2A2 can't withstand its 14.5mm either), and it's unlikely to survive artillery. Its KPVT machine gun is essentially a singular mount of the same 14.5mm that equips the Soviet BTR-152A at 3.0, with 45mm of penetration with its best belt and 31mm with its second-best. This places it in a similar realm of capabilities to the T-60 (27mm/35mm), Panzer II (35mm/64mm), and AB 41 (41mm/64mm), although its armour is worse than all three, which I think highlights its potential as a Tier I vehicle, and lack thereof at a higher Tier.


AB 41 is probably the best comparison, since the Italian armoured car has just 4mm more turret armour than SPW-PSH while also having a hull 6mm thinner, putting them on a fairly even footing with regards to protection. AB 41 has a higher calibre gun and more penetration, but a lower rate of fire and much smaller clip sizes -- where the Italian's 8 round belts leave it in dire straits if it hasn't managed to kill its target before running out, the SPW-PSH has more than five times the shots before reloading thanks to its 50-round belts, which means it can more safely take advantage of the high rate of fire. Another comparable vehicle is the similarly-fragile SdKfz 221, which has the same hull armour but only half as much on its gun shield. They have similar top speeds, with SPW-PSH coming out just on top, and their different armaments feel roughly equal, with SdKfz 221 trading a true turret and high rate of fire for a gun with more than twice the penetration. With these comparisons in hand, as well as SPW-PSH's amphibious capabilities and night vision equipment, I feel it would be quite favourable between 1.0 and 1.3, where it would play much like AB 41 does, but for the German tree instead. I'm painfully aware of this vehicle's late introduction date, but we already have a fair few "time travellers" already and even WWII vehicles don't fight exclusively tanks introduced the same year they were, so I'm not as opposed to its introduction at such a low BR as some of you certainly are.


I hope you like this vehicle, and I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!


More Pictures:





A Polish FUG, showing the armoured shutters and their integral vision blocks.



A surviving PSZH-IV, with its IR lamps clearly visible and its trim board raised.



A gathering of Grenztruppen SPW-PSHs.



A FUG on trials with the NVA in 1963.



Same as above.



Same as above, but preparing to enter the water.



Same again, but with the belly wheels (for improved cross-country mobility) in clear view.



A closeup of the previous image.



A rather blurry photo of an SPW-PSH in NVA service.



A clearer photo of another SPW-PSH.



An SPW-PSH from the side.



From above.



From the front, with the trim board stowed, where it acts as extra armour.



A rear-angle view; note the lack of belly wheels and armoured covers over the water jet ports.



A vehicle, which seems to have been disarmed, with its hatches open.



An SPW-PSH (Ch) NBC detection vehicle.



A closeup of its equipment.



The same vehicle, from the front.



The SPW-PSH (Artl) artillery observation model.



A closeup of its equipment.



From the front; note the stowed trim board. 



The SPW-PSH (Pi) combat engineer model.



Another closeup of equipment, which we can't see because it's under protective covers.



The same vehicle from the front.



NVA SPW-PSHs prepare to enter the water.



An SPW-PSH in the water.






A PSZH-IV on the water.




Videos of SPW-PSH:




A video with... interesting background music, with a good deal of footage of SPW-PSHs on the move.


This short video gives a look at the interior of an SPW-PSH.







http://www.militaertechnik-der-nva.de/Bestimmungsbuch/3RadFahrzeug/32/324/324.html (Page on the SPW-PSH, in German)

http://www.militaertechnik-der-nva.de/Bestimmungsbuch/3RadFahrzeug/31/316/316.html (Page on the DDR's FUG, in German)


Tanks and Combat Vehicles of the Warsaw Pact, by Russell Phillips (online copy can be found here)







Edited by Zombificus
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Technical Moderator

Would love to see this as a researchable vehicle! +1 :good:

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Uh no, stop trying to mix era's sorry. R3 is bad enough and this is just as bad. Keep Cold War out of WWII and vise versa.


Seriously guys why?


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43 minutes ago, CK_16 said:

Uh no, stop trying to mix era's sorry. R3 is bad enough and this is just as bad. Keep Cold War out of WWII and vise versa.


Seriously guys why?

War Thunder does not base its ranks on history, it bases them on the capability of the vehicle in question. The PSH is consistent with the characteristics of a rank 1 vehicle so it ideally would fit there. By your standards we should put a Humvee armed with a single .50 cal at rank 6 regardless of its actual performance just because it was introduced in the 1980s.

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Seems a bit pointless tbh pointless and needlessly adds another cold war vehicle into the WWII mix.  Dunno how this would benefit anything or anyone.


Might be good as a map decoration, though.

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