Very brief history-background:
In early 1950’s Germany, the founding of a border-defence guard was considered and brought to allied attention. This force would act as military-police and border-guard, tasked with defending the west-German borders, as well as keeping the peace of the civil population.
With the increasingly perceived threat, coming from the Soviet union, Germany was eventually allowed to maintain a border-guard in form of the “Bundesgrenzschutz” (BGS), which was founded on the 16th March 1951. This was also seen as a good way to kickstart the future rearmament of west-Germany, which was eventually continued with the founding of the Bundeswehr in 1956.
Initially supposed to be 5.000 members strong, this number was later revised to be 10.000, and by 1955, the BGS was 17.000 men strong.
The BGS was armed with a lot of different equipment, ranging from both allied and axis WW2 equipment, as well as post-war gear.
The very first armoured and armed vehicles of the BGS were introduced in 1952, when Germany bough 60 M8 Greyhounds from America, which were promptly relieved of their 12,7mm M2 HMG and 37mm cannon, as well as the coaxial 7,62mm MG, the gun-sight and internal ammo-racks. The now renamed “Sonderwagen M8” (SW M8), meaning “Special Vehicle / Car M8”, served first and foremost as a training vehicle, for the BGS. During these training-exercises, all SW M8’s had their cannon-mount welded over with a steel-plate.
This was however not the final configuration of the SW M8, since in 1952 and 1953, plans were layed down and acted upon, to rearm the SW M8 with a single MG42, fitted into the original 37mm cannon position.
Most of the SW M8’s stayed in this single MG42 configuration until their service ended in 1963.
In 1957, a rarer version of the SW M8 was introduced to the BGS, armed with the same MG42 in the turret, but, instead of the empty AA-MG ring, which was used to mount the 12,7mm M2HB, a semi-enclosed gun-shield with a 20mm HSS.804 cannon was fitted on top. Not many SW M8’s were converted to have 20mm cannons, but they did exist and they did see service.
Crew: 4 (gunner, commander, driver, assisstant driver
Armament: 1x 20mm Hispano Suiza HSS.804 L/70 cannon, 1x MG42
Mechanically, the 20mm HS 804 seems to be only adjustable in elevation and depression, being otherwise fixed to the rotation of the main turret, which houses the MG42. I suspect this, as on every picture I have seen so far, the MG42 and HSS.804 are always pointing in the same direction, therefore it seems, that the turret rotates as one unit with the 20mm.
The ammo for the 20mm cannon used during service was armour-piercing incindiary and high-explosive tracer, overall, 25.000 API and 5.000 HE-T shells were bought between the 18th December 1952 and the 12th May 1953. (The BGS used the 20mm HS.804 before it was mounted on the SW M8).
I personally think this little known vehicle could be a great addition to the German tech-tree as a rank 1 armoured car, perhaps under the Sd.Kfz 221, or even foldered with it. It would offer a very interesting post-war fighting-vehicle, with an arguably even more interesting history behind it, at least to me, since I am a huge fan of early post-WW2 Germany.
As a side-note, it was quite hard to find any concrete information regarding the mount that was made for the 20mm cannon, pictures are there, but details can often not be recognised very well, and I am not sure if a SW M8 with the 20mm mount still even exists somewhere, so if you have any additional informations, be it pictures or schematics, I would greatly appreciate it if you could DM them to me, or post them under this thread. Thanks!
Thanks for reading and have a good one