Schutzenpanzer 12-3 (Spz 12-3)
The Germans were prohibited from having an army immediately following WW II, but their planners were unrestrained. They recognized one major armor deficiency on the Eastern Front as a reliance on too many wheeled vehicles. Wheeled vehicles could not move with the tanks on the marshy open terrain in Russia, and being road bound made the armored cars and trucks vulnerable to air attack. The roads were often churned up by the passage of too many vehicles. The Panzers were left to do battle at infantry speed or to do it without their Panzer-grenadiers. The Germans recognized the need for the infantry to have full-tracked combat vehicles suited for mounted action.
When the Germans were finally permitted to rearm, they planned to have fully armored units. As the West German Bundeswehr began to rebuild, one priority was an infantry fighting vehicle. The Schutzenpanzer 12-3 (Spz 12-3, Schutzenpanzer is literally "protect tanks") production began in the mid-1950s and was completed in 1962.
The Spz 12-3 mounted a 20mm gun and a 7.62mm machine gun in a rotating turret. Its front and side armor protection was similar to the earlier French AMX-VCI, but compared to the French IFV the German vehicle had several shortcomings. The infantryman had to ride in an open hatch position to fire while moving. The men would be exposed to the full effects of small arms fire and artillery. Worse, they had to climb out through the top to dismount from the vehicle.
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