German Armoured Scout Train
Sets ref.: L136500 & L136501 (Panzerzug 201)
by Doug Teggin
Germany had used armored trains in WWI, but prior to the start of WWII the armored train was seen as something of a relic by the German defense force, the Reichswehr, and its government renamed successor in 1935, the Wehrmact. The Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft (DRG), between 1920 and 1945, saw armored trains as a way to preserve and advance a military presence. By keeping a strong military face on this state owned railroad, the Reichsbahn looked to increase both their state funding as well as their national prestige.
Due to the increasing threat of attack on supply lines of German armed forces by urban guerrillas, a new protection measures had to be taken. While planning to produce an Armoured Scout Train an early 1920's idea was used, and a number of independent Handcars, each with their own Engine were produced. A draisine is a handcar, and these cars were commonly called Panzerdraisine.
Using a standard chassis a number of different car types built: Command Car, Infantry Car, Cannon Car and a Pioneer Car. Those four cars made a half train. An armoured train consisted usually of two half-trains. They were used as half trains and as full trains.Another car with anti-aircraft guns was planed, but was not produced. The artillery draisine was equipped with a PzKpFw III Ausf. N turret with a short 75 mm gun.
Made by the Steyr works, the first two armoured scout trains were delayed in production and delivered in Novermber,1944, with other trains following. A total of ten Scout Trains were ordered to be produced, only six were finished and delivered before the end of the war.
The crew of an armoured train included 5 officers, 34 non-commissioned officers and 98 soldiers. The units which were equipped with heavy draisines were the panzerzug 201 which was crated on January 5th 1944, then the panzerzug 202,203 and 204 created the same year, which all fought in the Balkans.
The Liliput Model
In a Panzerspahzug of 4 cars, there is only one powered car, the first one of the series. Liliput produce four sets.
L136500 Set 1
- Panzerzug 201
Command Car (powered) and
L136504 Set 1 and Set 2 - camouflage colours
Panzerzug 201Wagen 1 - Command Car
Panzerzug 201 Wagen 2 -
Panzerzug 201 Wagen 3 -
Panzerzug 201 Wagen 4 -
These are very interesting little models. Small and well made. Quite rugged with not much that will break off. The radio car and a metal cage antenna and the other cars have metal whip-antennas. The canon car has a rotating turret with an elevating gun.
The cars link together with either a short linkage bar (for static close coupled display) or a slightly longer linkage bar that allows you to run the cars on your layout. NEM coupling sockets give you the possibility to modify the couplings to your requirements. Standard couplings are provided.
The powered car has a fantastic gearbox that gives the slowest running of any train in my collection. It is half as fast as the Hornby Class 09 on speed step 1. As they only have 4 wheels and small ones at that, you need a very clean, flat and tidy track for these to run properly. Any imperfection stops the car.
I ran-in the powered car on my rolling road for about an hour in both directions at a moderate speed. It runs very smoothly without too much noise.
Opening up the powered car simply involves removing 4 screws. Remove the blanking-plug and insert the decoder. I used double-sided tape and secured the decoder to the inside of the shell of the model to keep it away from the electrical components and moving parts of the car.
The decoder used was the Bachmann EZ Command 2 function decoder that has a 8-pin NEM 652 (NMRA Medium) plug. This decoder at £8.50 does the job perfectly. Simple, cheap and sweet.
As previously mentioned, the car needs a flat and tidy track to run on. as it only picks up power from it's 4 tiny wheels, it is quite temperamental. There was not much room in the first car after installing the decoder so I added some lead to the second car to help steady the first car. That worked somewhat. As these models are probably going to be used on military dioramas mostly, it is perhaps not a major problem, but I would like to run these around the track a bit so I'll look at ways of making the powered car heavier.
I think they look great and I'm impressed with the quality of the models, the packaging and the presentation. Liliput have produced a good series of models here.
- March 2008
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