In 1943, the threat from Allied fighter-bombers against German tanks was increasing rapidly. Germany already had several half-tracked anti-aircraft guns, such as the Sd Kfz 10/4 and Sd Kfz 7/1. These vehicles did not have the same mobility as the fully-tracked tanks, and an anti-aircraft gun mounted on a fully-tracked chassis was therefore requested.
Three proven chassis were tested: The obsolete Pz Kpfw 38 (t), the Pz Kpfw III, and the Pz Kpfw IV. A small number of Flakpanzer 38, based on the Pz Kpfw 38 (t), and Flakpanzer III, based on the Pz Kpfw III, were made. Eventually, however, it was decided to use the Pz Kpfw IV chassis, which was able to carry the most weight.
Because a vehicle was needed quickly, an interim solution, the Möbelwagen, was designed, until the Wirbelwind and Ostwind could enter full-scale production. The first prototype used the quad 2 cm Flakvierling, but the designers eventually settled on the single 3,7 cm Flak 43.
The most distinguishing characteristic of the Möbelwagen was the vertical armoured shields, which had to be folded down to fire the gun. This significantly reduced the effectiveness against the swift fighter-bombers, and left the crew unprotected during combat. The box-shaped armoured shield also earned the vehicle its name, meaning furniture van.
Production started in March 1944, with a total production of 240. The Möbelwagen was distributed widely across most German tank divisions and brigades on both the Eastern and Western Front.
|Armour (range)||10-80 mm|
|Speed (max)||38 km/h|
|Engine||Maybach HL 120 TRM|
|Primary weapon||3,7 cm Flak 43/1 (1)|
|Secondary weapon||7,92 mm MG 34 (2)|