AFTA MarderrII Page

The Marder II (SdKfz 131) was one of many types of tank destroyers built on tank chassis by the Germans during World War II. As the need grew for larger and more potent anti-tank guns on the Eastern Front, the need to make them more mobile grew as well. The Germans were adept at mating anti-tank guns to either obsolete, foreign or then-current vehicles and created a vast array of mobile anti-tank guns. As the early-war versions of the PzKpfw II were returned to Germany because of battle damage or being worn out, their chassis were utilized for the Marder II conversion.

The Marder II on display in the old Patton Museum in the 1950s. The SdKfz 251D/9 halftrack is beside it.

The early versions of the PzKpfw II, the A, B and C, were used for the first conversions as well as the later F version. The D and E versions, having a different chassis and using the captured Russian 76.2mm gun, were also utilized and converted into Marder IIs, but they were designated as SdKfz 132.

The SdKfz 131 Marder II consisted of a 75mm PaK 40/2 L46 anti-tank mounted on the modified Panzer II hull. The Panzer II hull roof was removed and extended armored plating was attached around the opening thus creating a protected crew compartment. A new driver's plate was installed that resembled the one adopted for the Panzer II F. The original PaK 40 gun shield, used on the standard towed piece, was retained to fit the front armor superstructure. Plate armor was added to the edges of the gun shield so that there was no opening when the gun was traversed. The gun was on a turntable which gave it limited traverse of 32 degrees left and 25 degrees right. The Marder IIs had a crew of three, driver, loader and commander.

From June 1942 to June 1943, FAMO, MAN and Daimler-Benz produced 576 Marder II. In addition, 75 more were converted from July 1943 to March 1944.

The Marder II on display in Keyes Park outside the new Patton Museum in the 1970s. The camouflage scheme is not authentic.

The subject of this article is one of two Marder IIs shipped to the United States after having been surrendered in Austria to the U.S. forces as the war ended. One was sent to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds (APG) while the other was sent to the Armor School Museum at Fort Knox which eventually became the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor. Both Marders were part of the 1. Panzer Division in its Panzer Aufklärungs Abteilung (reconnaissance  battalion).  The 1. Panzer Division was listed as still having 12 Marder IIs as of March 1945.

A Marder II belonging to the same unit, the 1. Panzer Division, 1. Panzer Aufklärungs Abteilung, was retained and displayed at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

Both Marder IIs were painted in similar hard-edge camouflage of dunkelgelb, rotbraun and olivgrun with shipping stencils on the side armor. The book "Panzer-wrecks 15, German Amour 1944-45" by authors Lee Archer and William Auerbach have two photos of the Marder II that eventually went to the Patton Museum that shows the camo pattern and markings on the left side. The APG Marder II's balkenkreuz was in the center of the side armor while the one that went to the Patton Museum had it to the rear of the side armor. Both vehicles had an armor recon rhomboid tactical symbol on the right front of the driver's plate with the lettering "PzAA1" (Panzer Aufklärungs Abteilung 1) above it. The APG Marder II also had the tactical symbol repeated on the rear of the side armor. No other tactical markings or numerals were visible. Both vehicles most likely belonged to the 4th Heavy Weapons Company in the recon battalion.

In the summer of 2003, the Marder II was cosmetically restored and put on display inside the Patton Museum.

Both vehicles display features of later manufacture as opposed to the first models with the same details as early Panzer IIs. The first Marder IIs retained the bumper stops for each road wheel while the later models had dampeners for the first, second and fifth road wheels to help absorb stress from the vehicle's main gun recoil. Other details such as the modified drive sprocket without the rivets between the bolts on the sprocket ring, one single Bosch headlight on the left fender instead of two fender-mounted lamps with a Notek, elimination of the twin apertures above the driver's visor and changes in tool storage. Another major change was the repositioning of the radio from the driver's compartment to the right inner wall of the fighting compartment. Early vehicles used the Fu.Spr.Gt. "d" radio set while later vehicles were equipped with the FuG.5 radio set.

In the Summer of 2003, the Patton Museum Marder II was cosmetically restored. Although the hard-edged paint scheme was not used, the basic camo pattern was used as a guide and a new camouflage scheme was sprayed on. The Marder was towed to the museum and put on display in front of the museum for a day, and then moved into the museum for final display.

After the subsequent BRAC reorganization in 2005, both Marders were transferred to the National Armor and Cavalry Museum workshops at Fort Benning, Georgia in 2010/2011.

Click on the links below to see interior and exterior photos of the Patton Museum Marder II now at Fort Benning. Use your back button to return to this page to see each gallery. Hover your cursor over each photo to see captions.