The Panhard 178 was the first armoured reconnaissance vehicle in service with the French Army, being introduced in early 1937. Designed and manufactured by the French firm Panhard, it was used in combat in the Battle of France, in 1940, by the French 6th Armoured Cavalry Regiment (6e Cuirassier), and from 1941 onwards by the Wehrmacht, which adapted it to be used also on railroad tracks as part of the German armoured trains. More than 1,200 units were made in two versions: Panhard 178A and 178B. This reconnaissance vehicle was also employed to provide fire support to infantry units.
The Panhard 178 was a light, 4×4, wheeled vehicle armed with a 25-mm-caliber, SA35 cannon and a 7.5-mm Reibel machine gun. The 4-man crew was protected against enemy rifle projectiles and grenade shrapnel by 20-mm-thick armour. Both the hull and the rotating turret were made of riveted steel plates. Its power plant consisted of a Panhard SK gasoline engine, which generated 105 hp. The wheels had leaf springs. All in all, the Panhard 178 was an advanced, fast, and versatile armoured military vehicle.
Type: armoured reconnaissance vehicle
Weight: 8.2 tons
Length: 4.79 m
Width: 2 m
Speed: 72 km/h
Range: 400 km
Below: the Panhard 178 on rails as used by the Wehrmacht