|Country of origin||Germany|
|Crew||12 including passengers|
|Dimensions||Width 6'-10.7" (2.1m)|
Length 19'-3" (5.8m)
Height 5'-8.9" (1.75m)
|Max Speed||28-32 mph|
|Aces High II Armor Thickness|
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The SdKfz 251 in World War II
The Sd.Kfz.251 German halftrack was an armoured fighting vehicle built by Germany during World War II. The initial idea was for a vehicle that could be used to transport a squad of troops to the battlefield protected from enemy fire. The open top meant that the crew was still vulnerable. Although designed for cross country work, the German halftrack had some limitations as the front wheels were not powered. The standard personnel carrier version was equipped with a 7.92mm MG34 or MG42 machine gun mounted at the front of the open compartment, above and behind the driver.
There were four main models (A - D), with many variations. The first two models were produced in small numbers. The C variant has a larger production run, but was a quite complex vehicle to build, involving many angled plates that gave reasonable protection from small arms fire. The D variation utilised a much simpler design, and can be easily recognized by its single piece sloping rear (with flat doors).
Variants of this German halftrack were produced for specialized purposes, including anti-aircraft guns, rocket launching ( with 3 rockets fitted on either side of the vehicle) as well as a version with an infra-red search light used to spot potential targets for associated Panther tanks equipped with infra-red detectors.
There were 23 official variants of the German halftrack, and sundry unofficial variants. Each variant is identified by a suffix to the model number. There was however some overlap in the variant numbers.
- SdKfz 251/1 - standard company machine
- SdKfz 251/1 - Equipped with six Wurfrahmen 40 Rocket Launchers
- SdKfz 251/1 - Falke Infrared detection equipment for operation with IR-equipped Panther units
- SdKfz 251/2 - 80mm Mortar Carrier
- SdKfz 251/3 - Communications vehicle (January 1943 and later)
- SdKfz 251/4 - Infantry tractor for towing guns (designated 251/3 prior to January 1943)
- SdKfz 251/4 M - Variant of the 251/4 used only for ammunition transport
- SdKfz 251/5 - Pionierpanzerwagen (command vehicle for engineer units)
- SdKfz 251/6 - Command version, externally similar to the 251/3
- SdKfz 251/7 - Pionierpanzerwagen (has suppports for bridge frames 251/5 lacks)
- SdKfz 251/8 - Armoured ambulance
- SdKfz 251/9 - Equipped with 75mm StuK 37 L/24
- SdKfz 251/10 - Equipped with 37mm PaK 36
- SdKfz 251/11 - Telephone line layer
- SdKfz 251/12 - Artillery survey vehicle
- SdKfz 251/13 - Equipped with sound recording gear for artillery spotting
- SdKfz 251/14 - Equipped with sound ranging gear for artillery spotting
- SdKfz 251/15 - Equipped with flash detection gear for artillery spotting
- SdKfz 251/16 - Flammpanzerwagen
- SdKfz 251/17 - equipped with 20mm FlaK 38
- SdKfz 251/18 - armored artillery observation and command vehicle
- SdKfz 251/19 - telephone exchange vehicle
- SdKfz 251/20 - Infrared searchlight
- SdKfz 251/21 - Flakpanzerwagen, 3 15mm MGs
- SdKfz 251/22 - 75mm Pak 40
- SdKfz 251/23 - prototype to replace the SdKfz 250/9, equipped with turret from SdKfz 234/1 with a 20mm KwK
The early production models of this vehicle we issued to the 1st Panzer Division in 1939. These vehicles were meant to enable panzergrenadiers to accompany panzers and provide infantry support as required. In practice, there were never enough of them to go around, and many panzergrenadier units had to make do with trucks for transport. Only a very few favored divisions like Panzer Lehr received enough to fully equip their infantry units.