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The SdKfz 250 was a half-track that was used by Germany during World War II.

Description

In general, there were two types of variants in the SdKfz 250 series. The first type was the Alte and Neu or old and new type which consisted of a series of modifications from the old version, namely to the shape and complexity of the design that led to the newer version.[1] The other type of variant was the numbered type which consisted of SdKfz 250s modified for different jobs like the SdKfz 250/1 which was the first model in this variant series; the SdKfz 250/1 was the standard troop carrier version.

The differences between the new and old versions mainly was about the complexity to build and the chassis used. The engine and armament were the same for either new or old versions across the numbered versions. The SdKfz/1 had a Maybach HL 42 engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 59 km/h.[2] It also had an armament that consisted of two MG 34s and a crew numbering six men. Additionally any other weapons on board such as rifles were used for defensive measures. Armor thickness on the SdKfz 250/1 was about 14mm thick although defense was increased due to the fact that the armor was slanted.

The total weight of the SdKfz 250 was about 5,700 kg fully loaded while the total length was about 4.5 metres. Furthermore, the SdKfz 250 had a 7 speed forward, 3 speed reverse transmission system and a FuG Spr Radio.[3] It could also travel 300 kilometers without running out of fuel. The SdKfz 250 had excellent reliability and was well suited for the muddy "Rasputitsa" conditions of the Soviet Union

Variants

The first variant of the SdKfz 250 was the SdKfz 250/2 which's main purpose was to lay down telephone cable and poles. The only modifications made to this variant was room made for telephone poles and large reels of cable. The next variant, the SdKfz 250/3 was a radio command variant which was equipped with additionally radio equipment. However, there were sub-variants of the SdKfz 250/3 which all had changes to their radios. The first sub-variant was the SdKfz 250/3.I which mounted the FuG 12 radio. The II. had a FuG 7 Radio that was designed to be used with Luftwaffe ground units. 

SdKfz 250, Normandy 1944

An SdKfz 250/3 in Normandy, 1944

The III had both the FuG 7 radio and the FuG 8 radio and it was capable of ground to air communications. The final variant, the IV. had the FuG 15 radio and was designed for Assault Gun units. The SdKfz 250/4 had the same FuG 15 radio because it was made to be used with Assault Gun units but this variant was a forward observer. 

The SdKfz 250/5 was designed to be just a general artillery observation post, in fact, it was designed in order to replace the already existing SdKfz 253. The SdKfz 250/5 only had one subvariant, the I. which only had a simple change in radios for different artillery units. The next variant, the SdKfz/6 was meant to replace the SdKfz 252 in that it was a newer ammunition carrier. It eventually did by about late 1941. The SdKfz 250/7 was a mortar carrier designed to support Wehrmacht infantry. The SdKfz 250/8 had the 75 mm KwK 37 tank gun installed and it was capable of carrying up to twenty rounds of ammunition for its main gun. The SdKfz 250/9 was an armored reconnaissance variant that had a 20 mm main gun mounted. Due to such an incredible success, it put the SdKfz 222 into an early discontinuation. 

The next two variants, the SdKfz 250/10 and the SdKfz 250/11 were self-propelled artillery variants that each mounted a different main gun. The SdKfz 250/10 mounted a customized PaK 35/36 while the SdKfz 250/11 mounted a 28 mm Schwere Panzerbüchse 41. As indicated by the type of gun mounted, the SdKfz 250/11 was meant to be a tank killer. The final variant was the SdKfz 250/12 which was an artillery observation vehicle.

History

The SdKfz 250 was first developed in 1937 by Demag and the designs made were heavily reliant upon the original SdKfz 10 design or D7 as it was known in that stage. However, due to production delays/difficulties, the SdKfz 250 was only first produced in 1941. From that point on, the SdKfz 250 began to see widespread use throughout World War II. It was developed upon time after time because of its great reliability and it proved to be one of the best platforms from which to work with in the Wehrmacht. One of the only downsides to the system was the fact that it was not cost-effective and it was time-consuming to build in mass. Although, in total, about 6,600 were built during the war and it was used by many of Germany's allies as well such as Romania.

References

  1. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/germany/half-tracks/sdKfz-250.asp
  2. http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=69
  3. http://homepage.eircom.net/~nightingale/sdkfz250.htm


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