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SdKfz 251

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SdKfz 251
SdKfz 251/1 Ausf. D
Production Information
Type

Half-Track

Technical Specifications
Length

5.9 meters

Weight

8,500 kg

Engine

Maybach HL 42 TUKRM

Speed

53 km/h

Range

300 km

Armor
  • 15 mm frontal plating
  • 8 mm sides
Armament
  • 2x 7.92mm MG 34 machine guns
Usage
Year introduced

1943

Affiliation

Germany

The SdKfz 251 or the Schützenpanzerwagen was a series of German half-tracks that were used during World War II.

Description

It had a crew of two and could carry about ten extra soldiers. It was also powered by a 100 hp Maybach HL gasoline 42 engine and it could move at speeds of about 53.1 km/h. The main armament consisted of either two MG 34s or MG 42s. The total weight meanwhile was about 8,500 kg.[1] The SdKfz 251 also had a length of about 5.79m and it had an operational range of around 300 km. For protection, armor thickness was about 10mm thick all around the hull of the vehicle. There were several basic models of the Sdkfz 251, these formed the basic structure of all other variants. These basic models were the Ausf. A, The Ausf. B, the Ausf. C, and the Ausf. D.

VariantsEdit

The Ausf. A was the first production model after the base series model and it was put into production in 1940. Just like the Ausf. B and the Ausf. C, the Ausf. A had slightly thicker armor than the original and it alsoweighed slightly less. Another difference was that the Ausf. A, B, and C had 4x2 speeds forward and 1x2 reverse for a transmission. Besides these three modifications the Ausf. A, B, and C were almost identical to the original. The Ausf. D however weighed slightly more than the original and it also longer than the original. 

SdKfz 251/1 through SdKfz 251/23Edit

The SdKfz 251/1 is one of the official variants of the SdKfz 251 and served as a troop carrier. The next model was the SdKfz 251/2 which was a mortar carrier. It had an 81mm GrW 34 mortar which was installed unto the floor of the vehicle. The SdKfz 251/3 acted as a radio vehicle and it had different versions depending on how it was to be used. The SdKfz 251/4 was an ammunition carrier and it could act as a gun tractor. The SdKfz 251/5 was used for engineering purposes and carried radios and other tools. The SdKfz 251/6 was a command vehicle and could carry maps, radios, etc. The SdKfz 251/7 was fundamentally a modified version of the SdKfz 251/5; because of this it carried radios, demolition equipment, etc. The SdKfz 251/8 acted as an ambulence and it could carry around 6 wounded soldiers. It was also equipped with radios. The SdKfz 251/9 was fitted with a 7.5 cm KwK 37 gun and it carry around 57 rounds for the KwK 37.

SdKfz 251 Battle of Mortain

A destoryed SdKfz 251 after the battle of Mortain

The SdKfz 251/10 had a 3.7 cm PaK 35/36 gun and it also had a MG 42 or MG 34 mounted. The SdKfz 251/11 was meant to lay telephone cables and carry telephone equipment. The SdKfz 251/12 was an artillery vehicle that carried a radio, artillery surveying equipment, etc.The SdKfz 251/13 was an artillery vehicle which had sound recording equipment. The SdKfz 251/14 was an artillery vehicle that carried sound ranging equipment. The SdKfz 251/15 was also an artillery vehicle that was used locate coordinates of enemy positions but, it used flash spotting. The SdKfz/16 had dual flame projectors and it also had either an MG 34 or MG 42 mounted like almost all other variants. It could carry around 200 gallons of fuel and it was delivered to the front lines in 1943. The SdKfz 251/17 acted as an anti-aircraft platform and it had an AA gun mounted.[2] The SdKfz 251/18 acted as an artillery spotting vehicle and it could also carry radio equipment. The SdKfz 251/19 was a mobile telephone exchange vehicle while the SdKfz 251/20 was a special vehicle designed to accompany Panzer IVs during night-time operations.Since it had this special purpose, it had specialized equipment including infra-red searchlights. It was also nicknamed the "Owl". The SdKfz 251/21 was an anti-aircraft vehicle and it was either fitted with the MG 151/15 canon or the MG 151/20 canon. the SdKfz 251/22 and the SdKfz 251/23 were both artillery vehicles and were both used in the European Theater where all versions of the SdKfz 251 were used.

HistoryEdit

Warsaw Uprising-Captured SdKfz 251

A captured SdKfz 251 in Polish use during the Warsaw Uprising.

The SdKfz 251 and all of its variants were used extensively in the European Theater and were used in several different fronts. One of these includes the Eastern Front. It was designed to deliver infantry to the front lines faster than by other means at the time. SdKfz 251s were used in conflicts such as the Invasion of Poland. They were produced up until the end of the war and were first distributed in 1939. As most other widely used personnel carriers, the SdKfz 251 had to be gradually updated across its lifespan to deal with the ever mounting requirements put forward by the war. Many SdKfz 251s were converted into ambulances, pioneer vehicles, troop transports, anti-tank vehicles, etc. In total, some 15,000 examples of SdKfz 251s were produced during the vehicle's production life. 

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=232
  2. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/germany/half-tracks/sdKfz-251.asp


Half-Tracks of the Wehrmacht
sWSSdKfz 2SdKfz 4SdKfz 6SdKfz 7SdKfz 8SdKfz 9SdKfz 10SdKfz 11SdKfz 250SdKfz 251SdKfz 252SdKfz 253

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