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


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 was about 8,500 kg.[1]

The SdKfz 251 also had a length of about 5.79 metres and it had an operational range of around 300 kilometers. For protection, armor thickness was about 10 mm 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.


Base Variants

  • SdKfz 251 Ausf. A: First production model of SdKfz 251 series.
  • SdKfz 251 Ausf. B: Second base modification. The Ausf. B some vision slits removed and the front machine gun was given a gun shield. 
  • SdKfz 251 Ausf. C: Third base modification. The engine was now protected by a single piece armor plate. The standard FuG Spr Ger f radio was moved to be in front of the commander's seat.[2]
  • SdKfz 251 Ausf. D: Final base modification in SdKfz 251 series. The SdKfz 251 Ausf. D weighed slightly more and was also slightly longer than the original.

Specialty Variants

  • SdKfz 251/1: Standard infantry carrier model.
  • SdKfz 251/2Mortar carrier conversion. Fitted with GrW 34 mortar which was installed unto the floor of the vehicle.
  • SdKfz 251/3Radio operations half-track. Fitted with various radio setups depending on role assigned. These include:
- SdKfz 251/3 II FuG 8 and FuG 5 radios for communications with friendly armor.
- SdKfz 251/3 IV FuG 12 and FuG 11 radios for command post operations.
  • SdKfz 251/4: Ammunition carrier conversion. Fitted to tow the 7.5cm le IG infantry support gun. 
  • SdKfz 251/5Engineering conversion. Often used as headquarters for pioneer groups.
  • SdKfz 251/6: Command half-track fitted with radios, cipher equipment, etc.
  • SdKfz 251/7:
  • SdKfz 251/8 I: Ambulance conversion. Fitted with stretchers for up to four wounded or ten wounded if seated.
-SdKfz 251/8 II Ambulance fitted with FuG 5 radio when attached to HQ company or panzer units.
  • SdKfz 251/9: "Stummel" Self-Propelled Gun conversion. Fitted with a 75 mm gun for infantry support.
  • SdKfz 251/10: Self-Propelled Gun conversion. Fitted with a 37 mm PaK 35/36.
  • SdKfz 251/11: Special carrier of telephone equipment. Designed to lay and maintain telephone/telegraph lines.
  • SdKfz 251/12: Artillery surveying equipment installed. Used to survey artillery bombardments.
  • SdKfz 251/13: Used sound recording for artillery spotting.
  • SdKfz 251/14: Used sound ranging for artillery spotting.
  • SdKfz 251/15: Used flash spotting for artillery spotting.
  • SdKfz 251/16: Special flamethrower conversion fitted with two flame projectors. Had a range of up to 60 m.
  • SdKfz 251/17: Anti-aircraft conversion fitted with 2 cm FlaK 38 and an MG 42 for self-defense.
  • SdKfz 251/18: Fitted with FuG 12 radio and map table. Designed to perform artillery observation duties.
  • SdKfz 251/19:
  • SdKfz 251/20 Uhu: Specialty half-track mounted with Beobachtungs Gerät 1221 infrared searchlight. Designed to assist panther units in moving and attacking at night.
  • SdKfz 251/21:: Improved anti-aircraft vehicle with three MG 151/20 autocannons. Ammo capacity and rate of fire was improved from the earlier SdKfz 251/17
  • SdKfz 251/22:: Tank destroyer conversion fitted with 7.5cm PaK 40 anti-tank gun.
  • SdKfz 251/23:: Anti-aircraft conversion fitted with 20 mm KwK 38.
  • SdKfz 251 Munitionspanzer: Special munitions carrying conversion.


SdKfz 251 Battle of Mortain

A destroyed SdKfz 251 after the Battle of Mortain

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. 



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