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Old 05-22-2008, 01:19 PM
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Default Sd.Kfz.251 Armored Personnel Carrier

The Sd.Kfz.251 Series
Introduction

In 1935, while the concept of Blitzkrieg was being tested and perfected, it was decided that a new type of armored halftrack would be needed to carry infantry into battle alongside the tanks. An armored body and room for troops was mounted on top a Sd.Kfz.11 chassis, and the result was one of the worlds first armored personnel carriers. The chassis was produced by Hanomag while Büssing-NAG manufactured the superstructure, and together they turned out more than 15,000 of these vehicles in 22 variants. The most prevalent version during the early parts of the war was the 251/C with a MG-34 machinegun mounted above the drivers position protected by an 8mm gun shield. After 1943 the Ausf. D was produced in the greatest number (over 10,000), each with the newer MG-42 machineguns and were much easier to construct.

Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf. C

Country of Origin :Germany
Roll :Armored Personnel Carrier
In-Service Date :April 1940
Manufacturer :Hanomag
Number Produced :4165
Crew :2
Troops :10
Radio :FuG 5
Road Speed :52 kph
Rough Speed :11 kph
Engine :Mayback HL 42 TUKRM
Horsepower :100 hp @ 3000 rpm
Power Weight Ratio :8.5 hp per ton
Transmission :Schub
Gears :4 Forward, 1 Reverse
Suspension :Torsion Bar
Fuel Type :Gasoline
Fuel Capacity :80 Liters
Length :5.8 m
Width :2.1 m
Height :1.75 m
Weight :8500 kg
Ground Clearance :32 cm
Track Links :56
Track Width :28 cm
Track Ground Contact :1.8 m
Gradient :24°
Vertical Obstacle :0.4 m
Fording Depth :0.5 m
Trench Crossing :1.98 m
Turning Radius :11.5 m
Armament :1x 7.92mm MG34 (2010 rounds)
Traverse :60°
Elevation :+20° / -11°
Hull Front (Upper) :
Hull Front (Lower) :
Hull Sides (Upper) :
Hull Sides (Lower) :
Hull Rear :
Hull Top :
Turret Front :
Turret Sides :
Turret Rear :
Turret Top :
10mm @ 33°
14.5mm @ 21°
8mm @ 35°
8mm @ 35°
8mm @ 30°
Open
8mm @ 35°
None
None
None


Sd.Kfz.251 Variants

Sd.Kfz.11 Sd.Kfz.11 was the standard prime mover of German field artillery and Panzerjäger tank hunter units. The special artillery superstructure had large built-in ammunition storage boxes immediately behind the driver and passenger seats. The crew compartment at the rear of the vehicle seated six passengers comfortably.
Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf. A The basic vehicle is designed for 10 soldiers, driver and commander. It carries two MG34's, one sweeping the front and one in a more movable arm at the rear are the armament. The front MG34 is at first unarmored, but a gun shield is added in the Ausf. B in 1939. First produced in 1937, and only a few hundred are made.
Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf. C The nose is redesigned to prevent overheating while adding more armor. The troop seats get a backboard which doubles as a weapons locker. Tools were moved to front part of mudguards from the upper rear sides. The radio was moved under the front armor in front of the commander's seat. Production starts in early 1940.
Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf. D The stowage boxes are replaced by bins that close the entire space between the fenders and the armor plate. The MG34 is replaced by the newer MG42. The armor is less boxed and simplified with a reverse sloping rear end, resulting in easier production. This is the most produced variant (10,062), starting in 1943.
Sd.Kfz.251 Variant 2 Ausf. C In late 1940 an order is giving to install an 8cm mortar. Testing begins in spring of 1941 and is accepted into service that summer. The mortar fires forward of the vehicle, but can be removed an fired outside the vehicle as well. The 251/2 carries the vehicle crew, the 8 man mortar crew, and 66 rounds of 8cm mortar ammunition.
Sd.Kfz.251 Variant 3 Ausf. C Starting in 1940 this version appeared with any number of long range FuG radio sets. There were radio configurations for air-to-ground, tank formations, and command versions. Some even come with enigma decoding machines. Later in the war, infra-red equipment was installed to accompany Panther tanks during night operations.
Sd.Kfz.251 Variant 7 Ausf. C This variant carried bridging equipment and eight engineers. It still retained it's two MG 34 machineguns, and in rare cases a 36mm PaK 36 cannon was mounted in place of the forward MG 34 position. The bridge lengths are mounted on two triangular blocks on each side of the hull, along with various tools.
Sd.Kfz.251 Variant 9 Ausf. C In August 1942 this unit appeared on the Russian front with a 75mm Kw.K L/24 gun, usually removed from an early StuG III or Panzer IV series tank. It carried a 3 man gun crew and 57 rounds of ammunition. The gun could traverse 10° left and 12° right, depress -5° and elevate +20°. Approximately 150 of this version was produced.
Sd.Kfz.251 Variant 10 Ausf. C This variant was one of the first to appear in 1940, with a regular 36mm PaK 36 anti-tank cannon mounted in place of the forward MG 34 machinegun. It carried a gun crew of 6 and carried 168 rounds of ammunition. A Pz.B 39 anti-tank rifle was often mounted on the rear pintle in place of the MG 34, with 300 rounds of ammunition carried for this weapon.
Sd.Kfz.251 Variant 17 Ausf. C This variant was created in 1940 by enterprising field engineers who attached a FlaK30/38 anti-aircraft gun to the hull and created fold-down sides for 360° rotation. It soon went into mainstream production for both the army and the Luftwaffe. It carried a 3 man crew and 600 rounds of ammunition, although the pintle mount for the rear MG 34 had to be deleted.
Sd.Kfz.251 Variant 21 Ausf. D Created in 1944, the 251/21 carried three old Luftwaffe MG 151/15 15mm aircraft cannons on a modified naval mount. The two outer guns had 250 and the inner 400 rounds belts. Over 2000 rounds total were carried. An 8x telescopic sight was used, and it could depress 10° and elevate 20°, with 360° rotation.
Sd.Kfz.251 Variant 22 Ausf. D This variant was one of the first to appear in December 1944, with a 75mm PaK 40 L/46 anti-tank cannon mounted in place of the forward MG 34 machinegun. It carried a gun crew of 5 and carried 22 rounds of ammunition. The rear MG 42 was retained for point defense.
Sd.Kfz.251 Variant 23 Ausf. D This very rare late-war model carried a 20mm Kw.K 38 with 100 rounds and an MG 42 machinegun with 2010 at the rear. A Hängelafette 38 turret (from Sd.Kfz.234/1 armored cars) was installed. A FuG 12 radio was carried. It also had a crew of three.


Conclusion

The Sd.Kfz.251 series saw production from before the war up until the very end. It was the backbone of German panzer-grenadier units, and was modified to fill many rolls. Countless field modifications were made to these reliable machines. Some vehicles were seen fitted with the 2.8cm Panzerbuchse and the 251/1 could also be fitted with 28cm or 32cm rockets for close support with these mounted on firing frames on the sides of the vehicle but this vehicle was not given an individual Ausf. number. It was an essential part of the German war doctrine, and an equally essential part of the World War II Online vehicle set.
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