MANUFACTURER(S): Hanomag / Bussing-Nag - Germany
OPERATORS: Hungary; Italy; Nazi Germany; Romania
LENGTH: 19.00 feet (5.79 meters)
WIDTH: 5.12 feet (1.56 meters)
HEIGHT: 5.74 feet (1.75 meters)
WEIGHT: 9 Tons (8,527 kilograms; 18,799 pounds)
ENGINE: 1 x Maybach HL 42 TRKM inline 6-cylinder water-cooled engine developing 100 horsepower.
SPEED: 33 miles-per-hour (52.8 kilometers-per-hour)
RANGE: 199 miles (320 kilometers)
Detailing the development and operational history of the SdKfz 251 mittlerer Schutzenpanzerwagen Halftrack Multi-Purpose Vehicle / Medium Armored Personnel Carrier.
Entry last updated on 7/12/2016.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
A 1932 directive set about to provide German infantry with a versatile vehicle able to keep pace with the mobile Panzer tank units while fulfilling other roles in the process. The resulting 1935 design of the Gp MTW appeared and was placed into production by 1938. The SdKfz would become one of the more important German vehicles of the war, appearing virtually wherever a German infantry presence was spotted.
Initial production models of the SdKfz 251 appeared just in time to take part in the Invasion of Poland, though production totals at the beginning of the war were slow to keep up with demand. The SdKfz proved a robust and reliable halftrack system, able to ford up to 20 inches of water and carry 2 crewmembers plus up to 10 passengers.
So versatile the SdKfz 251 had become that no fewer than 22 official variants were welcomed, each with a specialized battlefield role - not counting any field-customized unofficial variants. Among the more notable SdKfz 251 models were the 251/1 basic infantry carrier, the 251/2 mortar carrier, 251/5 assault engineer carrier and the 251/6 commander's vehicle. The 251/16 "Flammpanzerwagen" appeared with twin flame projectors of 14mm caliber and fitted with twin 154 gallon tanks. Other variants became gun platforms such as the 251/9, mounting the 75mm KwK 37 L/24 gun, and the 251/10 - mounting the 37mm PaK 36 gun. The 251/17 and 251/18 comprised of Flak Gun platforms for anti-aircraft duty and the 251/21 was similarly used but with 3 x 1.5cm/2cm guns. The 251/20 Uhu (or "Owl") appeared as an integral component to night-fighting Panther tanks, these halftracks fitted with infra-red searchlights and other specialized equipment.
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