Minichamps MIN350011270 German Sd. Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D Half-Track - Panzer Grenadier Division 'Grossdeutschland', Eastern Front, 1944 (1:35 Scale)
"We must do everything we can to promote anti-tank defense, and work just as hard to guarantee successful counter-attacks through the instrument of powerful tank forces of our own."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
The Sonderkraftfahrzeug (Sd. Kfz.) 251 half-track had its origins in the same requirement as the smaller and lighter Sd. Kfz. 250. Intended as an armored personnel carrier, the Sd. Kfz. 251 entered service in 1939, and quickly became the standard means of transport for the panzergrenadiers. As it turned out, the Sd. Kfz. 251 was an especially useful vehicle, not only capable of keeping up with the newly formed panzer divisions but also providing invaluable support as well. All told, there were 22 special-purpose variants built, including the menacing-looking Stuka zu Fuss ("Stuka on foot"), which mounted a series of rocket launchers on the outer sides of the vehicle. Other variants included a flame-thrower, anti-tank, and communications vehicle, as well as an observation post, ambulance, and infra-red searchlight carrier. Despite suffering from early reliability problems, the Sd. Kfz. 251 was produced by the thousands, eventually becoming a trademark of the German panzertruppe on all fronts.
Now Minichamps has created a gorgeous 1:35 scale diecast replica of the all-purpose Sd. Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D half-track. This stunning replica features real rubber tires, a working independent suspension system, and treads that are made of flexible metal links. Comes equipped with two MG42 machine guns (one for close support against enemy infantry and the other designed to ward off low-flying enemy aircraft), opening doors located at the rear of the vehicle, and fully detailed engine and crew compartment. Finished in a dazzling summer camouflage scheme. Sold Out!
Length: 6.75 inches
Width: 2.50 inches
Height: 2.25 inches
Release Date: January 2003
Original Issue Price: $99.99
Historical Account: "Greater Germany" - On June 23rd, 1943, Infanterie Division "Grossdeutschland" was officially re-classified as a Panzergrenadier Division and its two infantry regiments became known as Panzer Grenadier Regiment Grossdeutschland and Panzer Fusilier Regiment Grossdeutschland respectively. Interestingly, both units retained their white arm-of-service or branch color (waffenfarbe) rather than the new grass-green piping adopted by the panzergrenadiers. Involved in Operation: Zitadelle, Panzer Grenadier Division Grossdeutschland was, in actuality, a full-fledged panzer division since it was one of only a handful of units equipped with a battalion of Tiger tanks. After Kursk, the unit fought on the Dniepr Line, and by early 1944 was fighting in the north, retreating into East Prussia and Latvia as the Russian onslaught continued to gather momentum.
In November 1944, the Grossdeutschland Division was still regarded as a Panzergrenadier division, although other units within its 'sphere of influence' were expanded to form the Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland.