Forces of Valor 81310 German Sd. Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D Half-Track - 12.SS Panzer Division "Hitler Jugend", Normandy, 1944 (1:32 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 Stukavoss ("infantry Stuka"), 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.
This particular 1:32 scale replica of a German Sd. Kfz. 251/1 half-track was attached to the 12.SS Panzer Division, which saw action in the fierce fighting for Normandy.
Length: 7 inches
Width: 2.25 inches
Height: 2 inches
Release Date: October 2005
Historical Account: "Heroes Road" - Formed from volunteers of the Nazi youth movement, the average soldier in the SS Panzer Division Hitler Jugend was barely 18 years of age when it was constituted in 1944. Led be such veteran field commanders as Kurt Meyer and Fritz Witt, 12.SS Panzer was sent to France in April 1944 where it was stationed south of Paris when the Allies landed in Normandy that June. It was quickly sent north where they first saw action at Caen and then again at Le Capiquer. It withdrew from the front on July 11th, after suffering grievous losses at the hands of Allied units.
It next saw action at Falaise, where it was tasked with keeping the exit to the Falaise pocket open as long as possible so that other German units could withdraw in good order. While it achieved its objective, the Division was almost completely destroyed and had to be re-formed in Germany with new volunteers. The unit fought in the Ardennes during the bitter Battle of the Bulge, and again in Hungary before ending the war in Austria in May 1945.