Forces of Valor 85210 German Sd. Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D Half-Track with PaK40 75mm Anti-Tank Gun and 7 Soldiers - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944 [D-Day Commemorative Packaging] (1:72 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.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a German Sd. Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D Half-Track with PaK40 75mm Anti-Tank Gun & 7 Soldiers that was deployed to Normandy during 1944.
Length: 7 inches
Width: 1.25 inches
Release Date: September 2008
Historical Account: "Hedgerows" - The Battle of Normandy was fought in 1944 between Nazi Germany in Western Europe and the invading Allied forces as part of the larger conflict of World War II. Over sixty years later, the Normandy invasion, codenamed Operation Overlord, still remains the largest seaborne invasion in history, involving almost three million troops crossing the English Channel from England to Normandy in then German-occupied France. It is most commonly known by the name D-Day.
The primary Allied formations that saw combat in Normandy came from the United States of America, United Kingdom and Canada. Substantial Free French and Polish forces also participated in the battle after the assault phase, and there were also contingents from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, the Netherlands, and Norway.
The Normandy invasion began with overnight parachute and glider landings, massive air attacks, naval bombardments, and an early morning amphibious phase began on June 6. The 'D-Day' forces deployed from bases along the south coast of England, the most important of these being Portsmouth. The battle for Normandy continued for more than two months, with campaigns to establish, expand, and eventually break out of the Allied beachheads, and concluded with the liberation of Paris and the fall of the Falaise pocket in late August 1944.
The Battle of Normandy was described thus by Adolf Hitler: "In the East, the vastness of space will... permit a loss of territory... without suffering a mortal blow to Germany's chance for survival. Not so in the West! If the enemy here succeeds -- consequences of staggering proportions will follow within a short time."