Dragon DRA60337 German Sd. Kfz. 251/10 Ausf. C Half-Track w/3.7cm PaK Gun - 1.SS Panzer Grenadier Division "LSSAH", Kursk, 1943 (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 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.
The Sd. Kfz. 251 halftrack was a highly successful design, with a bewildering array of variants produced during WWII. The 251/10, for example, was a halftrack equipped with a 3.7cm PaK 36 antitank gun. This small-caliber weapon designed by Rheinmetall first appeared in 1936, but by the time WWII broke out it was outdated and ineffective against more heavily armored enemy tanks. Thus, a number of these 'door knockers' (as the gun was sometimes nicknamed by German troops) were mounted on the hull superstructure of some German halftracks to provide light and mobile anti-armor support.
Dragon Armor has issued a superb 1:72 scale model of one of the LSSAH Division's armored vehicles. It is an Sd.Kfz. 251/10 halftrack, this particular Ausf.C variant coming from the first major production series, though it was more complex to build compared to the subsequent Ausf.D. The 251/10 was issued to platoon commanders, and featured a 3.7cm PaK 36 cannon useful for giving a light antitank capability. In this fine new model, the fully detailed antitank gun is carefully fitted with its low-profile shield onto the halftrack. The open-topped model has a full interior, while its exterior has received an interesting two-color camouflage scheme of yellow sand applied over its original gray. This pattern is ideal for concealment in the grassy steppes of the Kursk area as it carries forward its complement of panzergrenadiers pressing home their attack. This is a robust yet finely detailed model, and the fitting of the 3.7cm PaK gives it that little bit of extra firepower in any model collection. Sold Out!
Length: 3 inches
Width: 1 inch
Release Date: January 2008
Original Issue Price: $19.99
Historical Account: 1.SS-Panzer Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (LAH) was formed on March 17th, 1933, by Josef "Sepp" Dietrich, Hitler's bodyguard, on the order of der Fuhrer who wanted a full-time armed force that was completely loyal to him. It was attached to Heeresgruppe Süd during the invasion of Poland and later took part in the invasion of France and the Low Countries. For the most part LAH was held in reserve although it was employed against retreating British troops trapped at Dunkirk. After the British capitulation, it was attached to XIV Armeekorps during the second and final phase of the invasion of France. Following the armistice, LAH was upgraded to a brigade and began training for the planned invasion of Britain (Operation Seelowe). When the invasion was cancelled, LAH was transferred to Romania for the Balkan invasion. It fought its way through Yugoslavia and Greece chasing Allied troops to Kalamata, where they were evacuated by sea to Crete. LAH was attached to Heeresgruppe Sud during the initial stages of Operation: Barbarossa, seeing action at Kiev and again at the Black Sea port of Rostov. It was transferred to France for refitting in 1942 and was upgraded again, this time to a Panzergrenadier Division. It returned to the Eastern front the following year, fighting at Kharkov and then at Kursk during Operation: Zitadelle. After Kursk, LAH was sent to Italy to perform anti-partisan duties but was soon returned to the Eastern front, this time as a full-fledged Panzer Division. Following the debacle at Kamenets-Podolsk, it was sent to France for rest and refit.
LAH fought in Normandy following the Allied invasion and saw action at Caen, Falaise, and Aachen as it fell back on the German frontier. It participated in the Ardennes counteroffensive (Operation "Wacht am Rhein") where it was attached to I SS Panzerkorps. Later on, LAH was sent back to the Eastern front to help break the siege of Budapest (Unternehmen Margarethe). Afterwards, it was transferred to Austria where it surrendered to American troops at war's end.