21st Century Toys 21C10109S2 German Sd. Kfz. 251/22 Half-Track with PaK40 75mm Anti-Tank Gun - 116.Panzer Division 'Windhund', Normandy, 1944 (1:18 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.
Towards the end of the war every available field gun was mounted atop a vehicle to produce a self-propelled anti-tank weapon. In the case of the Sd. Kfz. 251/22, a modified PaK 40 anti-tank gun was built with a trimmed shield so it could be mounted directly on the standard Sd. Kfz. 251 chassis. The gunner would sit on a folding wooden seat to the left of the gun while the rest of the crew served the weapon. Impressive to look at, the design had major shortcomings among them a limited left and right traverse due to the confining space in which the crew had to operate. Furthermore, an overloaded chassis and a structure not designed to handle the strain of the gun's recoil led to many mechanical breakdowns. Sold Out!
Length: 12 inches
Width: 4 inches
Release Date: January 2008
Historical Account: "Sacrificial Lambs" - Nicknamed Windhund ("Greyhound") and originally based upon the 16.Infanterie Division, the 16.Motorized Infanterie Division participated in the Balkans campaign (1941) and later joined Army Group South during Operation Barbarossa. The unit advanced on the Caucasus, with elements coming to within 20 miles of Astrakhan - the most easterly point reached by any German unit during the war (1942). It later participated in defensive operations after the Soviets broke up the front within the southern sector. Upgraded to the 16.Panzergrenadier Division in 1943, it suffered heavily in the continuing retreats, and was eventually transferred to France for rest and refitting. Reorganized as the 116.Panzer Division, the formation absorbed the 179.Reserve Panzer Division in 1944.
The unit fought in the Battle for Normandy, and was almost completely destroyed while attempting to withdraw through the Falaise Gap. It helped to defend the Siegfried Line at Aachen but failed to save the city, resulting in its second withdrawal for refitting. It later participated in the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest and then again in the Battle of the Bulge, sustaining heavy casualties in the process. It was caught in the Wesel Pocket, but managed to escape across the Rhine in early 1945. It finally surrendered when it was trapped in the Ruhr Pocket during April 1945.