Dragon DRA60277 German Sd. Kfz. 251/7 Ausf. C Half-Track - Unidentified Unit, 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.
This 1:72 scale half-track was one of the specialist vehicles that were involved in Operation Barbarossa - massive German invasion of the Soviet Union that involved an estimated 2.6 million German soldiers on the opening day alone, including Pioneers and combat engineers. This Sd. Kfz. 251/7 carried twin bridge sections for crossing small obstacles such as anti-tank ditches and helping to breach fortifications. Sold Out!
Length: 3 inches
Width: 1 inch
Release Date: February 2007
Historical Account: "The Eastern Bulge" - The Battle of Kursk, also called Unternehmen Zitadelle by the German Army (Operation Citadel), took place from July 4th, 1943 to August 23rd, 1943, represented a significant defensive battle strategy on the Soviets' part during World War II. Having good intelligence on Hitler's intentions, the Soviets established and managed to conceal elaborate layered defense works, mine fields, and stage and disguise large reserve forces poised for a tactical and strategic counter-attack end game typical of defensive battle plans. Overall, the campaign, which included the famous sub-battle at and for Prokhorovka, remains the largest armored engagement of all time, and included the most costly single day of aerial warfare in history.
Though the Germans planned and initiated an offensive strike, the well planned Soviet defense not only managed to frustrate their ambitions but also launched a successful counter-offensive and exhausted the German abilities in the theatre thereby seizing the initiative for the remainder of the war. In that sense it may be seen as phase II of the turning point in the front that began with the German defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad, which aftermath set the table by establishing the 'Kursk Salient', the reduction of which was the objective of the German armies entering July. The subsequent counter attacks retook Oryol (August 5th), Belgorod (August 5th) and Kharkov (August 23rd), pushing back the Germans across a broad front, the first successful major Soviet Summer offensive of the War.
Kursk further demonstrated that the conflict in the East contained the largest scale of warfare in history, in terms of manpower involved. So well designed was the Soviet defensive planning, that when entering the archetypical counterattack phase, the Soviets were able to attack along four separate axes of advance, and execute a planned stop at a phase line, thus avoiding the pitfalls of over-extending during the counter attack and earning this battle's deserved place as a model campaign in war college curricula.