Collectors Showcase CS00348 German Sd. Kfz. 251 Ausf. C Half-Track - Winter 1944 (1:30 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 1:30 scale replica of a German Sd. Kfz. 251 Ausf. C Half-Track in winter camouflage..
Length: 8 inches
Width: 3.25 inches
Release Date: October 2009
Historical Account: "Autumn Mist" - The Ardennes Offensive (December 16th, 1944 - January 25th, 1945) was a major German offensive launched towards the end of World War II through the forested Ardennes Mountains region of Belgium (and more specifically of Wallonia: hence its French name, Bataille des Ardennes), France and Luxembourg on the Western Front. The offensive was called Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein (translated as Operation The Guard on the Rhine or Operation "Watch on the Rhine") by the German armed forces (Wehrmacht). This German offensive was officially named the Ardennes-Alsace campaign by the U.S. Army, but it is known to the general public simply as the Battle of the Bulge. The 'bulge' was the initial incursion the Germans put into the Allies' line of advance, as seen in maps presented in contemporary newspapers.
The German offensive was supported by subordinate operations known as Unternehmen Bodenplatte, Unternehmen Greif, and Unternehmen Wahrung. Germany's planned goal for these operations was to split the British and American Allied line in half, capturing Antwerp, Belgium, and then proceeding to encircle and destroy four Allied armies, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis Powers' favor.
The offensive was planned with the utmost secrecy, minimizing radio traffic and conducting the movement of troops and equipment under cover of darkness. Although ULTRA suggested a possible attack and the Third U.S. Army's intelligence staff predicted a major German offensive, the offensive still caught the Allies by surprise. This was achieved by a combination of Allied overconfidence, preoccupation with their own offensive plans, poor aerial reconnaissance, and the relative lack of combat contact by the First U.S. Army in an area considered a "quiet sector". Almost complete surprise against a weak section of the Allies' line was achieved during heavy overcast weather, when the Allies' strong air forces would be grounded.
The objectives for the offensive were not realized. In the wake of the defeat, many experienced German units were left severely depleted of men and equipment, as survivors retreated to the defenses of the Siegfried Line. With over 800,000 men committed and over 19,000 killed, the Battle of the Bulge became the single biggest and bloodiest battle that American forces experienced in World War II.