Development of the Sd. Kfz. 7 can be traced back to a 1934 requirement for an 8-ton half-track. The vehicle first appeared in 1938 and was destined to be used mainly as the tractor for the 8.8cm flak gun. The Sd. Kfz. 7 was an extremely useful vehicle, employed both as a weapons carrier and prime mover by the Wehrmacht. They also saw service as observation and command posts for V2 rocket batteries. The vehicle could carry up to 12 men and a considerable quantity of supplies, as well as pulling up to 8000kg (17,600 lbs) of equipment. Most were fitted with a winch, which enabled them to pull smaller disabled vehicles out of mud or other quagmires. A mainstay of the German Army, the Sd. Kfz. 7 was even admired by the enemies of the Reich. In fact, the British tried to make exact copies of captured Sd. Kfz. 7s and some vehicles were appropriated for use by the Allies after World War II.
Originally developed as an anti-aircraft gun, the 8.8cm FLugzeugAbwehrKanone ("Flak") was first employed in the anti-tank gun role in 1936, when the German Condor Legion was testing out its equipment during the Spanish Civil War. Amazingly, German war planners had designed the gun as an AA weapon with a heavy cruciform platform and central fire control operation, not as a multi-purpose anti-tank gun with proper anti-tank sights. Nevertheless, its capability was seen and quietly noted by commanders operating in the field. While the gun was occassionally used in the anti-tank gun role during the Polish and French campaigns, it wasn't until the Afrika Korps joined battle in Cyrenaica with the British Eighth Army that the "88" really showed its prowess as a tank killer. Here the tactical situation was such that it was possible to deploy the guns in their anti-aircraft role in positions that would allow them to be re-trained as anti-tank guns. Moreover their range and penetrating power enabled their crews to dispose of British tanks long before the enemy was close enough to engage the guns with their own two- or six-pounder guns.
Shown here are both the Sd. Kfz. 7 prime mover as well as the matching 88mm FLaK gun.
Length: 8 inches
Width: 2.5 inches
Height: 3 inches
Release Date: May 2004
Historical Account: "The First and the Last" - 3.Panzer Division was formed in October 1935 at Wünsdorf, Berlin. The Division saw it's first action during the Polish campaign of 1939. In December, it was transferred to the Upper Rhine area. Following the French campaign of 1940, the divison returned to Germany for refitting. In October 1940, the Division supplied its Panzer Regiment 5 and cadres to raise the 5.Leichte Motorized Division, which would later become the 21.Panzer Divison. Soon thereafter, 3.Panzer Division would be fleshed out with Panzergrenadier Regiment 3, and subsequently sent to central Germany where it remained until June 1941.
When the Russian Campaign kicked off, 3.Panzer became an integral component of Army Group Centre. Later it was transferred to the south and advanced through the Caucusus In November/December 1942, it suffered heavy losses in the area of Mozdok. During the summer months of 1943, the Divison was heavily engaged near Kharkov and in September moved into the Dniepr bend where they were cited for distinguished action. Later they were involved in defensive fighting in Ukraine. In January 1945, they were transferred to Hungary where they fought constantly until April at which time they moved to Austria and eventually surrendered to the Americans at Steyr in May 1945.