Hobby Master HG5002 German Sd. Kfz. 7 8-Ton Personnel Carrier / Prime Mover - Luftwaffe Feld Division, North Africa, 1942 (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!"
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.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a German Sd. Kfz. 7 8-Ton Personnel Carrier / Prime Mover that was attached to a Luftwaffe Feld Division, then deployed to North Africa during 1942.
Length: 3-3/4 inches
Width: 1-1/4 inches
Release Date: April 2012
Historical Account: "Air-to-Ground Attacks" - The Luftwaffe Field Divisions (German: Luftwaffen-Feld-Divisionen or LwFD) were German military formations during World War II.
The divisions were originally authorized in October 1942, following suggestions that the German Army, the Heer, could be bolstered by transferring personnel from other services. The head of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Goring, formulated an alternative plan to raise his own infantry formations under the command of Luftwaffe officers; this was at least partly due to political differences with the Heer. Goering took great pride in the degree of political commitment and indoctrination of the air force men (he went as far as to describe the air-force paratroopers as "political soldiers") while the Army was considered (by Nazi standards) too "conservative" (linked to traditions and ideals harking back to the Imperial days of the Kaiser).
The plan was approved, and the divisions were raised from 200,000-250,000 Luftwaffe ground, support and other excess personnel. They were initially organized with two Jager regiments of three battalions each, along with an artillery battalion and other support units, but were substantially smaller than equivalent Heer divisions, and by Goring's personal order were intended to be restricted to defensive duties in quieter sectors. Most of the units spent much of their existence on the Eastern Front: Luftwaffe Field Divisions were present at actions such as the "Little Stalingrad of the North", the attempt to relieve Velikiye Luki; the attempted defence of Vitebsk during Operation Bagration, and the fighting in the Courland Pocket, though they also fought in other theatres.
The Luftwaffe Field Divisions initially remained under Luftwaffe command, but late in 1943. those that had not already been disbanded were handed over to the Heer and were reorganized as standard infantry divisions with three two-battalion rifle regiments (retaining their numbering, but with Luftwaffe attached to distinguish them from similarly numbered divisions already existing in the Heer) and army officers.
Until taken over by the Heer (and in many cases for some time afterwards) these units were issued with standard Luftwaffe feldblau uniforms, and being so easily identifiable were said to often be singled out by opposing forces. Their reputation as combat troops was poor, despite the high standard of Luftwaffe recruits, at least in part from being required to perform roles (ground warfare) for which they as airmen had little training. They were frequently used for rear echelon duties to free up front line troops.