Amercom ACCS39 German Sd. Kfz. 234/2 Puma 8-Wheeled Armored Car - 11.SS Freiwilling Panzer Grenadier Division "Nordland", Narva, Estonia, 1944 (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!"
On August 5th, 1940, an order was given to design an eight-wheeled armored car similar in design to the Sd. Kfz. 231. Unlike the previous design, where the armored body was bolted to the chassis, the Sd. Kfz. 234 armored hull was to serve as the chassis, thereby strengthening the overall integrity of the vehicle. Furthermore, the armored car was to have heavier armor and a 12-cylinder air-cooled diesel engine that would enable it to operate in the hot climate of North Africa as well as the cold steppes of western Russia. Two trial versions were built and an initial order was made for 500 vehicles, which was later increased to 1,500. The initial requirement was for a vehicle equipped with the 5cm KwK 39/1 gun (Sd. Kfz. 234/2). In January 1944, the order was cut to limit the Puma production to 100 vehicles so that two new variants could be created, one mounting a 2cm KwK gun and the other a more powerful 7.5cm KwK gun.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a German Sd. Kfz. 234/2 Puma 8-wheeled armored car then attached to 11.SS Freiwilling Panzer Grenadier Division "Nordland", then deployed to Narva, Estonia, during 1944.
Release Date: April 2014
Historical Account: "The Foreign Legions" - By 1943, the foreign legions of the Waffen-SS had proven their worth in battle many times over. 5.SS Panzergrenadier Division Wiking, a volunteer division, had been in action since 1940 and had amassed an impressive combat record.
However, the Wiking, whose enlisted men were predominantly Nordic volunteers, was officered by Germans. In February 1943, Hitler ordered the creation of an SS Division which would be officered by foreign volunteers. The Wiking's SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment Nordland, a Scandinavian volunteer regiment, was pulled out of the line to be used as a basis for the new division. The division was originally to receive the name Warager (Varangians) but the name was rejected by Hitler himself. It was decided that the division was to continue using the already-existing regiment's name, Nordland.
The Nordland's two Panzergrenadier regiments were also given titles. The regimental titles were a reference to the location where the majority of the regiment's recruits were from, SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 23 Norge (Norwegians) and SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 24 Danmark (Danes).
Despite most volunteers hailing from Scandinavia, the Nordland carried the widest range of nationalities found in any single division. By the end of the war, Danish, Hungarian, Dutch, Norwegian, Estonian, Finnish, French, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, Swiss and British volunteers had either served in the division or been attached to it.
After its formation in Germany, the division was attached to
SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Felix Steiner's III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps and was moved to occupied Croatia for training and to complete its formation. Soon after its arrival, the SS-Freiwilligen-Legion Niederlande was attached to the division and it began combat operations against Josip Tito's partisans. In late November, the Danmark regiment was involved in heavy fighting with a force of 5,000 partisans near Glina. During this period, the Nordland's Panzer Abteilung, SS-Panzer Abteilung 11, was given the honour title Hermann von Salza in honour of the fourth Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights.
In January 1944, orders were received to move the division to the Oranienbaum front near Leningrad, under the command of Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model's Army Group North.