Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Plastic Soldier Sd.Kfz. 251c Review

Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251

The Sd.Kfz. 251, also known as the Hanomag is one of the most well known armored fighting vehicles from WW2. It was used in all fronts, and over 15,000 were built. The mostly carried Germany's elite soldiers known as panzergrenadiers. It is generally armed with two 7.92mm machine guns and has good protection against small arms fire. It has an engine that allows it to travel over 30mph and weighs almost 8 tons!

Now that is exactly why I plan on using 15 of them for my mechanized force!

I originally purchased the Zvedza version of these wonderful halftracks, but the detail was disappointing! I sold them online for a good deal and purchased these from a local hobby store. The ones I bought are the C version which is appropriate from 1940 to 1945. Production did cease in 1943, but units were still equipped until the end of the war. I built 13 with the standard features and made 2 up gunned versions for my platoon commanders! 

The kit itself was amazing and all parts fit together as they should. You do get a gunner, and 6 passengers per vehicle. The stowage included is a spare tire, two fuel cans, various personal kit including bedrolls. All a very good value for about $5 each! The only downside to the kit is the MG34 included is very flimsy since it is cast in proper scale. Because of that, I did replace most of the machine guns with ones from different kits or metal ones.
Anyone building a German force should really consider purchasing these wonderful vehicles. The value on them in amazing. For $100 you could purchase 15 halftracks and 130 infantry from Plastic Solider. In Flames of War that gives you your HQ, and 3 platoons of infantry! Add in a pack of 5 Panzer IV tanks and you have a near complete army.

... Mitch

Information from Wikipedia

The Sd.Kfz. 251 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251) half-track was an armored fighting vehicle designed and first built by Hanomag company during World War II. The largest and best armored of the wartime half-tracks, the Sd.Kfz. 251 was designed to transport the panzergrenadiers of the German mechanized infantry corps into battle. Sd.Kfz. 251s were the most widely produced German half-tracks of the war, with over 15,252 vehicles and variants produced in total by various manufacturers, and were commonly referred to simply as "Hanomags" by both German and Allied soldiers.
There were four main model modifications (Ausführung A through Ausf. D), which formed the basis for at least 22 variants. The initial idea was for a vehicle that could be used to transport a single squad of panzergrenadiers to the battlefield protected from enemy small arms fire, and with some protection from artillery fire. In addition, the standard mounting of at least one MG 34 or MG 42 machine gun allowed the vehicle to provide support by fire for the infantry squad once they had disembarked in battle.
Positive aspects of the open top included greater situational awareness and faster egress by the infantry, as well as the ability to throw grenades and fire over the top of the fighting compartment as necessary while remaining under good horizontal cover. Downsides to the open top were a major vulnerability to all types of plunging fire; this included indirect fire from mortars and field artillery as well as depressed-trajectory small arms fire from higher elevated positions, lobbed hand grenades, and strafing by Allied aircraft.
The first two models were produced in small numbers from 1939. A and B model can be identified by the structure of the nose armor which comprises two trapezoids. The lower trapezoid has a cooling hatch. Production of the B modification from 1940 eliminated the fighting compartment's side vision slits. The C modification introduced into production in mid-1940 featured a simplified forward armoured plate for the engine. Ausf. A through C had rear doors of the vehicle bulging out. The C variant had a larger production run, but was a quite complex vehicle to build, involving many angled plates that gave reasonable protection from small arms fire. From early 1943, the Ausf D variant was developed with a purpose of reducing the number of angled body plates by 50%, simplifying the design and thus speeding up the production. Ausf D can be easily recognized by its single piece sloping rear (with flat doors).
The standard personnel carrier version was equipped with a 7.92 mm MG 34 or MG 42 machine gun mounted at the front of the open compartment, above and behind the driver. A second machine gun could be mounted at the rear on an anti-aircraft mount.
Variants were produced for specialized purposes, including with anti-aircraft guns, light howitzers, anti-tank guns and mortars or even large unguided artillery rockets, as well as a version with an infrared search light used to spot potential targets for associated Panther tanks equipped with infrared detectors.
Another potentially good design feature of the Sd.Kfz.251 was the large track area, with the characteristic "slack track" design with no return rollers for the upper run of track, and overlapping and interleaved main road wheels common to virtually all German halftracks of the period. This lowered ground pressure and provided better traction, giving the Sd.Kfz.251 better cross country performance than most other nations' half-tracked vehicles. The interleaved and overlapping main road wheels, however, shared a chief problem with the Tiger I and Panther main battle tanks that also used such roadwheel configurations - in muddy or winter weather conditions, such as those during a rasputitsa mud season or the coldest Russian winter conditions, accumulated mud and/or snow could freeze solid between the road wheels, possibly immobilizing the vehicle.
The early production models of this vehicle were issued to the 1st Panzer Division in 1939.
These vehicles were meant to enable panzergrenadiers to accompany panzers and provide infantry support as required. In practice, there were never enough of them to go around, and most panzergrenadier units had to make do with trucks for transport.

Weight7.81 tonnes (8.61 short tons)
Length5.80 m (19 ft)
Width2.10 m (6 ft 10 in)
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Crew2+12 passengers

Armor6-14.5 mm (0.24-0.57 in)
MG 34 or MG 42
MG 34 or MG 42
Engineone Maybach HL 42 6-cylinder petrol engine
100 hp (74.6 kW)
Power/weight12.8 hp/tonne
SuspensionHalf track
300 km (186 mi)
Speed52.5 km/h (32.5 mph)

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