Sd.Kfz. 250

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Sd.Kfz. 250
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-236-1036-31, Russland, Schützenpanzer auf Feld.jpg
Sd.Kfz. 250/2
Type Half-track armored personnel carrier
Place of origin  Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1941–45
Used by  Nazi Germany
 Kingdom of Romania
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Demag
Designed 1939–40?
Manufacturer Demag, Adlerwerke, Büssing-NAG, MWC
Produced 1941–45
Number built Approx. 6,628
Variants see list below
Specifications (Sd.Kfz. 250/1 Ausf. A)
Weight Load: 5,800 kg (12,800 lb)
Length 4.56 m (15 ft 0 in)
Width 1.945 m (6 ft 5 in)
Height 1.66 m (5 ft 5 in)
Crew 2 + 4

Armor 5.5–14.5 mm (0.22–0.57 in)
Main
armament
1 or 2 x 7.92 mm (0.312 in) MG 34 machine guns
Engine Maybach 6-cylinder, water-cooled HL42 TRKM petrol
100 PS (99 hp, 74 kW)
Power/weight 17.2 hp/ton
Transmission 7 + 3 speed Maybach VG 102128 H
Suspension torsion bar
Ground clearance 28.5 cm (10 in)
Fuel capacity 140 l (37 US gal)
Operational
range
Road: 300–320 km (190–200 mi)
Cross Country: 180–200 km (110–120 mi)
Speed Road: 76 km/h (47 mph)

The Sd.Kfz. 250 (German: Sonderkraftfahrzeug 250; 'special motor vehicle') was a light armoured halftrack, very similar in appearance to the larger Hanomag-designed Sd.Kfz. 251, and built by the DEMAG firm, for use by Nazi Germany in World War II. Most variants were open-topped and had a single access door in the rear.

The Sd. Kfz 250 was adopted in 1939 to supplement the standard halftrack. Production delays meant the first 250 did not appear until mid-1941.[1]

Development[edit]

In 1939, the Inspectorate for Motorized Troops (AHA/In 6) decided that it would be useful for small armored half-tracks to accompany tanks in the attack. They could satisfy requirements for which a larger vehicle wouldn't be needed, such as headquarters, artillery forward observer, radio, and scout vehicles. Demag, the designer of the smallest half-track in service, the Sd.Kfz. 10, was selected to develop the "light armored troop carrier" (leichter gepanzerter Mannschafts-Transportwagen) or Sd.Kfz. 250. The D7 chassis of the Sd.Kfz. 10 was shortened by one roadwheel station, an armored hull (Panzerwanne) replaced the sheet steel bodywork and almost every component was specially designed for the D7p, as the armored chassis was designated.[2]

Description[edit]

Power for the Sd.Kfz. 250 was provided by a Maybach 6-cylinder, water-cooled, 4.17-litre (254 cu in) HL 42 TRKM gasoline engine of 100 horsepower (100 PS). It had a semi-automatic pre-selector transmission with seven forward and three reverse gears: Maybach SRG, type VG 102 128 H, (SRG=Schaltreglergetriebe, VG=Variorex-Getriebe, H=Hohlachse). Gears were first selected and then the clutch depressed to change the ratio, the next gear could then be selected in advance. In effect, the clutch acted as a gear change 'switch'. It could attain 76 km/h (47 mph), but the driver was cautioned not to exceed 65 km/h (40 mph).[3]

Both tracks and wheels were used for steering. The steering system was set up so that shallow turns only used the wheels, but brakes would be applied to the tracks when the steering wheel was turned more. The drive sprocket had rollers, rather than the more common teeth. The rear suspension for its continouous track consisted of four double roadwheels, overlapping and interleaved in the so-called Schachtellaufwerk design used by nearly all German half-tracked vehicles, mounted on swing arms sprung by torsion bars. An idler wheel, mounted at the rear of the vehicle, was used to control track tension. The front wheels had transversely mounted leaf springs and shock absorbers, the only ones on the vehicle, to dampen impacts.[3]

The Sd.Kfz. 250 was unique among German half-track designs as it, and its parent Sd.Kfz. 10, used a hull rather than a frame.

Armor[edit]

Thickness/slope from the vertical Front Side Rear Top/Bottom
Superstructure 14.5 mm (0.57 in)/30° 8 mm (0.31 in)/35-30° 10 mm (0.39 in)/10° 5.5 mm (0.22 in)/?°
Hull 14.5 mm (0.57 in)/12° 10 mm (0.39 in) to 14.5 mm (0.57 in)/0° 8 mm (0.31 in)/45° 5.5 mm (0.22 in)

Service history[edit]

A Sd.Kfz. 250/3 radio vehicle

The vehicle was used in a wide variety of roles throughout World War II. The basic troop carrier version was used as an armored personnel carrier for reconnaissance units, carrying scout sections. This basic variant usually mounted one or two MG34 machineguns. Later variants carried 20 mm, 37 mm, and even 75 mm guns to support the more lightly armed versions (see table below).

Several special-purpose variants were seen early in the war. The 250/3 and 250/5 were command variants, equipped with fewer seats but with long-range radio equipment. These were used by battalion and higher commanders as personal command vehicles, most famously the 250/3 used by Erwin Rommel in the North African campaign. Early versions had large 'bedframe' antennas, which were easy to spot at long range, making them more vulnerable to artillery fire. Later variants dispensed with this and used a whip antenna instead.

The Sd.Kfz. 253 variant was fully enclosed, and was used by artillery forward observers to accompany tank and mechanized infantry units.

The initial design had an armoured body made of multi-faceted plates, which gave good protection against small arms fire, but which made the design both expensive to manufacture and quite cramped. Production of this early version stopped in October 1943 with some 4,200 built,[1] and a second version (neue Art or "new version"), greatly simplified to speed up manufacture, began replacing it. In both variants, the armour was useful only for stopping small-arms fire and small artillery fragments. Heavy machinegun fire, anti-tank gun fire, or almost any tank gun could penetrate the Sd.Kfz. 250 at long range.

Variants[edit]

Rommel amidst advancing units in his Sd.Kfz. 250 command vehicle "GREIF" (Engl. 'Griffin')
German soldiers fire the 2.8 cm sPzB 41 heavy anti-tank rifle on the Sd.Kfz. 250/11. The vehicle is assigned to the elite Großdeutschland Division engaged on the Eastern Front.
Sd.Kfz. 250/1 leichter Schützenpanzerwagen
The standard troop carrier.
Sd.Kfz. 250/2 leichter Fernsprechpanzerwagen
Equipped with cable-laying gear.
Sd.Kfz. 250/3 leichter Funkpanzerwagen
Command variant, equipped with radio equipment and "bedstead" aerial frame.
Sd.Kfz. 250/3-I (Fu 7, Fu 18) (Luftwaffe)
Sd.Kfz. 250/3-II (Fu 5, Fu.Spr. f)
Sd.Kfz. 250/3-III (Fu 8, Fu 4, Fu.Spr. f)
Sd.Kfz. 250/3-IV (Fu 8, Fu.Spr. f)
Sd.Kfz. 250/3-V (Fu 12, Fu.Spr. f)
Sd.Kfz. 250/4
  • Sd.Kfz. 250/4 leichter Truppenluftschutzpanzerwagen
Antiaircraft variant armed with a dual MG34, never reached production.
  • Sd.Kfz. 250/4 leichter Beobachtungspanzerwagen
Observation vehicle for a Sturmgeschütz detachment.
Sd.Kfz. 250/5 leichter Beobachtungspanzerwagen
Command variant with additional radio equipment.
Sd.Kfz. 250/6 leichter Munitionspanzerwagen
Ammunition carrier for assault guns.
  • Sd.Kfz. 250/6 Ausf A
carried 70 rounds for 75 mm StuK 37 L/24 gun.
  • Sd.Kfz. 250/6 Ausf B
carried 60 rounds for 75 mm StuK 40 L/48 gun.
Sd.Kfz. 250/7
  • Sd.Kfz. 250/7 leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (schwerer Granatwerfer)
With 81 mm Mortar.
  • Sd.Kfz. 250/7 leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (Munitionsfahrzeug)'
Ammunition transporter, carried 66 rounds for 81 mm mortar.
Sd.Kfz. 250/8 leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (7.5 cm)
Support variant armed with a 7.5cm KwK 37 L/24 gun and an MG 34.
Sd.Kfz. 250/9 leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (2 cm)
Reconnaissance variant with a 2 cm KwK 38 autocannon coaxial with an MG34 or MG42 in a low, open-topped turret identical to the Sd.Kfz.-222 armoured car (early version) and the Sd.Kfz.-234/1 armoured car (late version).
Sd.Kfz. 250/10 leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (3.7 cm PaK)
Reconnaissance platoon leader's variant with 3.7 cm PaK 35/36. This was the same antitank gun used in a towed mode early in the war. It was normally without protection shield, if any it was a small one.
Sd.Kfz. 250/11 leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (schwere Panzerbüchse 41)
With 2.8 cm sPzB 41 heavy anti-tank rifle and an MG-34.
Sd.Kfz. 250/12 leichter Messtruppanzerwagen
Survey and artillery range spotting vehicle.
Sd.Kfz. 252 leichter gepanzerter Munitionskraftwagen
Ammunition carrier for Sturmgeschütz.
Sd.Kfz. 253 leichter gepanzerter Beobachtungskraftwagen
Artillery forward observer vehicle, with fully enclosed armoured body and artillery radios.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hogg, Ian V.; Weeks, John (1980). Illustrated Encyclopedia of Military Vehicles. London: Hamlyn. p. 251. 
  2. ^ Jentz, p. 2
  3. ^ a b Jentz, p. 3

Bibliography[edit]

  • Chamberlain, Peter, and Hilary L. Doyle. Thomas L. Jentz (Technical Editor). Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two: A Complete Illustrated Directory of German Battle Tanks, Armoured Cars, Self-propelled Guns, and Semi-tracked Vehicles, 1933–1945. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1978 (revised edition 1993). ISBN 1-85409-214-6
  • Hogg, Ian V. Greenhill Armoured Fighting Vehicles Data Book, p. 274, "Sd Kfz 250 (alte) APC". London: Greenhill Books, 2000. ISBN 1-85367-391-9.
  • Hogg, Ian V. and Weeks, John. Illustrated Encyclopedia of Military Vehicles, p. 251, "SdKfz 10 Light (One-ton) Military Tractor)". London: Hamlyn, 1980. ISBN 0-600-33195-4.
  • Jentz, Thomas L. Leichter Schutzenpanzerwagen: (Sd.Kfz. 250) Ausf.A and B: History of Production, Variants, Organization and Employment from 1941 to 1945 (Panzer Tracts No. 15-1) Boyds, MD: Panzer Tracts, 2008. ISBN 0-9815382-0-7
  • Niehorster, Leo W. G. German World War II Organizational Series, Vol. 4/II: Mechanized GHQ units and Waffen-SS Formations (28 June 1942) Milton Keyes, Buckinghamshire: Military Press, 2004
  • Spielberger, Walter J. Halftracked Vehicles of the German Army 1909–1945. Atlgen, PA: Schiffer, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7643-2942-5

External links[edit]