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HomeAn Sd.Kfz. 251 equipped with a 50mm cannon

An Sd.Kfz. 251 equipped with a 50mm cannon

Development of the Sd.Kfz. 251 began in 1937. The objective for the project was simple: Make an armored version of the Sd.Kfz. 11 that would be capable of acting as an armored personnel carrier. This simple mission allowed development to be completed rather quickly, being accepted into service in 1939 in its Ausf. A variation. A simplified version, the Ausf. B, would appear in 1940. Like its Sd.Kfz. 11 roots, the Sd.Kfz. 251’s carrying capacity was quite large due to its strengthened chassis and intended role as an APC. This carrying capacity would essentially allow it to carry just about any German weapon or equipment under the sun, within reason, allowing it to take on countless roles, from ambulance to tank destroyer. Many of these conversions were done officially, receiving special designations to ease logistics, however, a forgotten few were born out of necessity. In November of 1942, the Tunisia Campaign had just begun and hundreds of German vehicles flooded French Tunisia. Among these many vehicles were Sd.Kfz. 251 Ausf. Bs. These would largely be assigned to logistics and reconnsaince units. By 1943, German reconnaissance units in Tunisia had shifted their focus from speed to firepower, often being equipped with numerous artillery and anti-tank weapons. One of the anti-tank weapons commonly found in the hands of reconnsaince units was the 5cm PaK 38, a lightweight but still very potent cannon. The PaK 38’s light weight and the Sd.Kfz. 251’s impressive carrying capacity appeared to be a match made in heaven. At least one Sd.Kfz. 251 crew thought so as well and a makeshift tank destroyer was born. Little is known about this specific vehicle itself, however, it was likely a one-off. A shield for an MG34 is present on the rear of the fighting compartment, however, neither of the two pictures of this vehicle show an MG34.

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