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Germany's SdKfz 251 half track

SdKfz 251 with 28 cm anti-tank gun

Production
SdKfz o o o 251: 1940: 3376 1941: 4246 1942: 1,2006

While Panzer Divisions were first being developed requirements were given for a personnel carrier that was armored and could carry the infantry into battle. In 1935 it was suggested that an armored body could be placed on a medium half track tractor. The SdKfz 11 became the basis for the chassis. Produced by Hanomag, but the hull and superstructure were built by Bssing-NAG. 22 different models made. First issued to 1st Panzer Division in 1939.

SdKfz 251 Ausf A:


First production model and built until 1940. Had 3 vision slits on each side and the radio aerial was mounted on the right front mudguard. Some were retrofitted with MG mounting on Ausf B. Used the FuG Spr Ger f radio.2

SdKfz 251 Ausf B:


Built until 1940. View ports in the rear body sides were eliminated, and the stowage was reorganized. New front mount with shield for MG. The FuSpG 'F' R/T antenna was moved from right front mudguard to the right back upper side over the radio. Used the FuG Spr Ger f radio.2

SdKfz 251 Ausf C:

New single piece armor nose plate for the engine compartment. Air was drawn up behind the lower front plate. The top grille was eliminated. The side cooling flaps were replaced by side vent covers which allowed vents to be open all the time for better cooling. Changes to seating and stowage. The mudguards were raised to allow for more room between tire and guard. Tools were moved to front part of mudguards from the upper rear sides. The radio was moved under the front armor in front of the commander's seat. Used the FuG Spr Ger f radio.2

SdKfz 251 Ausf D:


The armored body was simplified with a reverse sloping rear end. The air intakes were under the engine side armor and there were stowage boxes permanently fitted to the sides instead of mudguards. Used the FuG Spr Ger f radio.2

SdKfz 251/1 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen, Gert 901:


Had 2 MG34s or MG42s with 2,010 rounds. Standard personnel carrier for Panzergrenadier Gruppe.

SdKfz 251/1 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen:


Crew of 11. Had 2 7.92 mm MG34s and 1 MG34 or MG42, with 2,010 rounds. Used as the carrier for the Heavy MG Group of the Armored Infantry Detachment.

SdKfz 251/1 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (Wurfrahmen 40), Mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen mit Wurfrahmen, SdKfz 251/1:

Bundesarchiv, Koblenz Crew of 7. Had 2 MG34s or MG42s. Had 5: 28cm Sprengranate (HE round) and 1: 32cm Flammgranate (incendiary round). After France in 1940 J. Gast KG, Berlin were

ordered to create a projector for the Wurfgert 40. The elevation was +5 to +40. Firing took 10 seconds and the range of 1.9 km for Sprengranate and 2.2 km for Flammgranate. Nicknamed "Walking Stuka" or "Bellowing Cow".

SdKfz 251/1 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (IR) "Falke":


Crew of 12. Was fitted with infrared equipment to be used with units attached to the infrared Panther detachments.

SdKfz 251/2 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (Granatwerfer), Gert 892:

81 mm GrW34 mortar was installed in the floor with 66 rounds. Also a 7.92 mm MG34 or MG42 with 2,010 rounds. A baseplate was also stored so that mortar could be removed from vehicle and fired. Only had rear MG. Was issued to the heavy platoon of armored infantry companies.

SdKfz 251/3 mittlere Funkpanzerwagen, Gert 893:


Two 7.92 mm MG34 or MG42 with 2,010 rounds. Sometimes an Enigma decoding machine was installed. The different configurations depended on which unit assigned to: FuG8 required frame aerial until 1942. FuG8, FuG5, and FuG4 for divisional and artillery links to Panzer units. FuG8 and FuG4 for division to artillery link. FuG8 and FuG5 for division to panzer unit link. FuG7 and FuG1 for ground to air link and transmission monitoring. FuG12, FuG11, and Kdo FuG Tr was used for command post.

FuG FuG FuG FuG

Tr Tr Tr Tr

100mw used for command post. 80mw used for command post. 30mw used for command post. 15kzw used for command post.

SdKfz 251/4 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (IG), Gert 904:


Had a 7.92 mm MG34 with 1,100 rounds installed. Intended to tow 105 mm le FH18 howitzer (Another source says for the 7.5 cm leIG18, 120 rounds also carried). Was replaced by the SdKfz 251/9.

SdKfz 251/5 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (PI), Gert 905:


Had 2 7.92 mm MG34 with 4,800 rounds installed. Also had FuG8 and FuG4 installed. Built until 1943. Was used as the command vehicle for the engineer platoon.

SdKfz 251/5 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (PI):


Had FuG8 and FuG5 installed. Built until 1943. Was used as the command vehicle for the heavy platoon of the Panzerpionier Gruppe.

SdKfz 251/6 mittlere Kommandopanzerwagen:


Had a 7.92 mm MG34 with 1,100 rounds installed. Used by headquarters staff. Had FuG11 and FuG Tr 100mw installed, cipher equipment, and map tables. Produced until 1943. Used by headquarters staff.

SdKfz 251/7 mittlere Pionierpanzerwagen, Gert 907:


Had 2 7.92 mm MG34 or MG42 with 4,800 rounds and a 7.92 mm PzB39 with 40 rounds installed. Had a FuG5 installed. Pionier-Gerte-Schtzenpanzerwagen (engineering assault vehicle). Had a small bridge that would be built over small ditches. The sections would be carried in the racks on top. Also had demolition equipment and inflatable assault boats.

SdKfz 251/8 mittlere Krankenpanzerwagen, Gert 908:

Imperial War Museum - STT9832 Armored ambulance that was designed to carry 2 stretcher cases and 4 seated wounded. Later models had redesigned doors to allow for easy entry and exit. Had a FuG5 when it was issued to HQ Company or Panzer detachment.

SdKfz 251/9 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (7.5cm), Gert 909:

Imperia War Museum - MH7557

Imperial War Museum - EA45027

Had a 7.5cm KwK37 L/24 installed with 52 rounds and 2 7.92 mm MG34 or MG42 with 2,010 rounds. Bssing-NAG was ordered to develop an armored superstructure on March 31, 1942. In June 1942, 2 prototypes were field tested in Russia and as a result 150 were ordered. In 1944 a new design of mounting the gun was introduced. Sometimes called Stummel (stump). Designed to provide support for Heavy Armor Infantry Companies.

SdKfz 251/10 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (3.7cm PaK), Gert 910:

Had a 3.7cm PaK 35/36 with 168 rounds, a 7.92 mm MG34 or MG42 with 1,100 rounds, and a 7.92 mm PzB39 with 40 rounds. There were different versions of the PaK shields. Issued as the Zugfhrerwagen to platoon leaders.

SdKfz 251/11 mittlere Fernsprechpanzerwagen, Gert 911:


Had 2 7.92 mm MG34 or MG42 with 2,010 rounds. Ordered in January 1942 and first delivered on August 15, 1942. One version had the leichter Feldkabeltrger 6 and the other had the mittlerer Feldkabeltrger 10. Used for laying and maintaining telephone and telegraph lines.

SdKfz 251/12 mittlere Messtrupp und Gertpanzerwagen, Gert 912:


Carried artillery surveying squad and equipment. Carried the FuG8 radio with a frame antenna. Built until 1943.

SdKfz 251/13 mittlere Schallaufnahmepanzerwagen, Gert 913:


Built until 1943. Sound recording vehicle for artillery spotting.

SdKfz 251/14 mittlere Schallauswertepanzerwagen, Gert 914:


Built until 1943. Used as sound ranging for artillery spotting.

SdKfz 251/15 mittlere Lichtauswertepanzerwagen, Gert 915:


Built until 1943. Used as flash spotting for artillery spotting.

SdKfz 251/16 mittlere Flammpanzerwagen, Gert 916:

Bundesarchiv, Koblenz Had 2 1.4cm Flammenwerfer on each side with 700 liters of fuel and 2 7.92 mm MG34 or MG42 with 2,010 rounds. Delivery started in January 1943. Had a range of about 60m (another source says 35m). Could fire about 80 bursts up to 2 seconds each. Earlier versions also had a 7mm Flammwerfer 42, which was a portable projector attached to a 10m hose.

SdKfz 251/17 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (2cm), Gert 917:

AA model with antiaircraft gun installed with sides that folded outwards.

SdKfz 251/18 mittlere Beobachtungspanzerwagen, Gert 918:

Had a FuG12 installed. Had a large map table built on top of the driver's roof plate. Observation vehicle for artillery spotting.

SdKfz 251/19 mittlere Fernsprechbetriebspanzerwagen, Gert 919:


Mobile telephone exchange vehicle.

SdKfz 251/20 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (Infrarotscheinwerfer), Gert 920:


Had 60cm Beobachtungs Gert 1251 and telescope Beobachtungs Gert 1221 (infra red searchlight) installed to be used with Panther tanks at night. The searchlight had a range of about 1,500m. Only about 60 were built. Known as the UHU (eagle owl). This was used as the commanders vehicle of a Panther platoon that was equiped with infrared sighting equipment. Mainly used on Eastern front starting in 1944.

SdKfz 251/21 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (Drilling MG151S), Gert 921:

Had 3 1.5cm MG151/15 or 2cm MG151/20 AA guns with 2,000 rounds of ammunition installed. Rate of fire was approximately 700 rounds per minute. Construction started in August 1944.

SdKfz 251/22 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (7.5cm PaK40), Gert 922, 7.5cm Pak 40 L/46 auf mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen, SdKfz 251/22:

Had a 7.5cm PaK 40 L/46 with 22 rounds installed. Production began in December 1944 based on an order from Hitler. The complete PaK40 was installed, except the wheels. Some vehicles didn't have sidewalls. 9 were issued to Panzerjger detachments, 3 to Panzer Aufklrungs detachments, and 6 to gun platoons.

SdKfz 251/23 mittlere Schtzenpanzerwagen (2cm KwK), Gert 923:


Had a 2cm KwK38 with 100 rounds and a 7.92 mm MG42 with 2,010 rounds installed. A Hngelafette 38 turret (from SdKfz 234/1 armored cars) was installed. A FuG12 radio was carried.

SdKfz 251 Munitionspanzer:


Transported ammunition for many different armored formations.

SdKfz 251 7.5cm PaK42 L/70 auf 3t Zgkw:


On September 30, 1943, Hitler ordered the new 7.5cm PaK44 L/70 to be installed on a motorized carriage. On January 28, 1944, a prototype was ready but it was determined that this was an unsuitable carriage and the project was dropped.

8.8cm KwK 43 L/71 auf mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen:

Mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen (2cm):

Luftwaffe, mSchtzPzWg (2cm Flak 38):

Bundesarchiv, Koblenz
SdKfz 251 A, B, SdKfz 251 D Variants C 2 (+10 passengers)1 22 22 251/1: 12 251/2, /6, /14: 8 123 251/3, /4: 7 251/5: 9 251/7: 7-8 251/8, /9: 3 SdKfz 251

Crew

251/10, /11, /16: 5 251/12, /18: 6 251/17: 5-6 251/20, /22, /23: 4 251/21: 4-6 Physical Characteristics Weight

17,218 lb3 7.81 tons2 7,810 kg3, 8,500 kg1 7.81 tons4, 8.5 tons, 8.37 tons1 Empty: 7,050 kg5 Loaded: 8,500 kg5

8 tons2

251/1: 9 tons 251/2: 8.64 tons 251/3, /6, /11, / 14: 8.50 tons 251/4: 8.75 tons 251/5: 8.87 tons 251/7: 8.07 tons 251/8: 7.47 tons 251/9: 8.53 tons 251/10: 8.02 tons 251/16: 8.62 tons 251/17: 8.8 tons

Length w/gun Length w/o gun Height

19'1, 19' 0.3"3 5.58 m5, 5.8 m1,3,4 5' 8.75", 5' 8.9"1,3 1.75 m1,3,4, 2.1 m5

5.8 m2

5.98 m2

1.75 m2

1.75 m2

251/3: 1.75 m 251/1: 2.16 m 251/7: 2.70 m 251/9: 2.07 m 251/10, /11: 2.17 m 251/14: 2.5 m 251/16: 2.1 m 251/17: 2.25 m

Width

Ground clearance

Ground contact length Ground pressure Turret ring diameter Armament Main 2: 7.92 mm MG1 see notes as varied with models Secondary MG Side arms Quantity Main Secondary MG Side arms Armor Thickness 6 - 14.53

6' 1.75", 6' 6.7"1, 6' 2.1 m2 10.7"3 2 m1,5, 2.1 m3,4 1' 30 cm 1.8 m

2.1 m2

(mm)

Hull Hull Hull Hull Hull

Front, Upper Front, Lower Sides, Upper Sides, Lower Rear

121 Front: 154 Side: 84 8 8

Hull Top Hull Bottom Turret Front Turret Sides Turret Rear Turret Top Engine (Make / Model) Cylinders Net HP Transmission Fuel Type Octane Capacity Performance Traverse

open A, B, C, D:

10@332 14.5@212 8@352 8@352 8@302 & 8@402 Open2 6@902

10@332 15@222 8@352 8@352 8@332 & 8@332 Open2 6@902

Maybach HL 42 Maybach HL 42 TUKRM1 TUKRM2 3,5 Maybach HL 42 63 1003,4,5 Schub, 4 forward, 1 4x2 forward, 1x2 reverse reverse.2 3 Gasoline

Maybach HL 42 TUKRM2

4x2 forward, 1x2 reverse.2

251/9: 12 each way 251/16: 90 251/22: 20 left, 18 right 32.5 mph3, 32.6 53 kph2 mph1 50 kph, 52.5 kph1,3,5, 53 kph4 186 miles3, 112 miles1 180 km1, 300 km3 13.5 m 300 km2 53 kph2

Max Speed

Cross Country Road radius

300 km2

Turning Radius Elevation Limits

251/9: -10 to +12 251/16: +40 251/22: -3 to +22 251/23: -10 to +85 2'3 0.6 m3 6' 6.7"3 2 m3

Fording depth Trench crossing

Vertical Obstacle Suspension (Type) Wheels: Trans leaf

spring5 Tracks: Torsion bar5 Wheels each side Return rollers each side Track length Tires Track width Track centers/tread Production

2 9.25" 28 cm 2.78 m 1939- : 15,000 Manufacturer Date 6/19399/19432 Chassis nos. 4,6502 221001-, 540001-, 625001-, 320001-, 720001-, 725001-, 796001-, 811001-2 2 10,602 221001-, 540001-, 625001-, 320001-, 720001-, 725001-, 796001-, 811001-2 #

A, B, C

Hanomag, MNH, Schichau Wumag, Weserhtte, Borgward.2

Hanomag, MNH, Schichau Wumag, Weserhtte, Borgward.2

9/19433/19452

Panzer-Lehr-Division SdKfz 251 markings

This article provides an overview of the interesting variety of tactical and other markings used on SdKfz 251s (m.SPW) of the Panzer-Lehr-Division in 1944. While several variations are illustrated below, these should not be considered by any means the complete range of types that existed. The Pz-Lehr, after all, had numerous subunits equipped with the m.SPW and, indeed, it was one of the best m.SPW-equipped units in the Wehrmacht. Readers should also understand, given the limitations in both the number and clarity of photographs available, no possibility of absolute precision as to the true design and colours used in the marking interpretations rendered below is possible at this stage. As and when further evidence becomes available, these marking designs and accompanying information will be updated. The desire at this stage as a result is to provide the reader with a general appreciation of both the sorts of marking variations, as well as consistencies that occurred within this large armoured formation. One of the most recently identified and certainly most vivid of unit markings thus far attributed to the Panzer-Lehr (or indeed arguably any SPW unit) is that seen on this

SdKfz 251 Ausf C:

Various evidence indicates this vehicle belonged to Panzer-Grenadier-Lehr-Regiment 901.; one of two Pz-Gren-Regt's organic to the Panzer-Lehr-Division (the other being Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 902., a junior and invariably less well-equipped unit in comparison). The photo itself was taken in the vicinity of Le Dezert, Normandie, in the aftermath of the ill-fated German counter-attack against US forces that occurred on the 11th of July 1944 As to the true design & colouring of the disc-shaped marking, at this stage it is not possible to be sure, given the nature of the photos currently available. However, its clear the insignia carries within it a capitol S in a Frakturschrift font (similar to a G in shape):

It is believed this S denotes, in typical German military fashion, Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901.s commander, Generalmajor Georg Scholze, a native of Eastern Saxony and a Jaeger veteran of the First World War. On the basis of these facts, the design of the marking at this stage is very tentatively interpreted to depict a Saxon warrior of old the predominantly green and white design representative of Saxony (as per the Saxon cockade used in WWI), with the green also representative of both Jaeger and Panzer-Grenadier branch of service colour. The partial hexagonal shape surrounding

the Frakturschrift S is also a specific design associated with Panzer-Lehr Grenadiere, which appears to represent the outline of the bow plate of a m.SPW (hence forth referred to here as bow plate outline marking). This design appears to be derived from an earlier version seen mostly in Hungary, which will be described in more detail further below. Some other examples of what will be called the Scholze Insignia for now may be seen in the following photographs, the first having been taken in an unidentified town in Normandie, in the summer of 44:

This further example below of a 'Scholze insignia' is, in all probability, seen on a SdKfz 251/3II Funkwagen. The camouflage attired GIs belong to the US 2d Armored Division and were photographed in Pont Brocard, on the 30th of July 1944:

The image below captures a distant rear view of the same abandoned Pont Brocard 251/3 and 57mm anti-tank gunners of the 2d Armoured Division:

An enlargement of the image shows a little more clearly the distinctive armoured housing for the Sternantenna (star antenna) attached to the LH rear. Owing to the limited resolution of this distant view and the mud spattering, etc, it's difficult to be certain if the rear had any markings, but it would seem extremely likely based on other Panzer-Lehr m.SPW that markings would also be carried on the rear of this m.SPW Funkwagen:

Returning to the SdKfz 251 Ausf C captured near Le Dezert, we also see the faint presence of a tactical marking on the bow one of the more common examples seen on Panzer-Lehr m.SPW:

This same Pz-Gren tac sign is probably best known from the following widely published photo, taken on the 17th of June 1944, in Cristot, Normandie - within the British zone of operations and prior to Panzer-Lehrs transfer west to face the Americans. Cristot was within Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901.'s sector:

The name Zita with which the vehicle has been christened is more likely white and could be some light hearted reference to Saint Zita, the hard working, brutalised but ultimately triumphant patron saint of maids and domestic servants. It is inconclusive whether the tactical number is red or black, or what the full sequence is, but it is believed to be a 3. Kompanie vehicle. The Pz-Gren tac sign may also be just discernable on two of the most widelypublished Lehr m.SPWs, SdKfz 251/9 Stummel thought to belong to Pz-Gren-LehrRegt 902. and photographed in Juaye-Mondaye, on the 10th of June 1944:

As mentioned earlier, the bow plate outline marking seen within the disc-shaped Scholze Insignia used in Normandie also appeared in an alternative (and most likely the original) design used on Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901. vehicles in a parade in Budapest in March 1944; the example below being an SdKfz 251/3 Ausf C m.SPW Funkwagen:

Another, somewhat similarly camouflaged, but differently configured 251/3 Ausf C m.SPW Funkwagen seen below, was photographed much later near Jodenville, Belgium, during the Ardennes Offensive, on the 6th of January 1945. The chief difference is the Sternantenne location. This Ardennes eg also has three radios fitted, suggesting a 251/3(II) version. It would seem the camouflage paint is as freshlooking on this Ardennes vehicle as is seen on the Budapest eg, given the sharp contrast of the secondary colour(s), indicative of a recent repainting - especially given the vintage of this Ausf C. Of particular note is the tactical number, which can be confirmed as just 98 from an original Archer/Auerbach print. Also of significance are Balkenkreuze applied to both the rear and just barely visible on the forward side plate. It should be emphasised that such crosses were exceedingly rare on PanzerLehr m.SPW, indeed this is the only example the author has seen to date and may have been a post-Normandie/post repaint addition:

A further example of the Panzer-Lehr bow plate outline marking is seen on an SdKfz 251/7 in Hungary in March 1944 (although this may have an alternate L design to the type drawn in the inset):

Note the small 11, which indicates the vehicle would have belonged to Pz-GrenLehr-Regt 901s 11. Panzer-Pioneer-Kompanie. This subunit is erroneously omitted in all published sources to date, however, original surviving Gliederung records sourced by Hans Weber establish such a unit indeed existed within Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901. (but not however in its less well-equipped sister, Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 902.):

Further evidence of this Panzer-Pionier-Kompanie is confirmed by the following photo, showing another SdKfz 251/7, this time near Northern La Chapelle en Juger, Normandie on the 26th of July 1944. This vehicle is believed to have been captured in the wake of the controversial carpet bombing which proceeded the US Armys Operation Cobra:

Note: there has been some recent online debate over the generally accepted notion this vehicle belonged to Panzer-Lehr: http://www.network54.com/Forum/47207/thread/1189913798/ In essence it has been alleged "1134" is in fact a vehicle of 2.SS Das Reich PanzerDivision, ostensibly because the four digit number and font matches that unit, who were also in the general area and furthermore, no 11.Pz-Pio-Komp. ever existed in Panzer-Lehr. For the record, there is no doubt an 11. Pz-Pio-Komp existed, as established by the

SdKfz 251/7 "11" photo and Hans Weber's Gliederung information above. Apart from this, 1134 carries none of the variety of mostly very distinctive Balkenkreuz types routinely used by Das Reich; nor does it have any of the unique 2.SS welded fieldmodifications so common on their m.SPW. On the other hand, Panzer-Lehr m.SPW are invariably characterised by the absence of any form of Balkenkreuz, as well as no unit-specific welded field-mods (these units are at opposite extremes in other words). If we factor in the Panther seen near "1134" is also a confirmed Panzer-Lehr vehicle (field-mod stowage rack on engine deck), which further establishes the photo was taken in Panzer-Lehr's section of the line, there can be little doubt at all "1134" is a Panzer-Lehr vehicle. Appreciation of this is worthwhile when considering the rationale behind the research and box art this author was commissioned to do by DML for their fictitiouslyconceived 2.8cm Panzerbuchse auf Sdkfz 251/7:

It should be noted this specific m.SPW variant is not documented anywhere in photographs to date, indeed the configuration of this weapon on this type of vehicle, whilst plausible, is the product of the imagination of the model kit company. All the markings, however, are based on the variety of Panzer-Lehr types seen on this page, albeit arranged together on a purely conjectural basis, given the vehicle type is conjectural in itself. (Note the very same manufacturer subsequently released a 1/72 scale diecast collectable of the vehicle the author illustrated, which has been mislabelled as "unit unknown, Italy 1944") Moving along to other variations of marking, below is perhaps the must subtle of styles thus far documented, once again seen on a SdKfz 251 of the 3. Kompanie Pz-

Gren-Lehr-Regt 901., or 902. during the Budapest parade:

Amongst several other m.SPW with this style of marking was a relatively rare SdKfz 251/10, armed with a 3.7cm Pak. The vehicle appears to be the platoon leaders within an as yet unidentified Kompanie:

Whilst not seen on an m.SPW, the marking on this BMW R75 combination below is also included to show yet another variation in Panzer-Grenadier tactical insignia, this time seen in Normandie, in the vicinity of Juaye-Mondaye, early June 1944 (note: its quite possible this marking had a Kompanie number painted beside it, obscured by foliage):

One of at least two variations of Panzer-Pioneer insignia used by Panzer-Lehr may also be seen below on this rarely photographed Sdkfz 251 Ausf D Stuka zu Fuss, during the same Budapest parade. The marking appears to have a Kompanie number beside it, albeit it regrettably indistinct. To date no records have been found to determine which subunits were assigned these SP rocket launchers within PanzerLehr, however a photo found by Paul Hocking shows one numbered "33" assigned to the 3./Pz-Pio-Bat 38. of 2. Panzer-Divsion, hence the tentative 3. Komp allocation shown here:

The other variation is somewhat more sporty-looking, shown this time on a SdKfz 251/9 Stummel in an unidentified Normandie location. Note also it uses the bow plate outline marking associated with Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901. in Budapest:

Its the authors present impression this bow plate outline marking was probably the original design used by Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901, but eventually it evolved into the disc-shaped Sholze Insignia by the time of the Normandie campaign. If that is the case this SdKfz 251/9 would have been photographed just before the Scholze Insignia became standardised in Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901. There may also be cases where both markings were used concurrently for a period. Yet another insignia used on Panzerz-Lehr m.SPW is this fairly obscure example, seen on yet another SdKfz 251/7 somewhere in Normandie:

This marking can also be just made out on the SdKfz 251 seen below and is believed to be the Stabs marking of Panzer-Lehr-Regiment 130. This SdKfz 251 was photographed in the St-Lo area, 26th of July 1944, under the new management of the US Army's 1st Infantry Division:

Returning finally back to the Pont Brocard SdKfz 251/3, unfortunately given the low resolution of this scan, it's not possible at this stage to be certain what the tactical number is, ie was it just 91, 911 or even a four digit sequence? While there was indeed a specific set of guidelines on the application and sequencing of tactical numbers, German units often adopted variations on this theme tailored to suit their own needs, meaning prefixes like 91 may not necessarily be associated with a 9. Kompanie, 1. Zug, as face value would suggest.

In the case of Pz Lehr, the 9. Kompanie was in fact the Infanterie-GeschutzKompanie (IG-Komp., aka self-propelled 15.cm howitzer company), as this SdKfz 138/1 Ausf H Grille well illustrates note the use of the Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901. bow plate outline marking:

As a result, if indeed the Pont Brocard 251/3 was of that subunit (normally one m.SPW Funkwagen was allocated), then this is how it may have arguably looked:

The tactical number 911 is not based on any identified sequencing within the IGKomp., but rather on a vague indication of this number in the photograph, although

the GI peering into the vehicle and the resolution of the image make it impossible to be sure at this stage. As to the colour of this tactical number, due to the nature of black and white photos and film types potentially used, it remains open to debate red being the most likely alternative to black. On the other hand, there are some interesting similarities between the Pont Brocard 251/3 and another m.SPW Funkwagen seen earlier in the Budapest parade:

Given this circumstance, it seems plausible to suggest the Budapest example is the same vehicle, prior to the application of the Scholze Insignia seen in Pont Brocard (a marking that by the way has only thus far been identified in use in Normandie to date) Also of potential relevance here is the precedent of another m.SPW Funkwagen using a two digit sequence, coincidentally beginning in 9:

Furthermore, it may be observed on the Budapest example below what appears to be the possibility of a St marking adjacent to the bow plate outline marking, indicating its assignment within the Stab of either the Regiment, or one of the two Abteilungen of Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901:

Factoring all of these pieces of evidence in, an alternative (and to this author possibly more plausible) appearance for the Pont Brocard SdKfz 251/3 may be something along these lines possibly:

This SdKfz 251/3 is depicted as a II version, which mounted three radios. As with the vast majority of Panzer-Lehr m.SPW, it is configured as an early-production Ausf D; characterised by the Notek headlight on the LHS fender, with its associated squaresection conduit running up the body behind the front wheel and bolted to the inner fender edge. Often m.SPW of this vintage are also seen with an additional set of small Bosch or Hella brand headlights on each fender. In this event a similar conduit is mounted under the RHS fender. By at least the spring of 1944, m.SPW were leaving the factories instead with just a single large Bosch headlight on the LHS fender - initially with a square-section conduit, but which was soon substituted for a tubular version winding its way under the fender. Essentially the introduction of the large Bosch headlight helps identify (in a generic sense) a mid-production vehicle, that is up until the introduction of the revised bonnet arrangement in early 1945, so characteristic of late-production Ausf D. Further reading: Bernage, Georges; Cadel, Georges, Cobra La Bataille Decisive , Editions Heimdal, 1984 (ISBN 2-902171-15-3) Bernage, Georges; Mari, Laurent; Benamou, Jean-Pierre; McNair, Ronald. Bataille de Normandie , Editions Heimdal, 1993 (ISBN 2 84084 026 3) Jentz, Thomas L., Doyle, Hillary L., Panzer Tracts - No.15-3 mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen SdKfz 251 Ausf C & D, Panzer Tracts (ISBN 0-9771643-5-7)

Lodieu, Didier, Dying For St Lo - Hedgerow Hell July 1944 , Histoire & Collections, 2007 (ISBN 978-2-35250-035-3) Perigault, Jean-Claude. La Panzer Lehr Division , Editions Heimdal, 1995 (ISBN 2 84048 081 6) Ritgen, H. The Western Front 1944 - Memoires of a Panzer Lehr Officer, J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing Inc, 1995 (ISBN 0-921991-28-2) Sturm und Drang - Sdkfz 250 & 251 , Delta Publishing, 1991 (no ISBN

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