Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Dustified 251s

                                               SDKFZ 251 Command ready to paint

Since the discovery of VK technology Axis forces have made rapid advances in the use of 
this valuable commodity. Despite being the leading user of VK material the Axis forces face the very same problem of supply and demand that has beset the Allied and the SSU military. The worldwide battlefields and weapons of 1947 have ensured that most Axis tanks and APCs were now obsolete without some type of modification. The Axis who had pioneered the use of Armoured Personal Carriers within their Panzer and Panzer Grenadier divisions now had to face the cold hard facts that their numerous APCs (SDKFZ 250 and 251s) could not survive on the modern battlefield.

Axis engineers designed new weapons to replace these out-dated models. VK enhanced models such as the new Katzchen; Prinzluther and Sturmprinz began to hit the battlefields in support of the Panzer regiments but never in the numbers required. Captured modified Allied halftracks gave the Axis engineers the impetus to carrying out similar modifications upon their fleets of existing SDKFZ 250 and 251 APCs.

The simple addition of a VK enhanced steel enclosed structured provided reasonable protection against artillery, mortar fire and small arms fire (T3 D4). Theaddition of firing ports enabled the infantry squad to engage the enemy without exposing themselves. Despite modifications the APC is still only lightly armoured and relies upon its speed, firepower and close co-operation with tanks and walkers to survive on the dangerous battlefields of 1947. These modifications have enabled the hard bitten Panzer Grenadier regiments to provide close and effective support to the proud Panzer regiments of the Axis forces on all fronts.

The modified APCs have been very effective on the open steppes of Russia and Asia and they are especially valuable on the battlefields of Africa and the Middle East. The simple field addition of proper dust filters and wider tracks has enabled the APCs to advance with and even outrun the walkers and tanks of the NDAK. This enhanced mobility and reliability in the harsh conditions can mean the difference between survival and death.  

There have been many versions of the enhanced SDKFZ models but the 3 mostcommon are squad, command and mortar (120mm) variants. The Axis pioneers also use their own variant of the squad model which has two heavy flamethrowers fitted to the top of the APC (R12). This Flammenwerfer variant has remote controlled throwers, internal fuel tanks and is usually seen with field modifications includingmesh Schutzen covering the vulnerable sides. This field modification enables the Pioneer vehicle to approach enemy squads with more chance of success and survivability (T4 D4). Panzer Grenadier platoons usually deploy 4 squad and1command APCs but do add additional vehicles from the Pioneer and Mortar platoons from the Battalion support company for specific missions.

                                                         Squad SDKFZ 251 ready to paint (2 to go)

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