Original German WWII German Army SdKfz 251 Half Track Road Wheel - dated 1939

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This road wheel was for the Sonderkraftfahrzeug (Special Motor Vehicle) halftrack which was a German armored personnel carrier designed by the Hanomag company, in Hanover, Germany. This wheel features a thick rubber tread going around the circumference of the steel wheel. The rubber shows definite signs of the wheel being used, it is cracked and has deep tears and sections missing. There is no significant damage to the steel and retains approximately 30% or less of it’s original paint. There are markings around the central hub, including a 1939 date. The approximate weight is 60 pounds (27kgs) and the approximate measurements are 23” x 23” x 2”. This road wheel would be a wonderful addition to any WWII armored artifacts collection!

The Sd.Kfz. 251 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251) half-track was a World War II German armored personnel carrier designed by the Hanomag company, based on its earlier, unarmored Sd.Kfz. 11 vehicle. The Sd.Kfz. 251 was designed to transport the Panzergrenadier (German mechanized infantry) into battle. Sd.Kfz. 251s were the most widely produced German half-tracks of the war, with at least 15,252 vehicles and variants produced by seven manufacturers. Some sources state that the Sd.Kfz. 251 was commonly referred to simply as "Hanomags" by both German and Allied soldiers after the manufacturer of the vehicle. German officers referred to them as SPW (Schützenpanzerwagen, or armored infantry vehicle) in their daily orders and memoirs.

There were four main model modifications (Ausführung A through 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 10 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 suppressive fire for the rifle squad both while they dismounted and in combat.

The armour plates were designed to provide protection against standard rifle/ machine gun bullets (like the 7.92×57mm Mauser bullet). The front-facing plates were 14.5mm thick; the sides were steeply angled, V-shape 8mm thick plates. This level of armour provided protection against normal (non-tungsten) rifle AP rounds, which could pierce about 8mm of vertical armour.

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. The downside, as with all armored personnel carriers of the era, was a major vulnerability to all types of plunging fire; this included indirect fire from mortars and field artillery, as well as small arms fire from higher elevated positions, lobbed hand grenades, Molotov cocktails, and strafing by enemy aircraft. The early production models of this vehicle were issued to the 1st Panzer Division in 1939.

These vehicles were meant to enable Panzergrenadiere 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.

In August 1943, Romania acquired a total of 27 armored half-tracks, of both the 251 and 250 types followed in 1944 by 251 type and other types of armored cars to convert two cavalry divisions into armored or mechanized divisions. Sd.Kfz. 251s were known as SPW mijlociu ("medium SPW") in Romanian service, while Sd.Kfz. 250s were referred to as SPW ușor ("light SPW").

The Army of the Independent State of Croatia received 15 Sd.Kfz. 251 in spring 1944 and the Ustashe Militia received 12 in autumn 1944.

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