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Mittlere Schützenpanzerwagen

  Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.D

In Detail

Graz, April 1945. Facing the prospect of certain defeat by advancing Russian troops the Foundation’s Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.D was abandoned by remnants of the 5th  SS Panzer Division Wiking . This division was made up almost entirely of non-German volunteers drawn from across Europe. Nearly 30 years later in 1974 our Sd.Kfz.251 was discovered by a group of enthusiasts in a huge local scrap yard.

The Sd.Kfz.251 was discovered during the extensive clear up of Austria after the Russian occupation ended in 1955. The vehicle was dumped in a local scrap yard used for war materiel. The Sd.Kfz.251 was discovered along with two Sd.Kfz.250 Ausf. Bs. The vehicles were all in extremely poor condition, with the Sd.Kfz.251 in the worst shape. Much of the body had been crushed under the weight of the scrap metal above. A benefit of its position at the bottom of the scrap heap, meant that oil from the parts and vehicles above kept large sections of the body rust free. This not only helped preserve the paintwork but best of all, the unit and tactical insignia. 

The Foundation came across this vehicle by chance during a trip to Austria in 1999. We were looking for Sd.Kfz.251 parts, together with parts for other vehicles for our ongoing restoration programme. We were offered an SS Wiking 251. Initially we turned it down but eventually agreed to take a look at the vehicle.

It had been poorly restored, painted over for film work and then left outside for over 10 years. All of the armour repaired by the previous owner would have to be re-welded. Interestingly the Sd.Kfz.251 had been fitted with a Maybach HL42 dry sump engine and some of the camouflage patten remained. Additionally, the lettering on the sides had been traced at the time of recovery by the original owner; as was the unit insignia, together with their respective colourings.

We decided that we had to have the Sd.Kfz.251.

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