The Sd.Kfz. 251 half-track stable was the centerpiece of the German
Mechanized Corps, throughout the World War II. First production began
in 1939, with the series classified into four types from Ausf. A to D,
according to the production period. The early models used a very
complicated body construction, made up of obliquely placed armor plates.
This was somewhat simplified in the C and D types, to make mass
production easier. The final, "D" production version appeared at the
front in 1943, and it became the most widely used model among the many
variants. More than 10,000 units of the D-type alone, were produced and
entered service by the end of the conflict. Late in the war, the
Sd.Kfz. 251 vehicles were mounted with a wide variety of equipment and
armament for varied roles. Although originally developed as an armored
personnel carrier, its high mobility and versatility allowed it to be
used in a great number of roles. One of the variants, was the 251/9,
which was equipped with the short barreled 7.5cm KwK37 L/24 cannon.
This is the same cannon that was used as a main gun for the early
versions of the Pz.Kpfw.IV and Sturmgeschutz III assault gun. With this
fire power, the 251/9 was used mostly to provide direct fire support
for the armored infantry, during the advance and static defense stages
of the conflict.