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Good Things, Small Packages: The Sd.Kfz 250 Series


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822 hits since 29 Apr 2022


©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
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Paul at Warlord Games Sponsoring Member of TMP of Warlord Games writes:

German half-tracks. Everybody loves them, but nobody really seems to use them on the table. While I'm sure many of you will be rushing to bombard me with excellent images of your Panzergrenadier forces in their iconic Sd.Kfz. 251s, I'm actually talking about the 251's little brother – the Sd.Kfz. 250!

250

Three Possible Variants:

The new plastic kit can be made as one of three distinct variants – the 250/1, 250/9, or 250/11 – each has its uses, but I want to focus more on the 250/11 in particular, as it mounts one of my personal favorite wacky weapons in the game – the Panzerbüchse 41!

Sd.Kfz. 250/1

Looking briefly at the other two, the 250/1 is a great "economy transport" option. This five-man carrier is ideal for smaller squads, and for those folk of a more competitive disposition, makes a fantastic ride for all those flamethrower-toting Pionier squads! The towing capability is also a welcome addition in a pinch for scenarios requiring mobility.

250

250

The 250/9 swaps out the transport capacity for a turreted light autocannon and the Recce rule (more on that later!), and is a good lower-cost option for the Armored Car slot in a German force. While not particularly potent against vehicles, the light autocannon is great for applying pins and dealing with pesky Veteran infantry units, making the nine a solid choice at a reasonable price.

250

250

The 250/9 is a good little vehicle, but for me, the real standout of the 250 series on the Bolt Action battlefield has to be the 250/11, a machine that I'm honestly surprised isn't seen in more German lists. As a primarily German player, I must admit that while in the past, I've usually either left my Armored Car slot empty (more points for flamethowers!) or dived straight for the ever-popular Puma, I think we do ourselves a disservice by overlooking this little half-track. Having served on all fronts throughout the war, it's also appropriate for more or less any German force – with more and more competitive events mandating (and rewarding) historically-themed armies, being able to slot the 250/11 into most lists makes it a great model to have in the collection.

250

250

Let's break down what we get for our 135 points – a regular, armor 7+ half-track with the command vehicle and Recce rules, and a Panzerbüchse 41 anti-tank "rifle". A vastly underappreciated piece of kit (I never leave home without one these days!), the Panzerbüchse is a unique weapon working on the "squeeze-bore" principle. On the tabletop, it gives us a whopping +6 penetration… at ranges up to 12″. Over half range, it drops dramatically to +2, giving us the first indication of the role this vehicle excels in; wielding the punch to take down the biggest foes on the table at close quarters. We can also add a pintle-mounted rear MMG for 15 points – a little rich for my blood, but they can be surprisingly useful if you've got the spare points!

When coupled with the always-useful Recce rule, the 250/11 makes for an excellent close range "ambush predator" of enemy armor. Easy for an opponent to overlook or dismiss in a list, the unassuming eleven is best deployed out of sight of enemy units. At a relatively affordable points cost, it doesn't take up so much of your force that it can't be left in cover or on ambush for a turn or two, but when an enemy armored vehicle comes into range, bold action is required to make the most of this vehicle.

Once your target is inside the 250s "threat zone" (the area of the table which the vehicle can reach effectively with its weapon after moving – in this case, about 12-25 inches), you can roar out from concealment, moving as close to the target as possible. Ideally, you'll end up with your 250/11 within 6″ of your opponent's tank, aiming at the vulnerable sides and rear. With +6 penetration at short range, suddenly your 135-point half-track is a serious existential threat to their 200-plus-point tank. Pray to the dice gods, and pull the trigger!

"But Marcus," I hear you cry, "wouldn't that leave our open-topped 250 sat in the middle of no-man's land, likely surrounded by vengeful enemies?" – the answer of course is yes, but that's where Recce comes in! As with any high-risk gambit, there's a fair deal of luck required, but the ideal time to spring an ambush like this is when you have the last dice of the turn. You then, in an ideal world, get the first draw of the next turn. At this point, the plucky half-track simply about-faces and scurries back behind cover! Of course, as we all know, the Dice (bag) gods are not always so kind, and you may very well find yourself staring down the barrel of an enemy AT gun suddenly feeling that Armor 7+ is decidedly squishy and wishing you were elsewhere. As your opponent triumphantly declares their attack, you smile, and utter the magic word:

"Recce"

…as the 250 zips off behind the nearest cover it can reach, and spoils the shot. You smile, your opponent groans, and the half-track lives to fight another day. Of course, a savvy opponent will likely anticipate and counter this, but nobody said it would be easy! When this inevitably goes pear-shaped, you can at least console yourself that you haven't lost too many points, and that (hopefully) the enemy vehicle you destroyed cost much, much more!

250

Given that I am a German player, and that my "formidable" (well, sort of) SS army is more or less done, I'd been considering a new German force for some time. The new 250 Alte kit is a great bit of motivation for me to have a go at a bit of a different concept. This isn't the most competitive list I've ever written, but it's nicely balanced, thematic, and should be good fun to play in all situations.

Marcus' "250 Reasons to love little Half-tracks" List:

Unit Type: Unit Name: Options Cost:

Infantry (Headquarters) Regular 2nd Lieutenant Extra Man 60
Infantry (Squad) Veteran Heer Infantry Squad LMG 85
Infantry (Squad) Veteran Heer Infantry Squad LMG 85
Infantry (Squad) Regular Heer Infantry Squad 5 Extra Men, LMG 120
Infantry (Team) Regular Anti-Tank Rifle Team – 30
Infantry (Team) Regular Light Mortar Team – 35
Infantry (Team) Regular Flamethrower Team – 50
Artillery (Anti-Tank Gun) Regular 37mm Pak 36 – 50
Vehicle (Transport) Regular Truck – 39
Vehicle (Armored Carrier) Regular Sd.Kfz. 250/1 – 75
Vehicle (Armored Carrier) Regular Sd.Kfz. 250/1 – 75
Vehicle (Armored Carrier) Regular Sd.Kfz. 250/11 – 135
Vehicle (Assault Gun) Regular StuG III AusfD – 160

999 Points, 13 Dice

Thematically, this is a nice straightforward Operation Barbarossa force – rapidly-advancing scouts in 250s have run into an enemy strongpoint, and urgently called up reinforcements. On the tabletop, I'm taking a gamble by having the 250/11 as my primary anti-tank weapon (the Doorknocker 36 really isn't something to rely on!), but the rest of the force is very mobile and can put out a reasonable deal of fire at medium to long range. At 13 dice, it's got enough in the bag to never be horrifically outnumbered, and I expect it to play best in scenarios like Sectors. All in all, this is about as far from my current SS army as you can get while still playing Germans.

In terms of models, the force is built primarily around the Winter German Infantry box and the 250 Alte bundle, with a few extra additions. It should prove a fun painting challenge – time for me to learn how to paint grey armor instead of camouflage!

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