23 versions are officially named. August 15 of 1942 14 versions numbered /1 to /15 ( skipping /11) are named. Many smart solutions of field-workshops and designers let to a fast amount of types and variations. Alfred van Netburg researched all of these variants. He and several others spend uncountable hours browsing through photographs searching for even the smallest of differences.
The basic vehicle is designed for 10 soldiers, driver and commander. Two MG34, one sweeping the front and one in a more movable arm at the rear are the armament. The front MG is at first unarmored. The introduction of the "B" version sees an MG shield. "A" versions are sometimes upgraded. More often they are converted to more special roles. The MG34 is later replaced by the MG42. All "D" version have MG42's. The four benches are tubular frames, covered with leather and padded with horse hair. The leather colors vary from black to brown. A shade that is seen most is the so-called "oxblood", a red-brown shade. On late production D's wood is used to replace the tubing. The two benches nearest to the front are 3 seats (the other are 2). The seats are adjustable in height for combat or travel. Above the head of the driver and co-driver little cushions are seen.
crew of 12
FuSpr F with 2 meter rod antenna.
Shovel on the left fender on D's is sometimes flat, sometimes curved. It is even seen replaced by an pike. The crews usually add all kinds of extra's. Often they are hung from the sides. One of the most seen are jerrycans. Usually water cans because fuel cans are dangerous. Water cans are usually painted with white crosses. A field modification is made by American troops. They install a .50 instead of the MG42 on a D version.
Instead of the simple mount for the MG34, the heavy highly accurate mount is carried. 11 instead of 12 men crew.
J. Gast AG constructs in 1941 a simple tubular frame that can be folded upward, if not in use. It mounts a crate containing a rocket, the "Wurfrahmen". This heavy 28 cm HE projectile in a wooden crate, or 32 cm napalm in a metal crate, rocket-projectile of which 6 can be mounted with only simple tools and knowledge to any version. Usually the "wurfrahmen" are attached to 251/1"s, but any other is possible. The "D" is seen most numerous. The rockets are launched with the crew outside the vehicle. When moving the control box, the "mehrfachzunder" and cable reels are carried in the vehicle.
Changes from the 251/1
Aiming aids for the driver. The lifting rings on the front armor are replaced by them.
In September of 1940 Gaubschats gets an order for installation
of an 8 cm mortar. The new version is to be tested in the spring
of 1941. The mortar can be set up in and outside the vehicle.
In the vehicle it fires forward. The mortar ground-plate for outside
firing is carried on the front-armor. The 250/7 subsequently
takes the role of the 251/2 because it is big enough.
66 rounds of ammo
crew of 8
Differences from the 251/1
Right back seat eliminated for mortar grenades. Mortar ground-plate integrated in the floor. Front MG omitted.
Versions C and D
Circa January of 1943 the first radio versions appear. Before that date the /3 number was used for the Infantry Gun towing version. (See the "renumbering" document.) That means that up till that date all vehicle's with an antenna are 251/6 versions (at least on paper). The difference is use is not so big anyway. Most /3's must have been /d's since the production of the /C ended in august. That does not mean the other versions are not possible, There exists a picture of 251 that sports a frame antenna on the bridge supports of the /7 version.
See the /6 on more details.
/3.1 carrying FU-8 and FU-4
/3.2 carrying FU-8 and FU-5, the tank formation radio.
/3.3 carrying FU-7 and FU-1, for air-ground co-ordination
/3.4 carrying FU11, FU1 and FU12, command version
/3.5 carrying FU11, and FU1, command version
See the "renumbering" document. A special strengthened towing pintle is installed to accommodate a 251 as the prime mover for a light infantry-gun. Initially the 7,5 cm le IG 18. It is also photographed with the 10.5 cm le FHb 18, 3,7 cm PaK 35/36, 5 cm PaK 38 and 7,5 cm PaK 40. A special D version is not build, but there are pictures of 251/1/D's pulling guns like the Pak 40.
120 rounds of 7.5 cm ammo
Several 251's are photographed carrying ammunition. There is no official vehicle role for that after 1943. Tank-units on the eastern front are the most seen user. For easier loading and handling seats were probably removed.
A special version of the towing vehicle. Used for ammunition
120 rounds of 7.5 cm ammo
In 4 variants this version is used initially in the engineer-units. It is replaced by the /7. Most noticeable difference: the /5 lacks the blocks for transporting the bridge-sections.
crew of 8 or 9
Radio-equipment divers between the versions, but FuG8 is named most numerous.
the command and radio-vehicles are hard to tell apart. For starters the /3 (radio-version) was "renumbered". From the first days of the war this vehicle is issued to division-commanders and higher ranking officers (Often equipped with Enigma coding-decoding device). Later in the war when more vehicles come available they are used more extensively to control formations and for liaison with tank-formations. The early vehicles are relatively rare, but photographed very often. The differences in equipment are enormous. The biggest difference between /3 and /6 is the office like function of the /6 with various decoding and decipher apparatus. Many radio configurations are seen. Distinguishing is best done by the (251)antenna. Generally speaking the frame-aerial is the one in the beginning of the war. Being to conspicuous it disappears structurally in 1942 in favor of the star aerial and the 8 meter rod-type. Frame antenna's are seen on A,B and C versions. Several front modifications are known. One photograph even shows a 232 (251)antenna. D versions and some C versions are seen with a star antenna. Often a scissors binocular is seen. Late in the war infra-red equipment is reported on the /6. This could easily be the /18. A field-modification often mistaken for the /18 is a large platform above the drivers compartment serving as a map table. This is seen on A and B versions only. Since the numbering consisted of up to number /12 in 1942 an /18 cannot be on a /A body. The frame-version is still seen in 1944. Most D's have the star antenna. Many field-manufactured versions are photographed. Luftwaffe unit's sometimes use the 10 meter "Flivo" pole-antenna. There is a picture of a /6 with a S Pzb 41. Some sources separate 5 some 9 versions of radio-equipment.
crew of 7 or 8
1 MG34 or MG42 with 2010 rounds of ammo
Mentioned radio configurations:
FuG11 - FuG Tr. (Before 1943)
FuG11 - FuG12 - Kdo.Fu.Tr. with 9 meter pole antenna and frame.
FuG12 - FuG19
2 main versions serving as "Gruppenwagen" (group-vehicle) 1,3,5, or "Gruppenwagen" 2,4,6 for engineer units. On two triangular blocks (drawing 1) (drawing 2) on each side, two metal bridge-arcs (drawing 3) are the biggest tools. The arrangement of the tools and the radio is the difference between the versions. Units attached to tank-units use the standard tank unit (FU-5) radio set. The D version is often seen with the outer space between the triangular blocks permanently used for stowage. Wooden boards are placed between the blocks. A /7/C with a frame-antenna exists. Even more unlikely a /7/C/riv with a 3.7 Pak is seen on photo. A /7 with a S pzb 41 is photographed. A Gerlach 28/20 taper bore 9 mm gun is reported.
crew of 7 or 8
In 1940 one of the first variants to appear is this platoon leaders
vehicle. At first the standard 3.7 PaK 36 was simply put on top
of the armor above the driver and co-driver. Soon all kinds of
changes are made to the shield. Later special shields and a lower
stand for the gun are created. It is produced until 1943. It is
seen on pictures as late as 1944. Many sport extra armor. The
gun has an effective range of 600 meters. The gun is sometimes
replaced by a 2,8 cm taper bore example. A /C version is seen with
a Russian bazooka.
Crew of 5 or 6
Sometimes pzb 39 with 40 rounds
Early versions: 168 rounds of 3,7 ammo
2 meter rod antenna
16 January 1942 sees an order for 2 versions of a telephone laying-vehicle. On August 15 the first are delivered. It is used for laying the cables under fire and other front-conditions. The right two benches are replaced by a cabinet with cable-reels and equipment. 3 cable-rolling units are in the vehicle. One on the left fender, two inside. The crew uses long fishing-rod like poles to hang the cable in trees and bushes. The 250/2 serves the same purpose.
mittlere Feldkabeltrupp 10 (gp) or 6 (gp)
Crew of 5
(medium measure unit and equipment armored car)
Sachgebiet 21 - Geraet 912. Artillery survey section vehicle. Order to Gaubschats on September 1st 1939. The first vehicles are tested in the spring of 1942. Special artillery observing units are equipped with this vehicle to carry all their equipment. Some are reported with frame-antenna for the FU-8. The 250/12 has the same task. The interior contains no doubt the same equipment. The "scherenfernrohr" (scissors-binocular) and "Winkelmessgeraet" (angle-measuring-instrument) are part of it. The pictures are from a radio manual. The radio equipment identifies the vehicle.
crew of 6
FuG8 with low frame-antenna.
(Medium sound recording armored car)
Sachgebiet 21 - Geraet 913. Special artillery vehicle. Equipped with instruments to record and examine the sound of enemy artillery batteries. (thanks for the input Peter!) It is listed on a railway loading list of 1943
Sachgebiet 21 - Geraet 914. Special artillery vehicle. Equipped with instruments to interpret the sound of (enemy) artillery salvo's. A railway loading list of 1943 shows a height of 250 cm instead of the normal 175.
Sachgebiet 21 - Geraet 915. Special artillery vehicle. Equipped with instruments to interpret the flashes of (enemy) artillery salvo's. All these special artillery vehicles replaced the earlier unarmored 6x4 trucks.
Versions C, D(?)
Often A and B versions of the early years are named /18, and are mistakenly identified by the large map-table. That is probably a field modification. The numbering of an /18 vehicle comes available in 1943. It is used as artillery observation and command vehicle. It could therefore be a replacement for the /6. Who knows more?
FuG5 with 2 m rod antenna
FuG12 with 2 m rod antenna
Accommodating a telephone dispatch unit. Reported to operate together with the /11.
Telephone dispatch equipment
This proposal is to replace the 250/9 which is no longer in
the 1945 production plans. There is only one composite photo known.
The roof is closed. There is no evidence that even a prototype
is built. Walter J. Spielberger claims that there are some build.
Hangelafette 38 in an open top turret as used in the 234/1 and 38(t) Aufklaerer.
crew of 4