Sd.Kfz 124 Wespe Self-Propelled Howitser ~ 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend ~ Normandy 1944
The Sd. Kfz. 124 Wespe (German for "wasp"), also known as Leichte Feldhaubitze 18 auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen II ("Light field howitzer 18 on Panzer II chassis"), was a German self-propelled artillery vehicle developed and used during the Second World War. It was based mainly on the Panzer II tank. In 1940, during the Battle of France, it was apparent that the main tank of the German forces, the Panzer II, was unsuitable as a tank; though mechanically sound, it was both under-gunned and under-armoured. Thus, when the need arose for a self-propelled artillery vehicle, the Panzer II was a natural choice, removing the vehicles from front line service and extending their usable lifespan.
The design for the Wespe was produced by Alkett, and was based on the Panzer II Ausf. F chassis. Production of the vehicles was carried out at various plants, mainly in occupied Poland, Specifically Warsaw's Famo factory. The conversion process itself proved relatively simple, involving the replacement of the Panzer II turret with a 105 mm leFH 18 howitzer and a gun-shield. The Wespe first saw combat in 1943 on the Eastern Front ,and proved so successful that Hitler ordered all Panzer II production to be reserved for the Wespe alone, dropping other projects such as the Marder II self-propelled anti-tank gun. They were allocated to the armored artillery battalions (Panzerartillerie Abteilungen) of Panzer divisions along with heavier Hummel self-propelled guns. The Wespe had major success because of its ability to fit in with the German plan of Blitzkrieg by having a great mobility along with firepower.
The Wespe stayed in production from February 1943 until mid-1944. By that time, 682 had been produced, with an additional 158 built as weaponless ammunition carriers.
The 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend ("Hitler Youth") was a German Waffen SS armoured division during World War II. The Hitlerjugend was unique because the majority of its junior enlisted men were drawn from members of the Hitler Youth, while the senior NCOs and officers were generally veterans of the Eastern Front.
The division, with 20,540 personnel, first saw action on 7 June 1944 as part of the German defense of the Caen area during the Normandy campaign. The battle for Normandy took its toll on the division and it came out of the Falaise pocket with a divisional strength of 12,000 men.
Forces of Valor’s 1:72 scale replica is of a German Self-Propelled Howitzer Wespe that was attached to the 12th SS Panzer Division, then deployed to France.
- Constructed of both die cast metal and plastic
- Chassis and barrel are metal
- Elevating barrel
- Tracks Roll
- Rotating turret
- Working treads
- Accurate markings and insignia
- Comes with commander figure
- New Packaging for 2012 No Ties or Screws Double Blister Construction