A sampling of various GD Sd.Kfz.250, 1942-1944:
The small Uhu (owl) insignia stood for "Usedom Husaren", the nickname given in 1942 to Grossdeutchland Division's reconnaissance unit, Kradschtützen-Bataillon GD, signifying its first Kommandeur, Major Horst von Usedom, whose family had a notable cavalry background going back generations. Von Usedom went on to command other units, finishing the war as Kdr of 12. Panzer-Division in Kurland. In the meantime, Kradschtz.Btl. GD was renamed Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung GD, but continued to use the Usedom Husaren Uhu, at least until the summer of 1944.
GD 2,cm Hydraulische Drehringlafette HD 151/2 A auf Sd.Kfz.251/3 (Revised):
After all this time, still no publication or 1/35 kit conversion has appeared tackling this unusual and most interesting m.SPW variant. With the sad and untimely passing of Sd.Kfz.251 expert and Panzerwrecks author Bill Auerbach, such a publication might appear perhaps now even less likely to happen. For all those 251 fans still out there, this montage has been assembled and it is respectfully dedicated to Bill. R.I.P.
All of these Sd.Kfz.251/3 mount a 2,cm Hydraulische Drehringlafette HD 151/2 A, a hydraulic aircraft turret typically found in the Junkers Ju.188, and other later war multi-engine types. The design was developed by Focke-Wulf and was a more streamlined, mirror imaged redesign of the original HD 151 turret, perhaps best known fitted in the four-engine Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor.
“3501” carries the insignia of I./Pz.Gren.Rgt.GD HQ on its rear. Bundesarchiv’s caption for one of the close ups states “Brückenkopf Memel, Oktober 1944”, however the photos look staged some months earlier in the summer of 1944. GD maintained a garrison at Cottbus near a Focke-Wulf factory mostly producing fuselages, conceivably the most likely source of these Focke-Wulf turrets.
Although confusingly lacking a tank destruction badge on his right sleeve, the officer in the photos below can be identified as Major Harald Krieg, the Kommandeur (Kdr) of I./Pz.Gren.Rgt.GD from March through to August 1944. The distinctive ring worn on his little finger being a tell-tale clue. The Abteilung command pennant on the Sd.Kfz.251/3 furthermore bears the letters “Kri..”, indicative of Abt. Kdr. Major Krieg. This pennant is akin to the insignia on the rear of “3501” above left. The model of Sd.Kfz.251 Krieg is in features flat visors, which began to appear in service from August 1944 onward, helping to narrow down the date of these photos.
The helmeted Hauptmann or Oberst riding in "3501" with the Walther P38 remains unidentified, however there is a similarity between the MG42 wielding crewman in "3501" and the radioman inset below right, standing behind Krieg. Note also the unusual badge (Edelweiss?) on the upper crewman's cap. Similar details also seem to feature on the left sides of both radiomen's camouflage caps in the lower left photo.