While Panzer Divisions were first being developed requirements were given for a personnel carrier that was armored and could carry the infantry into battle. Chassis were to be designed in the 1, 3, 5, 8, 12, and 18 ton range. The SdKfz 251 became the 3 ton design.
Hanomag was to design and build the 3 ton chassis. It was initially designated the H.kl.6p / H kl 6.
In 1935 it was suggested that an armored body could be placed on a medium half track tractor. The SdKfz 11 became the basis for the chassis.
There were four hull versions constructed, Ausf A, Ausf B, Ausf C, and Ausf D. The welded hull was open on top and had sloping sides. At the rear was a large double door for loading and unloading.
The engine drove the tracks, while the front wheels received no power. The rigid frame was of welded construction with thirteen cross members and two side members.
There were two seats in the crew compartment, one for the driver and the other for the commander. Each had a visor for seeing out the front.
There were two benches along the hull for the passengers.
There were two hatches on top of the engine compartment for easy access.