Tankograd Military Special #5018: Schuetzenpanzer kurz, Hotchkiss / lang, HS 30
Much like after World War One, the German Army was restricted in what it could use after World War Two. However it was decided that a modern fully functional West German Army would be needed to fight against the threat of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Having learned a few useful lessons during World War Two, the West German Army decided they needed fully tracked armored personnel carriers in two sizes: kurz (short) for recon units (much like the Sd.Kfz.250) and lang (long) for mechanized infantry units (much like the Sd.Kfz.251). As with their World War Two ancestors, the two modern vehicles would also form the basis for other variants.
"Schuetzenpanzer kurz, Hotchkiss / lang, HS 30" was written by Peter Blume with English translation by Jochen Vollert. It was published in 2008 by Tankograd Publishing. The book has 64 9.5" x 11" pages with text in both German and English. There are no scale drawings or color profiles. All photos are from the 1960s and are in black and white except for 2 color photos on the inside of the front cover. As with the other books in this series, the photos are all external shots with a few exceptions. You do see a bit of interiors sometimes when hatches are open and the angle is right. I love that Tankograd tends to limit the number of pictures on a page. Most pages have two pictures with a few full page photos. Pages with more than two photos are an exception.
Each chapter has some descriptive text at the start, never more than one page. Although it is enough for an overview, I found myself wanting to know more details like what all the differences were between early and late versions and when the changes took place. Some of the captions are weak as well. Many times I would be looking at a photo, see something different, and wish the caption had something to say about it. Two of the more intriguing points seen in the photos are the different drive sprocket/idler combination on the Hotchkiss and the different styles of turret mantlet on the HS 30. I assume some of these are early versions or experimental/prototypes but the text and captions don't mention them at all.
The book has the following chapters:
Schuetzenpanzer kurz, Hotchkiss - Development There is one photo of the French and four photos of the German armored cargo carrier which the Schuetzenpanzer was developed from, as well as one of an early Hotchkiss with no turret, and seven of early Hotchkiss with turret.
Schuetzenpanzer kurz, Hotchkiss - Technology There are four photos of the 11-2 Schuetzenpanzer variant only. One photo is from the front right of an 11-2 with the engine removed showing some of the engine bay and another is from the rear slightly to the right with the hatches open showing some of the interior.
Schuetzenpanzer kurz, Hotchkiss - Variants There are six photos of the mortar carrier, eight of the observation version, four of the radar vehicle, and five of the ambulance version. Almost all have coverage of front, left, right, and rear except for the radar version. The radar version does have a nice rear view with the rear hatches open so you can see the interior, but there is no picture of the left rear door which houses the power unit for the radar. There is a photo of the mortar carrier from the left rear with rear hatches open so a part of the right inside wall can be seen.
Schuetzenpanzer kurz, Hotchkiss and Variants in Active Service The text mentions how the Hotchkiss fitted in the Tables of Organization and Equipment of the West German Army. There are nine photos of the Hotchkiss with turret, one photo without a turret, two of the observation type, and one of the radar version.
Schuetzenpanzer lang, HS 30 - Development There are three photos of the HS 30 without turret, four with turret, five of the 81mm mortar carrier, and one of an experimental version armed with a manually operated Milan ATGM. One nice picture of the HS 30 is taken from above and in front with all the crew hatches open so you can see some of the interior. There are also three nice photos of how the 81mm mortar was mounted. I don't know if the 120 mm mortar that was eventually used was mounted the same way.
Schuetzenpanzer lang, HS 30 - Technology All four photos are of the main HS 30 version. There is an interesting photo of the turret being lifted out.
Schuetzenpanzer lang, HS 30 - Variants There are four photos of the regular HS 30, two with the addition of a 106mm recoilless rifle, one of the 81mm mortar carrier, three of the 120mm mortar carrier, two of the mortar fire control vehicle, and two of the SS-11 armed tank destroyer (for more coverage of this, see Tankograd's earlier publication "Tank Destroyers of the Bundeswehr").
Schuetzenpanzer lang, HS 30 and Variants in Active Service There are five photos of the standard HS 30, two with the additional 106mm recoilless rifle, two of early HS 30s without a turret, three of the mortar carrier, and two of the tank destroyer. The most interesting photo shows how the recoilless rifle was loaded.
Data Tables At the very back are data tables for the Hotchkiss and HS 30.
I've been waiting for this book ever since seeing some very nice photos of both vehicles in their book "The Early Years of the Modern German Army 1956-1966". I think this book will be very useful for anyone wanting to detail a Hotchkiss (Perfect Scale, Accurate Armour) or HS 30 model. The photos are sharp and are reproduced large enough to see details. Most of the photos show the vehicles with a minimum of external gear which usually hide details of the vehicle. Other books will be useful for those who want to see photos of vehicles laden down with camouflage nets and foliage during exercises.
The review copy was provided by Tankograd Publishing
Highs: Great pictures! Great subjects!Lows: I wish the text and captions went into more detail and, of course, I wish there were interior pictures and scale drawings.Verdict: This is a great book for nice photos of the vehicles themselves.