Nuts & Bolts Volume # 21 shines a helpful light on the Kanonenwagen Sd.Kfz 251/9"Stummel". The book, authored by Detlev Terlisten, is an A4 sized soft cover book. All the text is written in English and German on high quality paper. The information about the Kanonwagen is derived from surviving examples remaining from WW 2.
Developmental history started with the up gunning of the panzer IV to a gun tank from an infantry support tank. The up gunning left the infantry without a close support vehicle. It was decided that the hundreds of 7.5 Kwk L/24 guns could be used in other vehicles. Installation of these guns in the Sd.Kfz 233 and Sd.Kfz 251 would create useful infantry support weapons. The Sd.Kfz 251/9 was thus created and two prototype vehicles were built for testing. The successful trials created an order of 160 vehicles to be placed with Schoeller-Beckmann of Austria.
The gun mounting remained the same until Dec. 1943 when a redesign placed the gun atop the fighting compartment. The redesign had a disadvantage of a high silhouette, but a greater left and right gun traverse. The conversion of vehicles could be done at the front unlike the earlier version. Overall nearly 1000 of this variant of the 251 were produced during the war.
Deployment and Unit Organization:
The weapon system gave the infantry a high speed and accurate fire support weapon against infantry, buildings, bunkers and other unarmored targets. The vehicle had a crew of four, one NCO who served as vehicle commander and RO and three enlisted men as driver, loader and gunner. The favorite attacking grounds were wide plains, although the use in towns was possible under certain circumstances. The use in wooded areas was not recommended due to limited gun traverse.
This book uses the three surviving examples for photographs. Sd.Kfz 251/9 D early ausf of the NIIBT Museum Kubinka, Russia. This vehicle is in poor condition. The vehicle floor and internal and external storage is missing. The gun sights are also missing. It is not known where it, or from who, this vehicle was captured.
Sd.Kfz 251/9 D early ausf of the WTS, Koblenz is at present residing at the Panzer Museum Munster, Germany. This vehicle was reported to be captured in the Falaise area and was with the 2nd Panzer Division. The vehicle was part of the Aberdeen collection until its return to Germany in 1959/60. The gun is full recoil and the vehicle received a partial restoration but is still missing interior and exterior parts.
Sd.Kfz 251/9 late Ausf. of the Patton Museum, Ft Knox, KY. This vehicle belonged to the 20 panzer division. It is not known how it came into American hands. The vehicle was handed over to the Patton Museum on 9/12/1946 and is receiving restoration, it is hoped it will be on display in a short time.
The 57 black and white photographs of the vehicles in WW 2 give a good look at all production vehicle types. Pictures of the three surviving examples of this vehicle total 142. Among the pictures are views of areas not usually seen. The captions on the rebuild photographs are quite informative. The pictures of the Ft Knox vehicle undergoing restoration adds to the interest in the book. The detailed pictures of the gun mount are clear and show much detail.
John L Rue has provided some excellent 1/35th scale drawings. The drawings are of three versions of the vehicle and show cut-away views. The color plates by C de Diego are based on photographs in this book. The camo schemes on the color plates are rendered with unit markings applied. There is a small wiring diagram for the gun included just after the scale drawings. All the drawings and color plates are very helpful in showing what wartime vehicles could have looked like.
Specialized reference books are not new to the modeling community. This Nuts & Bolts book is very informative and makes the price of $50.00 worthwhile. The information provided is essential for building a correct 251/9. This volume will be helpful for other variants of the 251, showing common features. I highly recommend this book for all the 251 half-track fans out there.
Nuts & Bolts can be purchased from RZM Imports in the US or directly by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Highs: Excellent information and photographs capture the subject vehicles. The work provides more information about this vehicle than I knew existed. The information about the existing vehicles is very interesting and useful.Lows: The cost of this book will keep a wider audience at a distance.Verdict: The book is a very good reference for all 251 half-track fans out there and is highly recommended.