This is a review by Randy L Harvey of the book, Pakwagen SDKFZ 234/3 and 234/4 Heavy Armoured Cars German Army, Waffen-SS and Luftwaffe Units - Western and Eastern Fronts, 1944–1945 from Pen and Sword Books by author Dennis Oliver.


** Experience in the Polish and French campaigns had convinced the German high command of the value of fast-moving, armed reconnaissance vehicles. But it was realized that many of the early designs were too lightly-armed and development of a heavy eight-wheeled prototype resulted in the Sdkfz 234 series of armored cars, the first of which entered service in late 1943. Built by the firm of Büssing-NAG, these sturdy and reliable vehicles were gradually up-armed and served in the infantry support role and eventually as tank killers, largely as the result of Hitler's desperation to arm as many vehicles as possible with anti-tank weapons. Drawing on official documentation and unit histories, Dennis Oliver investigates the formations that operated these vehicles and uses archive photos and extensively researched color illustrations to examine the markings, camouflage and technical aspects of the Sdkfz 234/2, 234/3 and 234/4 armored cars that served on the Western and Eastern Fronts in the last months of the war. A key section of his book displays available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined, providing everything the modeler needs to recreate an accurate representation of these historic vehicles. **  

** Quoted from the back cover of the book.  


Pen and Sword Books has released Pakwagen SDKFZ 234/3 and 234/4 Heavy Armoured Cars German Army, Waffen-SS and Luftwaffe Units - Western and Eastern Fronts, 1944–1945 as Number 11 in their LandCraft series. It is a 64-page soft cover book, 11.7 x 8.3 inches in size.  Included with the text are black and white photographs, color photographs, color illustrations and more. It has a 2022 copyright, a publication date of October 2022 and the ISBN is 978-1-3990-6504-7.


- Introduction

- The Sdkfz 234 Units

- Camouflage & Markings

- Model Showcase

- Modelling products

- Technical Details and Modifications

- The Kreigsstärkenweissungen      

- Product Contact Details


Author Dennis Oliver provides a well written and informative text detailing the German Sd.Kfz 234/3 and 234/4 heavy armored cars used during World War II as well detailed text for the camouflage and scale modeling sections of the book.  The text goes into great detail in all areas of the book as outlined on the contents page, please refer to the contents listing for the areas that are covered through the book.  There are several pages that contain the history of the specific military units to which the armored cars were assigned.   Each military unit is assigned an individually titled section which provides information such numbers of armored cars assigned to each unit, locations where they were deployed, dates, etc.  Dennis Oliver also provides detailed text on numbers of Sd.Kfz 234/3 and 234/4 produced, improvements and modifications made, changes and addition of armament, the vehicles from which the weapons were obtained such as the Panzer IV/70, engine types used, the types of tires used, number of rounds held in the ammunition racks, storage, field modifications, and many other such subjects all providing excellent information down to the smallest detail.  For the scale modeling section, the text goes into very specific detail as to the manufacturer and scale of the model used and the steps the modeler took in construction, addition of after-market detail sets, brands of paint used and detailed information on added details, weathering and other such specific information.  There are individually titled sections provided for specific manufacture’s models shown such as Dragon, Hasegawa, Tamiya, Italeri, Airfix and others.  The text in the book is nicely written and well detailed. As I read through the text, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings.  I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be professional with their writing.  Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference, history and modeling how-to book on German Sd.Kfz 234/3 and 234/4 heavy armored cars used during World War II to their personal library will be pleased with this informative and interesting book.    


A total of 48 black and white photographs and 89 color photographs are included in this volume.  The photographs range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs.  The contain a combination of in-action photographs, photographs removed from motion pictures to photographs that have been staged for the photographer.  The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable; however, a few of the historical photographs have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and others appear too light.  This is typical for the discussed period of history and the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book.  I did notice that one of the photographs is used three different times in the book.  The first time is on the front cover, the second time is on page 14 and the third time it is used is on page 57.  The photographs of the modeling related subjects are nice and clear and provide close-up detailed images.  Author Dennis Oliver stuck to the title of the book and chose subject specific photographs and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book.  The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information to anyone interested in the German Sd.Kfz 234/3 and 234/4 heavy armored cars due to the details they contain.  


There are 4 black and white illustrations and 32 color illustrations included in the volume.  The illustrations are very well done and nicely detailed.  The illustrations are mostly side view illustrations showing various colors and camouflage techniques used as well as unit markings.  All of the illustrations will prove to be a valuable reference for the scale modeler as well as the armored car and military historian.  Each of the illustrations are accompanied by a detailed caption describing the vehicle shown, the military unit to which it was assigned, and the specific type of camouflage and colors used as well as the weaponry attached and modifications that were made.    


 The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations in great detail.  For the period photographs the captions go into very specific detail as to the type of armored car shown, specific parts shown on the armored car, field modifications made, camouflage and unit markings, the military units to which the armored car is assigned, dates, locations and other such pertinent information.  For the scale modeling photographs the captions go into very specific detail as to the manufacturer and scale of the model shown, manufacturer of after-market detailing sets used, brand of paint used and other such specific information.  As I read through the captions, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors.  I was impressed by Dennis Oliver’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions that I have seen that are very brief and lacking in detail.   



There are 4 informational charts included in this volume and they provide information on the following:

- Sdkfz 234 Allocations,1943-1945 (Two pages of information)

- Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung, August 1944 (One page of information)

- Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung, April 1945 (One page of information)

- Panzerjagd-Brigade 104, March 1945 (Two pages of information)

The charts are extremely detailed and take a full 6 pages to list all of the information that they contain including flow-charts and silhouette images of various armored vehicles.    

Pen and Sword Books, Pakwagen SDKFZ 234/3 and 234/4 Heavy Armoured Cars German Army, Waffen-SS and Luftwaffe Units - Western and Eastern Fronts, 1944–1945 is also available digitally from:



Barnes & Noble



UK £18.99 / US $29.95

This book was provided to me by Casemate Publishers.  Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here on the KitMaker Network when you make your purchase.  Thank you. 



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