Darren Baker takes a look at one of the latest offerings from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series covering the Sd.Kfz 251/9 and 251/2 Kanonenwagen German Army and Waffen-SS Western and Eastern Fronts, 1944–1945.

Introduction

This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series and is on this occasion looks at Sd.Kfz 251/9 and 251/2 Kanonenwagen German Army and Waffen-SS Western and Eastern Fronts, 1944–1945. This book as with all of the titles in this series are I feel an attempt to offer the modeller a combination package covering both reference on the vehicles and a look at the models available to replicate the Sd.Kfz 251/9 and 251/2 Kanonenwagen as a scale model.

 

The following portion of the introduction is from the Pen and Sword website:

The Sdkfz 251 halftrack was one of the most versatile armoured vehicles produced by either side in the Second World War. Designed by the firm of Hannoversche Maschinenbau AG, or Hanomag, production ran to over 15,000 vehicles and it was eventually built as twenty-three separate variants serving as not only a personnel carrier, but also a command vehicle, mobile rocket launcher, armoured ambulance and bridge-layer. In his first book in the LandCraft series Dennis Oliver examines the Sdkfz 251 variants armed with the 7.5cm gun, initially used as an infantry support and reconnaissance halftrack and later as a tank killer 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 investigates the formations that operated these deservedly famous vehicles and uses archive photos and extensively researched colour illustrations to examine the markings, camouflage and technical aspects of the Sdkfz 251/9 and 251/22 halftracks 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 modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of these historic tanks.

Review

This offering from Pen and Sword is authored by Dennis Oliver; Dennis Oliver has authored Twenty of the titles in this series and is at home covering both Allied and Axis armour. This is a soft backed book with a good card cover protecting 64 pages of semi gloss paper. The contents of this title are laid out as follows:

 

Introduction

The Panzer Units

The Panzer Brigades

Camouflage and Markings

Model Showcase

Modelling Products

The Panzergrenadier Units

Waffen-SS Units

Other Units

The Kriegsstarkenweisung

Technical Details and Modifications

Product Contact Details

 

This offering from Pen and Sword looks at the Sd.Kfz 251/9 and 251/2 Kanonenwagen and the units that utilised them. The Sd.Kfz 251 in its many guises served well and proved itself a great vehicle all round, but as with most things the Germans had there were never enough of them.  The author has done a good job in a small number of pages in providing the reader with a back story on the vehicle and the units that used them in combat, but I cannot help but think this vehicle needs a larger page count to enable the author to really drag the reader in. With that said once you combine these attributes with the period photographs included and you get a get a good mix for your money. I like this approach as it provides something for both the vehicle alone modeller and the fan of producing dioramas with their models. Looking at the period photographs reveals some interesting decals that can be added and where to add them, and I applaud the author for his efforts in that regard.

 

What I think of as the modelling sections of the title starts with the camouflage and markings and this shows a number of Sd.Kfz 251/9 and 251/2 Kanonenwagen’s from the left or right aspect. It has been pointed out previously that the green in the drawings is a little lurid in shade, but I have moved beyond this aspect as it does help display the camouflage patterns to good effect and may be the reason for it. A nice inclusion with these drawings are a number of period photographs showing either specific areas of the vehicle or the vehicle replicated. The models covered here are basically just builds and while it show a fair amount of added detail it does not explain how to get there. Some of the painting techniques shown are however interesting and may add a new string to your bow. The models are as follows:

 

Sd.Kfz 251/22 Pakwagen - 1/35th scale - Leo Han

Sd.Kfz 251/22 Pakwagen - 1/35th scale - Fabio Marini

Sd.Kfz 251/22 Pakwagen - 1/72nd scale - Juanjo Dominguez

Sd.Kfz 251/22 Pakwagen - 1/35th scale  - Michelangelo Sicilia

 

The models and aftermarket offerings are covered, but I am sure there is more out there; maybe the content was effected by the page count. I however do not look at these titles for the models and aftermarket aspect as it is out of date almost as soon as it is printed. This portion of the book does however help to point the modeller in a direction regarding what they may be looking for.

 

Conclusion

This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft book series and this time looking at the Sd.Kfz 251/9 and 251/2 Kanonenwagen is a good addition to the series covering a much needed vehicle type. Looking over this title my critique is limited to two things, First I feel the author attempted to cover a big subject with too little space available and the text is still broken by the modelling section something that tends to throw off your train of thought. This is a nice stand alone offering or a great series depending on where you stand.

 

YOUR REACTION?


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