288 pages, hardbound
A weapon that came into prominence with WWII and then pretty much disappeared after it was the concept of the sturmgeschutz infantry support gun. Here was a tracked vehicle whose main task was to support the infantry as moving artillery. This was more than just a self propelled gun, but an 'almost tank' that would be able to break through defenses such as pill boxes, and then move on to the next task.
There were several benefits to these vehicles over a standard tank, even if they carried the same armament. One was that they were less expensive to build. By not having a turret, one could use the same chassis as a standard tank, but not have the additional equipment. It was also a lot lower to the ground than a tank. This made the StuG a superb ambush vehicle and as the war progressed, a popular anti-tank gun.
However, its design also had its problems. Without a turret, it could basically only attack what was in front of it. It could get off a few shots then had to move away if pressured by standard tanks. It also was unable to function properly in rough terrain. It was found to be useless in the bocage country of northern France after the Allied invasion. Yet, it was very popular with troops and with operators, with the design improving as the war progressed.
In this book, the author takes a good look at not only the design, operation, and combat experiences of the vehicle, but also the way sturmartillerie was organized and used. Few probably realize that these vehicles were not under the control of the panzer units, but of artillery units. It is true that some did operate with panzer battalions, but it was not the norm. They also fought almost exclusively in Russia and to some smaller extent in northern Europe. They arrived too late in North Africa to make any impression and Italy proved to be to mountainous for them to operate with any success.
In addition to the great research done with this one, there are a ton of superb photographs of the vehicles in action. It is this sort of things that really gets most modelers inspired and adds a great deal to the write-up itself. I like StuGs and learned quite a bit from this book. I am sure that you will as well and have not problem giving this one my recommendation to you.
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