Tank Craft #8: Sdkfz 251/9-22: 1944-45
|Pen & Sword|
|$28.95 from Casemate|
64 pages, softcover, 200 illustrations
This edition from Pen & Sword's series on military vehicles concentrates on the SdKfz 251 half track. Specifically the large gun mounted /9 and /22 versions. When production of the Panzer III stopped in 1943 and the Panzer IV was upgunned to the extent that it was no longer an infantry support tank, this opened up a requirement for a new infantry support weapon. Since before the war, Borgward had been producing what we would now call APCs, and in this case it was the SdKfz 250 and SdKfz 251 half tracks. The 250 was the lighter of the two and while it could carry a large gun, it was not ideal.
The 251, however, was perfect for the job. These halftracks were extremely useful and produced in a large number of variants. As the Panzer IIIs were brought in for repair, their chassis were re-used for the StuG III, which left their guns available for other uses. This was true also for the Panzer IV which was able to be upgunned. The 251/9 was armed with the short barrel 7.5cm L/24 gun, which was perfect for infantry support and so hundreds of these vehicles were built, both new and as modifications to existing chassis.
Much later in the war, the long barreled 7.5cm L46 gun was utilized, but this was very late war production and not all that many were actually completed and sent to the front.
As is the case with a lot of the books in this series, we get a brief history of the type followed by a look at how each of the Army's units used the half track and their combat record. There is then a fairly large section of large full color profiles, often accompanied by a photo of the vehicle in question. Then we get to some feature model builds along with a rundown of kits and accessories that are available for the SdKfz 251/9 and /22. Not surprising is that most of the kit builds are 1/35 kits from Dragon and AFV. These sections are by no means comprehensive but do cover most of what is currently available. This is followed by a brief section that helps one identify the salient features of the two types.
These books where you have a mixture of history, camouflage and models are becoming more and more the norm. This one is well done, as are the other books in the series as they are by the same author. Well worth picking up.
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