Kagero's The 38M Toldi Light Tank


Péter Mujzer




$34.95 from Casemate Publishing


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 132 pages, softbound, 8 x 11 inches,
ISBN: 978-83-65437-65-5

Kagero's Photosniper series is really a great reference for the enthusiast. Every edition provides background history as well as a goodly number of period photographs of the subject. This time, the author has taken on the Toldi light tank, which was pretty much the tank with which Hungary entered WWII.

Hungary was, in several ways, in a similar bind as Germany after WWI. The treaty with the winning side pretty much bankrupted the country and all of its armed forces were reduced to a level that barely allowed for internal security. There was no armored force allowed, no air force, and a huge purging of the regular army.

Also like Germany, the Hungarian military hid equipment, clandestinely bought military goods, and trained soldiers above the prescribed limit as 'police' or 'customs agents'. Unlike the Germans, they did not abandon the treaty until rather late in the 1930s so were not able to build up forces quite as quickly. This was hampered by a lack of funds as well, but with the assistance of some more sympathetic nations, was able to prepare for the inevitable war.

Their first new purchase was the Swedish L60 tank which was license built in Hungary as the Toldi. Initial tanks were powered by German engines and as Germany was quite involved in the war by the time the Toldi was being constructed, getting engines was always an issue. The Toldi I was armed with a 20mm cannon, a weapon that was insufficient against enemy armor, though quite adequate as an infantry support vehicle.

The Toldi II was similar to the previous variant, though by this time, all components of the tank were built in country. It was also up armored somewhat and up gunned to carry a 40mm Oerlikon cannon, making a bit more useful. A Toldi III was also produced, again, being uparmored from the earlier version.  One of the positive features of the tank was that it was fairly small and so it was quite fast as armor goes. This proved to be quite useful when operating in mountainous terrain. It was also fairly reliable and easy to drive. This latter feature was as much to having a steering wheel for the driver as anything else, something that is fairly unusual in tanks.

The author does a superb job of covering the development, construction, and differences between the variants. He also provides an excellent operational history of the type in the various campaigns in which the tank was used. Typical of this series, are a lot of period photographs. This is all enhanced by plans, full page color profiles, and a nice section on camouflage and markings that include unit markings. Another interesting feature is a chart of Toldi individual histories, something useful to both enthusiasts and modelers.

In all, it is another fine publication from Kagero and a book I know you will find both interesting and enjoyable.

April 2021

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