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German Half-Tracks of World War Two, Armor at War Series 7054

by Frank V. de Sisto, colour plates by Arkadiusz Wrobel

Concord Publications Company, ISBN962-361-091-2, 72 pages.

This book starts with a three-page text summary of German halftrack types, both armoured and unarmoured. The basic chassis types are dealt with first, from the SdKfz2 Kettenkrad to the 18 tonne SdKfz9 and including the Maultier types, then the armoured Schutzenpanzerwagens are listed with all their subtypes. The unarmoured SdKfz 251 isn’t mentioned, but apart from that (which is very difficult to tell apart from the armoured one) all the 250 and 251 sub-types are briefly described so this is a very handy “field guide”. The brief text descriptions are amplified to great effect in the photograph captions, so don’t just take a quick look inside and think that this is all the information given about the different types. The 59 pages of photographs mostly have at least three to a page, with many having four, so there’s plenty of space for an excellent selection covering practically every type. Some have been seen before but many were new to me and their captions are good. There’s even a view inside a 251/21 Flakdrilling – destroyed so needing interpretation but nevertheless a very welcome photograph. I could only spot one error in the captions, where an MG34 is described as an MG42, and having suffered myself from trying to caption poor copies of photographs I can sympathise with the author over that one! The colour plates, alas, are side views with scrap views of unit markings but no guide to where they were placed on the actual vehicles. Despite that, this is a very useful book for an oversight of German halftracks. Things like variations in bodywork and wheels on the unarmoured vehicles are pointed out, making it a great reference for correcting and/or detailing kits to match the photos, and there are plenty of photos of the early 251 Ausfs A and B in preparation for the announced kits. The whole photographic section is arranged in a logical order with the unarmoured types starting with the Kettenkrad, then the Maultier and its armoured versions, then the others in SdKfz number order and again with their armoured versions. Yes, the Panzerwerfer is here, so are the types with Flak guns and even the armoured SdKfz 7 towing the Bunkerknacker 8.8cm in 1940 and the armoured SdKfz 6 with the 8.8cm on its back. They’re followed by the SdKfz 252, 253, 250 and 251 with, again, their variations – the only ones missing of any significance are the 251/20 Uhu and 251/22 mounting a PaK 40 7.5cm, both so rare that Concord couldn’t source new photographs.

Definitely recommended to anyone building a library, and equally useful for its new photographs and explanations of bodywork differences to anyone who already has a library!

John Prigent