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New Vanguard #29: German Armoured Cars and Reconnaissance Half Tracks

John Prigent

New Vanguard 29, German Armourd Cars and Reconnaissance Half-Tracks 1939-45, by Bryan Perrett, colour plates by Bruce Culver and Jim Laurier, 48 pages,published by Osprey Military, September 1999, ISBN 1-85532-849-6, 7.99/US$12.95.

Osprey continues its republication of the original Vanguard series with this welcome volume. The book covers all the Wehrmacht's armoured cars and the recce versions of half-tracks, just as the title states, but goes somewhat further back than the "1939-45" indicates. In fact it begins with the pre-WWI experiments, describes the few WWI German armoured cars and goes on to cover the inter-War developments - just as well in the latter case, as the early WWII cars were all developed before 1939. The 4-, 6- and 8-wheeled armoured cars are all covered and the SdKfz 247 and 254 get a mention too, though German use of captured cars is only briefly discussed. The recce variants of the SdKfz 259 half-tracks come next.

The next section covers the organisation and methods of the Aufklarungs Abteilungen in detail, with useful notes on the numbering of these units to help in identification. The final part of the text gives combat reports, notably a long one covering reconnaissnce in Libya in 1941 during the opening stages of Battleaxe, but also operations in Russia, Italy and at Arnhem.  The photographs show most of the vehicles mentioned in the text, though alas not the SdKfz 250 Neu Art, and Bruce Culver's plates will give some useful ideas to modellers seeking marking and camouflage information. Jim Laurier's cutaway plate, added to this edition, shows the SdKfz 234/4 with 7.5cm PaK in useful detail.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a basic primer on the German armoured cars and half-tracks. Though not a detailed treatise on any one vehicle, it gives all you could want as a guide to the types used for reconnaissance. Thos who have the original Vanguard title will not need this one, but everyone else should seize upon it with glee.

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