SDKFZ 234/1 and 234/2 Heavy Armoured Cars

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Dennis Oliver
ISBN
9781399065047
Other Publication Information
64 pages, 8.3" by 11.7", 100 color illustrations, 100 mono illustrations
MSRP
$29.95
Company: Pen & Sword - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site
Cover

From the Website

Experience in the Polish and French campaigns had convinced the German high command of the value of fast-moving, armed reconnaissance vehicles. But it was realised that many of the early designs were too lightly-armed and development of a heavy eight-wheeled prototype resulted in the Sdkfz 234 series of armoured cars, the first of which entered service in late 1943. Built by the firm of Büssing-NAG, these sturdy and reliable vehicles were gradually up-armed and served in the infantry support role and eventually as tank killers, largely as the result of Hitler's desperation to arm as many vehicles as possible with anti-tank weapons. Drawing on official documentation and unit histories Dennis investigates the formations that operated these vehicles and uses archive photos and extensively researched colour illustrations to examine the markings, camouflage and technical aspects of the Sdkfz 234/2, 234/3 and 234/4 armoured cars that served on the Western and Eastern Fronts in the last months of the war. A key section of his book displays available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined, providing everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of these historic vehicles.

Dennis Oliver is the author of over twenty books on Second World War armoured vehicles including Codename Swallow: British Sherman Tanks at Alamein, To The Last Bullet: Germany's War on 3 Fronts, Westwall: German Armour in the West 1945, Viking Summer and A Sound Like Thunder.

Contents

Introduction

The author offers a brief summary of the development history of the Sdkfz 234/1 and /2 armoured cars. The North African and Russian fronts found the German army operating in vast, barren and often hostile environments. The reconnaissance units were often in the forefront of the action and had to fight forward. This presented the need for better armed and mobile reconnaissance vehicles. Hence, the development of the 234 series.

The Sdkfz 234 Units

Pages 3 through 16 offer a very detailed history of the various units. This chapter has several period black and white images of 234/2 version in various states from operating, damaged to destroyed. The author notes various details for each vehicle pictured.

Camouflage and Markings

Pages 17 through 26 include full-color profiles of several 234/1 and 234/2 vehicles. The accompanying text notes specific details for the various vehicles. Each profile is nicely done and appropriately weathered or camouflaged. Specific markings for some vehicles are shown in adjacent detail. Many of the profiles are cross-referenced to photographs in other parts of the publication. Camouflage colors are noted for reference.

The color profiles depict factory finishes, field modifications and a winter scheme that modelers will find informative.

Model Showcase

A Matchbox 1/76th scale Sdkfz 234/2 by Theodoros Kalamatas is featured first. This model was built out of the box and several full color photographs are included to show the camouflage scheme chosen by this builder. Minimal text is included.

Next a Tamiya 1/35th scale Sdfkz 234/1 by Carlos Martin is shown. The first three pages show the assembled but unpainted model. Some of the photos include a brief paragraph of explanation. The last two pages have several color photographs of the painted and weathered model. Again the notes are minimal, but the pictures say it all: very nicely done model.

Third in line is an Italeri 1/35th scale Sdkfz 234/1 by Johannes Pambudi Utomo. Another nicely done model where the builder has chosen to articulate the wheels and pose the model on a grassy and rocky base.

Next, and last is a Dragon 1/35th scale 234/1 by Theodosis Giannakidis. Here we have a few photos of the work in progress, unpainted, painted, but not weathered, and lastly finished with weathering. This model depicts a factory-painted vehicle.

Modelling Products

This chapter features Dragon Models Limited, Tamiya, Attack Hobby Kits, Hasegawa, Airfix, Matchbox and Revel, and lastly Italeri kits. Several full color photos are included for each manufacturer. Many of the photos are close-up images of the details.

Also featured are various aftermarket manufacturers such as Eduard, Griffon Models, Royal Model, Voyager and Hauler.

Technical Details and Modifications

{ages 49 through 59 go into detail. This chapter will be appreciated by most modelers who wish to include additional details on their models. Several black-and-white period photographs are included along with clarification notes

The Kriegsstarkenweisung

Unpronouncable words and titles like this probably made a major contribution to the Germans losing the war (?). none the less, all formations of the German army were organised according to detailed tables of estabilishment referred to as Kriegsstarkenweisung (KstN) which showed the official composition of a unit, listing the exact number of personnal and types of equipment to small arms.

Several organization charts are included.

Product Contact Details

Here the author offers the names, addresses, and web site for the various model and after market manufacturers.

Conclusion

Since I have a bit of a fascination for German World War II armored vehicles I enjoyed the content of this publication. I found the text, the photos and color profiles very informative. I have two unbuilt Dragon 234 kits in my stash and this publication most certainly offers incentive to build and detail them.

My thanks to Casemate Publications and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this publication. Highly recommended based on the content and quality.

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