Read & Reviewed: Nuts & Bolts Vol.15 Marder III Sd.Kfz. 139

Nuts & Bolts Vol.15 Marder III Sd.Kfz. 139

Marder III was the name for a series of World War II German tank destroyers. They mounted either Soviet 76.2 mm F-22 Model 1936 divisional field guns, or German 7.5 cm Pak 40, in an open-topped fighting compartment on top of the chassis of the Panzer 38(t). They offered little protection to the crew but added significant firepower compared to contemporary German tanks. They were in production from 1942 to 1944 and served on all fronts until the end of the war, along with the similar Marder II. The German word Marder means “marten” in English.

This book covers the Marder III with the Russian 76.2cm gun, just one of the 3 Marder III variants. The other 2 variants had the Pak 40 and are covered in Nuts & Bolts volumes 17 and 18.

Marder III, Sd.Kfz. 139
While the Panzer 38(t) had largely become obsolete as a tank in early 1942, it was still an excellent and plentiful platform for adaptation into a tank destroyer, among other roles. Since the Soviet 76.2 mm field gun was captured in large quantities, the decision was made to mate this gun to the Panzer 38(t).

To do so, the mass production of the Panzer 38(t) Ausf. G was halted and a modified superstructure was bolted onto the standard tank chassis in lieu of a gun turret. This upper structure mounted the gun and an extended Gun shield, giving only limited protection for the commander, gunner and the loader. Armour protection overall ranged from 10 to 50 mm with no armour at all above and behind the gun compartment which the crew occupied. It had a higher silhouette than the original Panzer 38 (t), which made it more vulnerable to enemy fire.

The now-called 7.62 cm PaK 36(r) was rechambered for the more powerful German PaK40 cartridge and carried 30 rounds for the main gun inside the vehicle. Apart from the main gun, there was a 7.92 mm machine gun mounted in the hull.

This tank destroyer was put into production as the Panzerjäger 38(t) für 7.62 cm Pak 36(r), Sd. Kfz. 139. A total of 344 vehicles were built in three series from April to November 1942. Chassis numbers were 1360-1479, 1527-1600 and 1601-1750.

From the publisher’s website:

104 pages A4, 68 wartime Photos from 1942-1945 in b/w, many of them rare and never before published, ca. 150 b/w Photos of existing museum vehicles in two collections. English / German text and photo captions, 4 pages of scale drawings of the vehicle and the gun in 1:35 scale from John Rue, 4 pages colour work of different camouflage schemes from the English illustrator and Modeller David Parker, 8 Photos of Brian Wells‘ master-model, first published December 7th, 2001

  • by Volker Andorfer, Martin Block, John Nelson
  • published on December 7, 2001
  • softcover
  • german & English texts
  • 104 pages
  • 224 photos (68 historic, 9 model, 150 modern)
  • 14 blueprints
  • 8 camouflage schemes
  • Available for €25.00 from the Nuts & Bolts website.

The texts are in English and German with the English texts on the left of the page and the German on the right. All images and photographs have captions in both languages. The English translation is excellent. Now, let’s take a look at the book to see what we get.

This book was published in 2001. So although the historical information is still relevant. The information about modelling is now a little dated.

The book doesn’t contain a table of contents. The book starts with the development of the vehicle based on the Panzer 38(t) and the Russian 7.62 cm PaK 36(r). This gun was used because so many were captured in the first months of the invasion of Russia. These guns were then re-chambered to use German ammunition for the PaK 40. The Panzer 38(t) was reaching obsolescence and this was a good use for what was still a useful vehicle.

The book covers how the conversion to the Sd. Kfz. 139, was carried out along with production numbers and the tropical version of the vehicle sent to North Africa. Radio equipment and camouflage and markings are also mentioned along with the advantages and disadvantages of the vehicle. The main disadvantage was, of course, it’s extreme height and also the suspension was somewhat overloaded.

There is a detailed list of all units that had this vehicle both in North Africa and the eastern front and it lists which units received vehicles and details of how long they had their vehicles and their operational use. There is a large table showing how many vehicles were allocated to which units and when.

After the bibliography we have what is probably the most important part of the book for modellers, being the contemporary black and white photographs. These cover vehicles both in Russia and North Africa in a variety of situations. Using these you can see exactly how the vehicles weathered and when whitewash was applied where it was worn off first. There are many interesting photographs and many ideas for dioramas.

There is also a set of 1/35 scale diagrams and many modern photographs of a vehicle on display at Aberdeen testing ground. The photographs of this vehicle, show it from every possible angle and very close-up. This will fill in the gaps for some of the fine detail work in building the kit. There are also colour plates in the centre of the book, showing eight vehicles. There are also contemporary photographs of a vehicle in a museum in France.

In addition to information on the Sd. Kfz. 139 the end of the book covers the 7.62 cm Pak 36(r). It has 1/35 scale diagrams along with contemporary photographs of the antitank gun in museums.

Conclusion
Overall this is an exhaustive reference for this version of the Marder III. There is a wealth of information and photographs that will cover all your needs and it will most likely be the only book you will ever need on this topic.

I have bought several books direct from the publisher at Nuts & Bolts.
Many thanks to Nuts & Bolts for supplying this review sample.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International
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