Nuts & Bolts Vol.40 Sd.Kfz 234
The Sd.Kfz. 234 was a family of armoured cars designed and built in Germany during World War II. The vehicles were lightly armoured, armed with a 20, 50 or 75 mm main gun, and powered by a Tatra V12 diesel engine.
The first and possibly best-known version was the Sd. Kfz. 234/2; it had a turret armed with a 5 cm L/60 gun, which was originally intended for the VK 1602 Leopard light tank. Nicknamed the “Puma”, It was produced from late 1943 to mid-1944. This variant was replaced in production by the second version, the Sd. Kfz. 234/1, which had a simpler open turret (Hängelafette 38) armed with a 2 cm KwK 38 gun; it was manufactured from mid-1944 to early 1945.
The SdKfz 234/3, produced simultaneously with the 234/1, served as a support vehicle for the reconnaissance vehicles. It had an open-topped superstructure, in which a short-barreled 7.5 cm K51 L/24 gun was installed. This gun was intended for use against “soft” targets; however, when using a hollow charge shell, the penetration power exceeded that of the 5 cm L/60 gun. This variant was produced from mid-1944 to the end of 1944, before switching production to the 234/4.
The final variant produced was the Sd. Kfz. 234/4, which replaced the L/24 gun with the 7.5 cm L/46 PaK 40. This was yet another attempt to increase the mobility of this anti-tank gun; however, the 234 chassis was stretched to its limits. This variant was manufactured from the end of 1944 to the end of hostilities in 1945.
From the publisher’s website:
208 pages A4, glue-bound, approx. 365 photos, of these 175 contemporary photos from manuals, combat and war fronts in b/w, most of them previously unpublished; 150 colour photos of restored vehicles and their components in public and private collections, 40 colour photos of the four models from T.Greenland & V.Branigan, English / German captions, 58 pages English / German text with 5 tables, 28 pages of scale drawings of all versions and details in 1:35 scale from Lieven DeConinck, 18 camouflage schemes from Carlos Vaquerizo with tactical and units signs, for the first time detailed camouflage scheme of the production companies and 3 tables of organization of units (Kriegstärke-Nachweisungen KStN) having these vehicles in their arsenal, first published May 20th, 2018
- by Holger Erdmann & Martin Block
- published on May 20, 2018
- german & English texts
- 208 pages
- 365 photos
- 175 contemporary photos from manuals,
- 150 colour photos,
- 40 models
- 18 camouflage schemes, tactical markings, table of organization (KStN)
- Available for €29.90 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.
The various sections of the book are:
- Development, page 3
- technical description page 6
- production page 22
- tables of organisation and equipment, page 23
- allocations and unit histories, page 27
- camouflage page 47
- markings, page 48
- frontline trial page 49
- experience reports, page 49
- Allied testing page 51
- conclusion page 52
- modelling page 53
- acknowledgements page 56
- bibliography page 57
- contemporary photos page 58
- drawings page 112
- colour profiles page 140
- preserve vehicles and components, page 150
- modelling page 196
The book starts off by describing the development of the vehicle as well as the four variants that were produced. It goes into a very technical description of the chassis and the specifications of the vehicle. There are sections on various parts of the vehicle, such as the armoured superstructure, the different types of turrets and the weapons that they contained. There is information on the various radios that were carried as well as photographs of them. The vehicle accessories that were carried on the mudguards are also covered along with how the storage differed among the four models.
There is a table describing the production of the four models and how they were organized in the units. The unit allocation and unit history section is a very detailed description of which units got their vehicles when and how long they stayed with them. Several of the unit histories go right up to the end of the war.
There’s an interesting section on camouflage and markings followed by information about a frontline trial that was carried out in November 1942, along with experience reports from German units and some information on Allied testing. Around 70 of the vehicles were used post-war by the Czechoslovakian army.
The pages on modelling the vehicle going to quite a lot of detail about building the Dragon kits and have a good list of all the models and aftermarket parts available in 1/35 scale.
The section of the book containing contemporary photographs is the backbone of this book and what makes it particularly valuable. The photographs are of all the different variants of this vehicle from the prototype all the way through to some unit level conversions with different turrets. There are several photographs from vehicle manuals and photographs of all variants from all sorts of different angles and in various locations. This section will give lots of information for dioramas and also how a model of the vehicle should be weathered.
There follows a section of 1/35 scale drawings of all four variants from various angles and these are particularly good at making sure things such as panel lines and vehicle accessories are mounted in the correct places. Then there is a selection of colour plates of the various types of vehicles based on black-and-white photographs that appeared earlier in the book. Finally, we move on to the modern photographs of preserved vehicles and components that are stored in museums. These photographs show parts of the vehicle that was not covered in contemporary photographs, particularly internal areas of vehicle and parts of the vehicle that you wouldn’t normally see, such as an engine outside of the vehicle on a stand and seen from several sides.
The book finally finishes after 209 pages, with some close-up photographs of the models that will build.
Overall this is a definitive reference for the Sd.Kfz.234 and its 4 versions. 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.