Pen and Sword Books
Pakwagen SdKfz 234/3 and 234/4 Heavy Armored Cars
German Army, Waffen-SS and Luftwaffe Units
Western and Eastern Fronts, 1944 - 1945
The Land Craft series is noteworthy for it’s ambitious range of coverage on the subject vehicles in these books. In a mere 64 pages these books cover much material in examining both the historical story of a specific vehicle, as well as from a model builder’s perspective. Past volumes in the series that I’ve looked at managed both of these functions well.
This book examines the two late war variants of the German 8 wheeled heavy armored car series, the SdKfz 234/3 and 234/4. The earlier variants, the SdKfz 234/1 and 234/2 will be examined in another upcoming volume in this series. These armored cars were intended to be used in reconnaissance and close support roles, but were also pressed into antitank duties as their armament improved. The Sd Kfz 234/3 with it’s short barreled 7.5cm gun entered service in July 1944, and it’s more potent sibling, the SdKfz 234/4 with it’s longer tubed 7.5cm L/46 gun entered service in January, 1945. These heavy armored cars were at the sharp end of the spear, seeing heavy combat use. Less than 200 of these interesting vehicles (both variants combined) were built.
Format - softcover, portrait format
Page Count - 64 pages
Size - 11.75” x 8.25”
Photos - B&W period images, color images in the model products sections
Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - full color single aspect renderings of camo and markings schemes, some unit organization tables
All text and photo captions are in English
What’s in the book?
Above - the book’s table of contents
After a brief two page introduction which covers the German Army’s history of armored car use which began in WWI, the book very quickly moves to an examination of the units which fielded the SdKfz 234/3 and 234/4. Thumbnail biographies of quite a few units are provided, along with period photographs of the vehicles in action.
Above - In the Camouflage and Markings section of the book, 10 pages of full color renderings of paint and markings schemes are provided. These are single aspect views per vehicle, and inset images give detail looks at the actual vehicles that the renderings are based on, as well as some additional details that author wants to point out to the reader. This section of the book will be a valuable reference to those building models of these vehicles.
Above - The next section of this volume, Model Showcase, is 16 pages in length, providing good looks at three built up kits of the vehicles. Good quality images show very nice detail on these well done builds. All three models covered are 1/35th scale.
Above - The next section of the book is the Modelling Products section, which gives the reader a sort of virtual hobbyshop look at the various products that can be found to model these armored cars. All popular scales are represented here, with the author giving insightful / useful commentary on the products. Both full kits and various aftermarket items are addressed in this section of the book.
Above - 11 pages in total make up the Technical Details and Modifications portion of this volume. The author provides a quite large amount of in-depth information in these pages, frequently using numbered photos to assist the reader in determining which exact features of the vehicles are being discussed.
Above - a really nice detailed examination of factory applied camo with color call outs is provided in this section. It’s interesting to note that the SdKfz 234/4 shown in the top image appears to be serving as a hearse in a funeral procession! That’s a great vignette idea if ever I saw one.
Note - the author notes that both of these late war armored cars were built in such limited quantities ( well under 100 units each ) that good in-action images are quite difficult to find. What he has located and included in this volume are perfectly suited to the author’s intents. I do wish some images were presented a bit larger, but given the space available in a 64 page book packed full of information, the image sizes are acceptable to me.
Above - this section of the book closes with a two page table shows which units received the SdKfz 234’s from late 1943 - 1945.
Above - next up are four pages of tables of organization showing the composition of units having various model SdKfz 234 versions.
This volume closes with a page containing Product Contact List and Acknowledgments.
The author has packed a quite considerable amount of information into this volume, and has managed to do it in a manner that is easily read and followed. The historical images provided are quite nice, given the scarcity of the late WWII Sd.Kfz variants, and the full color renderings of the paint and markings schemes are very well done.
This book is a bit of a hybrid, providing much in-depth historical information on the subject vehicles, along with content designed solely for scale model builders. It’s a bit hard to explain, but to me this book “feels” much lengthier than its 64 pages. Most certainly, the author has done a terrific job of including everything that he has into this volume.
If you have any interest in German heavy armored cars of WWII, this book is well worthy of a spot in your book case!
Thanks to Casemate Books for the review copy
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland
AMPS 2nd Vice President, Midwest Region
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