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Schiffer Pub. Legends of Warfare - German Heavy Armored Cars of World War II

ISBN Number:
Thursday, February 16, 2023
Schiffer Publishing
Retail Price:
$24.95 USD
Reviewed By:
Chuck Aleshire

Schiffer Publishing

Legends of Warfare

German Heavy Armored Cars

Sd. Kfz. 231, 232, 233, 263, and 234 in World War II

Schiffer Publishing’s Legends of Warfare series is noteworthy for its wide range of subjects; aerial, naval and ground combat are all well represented in this line. Previous books that I’ve examined from the Legends of Warfare series all share similar format, physical characteristics and quality of content. Some recent titles in this series authored by David Doyle have added pages (up to 144 pages) allowing for even more content.

The subject of this book is the series of six and eight wheeled armored cars used by Germany in World War II. While these cars were primarily designed to function as reconnaissance and/or command vehicles, their versatility saw them employed in other roles such as antitank or infantry support duties. This line of armored cars saw extensive use in World War II, from the opening shots in Poland 1939, to to the desert campaign in North Africa, and all European fronts.

This volume expands on an earlier work by the author.

Vital Statistics

Format - hardcover, square format

 Page Count - heavyweight, glossy paper,  144 pages

 Size - 9.25" x 9.25"

Photos - 260 wartime black and white images, contemporary full color images

Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - tables of technical and performance data

All text and photo captions are in English


What's in the Book?

Above - the book’s table of contents shows the wide variety of these interesting vehicles covered in the volume.

The book works it’s way through the different heavy armored cars in a generally chronological order, beginning with the pre-war 6 rad (wheel) designs.

These 6 rad vehicles had issues with off-road mobility due to the front axle being non-powered, with these vehicles being largely limited to road network use. This led to the withdrawal of the 6 rad vehicles from front line vehicles after the French campaign in 1940, and led to the development of the 8 rad designed armored cars.

As seen above, the author typically opens his chapters on the various vehicles with some very well written text describing the varied features of the chapter subject, along with text on the development of the model covered. Also seen above is one of several informative specifications tables found throughout the volume.

The 8 rad armored cars had 8 powered and steerable wheels, giving this design much better performance on varied or rough terrain. This design was upgraded throughout the war in a wide number of ways, including armament. These 8 wheeled cars served in a number of roles including command and control (radio) vehicles, reconnaissance, infantry support, and anti-tank roles. The author discusses these points concisely in his text.

Above - a classic image of an Sd Kfz 263 (interestingly, the Sd Kfz was fielded in BOTH 6 and 8 wheeled versions) with it’s distinctive frame radio antenna on a muddy road, most likely in Russia. The author makes good use of full page images for interesting looks at the vehicles (and conditions that they operated in) in this volume. These full page sized images provide good study of image details.

A hallmark of any of the books authored by David Doyle is the wonderful range of photographs that he selects for his works. This book is no exception, having a great variety of photographs of these vehicles; both historic, vintage images as well as great contemporary images examining surviving examples.

Above - really nice vintage images of an apparently factory-fresh Sd. Kfz 263 8 rad. Not all of the images in this volume are this crisp, there are a few scattered images that are a bit dark or slightly out of focus. This is likely due to field conditions where the images were taken. That said, even the occasional imperfect images are still of high interest, and worthy of inclusion in this book.

The author does a thorough and complete job of describing what’s in the images in his photo captions. His descriptions give the reader a very good overview of what’s pictured; the what’s, the where’s, the when’s. Areas of specific interest are pointed out by the author as well. This author always gets the most out of whatever text space he has to work with, a vital talent to have when writing photo-heavy books with limited space for text.

The book closes with a look at the final four heavy armored cars that Nazi Germany would field, the Sd Kfz. 234 series. In addition to the wide range of WWII vintage images, there are several good images provided of the rare survivors of this interesting series of armored cars. As these vehicles were produced in much fewer numbers than most of Germany’s tank series, survivors are rare indeed.

The 234 series was the pinnacle of Germany’s WWII heavy armored car designs, and out of necessity these cars were given ever-heavier armament, culminating in the 75mm PaK gun armed Sd.Kfz. 234/4 seen above right. Crisp, clear, full-color photographs of late 234 series cars are provided for examination.


With Legends of Warfare series books from author David Doyle, you know exactly what you are going to get before you even crack open the cover. Inside these books you will find informative, interesting text and photo captions, a wide variety of well chosen vintage images, great walk-around style images of surviving vehicles, tables of technical and/or production data, and of late, well executed drawings and full color renderings of paint and markings schemes ( none in this book though, to be clear ). The author is amazingly consistent in the high quality of his work.

Good reference works are good regardless of price, but in my humble opinion, the books in the Legends of Warfare series by this author are a genuine bargain given their high quality, and well deserving of a place in your reference library.

Highly Recommended!

Thanks to David Doyle Books for the review copy

Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland

AMPS 2nd Vice President, Midwest Region


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