Osprey Vanguard Series No 19:
Stug III Assault Gun 1940-1942 by Hilary Doyle & Tom Jentz
reviewed by Neville Lord
First seeing combat in the German invasion of France and the Lowlands, the Sturmgeschutz (assault gun), was to become one of the key vehicles in the Wehrmacht armored units. With a fixed superstructure, the Sturmgeschutz was cheaper to manufacturer than a tank, while having the benefit of a low profile. Initially intended to provide support to infantry it increasingly was deployed in the anti-tank role. The early versions were all equipped with a short-barrelled 75mm gun and saw action in most of the early Blitzkrieg campaigns, and also with the Afrika Korp in North Africa.
"Sturmgeschutz Assault Gun 1940-42" is the first of Tom Jentz and Hilary Doyles two volume account of the Sturmgeschutz during WWII from Osprey Publishing. This volume covers the initial development of the StuG III and the history of the short-barrelled variants from the prototypes throught to the Ausf E. The second volume covers the long barreled variants of the StuG III & IV and the Sturmhaubitze (see separate review on Track-Link).
The layout, in keeping with the New Vanguard series is an effective mix of text, black and white photos and eight pages of colour plates by Peter Sarson.
The text reflects the thoroughness of Tom Jentz and Hilary Doyle research and systematically describes the development of this vehicle. About a third of the book covers the production history and ongoing modifications of the early StuG variants. I have found this information very useful when detailing model kits and dating photos. There is a thorough discussion of the StuGs combat capabilities, and the armys guidelines on the effective deployment of the assault gun, as well as several combat reports. I particularly enjoyed reading the background to the StuGs development and how the final design was arrived at after a mix of rigorous planning and combat experience.
The photos are a selection of factory and combat images and are well matched to the text. Though some were familiar to me, they clearly illustrate the technical changes between models. The colour plates are each supported by an explanatory paragraph and provide good ideas for painting model kits. A double page cutaway illustration of a StuG III Ausf. B forms the centre of the book and is amply annotated.
Scale plans by Hilary Doyle are provided with between 1 and 4 views in 1/76 scale for each variant. Several tables are included covering production history and fighting capability.
Sturmgeschutz Assault Gun 1940-42 is a professionally presented reference, which combines first-rate colour illustrations and informative text. It is well suited for both modellers and others interested in military history. Highly recommended.
Related 1/35 Scale Kits
Dragon StuG III Ausf A (kit 9031). This is boxed as Michael Wittmans vehicle.
Dragon StuG III Ausf B (6008). This depicts a later Ausf B with 40cm tracks and is re-boxed by Italeri in some countries.
Dragon StuG III Ausf C/D (6009). This is a standard factory version.
Dragon StuG III C with 7.5cm L/48 gun (9035). This hard to find kit can be made as either a standard short barreled version or one of a handful of StuG III Ausf C retro-fitted with a long barrel.
StuG III Ausf E. While not formally released as a kit, Dragons Ausf F kits both contain all the parts necessary to make an Ausf E. The Ausf F L/43 (Kit 6033) has standard tracks, while the later version StuG III Ausf F L/48 with Ostketten (9028) has the wider winter tracks (ostketten) for use on snow.
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