Squadron/Signal in Action Armor Series #21

Sd. Kfz. 251 by Charles Kliment

reviewed by Neville Lord

 


First seeing combat in the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the SdKfz 251went onto to play an increasingly large role in the German armored divisions as the war progressed, with new tactics being developed to take advantage of its combat potential. The SdKfz 251 half-track was designed to as an armored personal carrier to enable infantry to keep up with the lead tank in an advance. As the war progressed, numerous variants of the basic design were developed to fulfill specialist roles such as ambulances, reconnaissance vehicles and mounts for flamethrowers and anti-tank guns. This large range of variants is one reason the SdKfz251 series is popular with modelers.

Layout

Like other titles in Squadron Signal “in action series”, this book is heavily illustrated with a mix of photos, artwork, sketches and scale plans. The text is by the well regarded Charles Kliment, and provides a brief introduction to the vehicle and its wartime services, as well an explanation of the major production changes and a concise summary of each variant. The text is well matched to the photos and illustrations making it easy for the reader to follow the vehicles development.

The strength of this book is in the photos and other illustrations, take comprise the majority of the book. Several wartime photos are provided for each variant, and in general are clear and depict details of interest to modelers such as the mountings for rocket launchers or tool arrangements. All photos are accompanied by captions. Several scale plans are included as are several useful sketches of small detail such as radio set in a command version.

The center of the book has side profiles by Don Greer of 10 vehicles, several of which are based on photos in the book. The book concludes with a page discussing the post war development of the series by the Czechoslavak army under the designation OT-810.

Summary

This book provides an ample collection of photos of the SdKfz 251, that are useful to modelers, as well as a good overview of the series. Overall this title is my favourite paperback reference on the SdKfz 251 as it effectively coveys the vehicles development in a highly visual and easy to follow style. Well recommended.

Related 1/35 Scale Kits

Tamiya 35020 German Hanomag SdKfz 251/1. This is an Ausf B and is an older kits dating from the 1970s.

Tamiya 35151 SdKfz 251/1 Ausf D with Stuka Zu Fuss (Rocket launchers). Tamiya’s Ausf Ds have modern tooling except for the tracks.

Tamiya 35147 SdKfz 251/9 Kanonenwagen. An Ausf D mounting a 75mm L/24 gun.

Tamiya 35195 SdKfz 251/1 Ausf D as a standard infantry carrier with several figures included.