bookMilitary Vehicles in Detail 1
SdKfz 250/1 to 250/12 Armoured Halftrack

by Terry J Gander.
Published by Ian Allan Publishing.
Hersham, Surrey, KT12 5RG, England
Soft covers, 96 pages.

Review by Peter Brown

Using the same format as the existing Tanks in Detail series, this first book in a related series covers the small German armoured halftrack series. Developed from one of the lighter unarmoured haltracks which were produced to try and get the cross-country performance of a full-track vehicle with the simpler steering of a conventional truck, these armoured vehicles were built in large numbers and widely used from 1941 until 1945. They were not without drawbacks, the armour plate panels were made up from several complicated shapes and the resulting vehicles though later versions used a new, simplified body. They were almost as expensive to produce as the larger and more useful SdKfz 251 series and like the larger vehicles they were open-topped and so did not offer all-round protection. Tracks were complicated and needed a lot of maintaining, while the interleaved roadwheels could be easily jammed.

Despite their drawbacks they were used for many purposes, from basic troop carriers to radio and telephone vehicles, ammunition carriers for assault gun units, artillery observation vehicles, mortar carriers and even versions armed with anti-tank and close support cannons. There were also two related fully enclosed versions though these soon replaced with modified 250 halftracks. All these versions are described using photos from original wartime manuals along with in-action shots, as is the development of the basic vehicle from the various soft-skin halftracks. Modellers will fine the shots of the engine, gearbox, front axle without wheel, disassembled suspension and track and even the full tool kit gives them plenty of scope for adding detail to a model. There are a few colour photos of restored vehicles as well, though few details are given of their use.

While this is generally a good account, some photos are printed too large and appear grainy as well as having some interesting parts lost in the spine of the book. The same comments apply to the four side views by Hilary Doyle, these are so enlarged that the lines have become fuzzy and sections are lost in the binding. Colour schemes are only briefly described, though there are several pages showing divisional markings in colour and tactical markings in black and white.

Overall, despite some reservations, this could be a good choice as a one-stop book for modellers and enthusiasts.

For information on ordering this book and others, see the web site.

Page created 12 August 2003

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