Images of War - German Half-Tracks - front cover

Title: German Half-Tracks at War, 1939-45
Author: Paul Thomas
Publisher: Pen and Sword Books
ISBN: 978-1-84884-482-7

Another recent title in the 'Images of War' series from Pen and Sword books is this one, covering the German half-track in its many varied forms throughout WW2.  The book is simply split into 6 main chapters, The Early Years of Victory, then one for each year of the war, with an appendix at the end which lists the many variants of the Sdkfz 251 and the 250.

Of all the armies in WW2, it was the German army that made the most widespread use of half-tracks, or in some cases what might almost be called '3/4' tracks perhaps.  With unarmoured load carriers, artillery tractors and AA mountings, the armoured versions, notably the light Sdkfz 250 and medium Sdkfz 251 were used for a variety of roles including command, ambulance, recce, infantry transport, engineers, flak and support weapons mount.  They saw action in every theatre the German Army operated from the beginning to the end of the war.

The short text introducing each chapter gives some context while the photographic content is what makes this such a useful book for modellers and vehicle enthusiasts alike.  A few of the pictures we have seen before, but most were new to me.  This included some very nice shots that featured the early Sdkfz 251 Ausf A, which had the vision blocks along the side of the troop compartment, a feature that was deleted from later variants.  As for artillery tractors, such as the unarmoured Sdkfz 6 and 7 especially, there are some nice clear shots with heavy artillery in tow, giving plenty of reference for those wanting to make one of these combinations using the kits now available in 1/35 from the likes of Tamiya, Dragon and Trumpeter these days.  The later chapters include things like the Nebelwerfer mountings on the Maultier and the increase in the number of Flak mountings as they had to counter ever increasing enemy air superiority.  The captions are well written and the photos have been reproduced at a size and quality where you can see the detail you want as a modeller.  It's a very well balanced mix of both armoured and unarmoured types, seen in the wide variety of conditions in which they operated.

The Images of War books are very good in my experience, and this is another successful addition to the series.

For details of this and other books by Pen and Sword, do check their website.