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Book Review

"39/40M Csaba Armoured Cars in World War 2"

By Dr. Chris Lloyd-Staples  - Earls Barton, UK


Basic Item Information

Title 39/40M Csaba Armoured Cars in World War 2


Péter Mujzer


Kagero Publishing

ISBN/Stock Number



Soft Cover 

Number of Pages


Text Language


Retail Price

$26.95 USD 


Dr. Chris Lloyd-Staples 

Review Date

September 9, 2022

Review Summary

Review Type

Full Read 

Basic Positive Features

Many of the photos in the book have never been published before. The drawings are superb for modelers to use.

Basic Negative Features

Plans and drawings are not to any fixed scale.


A "Must Have" if you are making this armoured car



Detailed Review

The vehicle

The Csaba (pronounced ‘charba’) 39M was a modern car for its time, designed by Nicholas Straussler and technically advanced. The armament included a 20mm Solothurn anti-tank (AT) rifle and a Gebauer machine gun, with a light machine gun for use as an anti-aircraft weapon.  All of this was mounted in a fully armored turret, and the armor was riveted from 9 mm plates. The car was powered by a Ford engine manufactured in Cologne, Germany, which provided good speed. The vehicle had two steering positions, front and rear and an access door.  The 39M vehicle was fitted for radio, but there was a specialised version, the 40M. That variant had a smaller turret, no AT rifle, extra radios and a frame antenna.  Estimates vary, but between 93 and 172 Csabas were produced, and they were very widely photographed.  Sadly, although some were around towards the end of WW2, none survive today.



1. Straussler and his designs

2. Design and development of the Csaba armoured car

3. Production

4. Armoured car units, organisation

5. Operational history

6. Camouflage and markings


I’m going to admit that the Csaba is a personal favourite armored car, so I came looking for good information.  This book did not disappoint in any respect.  The amount of useful information is awesome, and for a modeller the book provides everything that might be needed.  The opening chapter deals with the lamentable state of Hungarian armor following WW1, and the various options that were being considered.  The next chapter looks at the work of Nicholas Straussler, a Hungarian-born British citizen who came up with astonishing designs in the 1930’s. He initially offered these to the British Army, but the generals were very short-sighted and rejected his ideas (and also those of Christie and some excellent Vickers designs).  Consequently, Straussler offered to work with his birth country, and the Csaba was the result.

The book then follows the production and deployment of the vehicles in reconnaissance battalions of the motorised and armored units.  The cars were extensively used in Transylvania, then in Yugoslavia, and finally on the disastrous Eastern Front.  The whole of the book is fully supported with superb photos, but this chapter is particularly good for demonstrating that these lightly-armored reconnaissance vehicles were no match for anti-tank guns, and mines also took a terrible toll.

The center of the book is full of color profiles and photos, although some of these photos look as if they have possibly been colorized from black-and-white originals.  Next we have a section containing scale drawings…….but without a scale.  This is a bit frustrating, as each set of drawings is simply as large as the page allows, rather than a consistent value.  If only they had been scaled to 1/35 ………  There are drawings of the weapons, engine, interior layout and the radio sets, all of these useful for adding detail.  Unit organisational charts complete this part of the book.

After finishing the descriptions of Csaba use in the last months of the war, the book concludes with explanations of the camouflage and markings.  Much more is now known about the specific insignia and color schemes in each unit and at each date. Now, modelers will have no excuse for getting this wrong!

In summary, this book puts together everything that a modeller or researcher might need, and the content is extremely professional.  One photo (center page 17) is reversed, and the number ‘one’ is often written as ‘one-one’ in the text.  Aside from that, the drawings would have been more useful at a fixed scale, but this can be dealt with.

Overall, a very valuable book for research and for making a very detailed model.

A "Must Have".
Thanks to Casemate Publishers for the Review Sample.
Copyright: Dr. Chris Lloyd-Staples - September 9, 2022