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Book Review

Pakwagen SDKFZ 234/3 and 234/4 Heavy Armoured Cars

By Al Crawford - Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

 

Basic Item Information

Title

Pakwagen SDKFZ 234/3 and 234/4 Heavy Armoured Cars: German Army, Waffen-SS and Luftwaffe Units - Western and Eastern Fronts, 1944Ė1945

Author Illustrator

Dennis Oliver 

Publisher

Pen & Sword 

ISBN Number

9781399065047

Subject

Sdkfz 234/3 & 234/4 Armored Cars 

Media

Paperback Book 

Number of Pages

64 

Text Language

English 

Retail Price

$29.95 USD 

Reviewer

Al Crawford 

Review Date

December 30, 2022 

Photos

                   

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Review

Itís nice to see a new title in Pen & Swordís TankCraft series, particularly when itís by Dennis Oliver.  While the series as a whole can be very hit-or-miss, all Dennisí books are good reads, especially when heís covering German subjects.

While a book focusing on the Sd.Kfz.234/3 and Sd.Kfz.234/4 may seem a bit of a niche title  (the 234/3 didnít appear until June of 1944 and production ended in March of 1945) this is one of two titles on the 234 series to be released in the TankCraft series,  and is to be followed by another, covering the more numerous 234/1 and 234/2 "Puma".  Mr. Oliver even acknowledges the difficulties a book on these last of the 8-rad armoured cars pose an author. While it has the usual large number of period photos, many of these images show abandoned vehicles up on blocks or are of other types of vehicles altogether, such as the PaK 40 mount in an Sd.Kfz.251. Or it provides images of earlier 234 vehicles.  It also thoroughly documents a one-off field modified vehicle with a FlaK 38 mount from an Sd.Kfz.251/17 halftrack.  It is interesting stuff to me, but photos, a color profile and coverage of a limited edition white box Cyber-Hobby kit seems a little excessive.

The bookís first section is a remarkably comprehensive description of the units that operated the two variants covered by the book; when they received them, how many they received, and how many (if any) they had left by the unitís surrender.  Although itís divided up by unit it gives a good idea of how these vehicles were being allocated, what they were being used for and, most typically, how they met their end.  These are accompanied by a good selection of contemporary photos of vehicles with the unit identified where possible.  Next up are eleven pages of very nice full color vehicle profiles, showing 234's in a range of camouflage schemes; with and without winter whitewash, accompanied by detail photos and drawings of unit insignia and vehicle markings.

The modeling section comes to 20 pages and is a nice mixture of good quality images of several very nicely built and painted models, for inspiration. It also provides a through summary of just which kits are available, their strengths and weaknesses (generally boiling down to age) and a survey of just what aftermarket items are out there.

Finally, the book provides coverage of the vehicleís development history, accompanied by labeled photographs and profiles covering vehicle stowage and standard camouflage patterns.  It also contains a chart of allocations of the vehicles over their time in production, plus unit organization summaries for German reconnaissance companies showing how these changed from August 1944 until the unitís surrender.  Finally a similar description is provided of how 234's were used in a tank hunter brigade in the final days of the war.  In addition to being interesting reading, this should be useful for anybody planning a diorama.

Overall, this is a well-researched and interesting book covering a subject that, while not exactly obscure, isnít covered as well as typical German tracked subjects.  It squeezes a lot of useful information into a modest 64 pages and is a useful addition to any library of German armored cars.  As with most TankCraft titles, itís available as an A4 print title with card covers, or in digital Kindle format, for those of us who like to read books on a tablet.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Casemate Publishers for the Review Sample.
 
Copyright: Al Crawford- December 2022