Although the German army had a reputation as being one of the most modern in the world during the Second World War, it actually suffered from a shortage of motor vehicles throughout the Second World War. This handy reference book looks at the types of vehicles that were available to it, covering everything from the motorbike to the armoured cars and half tracks.
The main focus is on the soft skinned vehicles - the trucks, cars, bikes and other vehicles that kept the army running. Some armed vehicles are covered, in particular the armed versions of the half tracks and the armoured cars, but no fully tracked armoured vehicles are included.
All of the articles are supported by line drawings by the author, chosen for consistency and the ability to pick out specific details that aren’t always clear in photographs.
The soft skinned section is a useful reference work, although inevitable a bit dry. For me the armed section is of more interesting, showing the wide variety of types in German service.
Unusually for a book on this topic, the author isn’t that impressed with most of the vehicles in German service, acknowledging that they were often not as good as the Allied equivalents, and were never numerous enough (even the mass produced VW ‘kubelwagen’, of which over 50,000 were built, was outnumbered by more than ten-to-one by the US Jeep!).
There is also a useful introduction to each topic, explaining the classification system and looking at some of the earlier vehicles that filled the same role, giving some idea of where the Second World War era vehicles fit into the overall picture.
This is a useful reference work, and one I’m sure I’ll find useful when trying to identify German vehicles in the future!
1 - World War II German Vehicles: General
2 - Cars and Motorcycles
3 - Trucks and Tractors
4 - Half-Tracks
5 - Wheeled Combat Vehicles
Author: Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage