SdkFz 251/0 and 251/22 Kanonenwagen, Dennis Oliver

SdkFz 251/0 and 251/22 Kanonenwagen, Dennis Oliver

The SdkFz 251/9 and SdkFz 251/22 were two versions of the SdkFz 251 half track that were armed with surplus 75mm guns, no longer needed for tank production after longer and heavier guns were required for the tanks. At first these vehicles were seen as infantry support weapons, replacing the Panzer IV, but later on they were given longer guns themselves, and became anti-tank weapons.

The structure is a bit odd. After a brief introduction we dive straight into a list of the Panzer divisions, and how many of these vehicles they were equipped with and when. After two chapters on units, we switch to a chapter of Camouflage and Markings, a model showcase and reviews of models, before moving back to the units. This feels rather disjointed and is perhaps a hangover from the idea of having colour plates in the middle of a book. We don’t reach the technical description of the vehicles until the very last chapter. I’d have preferred it if this chapter was second, after the introduction, and all four of the unit chapters were kept together rather than being split by the modelling section.

Looking at the individual sections the introduction and technical chapter give you a good overview of the development of these vehicles, which were originally seen as an infantry support vehicle, using short barrelled 75mm guns no longer needed for panzer production, and as with so many German vehicles ended up be up-gunned to act as anti-tank weapons.

The unit chapters are a good reference work, with a paragraph on each panzer division, independent brigade, panzergrenadier unit and SS-unit that used the vehicles, looking at how many they were meant to have, when they got them, and a very brief overview of when they were used. We also get a chapter on the official orders of battle, or Kriegstarkenweisung, which laid out exactly how each unit was meant to be equipped.

The modelling section focuses on 1/35 scale models, which the author comments is the only scale to have good quality models. There is an impressive array of models of these vehicles available, so most only get a fairly short review, in most cases supported by at least one photograph of a completed, painted model. 

This is a useful reference book, giving a good overview of what these vehicles were, where they were used and the best available models. 

The Panzer Units
The Panzer Brigades
Camouflage and Markings
Model Showcase
Modelling Products
The Panzergrenadier Units
Waffen-SS Units
Other Units
The Kriegstarkenweisung
Technical Details and Modification

Author: Dennis Oliver
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 64
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2020

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