by: Gary Kato [ ]
Originally published on:
IntroductionThe Sd.Kfz.251/1 was the standard armored personnel carrier of the German Army in World War 2 with the chassis based on that for the Sd.Kfz.11 half-track. It was a success and formed the basis for many variants including the OT-810 produced and used after World War 2 by the Czech Army though that particular variant is outside the scope of Panzer Tracts books. "Panzer Tracts 15-3: mittlere Scheutzenpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251) Ausf.C & D" was created by Thomas Jentz with scale plans by Hilary Louis Doyle and first published in 2006. This Volume covers the Sd.Kfz 251 Ausf. D and variants built on that model and the Ausf. C from 1943 to 1945. The book has 80 8.5"x11" pages and is the third installment for Volume 15. Volume 15-2 covered the previous Ausf.A, B, and C versions and I assume 15-1 will cover the Sd.Kfz.250. Scale drawings are 1/35 scale unless otherwise specified and most vehicles have 4 view plans (left, front, back, and top). Many detail scale drawings are 1/20 to show more detail, so it pays to check each to be sure of the scale used as a reference. All photos in the book are black and white.
the book The first section, In Depth: Vehicle Design and Modifications, contains an "Introduction" that is a one page text-only explanation of what the book covers and about what material was used. "Production" covers the differences between the Ausf.C and D with tables of who produced what and when and there are side plans of the armored body for Ausf.C, side, top, and bottom plans of Ausf.D, as well as side and top plans for chassis made in mid 1943 and mid 1944. "Modifications" provides descriptions of modifications made during the production run with 1/20 drawings of various tracks used.
In Depth: Variants: From here on the book deals with chapters on the different variants in the following order:
"mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/1)" covers the basic infantry carrier and heavy machine gun variants. There are 4 view scale plans of both the regular and sMG variants as well as 1/20 drawing of armament and mounts, antenna mounts, and the bench seats. There are 3 exterior photos.
"'Falke' mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/1) mit U.R.Geraet" covers the basic infantry type equipped with IR lights and sights for the driver and gunner. There are 3 photos highlighting the IR equipment.
"mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen (Granatwerfer) (Sd.Kfz.251/2)" covers the mortar carrier. There are a 4 view plan of the vehicle and 1/20 drawings of the armament along with 1 exterior photo.
"mittlerer Funkpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/3)" covers a change in designation from the Infantry Gun prime mover to a radio/command version. There are 3 exterior photos.
"mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen (I.G.Mun) (Sd.Kfz.251/4)" is text-only and covers the newly combined prime mover and ammunition carrier for Infantry Guns.
"mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen (Pi) (Sd.Kfz.251/5)" is also text-only covering the wind down of usage of this variant as it was replaced by the /7 variant.
"mittlerer Kommandopanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/6)" is a text-only chapter telling of the replacement of this variant the /3 variant.
"mittlerer Pionierpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/7)" covers the Pioneer (combat engineer) version. There is a 4 view plan, 2 exterior photos, and 1/20 drawings of the bridge sections and mounts.
"mittlerer Krankenpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/8)" covers the battlefield ambulance version with a 4 view plan, 1 interior photo, and a 1/20 drawing of the stretcher mounts.
"mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen (7.5 cm Kanone) (Sd.Kfz.251/9)" covers the infantry support version mounting a short barreled 75mm gun. There are 4 view plans of an Ausf.C, Ausf.D with Kanone 37, and Ausf.D with Kanone 51. There are 2 exterior photos, 1 interior photo, and 1/20 drawings of Kanone 37, Kanone 51 and their mounts. There is also separate text on production and tactics used.
"mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen (3.7 cm Pak) (Sd.Kfz.251/10)" covers the platoon leader version armed with a 37mm anti-tank gun. There is a 4 view plan, 1 exterior photo, and 1/20 drawings of the 37mm and mount.
"mittlerer Fernsprechpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/11)" covers a version for laying telephone wire and carrying a switchboard. There is 1 exterior and 1 interior photo.
"mittlerer Messtrupp- und Geraetpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/12)", "mittlerer Schallaufnahmepanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/13)", "mittlerer Schallauswertepanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/14)", "mittlerer Leichtauswertepanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/15)" are all short text-only chapters covering versions allocated but never made, helping to explain for many the gaps in the /variant designations.
"mittlerer Flammpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/16)" covers the flamethrower variant. There are 4 view plans of the Ausf.C, D versions, 6 exterior photos, and 1/20 drawings of flamethrowers and mounts and there is quite a bit of text on usage.
"mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen (2 cm) (Sd.Kfz.251/17)" covers one of the AA variants, or so I thought. It turns out it was a replacement for the 251/10 platoon leader's vehicle. There is no mention of the type of 251/17 Ausf.C with bulged opening side panels that Dragon produces a kit of, but that is covered in "Panzer Tracts #12" on Flak vehicles. The 251/17 covered here has a single 20mm mount where the gunner is used as a counter balance to the gun. There are 2 exterior photos and 2 manual illustrations of gun and shields.
"mittlerer Beobachtunspanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/18)" is a short text-only chapter covering the artillery observation variant. Evidently there was some confusion in Equipment and Organization Tables about the correct designation for this. Evidently some were produced and I can only hope there is more about this variant in "Panzer Tracts 11-1" (artillery observation vehicles).
"mittlerer Fernsprechbetriebspanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251/19)" is a text-only chapter covering a variant that was allocated but possibly never built. The translation that Babel Fish gives me for "Fernsprechbetriebs" is "telephone enterprise". It's a shame that I had to resort to a translation service to find out what this variant is.
"mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen (Uhu) (Sd.Kfz.251/20)" covers the IR searchlight variant. There are 3 exterior photos and 1 interior photo.
"mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen (1.5 cm bzw, 2 cm Drilling) (Sd.Kfz.251/21)" is a large chapter covering a variant with a triple 15mm or 20mm gun mount for use against ground (primary) and air (secondary) targets. There are 4 exterior photos, 1 interior photo, 4 view plans of 2 types, and 1/20 drawings of guns and their mounts. There is quite a bit of text on suggested tactics and some field-experience reports.
"mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen (7.5 cm Pak) (Sd.Kfz.251/22)" covers the anti-tank variant with 3 exterior photos, 1 interior photo, and a 4 view plan.
Rounding out the books contents is an "In Depth: Informational Chapters" section. "Organization and Strength" has tables showing allocated and actual counts of Sd.Kfz.251 from various units and "Translated Experience Reports" has feedback from Sd.Kfz.251 units on the "dos and dont's" of usage.
ConclusionThis is a terrific companion to the previous "Panzer Tracts 15-2". I especially like the 1/20 drawings of armament and mounts however I do feel the glossary in the back is inadequate. If German terms are going to be used in the text, they should be included in the glossary and it is most frustrating when terms are mentioned and never explained.