Pre-production trials of the 251 medium halftrack began in 1938 to facilitate troop transport for the blitzkrieg tactics of the German Army. With an initial chassis designed by Hanomag and body engineered by Büssing-NAG, the 251 was supplied to the troops in the early part of 1939 to be used in the Polish campaign. Performing well, more manufacturers began production, and the SdKfz 251 medium halftrack became one of the most numerous vehicles in German service during World War II, with over 15,000 produced.
This book from Editions Du Barbotin came out in 2007 as the second in the series of the French "Centurytracks" and was written by Loïc Charpentier. This softcover book has an A4-format with 62 pages in b/w and colour.
It is written in 2 languages with French on the left and English in a separate, grey coloured section on the right side of the pages. It is richly illustrated with pictures and drawings, with both known and lesser known pictures. These, too, have captions in both languages. Due to the limited amount of space, the written information is quite basic, but provides a good start for those who do not know too much about this vehicle or for those who do not want or need to know all that much about it. The pictures themselves are clear, but a bit on the small side, unfortunately.
The book starts with the development of this type of vehicle and its production (plants and figures), followed by some explanation about the 4 basic types (Ausf.A - D) and their differences. Next is a brief description of the versions (251/1 - 251/23) along with some non-standard variants and field modifications such as a Ausf D with twin 120mm mortars or a Ausf D with an R35-turret.
The final 10 pages contain several paint schemes and markings depicted by colour drawings, with the b/w photos of the original vehicle shown with them when possible. The artist renditions are nicely drawn, by the way.
Personally I feel that this book has everything to make it a part of any basic collection on German halftracks. When compared to other books in its category, like the publications from Osprey or Squadron, it does stand its ground. The information is basic and the bi-lingual format is a distraction, but the colour plates and the more rare photographs compensate for this very well.
Highs: Handy size. Good price. Some new pictures and a non-standard way of interpreting and showing colours and camouflage patterns.Lows: The bi-lingual text limits the amount of room for information and pictures, so the information stays basic and the pictures are quite small.Verdict: A welcome book for the novice in this field, as well as a nice book for the more experienced halftrack fan.
About Ron van Wiggen (yeahwiggie) FROM: DALARNAS, SWEDEN
I bought my first model with my first earned cash at the age of 16. It was an Airfix Panther in 1/72. Soon after that (very soon) I got my self a Tiger in that scale too.
From that moment on the modellingbug had bitten me and I kept buying kits every now and then. The switch to 1/35 came when I was...