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German Halftracks At War 1939-1945 (Paperback)

WWII Tanks Photo Books German Forces & Weaponry in WWII WWII Photographic Books

By Paul Thomas
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
Pages: 124
ISBN: 9781848844827
Published: 23rd January 2012
Last Released: 6th July 2017

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In the aftermath of The Great War, which saw the revolutionary introduction of the Tank, the more far-sighted military leaders of the major powers understood that the future of warfare hinged on a balance of mobility, firepower and protection. The Wehrmacht, in particular, realised that tanks would need to be accompanied into battle by supporting arms, specifically infantry, artillery and engineers. As a fully-tracked field army would be too expensive, semi-tracked support vehicles (commonly called half-tracks) were born. The Germans commissioned numerous types of half-tracked tractors, which were classified by the weight of their towed load and designated Sonderkraffarzeug (special motorized vehicle), abbreviated to Sd.Kfz. These front-wheel steering vehicles with tracked drive transformed the fighting quality of the armoured divisions making it possible for the infantry, artillery and engineers to keep up with the speed of the Panzers' advance. The half-track even became the preferred reconnaissance vehicle.

This latest addition to the highly successful and collectable Images of War series has a superb collection of rare images, supported by detailed captions and text, of the many Sd.Kfz variants in diverse theatres of war. It is worth reflecting that, without half-tracks, there could have been no Blitzkrieg.

As featured on...

War History Online

Paul Thomas and Pen and Sword Publishing’s German Half-Tracks is a superb effort and another great work in the Images of War series. I highly recommend this book; it’s a great book to add to a Second World War library; great flow, packed full of information and photos.

The collection of original photos are exceptional with such quality and topic coverage that the material visually jumps off the pages adding greatly to the subject.

The text coverage presents the best overall review of German tracked vehicles since the long out of print Halbkettenfahrzeuge work from years gone by. Paul Thomas has assembled some excellent photos and the transition of the half-tracks as it develops over the conflict.

The ability of the author to cover the complete run of models and the subsequent myriad of variants is brilliant. The lengthy period is explored in a concise review and is very solid scholarship. This book creates a substantial quality of information versus invested time of reading commitment. The photos have the element of introducing new evidence to all areas of German Army operations that lend themselves to further in-depth studies and historical work.

Fantastic book for the serious student, the casual historical reader or those who recreate history via scale modeling.

Richard P. Wade, Military Historian

I have seen much documentary footage in which tanks and Panzergrenadiers mounted on half-tracks race across the wide open plains of Russia in perfect coordination. Thanks to this book, I got the opportunity to examine these alluring vehicles via genuine photographs collected during the Second World War.

Kunwon Saw, Freelance

This book is a welcome reprint of a volume in the very popular Images of War series. The publishers have not only established a fine series of photo histories using rare archive photographs, but they have maintained the books in print – Highly Recommended.

Read the complete review here.

Firetrench

Another recent title in the 'Images of War' series from Pen and Sword books is this one, covering the German half-track in its many varied forms throughout WW2.  The book is simply split into 6 main chapters, The Early Years of Victory, then one for each year of the war, with an appendix at the end which lists the many variants of the Sdkfz 251 and the 250.
The short text introducing each chapter gives some context while the photographic content is what makes this such a useful book for modellers and vehicle enthusiasts alike.
A few of the pictures we have seen before, but most were new to me.  This included some very nice shots that featured the early Sdkfz 251 Ausf A, which had the vision blocks along the side of the troop compartment, a feature that was deleted from later variants.

The captions are well written and the photos have been reproduced at a size and quality where you can see the detail you want as a modeller.  It's a very well balanced mix of both armoured and unarmoured types, seen in the wide variety of conditions in which they operated.

The Images of War books are very good in my experience, and this is another successful addition to the series.

miltarymodelling.com

The half-track was a key element in the German Blitzkrieg, giving the infantry and support troops a chance of keeping up with the fast moving armour. These vehicles served as transports, towed guns, as reconnaissance vehicles and carried a wide variety of weapons as the war developed.

The chronological structure of the book is interesting, giving a different picture of halftrack development and use than books organised by model number. The early chapters are dominated by the more truck like early half-tracks. The familiar armoured half-tracks appear and become more numerous in the mid-war period, but as Germany came under siege the older models remerge and an increasing number of half-tracks are pressed into service as armed vehicles, mainly carrying anti-aircraft guns
.
For anyone with an interest in the subject the book will be very valuable, providing multiple pictures of every major half-track in German service from several angles and a good selection of pictures of the rarer models and modifications.

The pictures are generally of a high quality and supported by informative captions.

History of war website

This is another in the Images of War Series which, is a winning formula.

Take a selection of rare archive photos on a particular subject, add explanatory text and, bingo, another volume to feed the unquenchable demand for wartime photograph. And very good they are too.

Classic Military Vehicle

About Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas is a previously published author and collector of 2nd World War photographic images.

He lives at Braintree.

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