The Panzer Tracts
series requires no introduction. The late Thomas L. Jentz, Hilary Louis Doyle and Lukas Friedli have been setting the standard for research on German AFV’s of WW2 for years, and their books are the basis for most discussions about what various tanks, softskins, etc. looked like, functioned and their dimensions. Their latest book is another installment in the Sd.Kfz. 7 8-ton halftrack, this time the various FlaK versions.
The 8 ton Sd.Kfz.7 was perhaps Germany's most-successful heavy half-track (only the light Sd.Kfz.251 series and the Sd.Kfz. 10 had more units produced). An earlier volume dealt with the Sd.Kfz.7 prime mover (reviewed on Armorama Here
Live links. But the Germans found they could mount some nasty AA guns on the back of the 8 ton chassis, as well as a fire control cab to coordinate their FlaK units or even tow a launch pad for the V2 rocket.
The new book takes up the "everything but the prime mover" variants and handles them in the usual Panzer Tracts
depth and detail.
This 86-page soft cover book is divided into ten sections:
(a variant sporting an 88mm FlaK/AT gun)
4. Selbstfahrlafette auf m.Zgkw. 8t (Sd.Kfz.7/1) mit 2cm Flakvierling
(one of the two most-popular versions in styrene)
Sandwiched in between sections 1-4 and 5-10 are 21 pages of line drawings of the Sd.Kfz.7 non-personnel carrying variants.
5. m.Zgkw. 8t mit 5cm FlaK 41 (Sf)
(a nearly "paper panzer," as the FlaK 41 was deemed too heavy and was not produced)
6. 3,7cm FlaK 36/37/43 auf Selbstfahrlafette (Sd.Kfz.7/2)
(this version was considered superior to the FlaK 41 in #5 because it was lighter, cheaper and more reliable)
7. m.Zgkw. 8t mit Sonderaufbau für Flakmesstrupp
(supply version plagued with performance problems because the loads were too heavy)
8. Feuerleitpanzer auf 8t Zugkraftwagen Fahrgestell
(fire control variant)
(this section is about the armor added to the cabs of 7/1s and 7/2s, first in 1942 for Luftwaffe units and later for all)
10. 7.62cm PaL 36 auf 8t ZgKw (Artemis)
(a variant envisioned for Libya with a PaK 36 7.62cm gun, but no photos seem to have survived)
This isn't the kind of publication that deserves a thumbs up/thumbs down" or percentage rating. The Panzer Tracts
series has been dedicated to answering the fundamental questions about German AFV’s. If you just want photos for modeling purposes, there are cheaper or more-inclusive titles out there. But if you want to know precise stats on how many units rolled off the assembly line, or the details about a weird and unusual variant like the Bunkerknacker
, then this is the right book.
Obviously sections #4 and #6 will be of widest interest to a majority of modelers, since these two vehicles (the Sd.Kfz.7/1 and 7/2) have been rendered in excellent styrene kits by both Dragon and Trumpeter. These sections have lots of interesting photos, including some close-ups of the driver's portion of the cabs and the leveling gears of a FlaK 2cm mounting platform. The section on the 3.7cm FlaK Sd.Kfz.7/2
The others are more limited to the resin conversion realm or scratchbuilders (e.g., section #8 that covers the fire control variant). But I'm grateful to the Panzer Tracts
team that we have all the variants in one volume to complete their earlier volume on the Sd.Kfz.7 prime mover and panzer grenadier version.
It's almost impossible to over-praise these books, and any serious modeler who wants to have a command of the subject will want to invest in them.