Sd.kfz 8 & Sd.kfz 9...
...Schwerer Zugkraftwagen (12t & 18t), Camera On 11 from MMP Books
Title: Camera On 11, Sdkfz 8 & Sdkfz 9
Author: Alan Ranger
Number 11 in the Camera On series of books from Alan Ranger and MMP Books takes on the topic of the two heaviest half-tracks in service throughout WW2. The Sdkfz 8 could move weights up to 12 tons, whereas the Sdkfz 9 could cope with up to 18 tons. The Sdkfz 8 was used as a prime mover, towing artillery in particular. The Sdkfz 9 was primarily used as a recovery vehicle.
After a couple of pages of useful introductory text we get a super collection of archive photos, and with most taken from what were private collections rather than the widely used images from national/museum collections. The 80-page softcover book is split into 6 sections, each dealing with a different variant of the half-tracks. The first is the earliest variant, the Sdkfz 8 Type DB s7, with one of the photos showing one towing a 15cm s.FH 18 which has fallen through a temporary wooden bridge, a gun that was apparently recovered successfully undamaged after a 4 hour operation. One to inspire a diorama or two I suspect. Next comes the Sdkfz 8 Type DB 9, largely illustrated towing the 21cm Morser 18 which had to be split into 2 loads, with the barrel on a special carriage and the other being the main gun carriage itself. The next section has the Sdkfz 8 Type DB 10 and this has a couple of my favourite photos within the book. The two are very similar, taken from very similar angles. Both show the Sdkfz 8 Type DB 10 towing the carriage, the Lafettenwagen, of the 21cm Morser 18 along a road in Belgium. One shows the combination moving at speed towards Dunkirk in 1940 while the other shows the same combination but in 1944, and well covered in foliage to try and provide some form of disguise against the Allied air supremacy that was so influential by that point in the war, and a distinct contrast to the earlier picture. A final 2-page section shows the specialist 'Bunker Buster' version of the Sdkfz 8, the 8.8cm Flak 18 on schwerere Zugkraftwagen 12t.
The Sdkfz 9 comes next, and while there is a good variety of photos showing detail of the type, but the bulk of them show this recovery variant along with the larger Sd.Ah. 116 tank transporter trailer, and also the smaller Sd.Ah, 115. These are especially useful references for modellers as there are some fine models of the Sdkfz 9 and Sd.Ah. 116 combination available in both 1/72 (from Trumpeter) and 1/35 (from Tamiya). The very last page in the book shows a final variant, the Sdkfz 9/1, with the Famo mounting a 6-ton Bilstein crane.
A marvellous collection of images showing these widely used half-tracks on all fronts from the start to the end of the war.
This is another excellent addition to this Camera On series from Alan Ranger and MMP, and another one I'd recommend for both vehicle historians and modellers alike.
Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.