Nuts & Bolts 36, Sd.Kfz.233 & Sd.Kfz.263
Any review of this book has to start with mentioning the previous volume on the Sd.Kfz.231 & Sd.Kfz.232. The 2 volumes together cover all the armoured car vehicles that were built on this chassis. There’s a small amount of overlap between the 2 books, but the publishers have kept it to a minimum and refer the reader to Nuts & Bolts 35 where needed.
This book covers 3 vehicles:
Sd. Kfz. 233
This was equipped with a short barrelled 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24 gun and based on the open-topped superstructure of the Sd. Kfz. 263 (8-Rad) radio vehicle. One hundred and nine of these vehicles were built at the Büssing-NAG plant, between December 1942 and October 1943. A further 10 were converted from 263 chassis in October 1942. This variant of the Sd.Kfz. series entered service during 1942 and remained in use throughout the war. They were issued as a platoon of six vehicles in support of reconnaissance battalions. The official name was Schwerer Panzerspähwagen (7,5 cm) Sd. Kfz. 233.
Sd. Kfz. 263 (8-rad)
This was an eight wheeler with an open-topped fixed superstructure armed with a single 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34 machine gun. It was a dedicated radio vehicle with the bedstead frame aerial. The official name was Panzerfunkwagen Sd. Kfz. 263 (8-rad).
This Armored measuring motorized vehicle was used for the testing of artillery weapons at the shooting ranges of Kummersdorf and Hillersleben. The vision ports and side armor were strengthened in order to allow close observation of the artillery impacts.
Enough of the background, now for the book. The book arrived safely from the publishers in a stout cardboard envelope and was wrapped internally in plastic.
The information about the book is:
- by Martin Block, Holger Erdmann
- published on May 20, 2016
- soft cover
- German & English texts
- 208 pages
- 395 photos (212 historic, 84 model, 99 modern)
- 37 blueprints
- 12 camouflage schemes, tactical markings, table of organisation (KStN)
- only 29.90€
The book follows the same format as usual. The texts are in English and German with the English texts on the left of the page and the German on the right. All images and photographs have captions in both languages. The English translation is excellent. Now, let’s take a look inside the book to see what we get.
There isn’t a table of contents for the book although if you’re familiar with any of the recent books in this series the layout and order of contents is the same. We start on page 2 with an introduction which starts the technical development and production section of the book. Over the following eight pages, the development of the designation, variants, chassis, armoured superstructure, technical specifications, armament, radio equipment, modifications during the production run and production numbers are all covered. Pages 13 to 24 covers the organisation and structure of reconnaissance units with two charts laying out the organisation of reconnaissance units from 1937 to November 1941 and from November 1941 onwards. There is also a small chart showing the organisation of the Sd.Kfz. 233 units. In this section, there is also a paragraph describing the usage of these vehicles by the units that used them. This is one area where a potential overlap with the previous volume has been avoided by omitting the Panzer divisions from this list as they were covered in Nuts & Bolts volume 35. There are two pages describing the different camouflage patterns used by these vehicles for 1937 to 1945 followed by a page on unit markings and a page on licence numbers. The final page is a conclusion that gives a brief overview of the story of these vehicles. I t states that as the war progressed to the usefulness of the Sd.Kfz. 263 decreased as more and more armoured reconnaissance vehicles received their own radio sets and made the usage of these expensive vehicles no longer necessary. Conversely the usage the Sd.Kfz. 233 became more popular as reconnaissance forces found themselves with more combat roles as the war progressed and a skilfully used Sd.Kfz. 233 could stand up to a Russian T 34.
The next section starting on page 30 and running for eight pages covers the modelling of the Sd.Kfz. 263 and 233. It covers 2 quite lengthy and in-depth, mostly text, articles covering the pros and cons and things of interest in building 2 of AFVClub’s 1/35 scale kits. This section is finished off with a chart listing all the kits and aftermarket sets currently available, including the one resin kit of the Panzer-Messkraftwagen.
The next section starts the part of the book that shows all photographs. The photographs are all black and white with two or three per page with excellent captions in both English and German. The photographs are arranged into topics and start with a technical view of the Sd.Kfz. 233 and 263. The images then run from 1937 in chronological order through to the final phases of the war over 90 pages with over 200 good quality black and white photographs. This section of the book contains many good ideas for realistic diorama settings for the modeller. See the images at the bottom for the quality of the photographs used.
The drawings section then has 14 pages of drawings of each type from various angles in 1/35 scale. Next is the colour profiles section which shows 12 colour profiles with each profile having an accompanying black-and-white image of the real vehicle. These profiles would be an excellent resource for modellers.
The next section of the book from pages 152 to 181 shows parts of the vehicles that are in museums. Since none of these vehicles exist today the best that can be done is to find other vehicles that used parts of these vehicles and look at those instead. Photographs of the chassis and running year can be found in Nuts & Bolts volume 35 and the extras covered here are the 75 mm cannon, sights and ammunition which were also fitted to theSd.Kfz. 251/9, the mast aerials and various radios.
The final 27 pages of the book show the images of the two AFV Club kits that were described in text earlier in the book, along with a third kit. These kits were not built out of the box and there are many scratch build items added to them, along with painting and weathering. These photographs and the earlier texts contain a lot more information and images than you ever find in a normal online review or magazine article.
This volume is an excellent companion to the earlier Nuts & Bolts 35 and between them, they are the best all round resource available for these vehicles. There is more in-depth and wide-ranging coverage and information here than in Panzer Tracts 13-2. This book is now the definitive book on the Sd.Kfz. 233 and 263 and the Panzermesskraftwagen.
Many thanks to Nuts & Bolts for the review sample.