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REVIEW
Pen & Sword's Hitler's Tank Killer"
bill_c
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Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2010 - 12:07 PM UTC
Bill Cross reviews the new book in the "Images of War" series "Hitler's Tank Killer: Sturmgeschütz at War 1940-1945."



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If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
russamotto
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Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2010 - 01:15 PM UTC
Very nice review, Bill. I like your commentary on the color issue. Looks like the book would be well worth getting.
SGTJKJ
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Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2010 - 07:51 PM UTC
Nice review, Bill. Thanks a lot.

Seems like it is value for money considering the number of photographs, although some of them have been published before.

The author definitely has some interesting points on the German WWII camouflage, but it also seems a little far fetched to me - especially due to the lacking references. If the conclusions are based only on a few colour photos or indeed B/W photos, it would take a lot to convince me.

Thanks for the review
bill_c
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Posted: Friday, October 15, 2010 - 11:18 AM UTC
Thanks, Russ and Jesper!

If you only intend to buy one StuG book, this could be the one. While it doesn't have detailing photos, unless you plan on scratching an interior or need multiple color camouflage profiles, its use of period photos will give most modelers a lifetime of ideas to build, especially with the new kits now available. Unless you plan to build only one StuG, you likely will want a book that spans the variants in kit form out now (DML's ancient Ausf. B and Cyberhobby's Orange Box F, the new F/8, plus two Early Gs and the StuH 42). This book covers them all.

Your other choices aren't even close in price:

Peter Muller's 2-volume set is for the super-fan (vol. 2 is $55 on Amazon.com and vol. 1 isn't available).

Feist & Fleischer's book is $35.

Osprey's Modeling the Sturmgeschutz III is a little long of the tooth, since it appeared long before the current spate of Dragon releases vastly improved the StuG kits.

I hope the Panzer Tracts folks are listening....
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Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2010 - 09:32 AM UTC
The book covers only Stugs used by the German, right?
Anyone else notice that the main cover photo depicts Finnish Stugs?
bill_c
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Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2010 - 11:43 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The book covers only Stugs used by the German, right?
Anyone else notice that the main cover photo depicts Finnish Stugs?


There are four photos of a Bulgarian T-III (StuG III Ausf. G), but I could find anything on Finnish StuGs.
wbill76
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Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2010 - 05:42 PM UTC
The claims made about camo patterns are indeed interesting.

As for the "Tropen" scheme, the orders designating it as an authorized scheme allowed for use not just in N. Africa but also in the Mediterranean and southern Russian theaters until it was superseded by the dunkelgelb/three-tone orders in '43. Photos exist showing tanks in service on the Russian front in late '42 that substantiate the idea that "Tropen" scheme vehicles existed there. Speculation as to whether or not they were vehicles intended for N. Africa and diverted or whether or not they were painted that way once they arrived at the depots in Russia means the exact circumstances are up for debate, but the photos support it either way. That's likely what they are referring to.
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Posted: Sunday, October 24, 2010 - 12:00 AM UTC
Excerpt from the review's text :


Quoted Text

" The photos have detailed captions that are filled with interesting information."



With all due respect to the reviewer I find that, as in many books in the "Images of War" series -their Sherman opus comes to mind-,the captions suck.

Take that bottom pic on page 62, the text starts with "A StuG III moves forward along the road with a large stowage bin attached to the engine deck".

Hello, it's a Panzer III for Christ's sake, not a StuG!!!

I'm a StuG fan and would recommend buying this book for the photos, many of which were new to me (and I have a lot of books on that subject), but not the text and captions! Therefore I don't agree this is the book to have if you have to own just one StuG book. That choice would be "Sturmgeschütze" by Spielberger or, although it's not one book, the two volumes covering StuGs in the New Vanguard series.

Cheers,

Christophe
bill_c
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Posted: Sunday, October 24, 2010 - 09:56 AM UTC

Quoted Text

With all due respect to the reviewer I find that, as in many books in the "Images of War" series -their Sherman opus comes to mind-,the captions suck.
Take that bottom pic on page 62, the text starts with "A StuG III moves forward along the road with a large stowage bin attached to the engine deck".

Hello, it's a Panzer III for Christ's sake, not a StuG!!!


You're correct, though I'm not sure one mistake justifies throwing out the captions in their entirety. But you are entitled to your opinion about the book. I found the captions interesting as explanations for the photos.

Quoted Text

Therefore I don't agree this is the book to have if you have to own just one StuG book. That choice would be "Sturmgeschütze" by Spielberger or, although it's not one book, the two volumes covering StuGs in the New Vanguard series.


Christopher, either Spielberger book (and there are two, Militärfahrzeuge, Bd.13, Sturmgeschütze and Sturmgeschutz & Its Variants: (Spielberger German Armor & Military Vehicles Series, Vol 2)) is significantly more expensive than Hitler's Tank Killer. Therefore it's comparing apples & organges IMO. This is far from the BEST book on the subject, and that was not what I said. It's a very handy volume for the generalist modeler who is looking for a single volume on the subject to assist in building kits. The book isn't intended to be the final say on the topic, and in general, I think most modelers would prefer to have an abundance of newly-unearthed photos (which you agree this book has) than a Panzer Tracts-style of treatise. And I mean no disrespect to Messer. Jentz and Doyle; I have several volumes of their work in my library. But it's a specialized read, and not for the average kit builder.

Still, I appreciate you offering other books I overlooked for those who want more detailed information.

Finally the New Vanguard books you mention are $35 from Amazon.com, again, more expensive than HTK.
NiAu65
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Posted: Monday, October 25, 2010 - 07:28 PM UTC
Yep, And the picture is "modified"

Link:
http://www.sodatkuvina.cjb.net/images/Jatkosota/Rintama/4406SturmRynn%E4kk%F6tykitEnsossa.jpg
bill_c
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Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - 06:10 AM UTC
Nico, your photo won't load on my computer.

Bill P. you are of course correct: the photographic evidence shows that Tropen camo was present in Russia. Whether it was a diversion from N. Africa or intended for the Steppes is as yet in dispute until someone comes up with documentation. But it's perfectly fine to have Afrika Korps colors on a Russian-front vehicle, and I did not want to imply otherwise. Thanks for pointing that out.
Emeritus
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Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - 07:31 AM UTC
Weird, that link worked ok for me.

How's this one? --Pic--
Same photo, different scan.
NiAu65
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Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - 07:40 PM UTC
It`s quite funny, that if they use a picture of a finnish stug on the front cover, they don`t mention anything about finnish stugs and the picture ”cleaner” version. I mean if they think that the book can be use as a reference that`s quite bad advertisement.

Finnish swastika has nothing to do with the nazis. Finnish army started use it in 1918.
bill_c
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Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - 05:53 AM UTC
Thanks for pointing that out. The book is devoted to the German StuGs and only mentions the Bulgarians in passing. I agree that a mention of the Finns and using that photo inside would be preferable to simply PhotoShopping it this way, but I'm sure the book's designer was concerned that buyers would be confused by the weird Finnish swastika.
NiAu65
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Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - 10:03 AM UTC
Well, I agree. Just for me, as a finn, it`s just funny to see a quite a familiar foto of finnish stugs under a heading "Hitler`s tank killers" and without markings.

But I think that the review was very interesting and I think that the book is worth of buying. I didn`t know that also the germans used concrete armor with their stugs (image 7)

More information if you are interested about finnish stugs : http://www.andreaslarka.net/sturmi.html

And after all, this was the reason why I log in this site.


bill_c
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Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 - 04:08 AM UTC

Quoted Text

More information if you are interested about finnish stugs : http://www.andreaslarka.net/sturmi.html

And after all, this was the reason why I log in this site.


Welcome to Armorama and thanks for sharing that! I encourage someone to build a Finnish StuG. I know of at least one after-market accessory maker that has stuff for one (can't remember who it is, though, LOL!).
Emeritus
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Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2010 - 05:37 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

More information if you are interested about finnish stugs : http://www.andreaslarka.net/sturmi.html

And after all, this was the reason why I log in this site.


Welcome to Armorama and thanks for sharing that! I encourage someone to build a Finnish StuG. I know of at least one after-market accessory maker that has stuff for one (can't remember who it is, though, LOL!).


JS-Models makes several resin sets for Finnish Stugs: rear stowage box, a detail set (including correct C-shaped towing hooks, 2 styles of fender suppors, etc), and zimmerit tools for the second-batch stugs.
Wiking-models (currently under the name of Combat Accessories, IIRC) has a white metal DT machine. Good stuff.

Echelon has a great-looking decal sheet for Finnish Stugs.

There's others as well. I'm aware of at least ATAK having a Finnish Stug Conversion set, but as I'm not familiar with that, I can't comment on it.

Tamiya is soon rereleasing their mid-1990's Stug kit as a Finnish version, inlcuding new decals and a newly tooled sprue with Finnish modification parts. --Click--
If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time one of the big mainstream manufacturers is releasing an armor kit of a Finnish subject. My hat is off to the Big T.

However, the base kit being the same as before, creating a bit of a dilemma over selecting a kit.
While this upcoming Tamiya release has the Finnish modification parts (and a commander figure!) as well as markings right in the box, it needs the fighting compartment roof modified (rivets replaced with flush-sitting screws) and the fender supports changed to be more accurate. There could have been a few more small issues I don't recall right now, but those two are the major ones.
Dragon's "Early" Stug III kit (#6320) on the other hand has the correct screw-attached roof and fender supports, but needs all the aftermarket stuff to make it Finnish.
To my knowledge, the schürzen-equipped kit (#6365) is identical to the first release except for the addition of the schürzen. Some might also like the individual-link tracks in the Dragon kit.



Edit: Oh, worry not, I got a Stug in my stash with the sole intention of "Finnishing" it.
That went just according to the Murphy's laws concerning modeling, I got the Dragon kit plus all the needed aftermarket bells and whistles, decals, and what-have-you for a while already, and then comes that Tamiya re-boxing.
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Posted: Monday, November 08, 2010 - 07:24 AM UTC
Of course Eetu!

This is also the cover picture for the book on Lagus Sturmi´s.

Cheers