by: Scott Espin [ ]
IntroductionSquadron/Signal Publications has released the second in their series of Armor Walk Around Books, this time covering variations of the Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G assault guns. The Walk Around Series of books provides a lot of bang for the buck as they are loaded with a wealth of photographs, attractively bound, and the price is very reasonable. This series of books will likely prove just as invaluable to the modeler as the Aircraft Walk Around books, especially for those on a budget.
The Sturmgeschütz III series of assault guns/tank destroyers were to prove invaluable to the German Army during WWII, both in the infantry support and anti-tank roles. Early models were armed with the same short barreled 75mm gun used by the early Pz.Kpfw. IV. The short barreled StuG III assault guns were originally assigned to the Sturmartillerie branch to provide direct fire support for the infantry. Later models of the StuG III were up-gunned with longer 75mm guns designed to counter the onslaught of the much more heavily armored T-34, KV-1 and KV-2 tanks.
The StuG III was based on the chassis of the Pz.Kpfw. III. The fixed superstructure meant that the StuG III was much cheaper and faster to produce than it’s turreted counterpart, had a lower profile and was capable of mounting a much larger and heavier caliber gun. Their low silhouette would prove highly advantageous, especially when used defensively. As the StuG III transitioned into more of an anti-tank roll it was decided to create another variant of the StuG III Ausf. G mounting a 105mm howitzer, designated the StuH 42, so the infantry would not be without dedicated fire support. The Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G was the culmination of German assault gun development during WWII. It was very popular with its crews and continues to be a favorite among modelers as well. A total of 7,893 StuG III Ausf. Gs were produced from December 1942 to March 1945 with another 1,211 StuH 42 built from October 1942 until February 1945.
Book ContentsThe Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G Walk Around No. 2 focuses on the early and late StuG III Ausf. G as well as the StuH 42. The book is in a format that will be familiar to those of you have seen the Walk Around books from Squadron before, which is a good thing. It contains 80 softbound pages with over 175 photographs. There are 40 pages of excellent color photographs. There are a wealth of black and white period photos as well and many color photos of restored vehicles. The book is cleverly laid out with 2 black and white pages, then 2 color pages, 2 black and white, 2 color and so on. The reader will also find nicely detailed diagrams which clearly show the differences between the early and late versions of the StuG III Ausf. G.
The book begins with a brief introduction which covers the development of the StuG III from the beginning to the end and does it very well considering that only 2 pages are dedicated to the introduction. The first several pages are devoted to pictures of various StuG III models with both original B&W period photos and color photos of restored vehicles.
The author then moves on to the various types of tracks, drive sprockets and road wheels, all nicely captioned and clearly spelling out the differences and various points of interest. The purpose for various features are also well documented such as the design of the drive sprocket to allow mud buildup to be shed through the holes around the outer face. Even the return rollers get the full photo treatment and explanation.
The author the moves on to address the nose plates, vision blocks, visors and hatches, all the things you would hope to have in a detailed photo reference . There are some great pictures of the early welded mantlet as well as the later “Topfblende” (pot mantlet) otherwise known as the “Saukopf” or Pig’s Head. The exhausts and dust deflectors are well documented and there are some great color photos of restored or soon to be restored StuG III Auf. Gs. Next the author focuses on the schürzen (side skirts) and schürzen mounts, muzzle brake, radio antenna, wire mesh intake screens, smoke dischargers, commanders cupola, periscopes, machine gun weaponry and tools. Whew!
I was especially thrilled to find very high quality color photos of the hardwood jack block, including leather straps and metal brackets. This will prove invaluable to the modeler especially when it comes to painting and detailing. Another great feature of the book are the color photos of the wire cutters, gun cleaning rods, and the various tail lights used on the StuG III Ausf. G which are all very well explained in the captions.
The author then moves on to the interior where the reader will find a wealth of photos of the ammunition racks, crew positions, crew weapons and everything else in the interior. This is excellent reference material for the advanced modeler who desires to make a realistic interior. And then finally there are a series of profiles of various StuG III Ausf. G early and late vehicles and finally more period photos of them the StuG III Ausf. G deployed in the field.
ConclusionThis is a very well done photo reference of the Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G which will prove invaluable to the modeler or any fan of this very successful German assault gun. The photos are fantastic, nicely laid out, and well captioned. I have been a fan of the StuG III for as long as I can remember and must admit I learned a some new things from this book. I highly recommend it!