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REVIEW
Dragon's Sd.Kfz. 10/5 w FlaK 38
bill_c
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Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 03:29 AM UTC
Bill Cross reviews Dragon's Sd.Kfz. 10/5 für 2cm FlaK 38 (often mistakenly called the Demag).



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If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
panzerbob01
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Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 04:04 PM UTC
Nice review, Bill!

Just picked this up at the New Orleans (Kenner) IPMS show last weekend! It's one of those I have been waiting for... And finally it has come along!

Have not opened it yet - but the box feels full. No lean nor small kit, here, I'll bet.

Regards the trailer: Many pics do show these things in action and in movement without any trailer attached. Not that I wouldn't be just as happy to have one included in the kit, of course! I also have a couple of anhangers around, so...

I was wondering about that "mesh"... ah, well. I'm planning on building it with sides up, as I've always liked the look of those boxes. Maybe most of the mesh will be obscured (hopeful....).

Can't wait to see one get built and posted somewhere!

Bob
bill_c
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Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 03:18 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Nice review, Bill!

Thanks, Bob, it's always gratifying to write something that's helpful.

Quoted Text

Regards the trailer: Many pics do show these things in action and in movement without any trailer attached. Not that I wouldn't be just as happy to have one included in the kit, of course! I also have a couple of anhangers around, so...


You raise an interesting point.

MOST of the surviving photos of these vehicles (indeed, all the AA halftracks of the Wehrmacht) show them WITHOUT trailers. Why is that? I have some theories, but they're just that:

1.) MOST of the surviving photos are Early War. The campaigns in Poland and in France & the Low Countries were short and over a good road network. So trucks could have supplied these vehicles, which were deployed in batteries or as part of larger units (they weren't just running around the countryside as freelancers);

2.) As the war rolled on, and the campaign shifted to the Soviet Union, re-supply was a HUGE problem. That is likely when trailers were more widespread. Roads were few and often muddy ruts;

3.) Most of the surviving photos were snapshots taken at leisure when the vehicle was not engaged; perhaps the trailers were billeted in motor pools when not in combat? Later in the war, the Germans were simply too busy fighting for their very survival to take many snapshots. Many of the "Panzer Wrecks"-style photos of ruined halftracks have ruined trailers. And some photos I've seen are cropped, but something is attached to the towing hook pintle.

Most of this is conjecture, but given that the rate of fire for a 2cm quad was around 800 rpm, it seems ridiculous to have no ammo trailer. Trumpeter includes one, Bronco is including one in their new Sd.Kfz.6 w 3.7cm gun, why can't Dragon? We're talking about pennies of styrene here. Apparently the other manufacturers can afford it.
panzerbob01
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Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 05:47 AM UTC
Bill;

Good points, all, I think. I mean, they certainly fit some sort of interp and logic!

Now, just because I am inherently argumentative and contrary...

I think that perhaps you expect too much sense and logic to prevail in war!

Maybe I can propose another hypothesis!

Consider for examples those various other Flak tanks and gun-carriers - the Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind (4 of those flak 38 all popping away "at once" - actually carefully arranged to alternate firing TO CONSERVE AMMO!), the Flakpanzer 38(t) (notoriously mis-named "Gepard" by Mr. D, among others), the "Mobelwagen" IV 3.7cm (the 2cm quad version was, I think, only a couple of prototypes built, so not germane this construct!), the 3.7cm "Ostwind", the later US M-42 "duster", the US M-3? halftrack w/ .50 quad turret, and the various German armored cars and recon tanks (234/1, 222, Pz II L Luchs, Aufklarungspanzer 38 (t), the standard 2cm-equipped Pz II, 251/17 versions, etc.) all equipped with the KwK 38 which was the Flak 38 2cm in a shorter-barrel form using a 10-round mag...

None of these seem to ever appear in pics sporting any ammo trailer. Yet all - specially those twins and quad-mounts - eat (OK, ate) ammo. But only for very brief spurts of firing...

The thought of, say, an sdkfz 234/1, or one of those Wirbelwinds, dragging along an ammo trailer is, well, simply hilarious! Not, you understand, that being seemingly hilarious ever ruled anything "out"...

From which I offer the counter hypothesis that actually those ammo trailers really could serve ONLY when travelling to another area of operations. When the vehicle was actually in action, they HAD to dump the trailer if possible. IF the crew had to be able to quickly move their vehicle around to "do the under-fire and engaged" dance, a trailer probably was little short of an anchor and a death-bell! I'd bet few crew had time (or, lets face it, brass enough) to futz around with going into trailers to draw ammo while under fire or firing their own weapons at the approaching planes (speaking here of flak use, of course). Likewise, when being used as a field fire-support weapon (ALL the pics I've seen of 10/4 and 10/5 types actually firing have been as ground support weapons...), these platforms were probably either positioned in a hide or firing location, or were advancing or moving with troops. Neither of which would seem likely to involve a trailer.

Just a thought and my wooley-headed suppositions and opinion, of course!

Now, you DID note Bronco and Trumpeter adding trailers to their half-track rigs... at least to the 3.7cm rigs (notably Trumpy added a trailer to their sdkfz 7/1 flakvierling kit, too...). I can easily buy the notion that 3.7cm tracks could have greater benefit from a trailer, as the ammo is much larger and heavier per round than were those 2cm cartridges. We may also note that the Dragon appears to be consistently reluctant to give a trailer to anything other than its Flakpanzer 1A - a singularly un-successful flak vehicle! One which I'd bet hardly ever lasted long enough in action to get around to using any of the load carried in that trailer!

As a dio or as a build, adding a trailer to about any of these above things might be pretty cool... and I am thinking of a trailer attached to my newly-acquired and now freshly-reviewed 10/5! Hmmmm. Maybe a trailer attached to a Wirbelwind...

Cheers!

Bob
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Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 - 02:36 AM UTC
Good review, I picked one of these up last week, very nice kit. One thing though you don't get the photo etch for the Flak 38, the gun sheilds etc which was a bit of a dissapointment. Still I bought the Griffin set with the barrel which adds a lot of detail to the '38.
-keith
DutchBird
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Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 - 05:26 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Consider for examples those various other Flak tanks and gun-carriers - the Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind (4 of those flak 38 all popping away "at once" - actually carefully arranged to alternate firing TO CONSERVE AMMO!), the Flakpanzer 38(t) (notoriously mis-named "Gepard" by Mr. D, among others), the "Mobelwagen" IV 3.7cm (the 2cm quad version was, I think, only a couple of prototypes built, so not germane this construct!), the 3.7cm "Ostwind", the later US M-42 "duster", the US M-3? halftrack w/ .50 quad turret, and the various German armored cars and recon tanks (234/1, 222, Pz II L Luchs, Aufklarungspanzer 38 (t), the standard 2cm-equipped Pz II, 251/17 versions, etc.) all equipped with the KwK 38 which was the Flak 38 2cm in a shorter-barrel form using a 10-round mag...



Bob,

you bring up a number of good points, but perhaps a fews slight counterpoints to yours.

I would guess that most of the vehicles you mention would have the space to store extra ammunition internally, replacing the ammo-stowage present in the normal tanks (and some might already have it inherent, like the standard Pz II).

The problem is that for the Sd.Kfz. 10/4 and 10/5 even that storage space seems to be notably absent...

It is also questionable to what extent (at least originally) this vehicle was meant to be used against ground targets - IIRC part of the reason why the Ostwind and Wirbelwind were designed with armourerd protection for the gun was because they were designed with the use against ground targets in mind.

Quoting from the s.Pz. Abt. 508 book (JJ Fedorowicz) the memoir of a member of the Flak platoon [p. 8]:

'The Flak platoon was equipped with three four-barreled weapons, associated special trailers, three Mulis (Opel tracked trucks), three ammunition trailers and an all-terrain Volkswagen... ...With the guns on the special trailers and all other equipment in tow, we moved through the paint spray booth and quickly received a coat of camouflage.'

This suggests that the ammo trailer came with the gun, and was considered an integral part of the 'unit' (= 1 gun + 1 trailer to transport gun + ammo-trailer).

The Maultiere were also used to carry ammunition (one carrying ammo gets blown up).

Later they put the guns on 8-ton half-tracks, but frequently moved them off (and on) the vehicles themselves (the author references to the absence of the crane able to do so, and how, during their retreat they had to devise alternative means of getting the Flak-gun onto the halft-track [p. 10]) apparently the trailers to transport the guns were still being used (and with the platoon) as well - although this did not allow the guns to fire back.

One picture shows the half-track with Vierling on top and ammo-trailer [p. 22, top] Date not given though (and quality is bad), but it must be after February 1944 - the halftracks were issued somewhere between half-February and May 1944.

Similarly pictures of the Flak-platoon of s. PzJ-Abt. 654 (JJ Fedorowicz). Some images show the Vierlinge dismounted, some not. Although taken at Mailly-le-Camp and possibly/probably staged/posed, it shows a Sd.Kfz. 7/1 with ammo-trailer hitched. [p. 458] (spring 1944)

Another circumstantial argument: apparently it was thought perfectly feasible for a front-line combat unit to dismount guns from their halftracks (or trailers), and having to place them back on again at a later point.

Also, the author of the 508 Flak-platoon mentions how they 'had been reduced to our final basic load of ammunition' [p. 11] The big question of course is what the 'final basic load' was (and how it was carried) - at a point where the Flak platoon had already been abandoned to fend for itself. It should be noted that this was at the very end of the retreat of the Flak platoon (april 1945), and after a major engagement with fighter bombers (with ammunition being brought to the gun by every hand available (including a Major) and coming from unknown supplies). Slightly earlier, they apparently still had a supply of training rounds available [p. 10] - which presumably were not standard combat load carried on the vehicle itself.

At the same time they did prefer the Vierlinge on top of the vehicles, as that would allow them to immediately engage the enemy while on the move during the retreat.

Also, I would guess that firing at aircraft while driving would be an almost complete waste of ammunition - facing and hitting a moving target while standing still was in itself already difficult enough. Now add the gun itself moving (and bouncing around) to the problem. Very few tank-crews even engaged targets while on the move themselves on anything but point-blank ranges, a problem solved only when stabilized guns became available.

So 'dance and fire' against aircraft would be of relatively little use. Indeed, an aircraft would be a much more stable gun platform than a moving truck under most circumstances.


Moreover, how could hitching an ammo trailer be more labour intensive, time-consuming (and dangerous other than its load) than (un-)hitching towed AT-guns (75mm) to vehicles while under fire, something done frequently (see for instance the sPzJ-Abt 654 book, where it was done [see p. 18], - they even hitched a 75mm gun to a Marder II - which they ran over when reversing to engage Russian tanks [p. 20]. Ammo for that gun (and the Marder) was piled on the vehicle, which at that point 'resembled a moving van').

Also, it seems that on occasion AA crews put their vehicles in a vulnerable position to attract enemy aircraft. The protection offered by the shields themselves is of course also questionable - so the crews were vulnerable anyway.


Apart from practicality an reality issues (tow a trailer or not), there is of course the fact that there are enough diorama-scenes imaginable where it would be perfectly feasible to show the Sd.Kfz 10/4 or 10/5 with the ammo trailer.

Cheers,

Harm
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Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 - 05:51 AM UTC
One of the features that I really like about this kit is that it has the correct width bed. The old Italeri 10/5 has a narrow bed similar to the one on the 10/4. On every 10/5 photo I have ever seen, they have the wide bed and you can see the tapered fender from the cab to the bed.
If I wanted a trailer...what would be a good source...without breaking the bank or having to buy a sacrificial kit?
DutchBird
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Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 - 11:14 AM UTC

Quoted Text

One of the features that I really like about this kit is that it has the correct width bed. The old Italeri 10/5 has a narrow bed similar to the one on the 10/4. On every 10/5 photo I have ever seen, they have the wide bed and you can see the tapered fender from the cab to the bed.
If I wanted a trailer...what would be a good source...without breaking the bank or having to buy a sacrificial kit?



I am not completely sure, but possibly the easiest and cheapest way to get one is to buy a 20mm Flak-donor kit, and use the trailer chassis, and scratchbuild the Ammo-box. Unless of course you can find someone who has a trailer spare.

Otherwise, Greatmodels lists the Flak crew with Sd. Ah. 51 trailer (used to carry the single 20mm Flak) for $ 8.60. You'll have to build the cargo-box yourself though. Officially the 20mm Vierling (and 37mm) used the Sd. Ah. 52 to carry around the gun as well as the ammo-box.

I highly doubth whether there was a strict division between the Sd. Ah. 52 and Sd. Ah. 51 ammo trailers as far as their use went (with 10/4 and 10/5 or the 7/1), as long as they both carried 20mm ammo.

http://www.kfzderwehrmacht.de/Homepage_english/Trailers/Special_trailers/special_trailers.html


There is/was a resin kit out there, but I highly doubt that you could get it under $ 20.

For reference purposes - Sd. Ah. 51 - this thread, which coincidently also seems to show a 10/4 or 105 with ammo trailer hitched (or immediately behind) engaging ground targets.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=46162


Hope this helps,

Harm
dsaulino
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Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 - 11:50 AM UTC
I picked up Dragon's Flakpanzer I Premium edition which includes the trailer on Amazon for $28 plus free shipping.

http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Models-35-Flakpanzer-Premium/dp/B002TWAG74/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1301697990&sr=8-4
RonV
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Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 - 12:33 PM UTC
Having had a try at the old Esci kit and the more recent Italeri offering I think there are a few more positives that i would have added to the review. Since the drivers compartment is highly visible, Dragon has rendered almost all the most difficult items to near perfection. The multi fingered final drive mounts are lovely and the transmission seems to be a faithful replica. The fuel tank appears to have the correct shape and the option of two types of battery boxes leave one only the dilemma of deciding which to use.(The criteria I've yet to solve). Even the seats have separate frames and padding. Believe me, these accomplishments alone put this kit miles ahead of the previous attempts.

As for the mesh for the folding frames, it seems that no manufacturer has these solved so I might not single them out for it.

FWIW, I do have an association with DML, but this is written soley from the keyboard of a modeler who loves the "Demag" series. I can hardly wait for the towing version (and I never say things like that).
bill_c
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Posted: Sunday, April 03, 2011 - 04:35 AM UTC
Wow, nothing pleases me more as a reviewer than to write something that engenders research and discussion. Thanks to all of you for adding to the dialogue. Now, to take some of the points raised.

Even for a military organization as hide-bound and ordentlich as the Wehrmacht, the exigencies of war in the last couple of years would have meant that strict rules would have been thrown out the window. If you send a group of any AFV into battle, a certain percentage will be knocked out even if you prevail; imagine how much more chaotic that will be for two-piece rigs like this vehicle. By 1944, the Germans were hardly prevailing anywhere, so I'm sure there are photos and/or accounts out there of oddball vehicle/trailer combos.

Does that mean we can slap any trailer on any half-track? For those who don't want to follow documentation, don't want to do research, or just don't care, there's no law that says you can't build your FlaK and PAK half-tracks without the proper or even ANY trailer. As I'm constantly being reminded by my fellow builders, "it's a hobby, don't be so Type-A in personality, Bill."

It is also true that the preponderance of SURVIVING photos do not show the half-tracks pulling a trailer. There are various reasons why this is likely so:

1.) many photos are published cropped with the trailers cut off (you can see the traces often at the border of the photo);
2.) a large number of photos are only just now being turned over to historians and publishers. For example, Archer Fine Transfers' new set of Wehrmacht vehicles from the 6th Pz. Division in Czechoslovakia 1945 are based on a book of photos being published in April.
3.) many German soldiers no longer had the time, means or even inclination to take snapshots of the agony their units were going through. Supplies of the raw materials needed in photography were low or non-existent.
4. and finally, the propaganda teams that had been on the battlefield earlier in the war were fewer.

The argument that these vehicles didn't take trailers into combat is interesting, but I think incorrect. On the one hand, a load of ammo is an inviting target for the enemy, and when one of them blows, they surely will make a big noise. On the other hand, when you go into battle in the morning, you don't know where you'll lay your head come evening, so detaching your trailer risks having no ammo at some point later on.

My own personal theory is that EW the Germans used trucks for re-supply, but that by mid-war they were using so-called "special trailers" (Sonderanhaenger). Hence the designation.

Regarding the relative weight and ease-of-transporting 2cm vs. 3.7cm ammo. I don't buy this argument. The 2cm magazines are easier to transport than the 3.7cm ones, but you can't exactly stuff them into your pockets. Does anyone have stats on the relative weights of these containers? The 3.7cm ones look like jerrycans, so of course they're heavier, but the 2cm ones aren't pocket-sized, either.

Finally, Ron, thank you for pointing out some of the other delightful features of this kit (as well as for supplying the great artwork that adorns this kit and many other Dragon ones). We have perhaps become too jaded, expecting new halftracks to have engines, transmissions, etc. and other detailing that older kits simply don't have. DML and Trumpeter have done a lot for advancing the state of German half-tracks in styrene, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take note of the many delights of this kit.

While you're at it, though, do you think you can convince the powers-that-be at DML to bring out an Sd.Kfz.8 in styrene?
panzerbob01
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Posted: Sunday, April 03, 2011 - 08:57 AM UTC
Bill;

After some dithering with this fun topic...!

quote[The argument that these vehicles didn't take trailers into combat is interesting, but I think incorrect. On the one hand, a load of ammo is an inviting target for the enemy, and when one of them blows, they surely will make a big noise. On the other hand, when you go into battle in the morning, you don't know where you'll lay your head come evening, so detaching your trailer risks having no ammo at some point later on.]quote

That's a route-march argument. YES, you NEED to drag as much as you can with you as you relocate from place to place. But maybe this is being confused with the notion of the 'track following infantry into the hamlet and providing local fire-support (no use for a trailer there) - hey much as seen on the box-top of the reviewed kit! Surely that vehicle was already in the area when that glider arrived... I don't think it was being suggested that te glider had plooped down on a passing convoy... And I doubt they would have been dragging their ammo trailer around in the local area just waiting for gliders to arrive-or not! That crew already likely had a place to "lay heads tonite"- and so they didn't need to keep all their goods and chattels and extra ammo with them.

This, BTW, was what I meant when I ref'd the "dance and fire" bit. Advancing into a village, pausing to blast away, resuming creeping or motoring along, etc. Dodging into alleys and around trees and outhouses and stuff? Surely nobody thought I was suggesting that they would try to hit an aircraft while motoring around in the weeds! Heck, we have a difficult time with that even today!

Related to this is the time-of-war issue... The Germans advanced early-on, and needed to drag stuff along on those road-marches leading forward- "but to where?". Germans stationed behind the front in France or... may well have had camps and bases to operate out of and need not drag stuff. Later-war, they were often retreating- no longer attacking villages and the like, but typically taking the roads out and away- and trailers would probably be a good thing at that point. And if a Jabo attacked your convoy, well... you did the best you could. All different scenarios regarding usefulness or hazard of a trailer, I think!

Quote[My own personal theory is that EW the Germans used trucks for re-supply, but that by mid-war they were using so-called "special trailers" (Sonderanhaenger). Hence the designation.]Quote

Sonderanhanger simply ref's a "special trailer". The 2cm Flak 30 and later Flak 38 came on sonderanhanger way before WWII. As did 3.7cm Flak 36, 37 guns, Scheinwerfers, ammo boxes, etc. etc. It's sort of like that stock-model German label for all of their military vehicles... Sd.Kfz... (Sonder-KraftFahrZeug, if I have most of my German correct- "special cargo vehicle"...). Sonderanhanger (Sd.Ah...) was applied to all military trailers from about 1930 on through 1945.

Quote[Regarding the relative weight and ease-of-transporting 2cm vs. 3.7cm ammo. I don't buy this argument. The 2cm magazines are easier to transport than the 3.7cm ones, but you can't exactly stuff them into your pockets. Does anyone have stats on the relative weights of these containers? The 3.7cm ones look like jerrycans, so of course they're heavier, but the 2cm ones aren't pocket-sized, either.]quote

Well... best of the data I can find s that 1) a 2cm projectile weighed around 4 oz, whereas a 3.7cm projectile was around 18+ oz (weights of course differed for types of rounds.) IF the whole cartridge weighed say 2x the projectile weight... one could guess that a 20 round 2cm mag might contain 10 lbs of ammo, whereas a 5-round 3.7cm tray maybe held 12 - 15lbs of ammo.

Of course... this means that the 3.7cm ammo was maybe 4x heavier, or there-abouts. For at least some of those 3.7cm gun tracks, on-board load was about 120 rds, and apparently another ton of ammo (say, some 450+ rds) followed the track in one of those Sd.An 52 trailers. In contrast, the 2cm- track maybe held 260+ rounds (at least that SdKfz 10/5 with the side boxes...?).

In either case, the gun had maybe a couple of minutes of actual firing time-worth of ammo on-board.

No, neither type would fit into the average pocket. But you can sure put 3-4x as many 2cm rounds into the space filled by n number of 3.7 rounds. So a 2cm trailer could be much smaller to carry the same load-out by number.

Not sure whether we are all passing around each other like ships in a storm at night... I AM hoping the above is not directed at my chat concerning those full-tracked flak panzers and those 8-rad recon vehicles not towing trailers! IF this is about half-tracks and trailers, I am certes with you! Lots of doc shows half-tracks pulling trailers. And I would hardly want to ney-say any who would insist that the Germans often dragged around ammo trailers behind half-tracks on road marches. Scads of pics attest to this fact! But... my chat was about full-tracked types and tanks and armored cars armed with even the small 2cm gun... I posit that they did not typically pull trailers. Outside of a couple of pics of Flakpanzer 1A early in Russia with trailers... nope.

Full-tracked flak-tanks did not seem to get caught by the camera pulling ammo trailers. Flak tanks were invented to gain higher cross-country performance and on-site flak protection for armored formations, not really for road-march convoy protection.

All good clean historigraphic fun! And I certes claim no expertise on this.

The KIT is the coolest! I just popped the seal on mine last nite. WOW!. At least a couple my club pals are rushing out TODAY to buy it.

Cheers!

Bob
Rouse713
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Posted: Sunday, April 03, 2011 - 04:40 PM UTC


panzerbob01
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Posted: Monday, April 04, 2011 - 02:17 AM UTC
All nice pics and trailers, too!

Top and mid are Flak 30 on SdKfz 10/4 - so pretty early war (advancing).

I love the top pic- It's one of those "classic depictions" of this vehicle being used as a ground fire-support weapon - pulled off the road and parked to provide a blast into a near village? I've often wondered whether this one was actually taken on a training site, seeing as the crew all look so clean and un-worn! And clearly the crew are not hunkered down and ducking any return fire (and yeah, neither is the photographer)... in fact, everyone looks way calm and studious and carefully choreographed... "the well-trained crew calmly addressing the enemy"!

The mid is clearly a route-march along a wide dusty road. One of Guderian's flock, from the G. As a Flak 30, it could be in France or Russia early-on during the advances.

Bottom is a Flak 38 on the armored sdkfz 10/5 in Russia. With that armor and the snow, this will be a 1942+ vehicle. Again, with the photographer standing out in front and snapping his pic, I would bet that there was no incoming... but it does look like a vehicle paused along a road "alert" for a possible ground target. I've often wondered whether this particular vehicle was on behind-the-lines anti-partisan patrol, on account of it clearly being out and about but not actually taking any fire nor under any clear threat thereof, and not apparently part of a convoy (flak vehicles were, when being used as flak guns, generally associated with something needing flak protection, I think- not just pooping about on their lonesome, so to speak- an anti-partisan patrol, or an infantry support role, on the other hand may, I think, have found one of these things out by itself (and its trailer!)?

They are the coolest! The kit should have a trailer.

Bob
bill_c
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Posted: Monday, April 04, 2011 - 12:51 PM UTC
Gents, this is all good discussion, but I like seeing actual photographs and documentation. We all know the saying about opinions and ***holes (everyone has at least one of each)....

Bob, thank you for the clarification about Sonderanhaenger.

This matter can't be adjudicated in the court of public opinion, so I will finish by saying that Bronco and Trumpy put trailers on their half-tracks. It's time DML did as well.