Introduction Haynes the car book producer has released another title to attract the fans of the Stug III from the modeller to military enthusiast this book has a little to a lot for every one of us. So as the book states on the cover this title provides an insight into the development, manufacture and operation of the Second World War German Mobile assault gun and tank destroyer. So let’s take a dive between the cover.
This offering from Haynes is in the usual format of a good quality hard back cover. Inside there are 172 pages of good quality glossy paper that as anyone who has used a Haynes manual when fixing the car take a lot of abuse and remain intact. The author of this offering is Mark Healy, an author who I have met and whose work I have come to look forward to. The contents of this title are as follows:
From concept to eve of combat
1. The case for the Sturmartillerie
2. The artillery embraces the Sturmartillerie
3. To Juterborg
4. Setting up the first Sturmgeschutzbatterien
5. Preparing for ‘Case Yellow’ – the campaign in the West
Short barrelled Stug III Ausf A-E (SdKfz142)
1. Sturmgeschütz Ausf A (first series)
2. Sturmgeschütz III Ausf B
3. Sturmgeschütz Ausführung C and D
4. Sturmgeschütz III Ausf E
Long barrelled Stug III Ausf F-G (SdKfz 142/1)
1. Sturmgeschütz Ausf F L/43 main gun
2. Sturmgeschütz Ausf F/8, L/48 main gun
3. Mass Production
4. Sturmgeschütz III Ausf G
5. Sturmgeschütz III Ausf G SdKfz 142/2
Anatomy of the Stug III Ausf A-E
1. Hull exterior – Stug Ausf D
2. Hull interior – Stug Ausf D
Anatomy of the Stug III Ausf F, F/8 and Ausf G
1. Changes to the hull of the F/8
2. Changes to the armour on the Ausf F
3. Anatomy of the Stug III Ausf G SdKfz Nr 142/1
4. Armament – Ausf F/8 and Ausf G
6. Sturmhaubitze III Ausf G SdKfz 142/2
Stug III walkaround
Stug III in combat 1940-43
1. May 1940 –May 1941
2. StugAbt 184 – Army Group Centre, June – October 1941
3. 1943 – year of the Stug
Stug III in combat 1944 – 45
1. 1944 – continued expansion
2. The Stug in the Normandy Campaign
3. Catastrophe in the East
The first chapter of this offering looks at the why and how the Stug III came into being. The concept for a self propelled assault artillery and anti-tank gun had a big name behind it in the form of Erich Von Mannstein, This general was more of a forward thinker than I believed as he put forth the concept of this weapon in 1936. The author has looked at those who supported and even those who were against this style of weapon and also looks at how a small number of completed vehicles performed admirably during the mad rush west resulting in greater support and dedicated training base.
The second chapter in this title looks at the Short barrelled Stug III Ausf A-E and takes the reader through the first series of Sturmgeschütz III family members and even takes a quick look at the vehicles that were developed and failed to fulfil the role they were intended for. The short barrelled Stug family is looked at in the logical order and also covers what held up the production of the type as a whole. The author has provided four way drawings of each of the vehicles and pointed out the alterations which will be a real benefit to the modeller looking to verify what is and is not on a model.
The third chapter in the title looks more closely at the long barrelled Stug III Ausf F-G is tackled in a similar way to the previous chapter. Included here is a nice cutaway of a long barrelled Stug III that provides a key to the various elements of the vehicle and will help the modeller to correctly identify what they are looking for. The addition of a section covering the mass production of the Stug highlights in my mind the mistake Germany made in going to war in both the East and West while not having a hope of matching the production of the USA alone.
The chapter covering the anatomy of the Stug III Ausf A-E is a fantastic portion of the book and I am especially pleased to see it. It has appeal both from a pure interest point of view and as fantastic written and visual information for the modeller. There is an angled cutaway drawing here which identifies parts and their purpose; the author points out that a lot of this information is thanks to a vehicle Stug D captured in North Africa and then assessed at British School of Tank Technology.
The fifth chapter of the title looks at the anatomy of the Stug III Ausf F, F/8 and Ausf G in detail and I appreciate how this has been done and the amount of information presented. The armour thickness and angles of that armour is a great inclusion for the modeller who wants to get their builds spot on. The result of all this is another great chapter that enables the person with a specific interest can find a good deal of information presented in an absorbable manner.
The walkaround of the Stug III G is a must due to every book covering a vehicle type needs to include such a section. The vehicle of interest seen here is a Stug III Ausf G that served with the Finnish during WW2, I was surprised to learn that Germany was ripping off its Axis Allies with regards the cost of each unit supplied. The vehicle seen here is one that I have seen on many occasions as it is sat in the Bovington Tank Museum. I wish the author had been allowed access to the interior as I would have liked to see what is left under the skin.
The last two chapters of this title looking at the Stug III in combat during WW2 are well chosen by the author as it saves a lot of the visual reference of the Stug in use for the end of the book and enables the modeller to look at the Stug in various areas of combat. I remember reading a book many years ago written by an American shortly after the end of WW2, his role was to go back and fourth across Russia meeting various bodies. A large number of these journeys were by train and vehicle and he said how he would see fields of destroyed Soviet armour and a couple of destroyed well placed German anti-tank vehicles or tanks and a large number of these were Stug’s according to that writer. This to me showed better than any assessment how effective the Stug in particular and German forces generally were in defensive movements. Mark Healy has himself said just how effective and valuable the Stug was to German forces, and while the Tiger and Panther has great appeal to the modeller it is the Stug that can be considered the most effective.
The photographs liberally included in this offering have been very well chosen by the author. They are clear and represent the Stug family well, and being period photographs often provide additional information that may or may not have been considered by the author. The modern photographs fulfil the role they were intended for and have value, but I always prefer period photographs when possible. There are a couple of images of crew inside a Stug performing their role and these provide a lot of information for those willing to seek it.
At the very start of this title during the introduction the author explains his limitations as regards how much information he can provide and how seeking out further titles is worth your while, I would go so far as to suggest that if the author released a book of this size on each vehicle variant he may struggle to get in everything he desires. With that said as a modeller I really appreciate the efforts of the author to provide a well rounded book covering the Stug III family as a whole. His efforts to cover this broad subject in an informative manner and providing photographs that also fulfil that role. The result is a book that I am very pleased to have in my library.
Darren Baker takes a look at a new release from Haynes covering the Sturmgeschütz Ausführung A to G (SdKfz 142).
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...