Camera On - Volume 21
4 Wheeled Armoured Cars
in Germany WW2
The "Camera On" series of books published by MMP Books are interesting photographic studies of mostly German WWII subjects. Most of the books in the series focus on specific vehicles or classes of vehicles, with the occasional inclusion of a book on a battle ( Dunkirk 1940 ), artillery subject ( the 15cm SIG 33 infantry gun ) or even more obscure subjects ( WWI Hungarian Railways, Würzburg Radar ).
The 25 books ( thus far ) in this series follow a similar size, and presentation format with green spines, making them immediately recognizable on your book shelf. An interesting and valuable aspect to this series of photographic studies, is that the photos used in these books are taken by ordinary soldiers with personal cameras, in the field and in everyday situations. This varies greatly from the propaganda photos we usually see, taken under more controlled conditions by trained photographers with top shelf camera gear. In his foreword, the author freely admits that the use of non-professionally taken photographs can sometimes lead to less than perfect images in the books, but the interest of the photo subjects makes up for this ( spoiler alert; this reviewer could not agree more. ).
The subject of this book as stated clearly on the cover, is the WWII German series of 4 wheeled armored cars, very commonly seen on all fronts throughout the war.
Format - softcover, portrait format
Page Count - 80 pages
Size - 11.5" x 8.5"
Photos - all black and white period images
Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - none
All text and photograph captions are in English.
What's in the Book?
This volume has no table of contents for quick reference as to what is covered in this volume and where to find it.
The book opens with a brief three paragraph Forward, which outlines the mission of this book series, and clearly explains it's use of privately taken images. The author then gives the reader a four page text Introduction, where he provides the reader with very interesting background on the development of the German 4 wheeled armored cars, beginning with the earliest vehicles developed for the Imperial German Army of WWI.
The specific vehicles covered in this volume are;
Sd. Kfz. 13
Sd. Kfz. 14
Sd. Kfz. 221
Sd. Kfz. 222
Sd. Kfz. 223
Sd. Kfz. 247
Sd. Kfz. 260
Sd. Kfz. 261
There are also some "cameo appearances" made by the 8 wheeled armored cars such as the Sd. Kfz. 232 seen here and there in this volume.
The more commonly seen variants of the four wheeled armored cars get the lions share of the coverage in this book, this means that there's plenty of images of the Sd. Kfz. 222 and Sd. Kfz. 223 models. There are a few pages of the pre-war scout and radio cars, the Sd. Kfz. 13 and 14's. Towards the end of the book a further few pages are devoted to coverage of the more rarely seen variants; the Sd. Kfz. 247, 260 and 261 models.
Photograph sizes are generous, usually half page to full page sized. This enables the reader to be able to make out smaller details in most photos.
Please note - the appearance of the images found in this book are a bit better than the lower resolution images that I've taken and used for this review.
Along with a nice variety of four wheeled armored cars, the reader is treated to glimpses of almost all fronts where the vehicles were employed, from pre-war German training grounds, to Poland, France and the Low Countries, to North Africa, the Baltics, Greece, and of course, Russia. The vehicles are seen in a wide range of situations and actions, from post-action wrecks to training ground or other rear area situations.
As so correctly pointed out by the author in his Forward, there are some images in this book that may be slightly dark or grainy, perhaps not in perfect focus or otherwise slightly less than perfect. But given that this volume is purposefully put together as one of images taken by the soldiers themselves, and not staged propaganda images taken by professional photographers in controlled or artificial situations, this is quite acceptable. Especially as this means a great many, if not all of the images seen in this book, are presented in public here for the very first time.
Text and photograph captioning are both very well done in this volume, this being particularly important to any photographic study where room for text is limited. The text blocks and the photo captions are written in a clear, concise manner, with a good amount of interesting detail provided in an easily read, digestible manner. In the photo captions, areas of special interest are also very nicely pointed out.
I found this book very highly interesting. The selection of photographs found in this volume is simply superb, and will be of great interest in particular to fans of WWII German armored cars.
Yes, some photos are less than perfect, but the subject matter more than compensates for this. Some of the "less than perfect" images are in fact the ones that best capture the "feel" of what was occurring in photo, in my humble opinion. And as stated above, the text and photograph captioning is of a very high quality as well.
In my opinion this is a terrific book, well deserving of a home in your book case.
Thanks to Casemate Publishing / MMP Books for the review copy
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland
AMPS 2nd Vice President, Midwest Region
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