Panzerkampfwagen I – Sd.Kfz. 101, With technical data on Ausf. A

Panzer I
Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf. A – Sd.Kfz. 101

The treaty of Versailles prevented Germany from possessing armored vehicles or tanks after WWI. However Germany, in all secrecy, did produce 15 type I tank hulls without superstructures in 1933, naming them; “agricultural tractors” to disguise their purpose.

In 1934 they built the complete Mark I, type A, armoured machine gun tank. It was the first German tank that was mass produced. The Krupp company received the first order to build 135 Mark I tanks. This Panzerkampfwagen I had the same hull as it’s predecessor, only this time it did have a superstructure. It carried two machine guns that where coaxial mounted. It had five vision ports for the two crew members in the superstructure, and six in the turret. At first the air cooled engine overheated rapidly, so they produced an airscoop in the rear deck, including two scoops to deflect the exhaust air.

On the battlefield

The Panzerkampfwagen I saw extensive action in Poland, Belgium and France. They took part in the invasion of Norway and Denmark. As a tank it was obsolete at the start of the war, being a gun carrier instead of tank. It’s last action was in 1941 in Finland and North Africa.

German Panzerkampfwagen I types

Panzerkampfwagen I
Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf. A seen on the front

Multiple variants where created based on the hull of the Panzerkampfwagen I. The first Berge-panzer, maintenance tank, was created from it, a munitions schlepper (munitions carrier), without superstructure as well. A bridge laying variant and a flame throwing variant where also at their disposal.
The first Befehlswagen, a light armored command vehicle, was created, which did have a superstructure, but lacked machine guns, because its role was to lead other tanks into battle.
They put a 15cm sIG gun on it, a heavy infantry gun, and had their first motorized artillery piece.
The German army used the 4,7cm PaK on the hull to produce they first real attempt for a motorized Panzerjäger (Tank Destroyer).

Panzerbefehlswagen – Sd.Kfz. 265 – Panzer I Command Tank – Photo 2017
Panzerbefehlswagen – Sd.Kfz. 265 – Panzer I Command Tank – The Tank Museum Bovington
Panzerbefehlswagen – Sd.Kfz. 265 – Panzer I Command Tank – Photo 2017
Panzerbefehlswagen – Sd.Kfz. 265 – Panzer I Command Tank – Photo 2017

The Panzer I Ausf. A on display in Munster

Panzer I
Side view of the Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf. A Sd Kfz 101 in Panzermuseum Munster, Germany

We saw this version (pictures above) in the Panzermuseum in Munster, Germany. It is out first to see when you visit the museum, pretty awesome. They keep it in mint state, the museum is known to have more than one tank in running condition. There are but a dozen or so left in the world, they are quite unique.

In Moscow, The Victory Park at Poklonnaya Hill they have a turret from a Panzerkampfwagen I on display.

Technical data

Name: Panzerkampfwagen I ausf A (Sd.Kfz. 101)
Other designation: LaS (Vs Kfz. 617)
Type: Machine-gun armed light tank

Manufacturer: Krupp, Henschel, MAN, Krupp-Gruson, Daimler-Benz
Chasis numbers: 9001-10477
Number produced: 818
Production: From july 1934 to june 1936

Crew: 2
Weight (tonnes): 5,4
Lenght (metres): 4,02
Width (metres): 2,06
Height (metres): 1,72

Engine: Krupp M305
Gearbox : 5 forward, 1 reverse
Speed (km/h): 37
Range (km): 145
Radio: FuG2

Armament: Two 7.92mm MG13
Traverse: 360° (by hand)
Elevation: -12° to + 18°
Sigths: TZF2

Ammunition: 2250 Patr SMk

Armour (mm/angle)
Turret front: 13/10°
Superstructure front: 13/10°
Hull front: 13/10°
Gun mantlet front: 13/10°


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