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It had a short design period; it had to be a tank in the 10 ton class and was developed from July 1934 to October 1935. Because they still had to work out problems of the teething, they ordered 25 instead of the usual 2 or 3 prototypes.
In the testing period they changed the rear idler, tried out a fire proof engine compartment and made adjustments for the fuel and oils pumps. A bigger radiator helped with better cooling and they replaced springs for the suspension.
On the battlefield
The first panzerkampfwagen II came into service in 1936. They carried out a role of tank vs. tank combat and kept this status throughout the Polish campaign. From hereafter they had a reconnaissance and exploitation role. In the Russian campaign their job was reconnaissance for the major panzer regiments.
The panzerkampfwagen II was phased out of service in late 1943, but remained in service on many secondary front units until the end of the war.
|Panzerkampfwagen II ausf A Turret – Sd Kfz 121 in Munster Germany|
|Panzerkampfwagen II ausf A Turret – Sd Kfz 121|
Panzerkampfwagen II variants
The German army did the same as with the panzerkampfwagen I. They created all kind of helpful variants.
The use of the 15cm sIG infantry gun returned, they used it on the panzerkampfwagen II for a mobile artillery device.
While invading Russia, the Wehrmacht captured lots of 7,62cm Russian anti tank guns. Together with 7,5cm German anti tank guns they created a mobile tank destroyer, the Marder II.
Using the hull in combination with a 10.5cm LeFH18M gun they made the “Wespe” or “Wasp”, a self propelled howitzer gun.
More exotic versions of the panzerkampfwagen II are, the swimmwagen, a version with a boat looking hull around the tank itself, and a bridge laying variant.
Panzerkampfwagen II on display
Our encounter was again in the Panzermuseum in Munster Germany. Here you can see a turret of the panzerkampfwagen II. We did see a complete version of it in Saumur France and we did encounter a Wespe in Munster and Saumur. The photos taken in Arromaches are from the 70th D-DAY anniversary where the Panzer II was on display, provided by the tank musuem in Saumur.
Name: Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf c, A, B und C (Sd. Kfz. 12)
Other designation: 3, 4, 5, 6, und 7 Serie LaS 100
Type: Ligth Tank
Manufacturer: MAN, Daimler-Benz, Henschel, Wegman, Alkett, MIAG, FAMO
Chassis numbers: 21101-27000
Number produced: 1113
Production: March 1937 to april 1940
Weight (tonnes): 8,9
Length (metres): 4,84
Width (metres): 2,22
Height (metres): 1,99
Engine: Maybach HL62TR
Gearbox: 6 forward, 1 reverse
Speed (km/h): 40
Range (km): 200
Armament: one 2cm KwK30 L/55 and one 7.92mm MG34
Traverse: 360° (by hand)
Elevation: -9½° to +20°
Sights: TFZ4 Ausf C – TFZ4/36 Ausf A&B – TFZ4/38 Ausf C
Ammunition: 180 PZGR & Spgr and 2250 Smk
Turret front: 14,5/22°
Superstructure front: 14,5/9°
Hull front: 14,5/round – 90° – 6° (front – side – back)
Gun mantlet front: 16/round
The Panzer II in action on the Arromaches beach During DDAY 2014