The Panzer I was a German light tank used prior to the Second World War, and in the initial campaigns of the latter. Design work begain for what would become the Panzer I in 1932 with production begining in 1934 and running through 1937. Germany used Panzer I’s during the Spanish Civil War in support of General Francisco Franco’s Nationalists; further, Germany would provide a number of Panzer I tanks to the Nationalists. Germany supplied a number of Panzer I tanks to the Chinese Nationalists; which were used during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Germany additionally supplied a selection Panzer I and Panzer I based command tanks to Hungary during the Second World War. The Panzer I was used by Germany during the Second World War during the campaigns in Poland, France, the Soviet Union and in North Africa.

The Panzer I had a number of deficiencies compared to comparable vehicles of it’s day; and was found to be lacking even during the Spanish Civil War. Throughout it’s life attempts were made to up-gun the vehicle; and further, a selection of variants were made using the Panzer I chasis.

Panzer I versions:

  • Panzer I Ausf. A
  • Panzer I Ausf. B

Panzer I variants included:

  • The Panzerbefehlswagen (Befehlswagen I), Sd.Kfz 265 – a command vehicle based on the Panzer I chassis.
  • Panzer I Ausf. C, VK601 – boasting superior armour  and a more powerful engine.
  • Panzer I Ausf. F, VK1801- boasting superior armour, improved further over the Ausf. C variant and the same more powerful engine as the latter.
  • Flakpanzer I – an anti-aircraft variant based on the Panzer I chassis.
  • Panzerjäger I – a tank destroyer (Jagdpanzer) based on the Panzer I chassis.
  • Ladungsleger I  – an explosive laying vehicle based on the Panzer I chassis.
  • 15 cm sIG 33 (Sf) auf Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf B – a self-propelled artillery piece based on the Panzer I chassis.
Tank: Panzerkampfwagen I
Main Armament: 2× 7.92 mm MG13 machine guns
Secondary Armament: N/A
Weight: 5.4 tonnes
Speed: 50 km/h on-road, 37 km/h off-road
Crew: 2

The Panzer I Ausf. A & B:

 

PzKpfw I Ausf. F on display at the Belgrade Military Museum

PzKpfw I Ausf. F on display at the Belgrade Military Museum

 

Two Flakpanzer Is in Russia during the winter

Two Flakpanzer Is in Russia during the winter

 

A Panzerjäger I in North Africa

A Panzerjäger I in North Africa

 

A sIG 33 (Sf) on a Pz.Kpfw. I chassis in Russia, 1942

A sIG 33 (Sf) on a Pz.Kpfw. I chassis in Russia, 1942

The Panzerbefehlswagen:

The Ladungsleger I:

Works Cited:

  1. Panzer I. (2016, August 11). Retrieved August 16, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_I <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_I>
  2. “Panzer I.” World War Photos. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2016. <http://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/germany/tanks-2-3/panzer-i/>
  3. “SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 3 Aug. 2016. Web. 19 Aug. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SdKfz_265_Panzerbefehlswagen>
  4. “Flakpanzer I.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 13 July 2016. Web. 24 Aug. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flakpanzer_I>
  5. “Ladungsleger I.” Wikipedia: De Vrije Encyclopedie. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 22 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Aug. 2016. <https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladungsleger_I>
  6. “Panzer I Variants.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2 July 2016. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_I_variants>
  7. “15 Cm SIG 33 (Sf) Auf Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf B.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 22 Apr. 2016. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15_cm_sIG_33_(Sf)_auf_Panzerkampfwagen_I_Ausf_B>