Panzerkampfwagen I & II German Light Tanks 1935-45 by Eric Grove 1979《Black Water Museum Collections | 黑水博物館館藏》
ISBN 0 85524 314 7
1979 Almark Publishing Co.Ltd., London
Line Illustrations by Kenneth M. Jones
Distributed in the U.S.A. by Squadron/Signal Publications Inc., 1115 Crowley Drive,
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Typeset by Reproprint Leatherhead, Surrey.
Printed in Great Britain by Staples Printers Kettering Ltd.,
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Northamptonshire, for the publishers, Almark Publishing Co. Ltd. 49 Malden Way, New Malden, Surrey KT3 6EA, England.
This book seeks to distil and bring together the best available information on the lightest of the German World War II tank models, the PzKpfw I and II. Although the least spectacular of German tanks, these types formed the larger part of the German armoured force's strength when it scored its most crushing victories, in Poland in 1939 and in France and the Low Countries in 1940. Given the plethora of books on German armour it is surprising how badly documented is the story of the PzKpfw I and II. A study of the sources, both original and secondary, seemed to raise as many problems as it settled. The new and excellent 'Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War II' by Chamberlain, Doyle and Jentz, which appeared shortly before the book went to press was helpful on several points but I do not entirely agree with its authors in all cases and it does not solve all puzzles. In the following I try to offer the most detailed exposition of the development and service of the PzKpfw II yet available in English. It is hoped that it will be followed in due course by similar studies of other German models of tank, assault gun and S.P. equipment.
As with all authors I must acknowledge my debts to various people who have given vital assistance:- to Walter J. Speilberger who kindly answered various questions and whose monumental book 'Die Panzerkampfwagen I und II und Ihre Abarten' provided a vital foundation and guide; to Colonels Horden and Hill of the R.A.C. Tank Museum at Bovington for their unstinting help with research and photographs; to Mr Willis of the Photographic Library, Imperial War Museum for his assistance in pictorial research; to Martin Hart of the Modern Languages Department of this College for his help with German translation; to George Bradford, Axel Duckert, Richard Bennett and others for help with research; to Ken Jones for his patient advice and excellent drawings; to my mother who is the only typist who can cope with my extraordinary manuscripts and who has had the patience to deal with far too many drafts and finally to my wife for her encouragement over what has been, for a number of reasons, a very trying time.
ERIC J. GROVE B.R.N.C. Dartmouth. January, 1979.
THE PzKpfw I
In 1931 Major General Lutz was appointed 'Inspector of Motor Transport' in the German Army with Guderian as his dynamic Chief of Staff. This marked the beginning of serious planning for the creation of a German Armoured force and a light tank that could be quickly produced in some numbers seemed the first priority in order to train personnel of the projected Panzer Divisions. A specification for a 5 tonne tank was drawn up in 1932 and issued to four manufacturers; MAN, Rheinmetall-Borsig, Daimler-Benz and Krupp.
The last named firm had already developed a vehicle designated L.K.A. in answer to earlier 'Heereswaffenamt (Army Weapons Office) requirement for a 'Kleintraktor' - literally 'small tractor' - the cover name for the smallest of the Reichswehr's secret tank projects. Design work was begun in the autumn of 1931 with two engineers, Hagelloch and Woelfert, in charge of the project. The designers were able to use experience gained by the German associated Landswerk Company in Sweden and the first prototype was ready in July 1932. The little two man tank was given the cover name 'Landwirtschaftlicher Schlepper' ('Agricultural Tractor'), usually abbreviated to LaS. It had a rear mounted Krupp air cooled petrol engine which drove through the front sprockets and there were four large coil sprung road-wheels each side with a slightly smaller track idler trailing at ground level. There were two track return rollers. A small turret, set to the right of the tank, mounted two MG13 machine guns.
The LaS provided a ready made model for the new light tank specification and Krupp's chassis design was chosen, now however modified in accordance with the fruits of experiments with two British Carden Loyd tankette chassis. These had been purchased, thanks to the good offices of the Russians, for testing at the joint tank school at Kama, near Kazan in the U.S.S.R. Five improved Krupp LaS chassis were built and put through their paces at Kummersdorf in 1933; these seem to have been used to test the modifications to the original suspension that were eventually put into production. In the definitive suspension the rubber-tyred roadwheels were reduced in size and only the front ones each side retained coil spring suspension; the second wheel was carried on a rocker arm connected to a forward pivot coming out from the hull. This arm also supported the third wheel through leaf springs. A second pivot point was connected via another rocker to the large trailing idler and this rocker also supported the fourth road wheel by another double leaf spring. A prominent external girder connected the two pivots. There were now three return rollers.
Also adopted for production was a new superstructure design offered by Daimler-Benz. This retained the basic layout of the original L.K.A. prototype but was rather better shaped. It was built out of rolled homogenous steel armour plates as face hardened armour was not yet available. Welding was used throughout except for the front glacis which was bolted to facilitate removal and for the turret mantlet which was also bolted. There were four opening vision ports on the octagonal hull superstructure, one at each corner, although many tanks lacked the rear port on the right hand side. Only the left hand ports had slits and glasses. A flat cover without glass was provided for another port on the left rear of the superstructure while driver's observation was provided by a double slitted visor with two glasses. The turret was provided with four vision ports, one on each side with a flat cover without glass and two at the rear with slits and glasses. Further vision from the turret was obtained by two flaps on the gun mantlets. There were two hatches, a semi-circular flap on the top of the turret opening towards the front and a double flap hatch on the left superstructure top and side.
In accordance with the policy of spreading weapons manufacturing expertise around as many concerns as possible three prototypes of the improved chassis were ordered from each of the following: Krupp-Gruson, Henschel, M.A.N., Rheinmetall-Borsig and Daimler-Benz. The Krupp-Gruson vehicles had emerged from the Magdeburg plant by the end of 1933 as had the first Henschel chassis which ran its first trials in February 1934. By the end of April all 15 vehicles had been completed and full production was underway soon after. Most vehicles were built by Krupp-Gruson and Henschel but Krupp of Essen, Daimler-Benz and M.A.N. had a hand in the programme also.