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Sd Kfz 121 Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf F (E1951.26)
DescriptionWhen they first appeared, in 1936, the Panzer IIs were regarded as platoon commander's tanks. They were also employed to give fire support to the Panzer I in combat with enemy tanks. However by 1940 they had been outclassed and were relegated to the reconnaissance role. Our exhibit, an Ausfuhrung (or Model) F featured improved armour and was introduced in 1941.
It is worth noting that this tank is entirely of welded construction at a time when most rivals were either riveted or cast. The advantages of welding armour are many, but Britain was slow to adopt this procedure. Notice also that the Panzer II, like all German tanks of the Second World War, had a petrol engine. The popular idea that they were all Diesel powered is incorrect.
This vehicle served with Recconaissance Platoon (RO6), Panzer Regment 7, 10 Panzer Division in Tunisia. The 7th Panzer Regiment was destroyed in May 1943.
Our exhibit was captured by British forces in North Africa but it is shown in the markings of 1st Panzer Division at the time of the invasion of France in June 1940. The Panzer II remained in front line service until 1943 but was then employed on internal security duties in less active locations. This exhibit has the additional armour, conical idlers and fake, aluminium driver's visor characteristic of the Panzer IIF. It was completed in May 1942 and shipped to Tunis in December. The 7th Panzer Regiment was destroyed in May 1943.
Precise Name: Panzerkampfwagen II Aus F
Other Name: SdKfz 121, 9 Serie LaS 100,
The original version of the Panzer II was introduced in 1936 as a platoon and company commanders’ vehicle. A full Platoon of each tank Company was equipped with them for tank vs. tank combat.
By the start of the Russian campaign in June 1941 the Panzer II was employed as a reconnaissance vehicle by the Panzer Regiments; they were withdrawn from frontline service during 1943, completely outclassed as combat vehicles. They continued to be used for internal security duties away from the front lines until the end of the war.
The Panzer II is of all welded construction, made at a time when most countries were still building tanks with riveted or cast hulls. Welded hulls have many advantages when compared to riveted ones: they are lighter and stronger and there aren’t any rivet heads to shear off and fly round inside the tank when it is hit by enemy fire. Powered by a petrol engine of 140 hp and carried on large independently sprung road wheels the later versions of the Panzer II had a sprightly cross country performance on firm ground, although its narrow tracks bogged down easily in the mud of the Russian spring and autumn.
The Tank Museum’s Panzer II is an Aus (Ausfuhrung or model) F. The Aus F was introduced in March 1941 and a total of 541 were built before production ceased in December 1942 out of a total Panzer II production of approximately 1,800 tanks. Production of the Panzer II chassis continued until July 1944 as the carrier of various anti-tank and field guns, notably the PaK 40 7.5cm anti-tank gun and the 10.5cm LeFH18M light howitzer.
Compared to earlier versions, the Aus F has a redesigned flat fronted hull. The thickness of the armour is increased from 14.5mm to 30mm on the hull front and the turret. The commander has a cupola with eight periscopes. The Germans noticed that anti-tank gunners were targeting the driver’s visor so a dummy one, made of aluminium, is fitted on the right hand side of the real visor!
The Museum’s exhibit was built in May 1942 and shipped to Tunisia in December 1942 where it served with the Reconnaissance Platoon of Panzer Regiment 7, 10th Panzer Division. British forces captured it when the Germans were defeated in Tunisia in May 1943. It is currently displayed in the markings of the 1st Panzer Division at the time of the German invasion of France in May 1940.
Summary text by Mike Garth V1.0
Main utility typeLight/Reconnaisance
Military unitGerman Army
Country of UseGermany (1941-1943)
EraWorld War 2
Current LocationBOVTM - B18F - The Tank Story - Blitzkrieg (Moved here on 21/07/2009)
|Armament - Main Weapon Type||Gun - 20 mm Gun KwK30 L/55|
|Armament - Secondary Weapon Type||MG34 7.92mm Machine Gun|
|Engine||Maybach HL62TRM, 6 cylinder, 6.2 litre, 140 bhp, water cooled|
|Transmission||6 Forward , 1 Reverse synchromesh gearbox with epicyclic steering|
|Power to Weight Ratio||14.7 bhp/ton|
|Overall - Gun Forward||Length||4.81||m||15ft 9in|
|Speed - Road||Maximum||40||kph|
|Armour Thickness - Hull||Maximum||35||mm||1.38in|
|Engine Output||Power||140||bhp||@ 2600 rpm|
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