Monday, March 23, 2015

Panzer I Series

Flammpanzer I: A small number of the Ausf A version were converted in the field by the Afrika Korps to the role of flame-throwers. The right machine gun was removed from the turret and replaced by the projector of the light portable infantry flamethrower Model 40, the cylinders for fuel and compressed air was also installed inside the turret.

Pz.Kpfw Ib, Ladungsleger I: Conversion for use by assault engineers with gantry and platform for carrying and placing explosives in demolition work

Pz.Kpfw I neuer Art verstark (VK.I80I): Project put forward in December 1939 for vehicle based on Pz.Kpfw I but heavily armoured for infantry support role (neuer Art (verstarkt) — uparmoured new model). Prototype built in June 1940 but the project was later abandoned. Interleaved wheels, but suspension heavier than VK.601. Also known as Pz.Kpfw I Ausf F 18tons; armour 30-80mm; 15mph; 14.3ft x 8.6ft x 6.75ft. Other details as VK.60I and Pz.Kpfw I.

Pz.Kpfw I Ausf C (VK.60I): Prototype for an uparmoured version of the Pz.Kpfw I for the reconnaissance and airborne roles. Kraus-Maffei/Daimler-Benz design, 1939-40. Order for 40 vehicles never completed and the project was abandoned in 1941 after only the prototype was built. Had a 20mm gun and 7.92mm MG instead of the twin MGs of earlier models. Interleaved wheels with centre track guides. 8tons; armour 10-30mm; engine (gasoline) l50hp; 40mph. Other details as Pz.Kpfw I.

LANDWIRTSCHAFTLICHER SCHLEPPER (La.S) (KRUPP L.K.A.I) Pz.Kpfw I prototype Prototype for a light tank in the 5ton class to meet a Heereswaffenamt (War Department) requirement for the rearmed Reichswehr, 1933. Selected for construction from designs tendered by Rheinmetall, Daimler-Benz, MAN, Henschel, and Krupp, the L.K.A.I being the Krupp model. Designation La S meant 'agricultural tractor' to conceal true purpose. This small vehicle was based largely on the layout of the Carden Loyd Mk I tankette chassis, a sample of which was purchased as a gun carrier from Britain in 1932. Turret had twin coaxial MGs. Used for trials only. Crew 2; mild steel; engine (gasoline): 25mph.

The Pz.Kpfw I was mainly intended as a cheaply produced training vehicle for the newly formed German armoured divisions. They were, however, still in wide service in the early part of World War II. Production vehicle was derived from the Krupp L.K.A.I prototype.

Production of this Krupp-designed tank began in July 1934, and it was the principal vehicle of the tank units. In service between 1935 and 1940, its armament was two MG 13s mounted in a turret with a 3600 traverse. It was fully tracked, and weighed 5,487 kg. Its armour was 15 mm thick, and the air-cooled engine was a Krupp M305.

It was soon realized, however, that the engine design was inadequate, and modifications not only with regard to the engine, but also in its hull were made (these changes to the Ausf A resulted in the Pz Kw 1 Ausf B).

The Ausf A (and Ausf B model) were first used during the Spanish Civil War, but with the onset of the Second World War, the deficiencies in both versions were apparent, and the Pz Kw I was withdrawn almost completely by 1941.

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