the initial campaigns of World War Two the Wehrmachts Panzer Is, (Sd.Kfz.
101) formed the bulk of its armour. In March 1938 the Wehrmacht Army marched into
Austria, encountering a breakdown rate of up to thirty percent. The knowledge
gained during the occupation of Austria allowed Heinz
to remedy several major faults within the Wehrmacht armour corps
and subsequently allowed him to improve the fuel supply and maintenance situation.
In October 1938 Wehrmacht tanks occupied Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland, and then
occupied the remainder of the country in March 1939. The take over of Czechoslovakia
allowed several Czech tank designs, such as the Panzer
and Panzer 38(t)
, to be incorporated into
the Wehrmacht Army. It also prepared the Wehrmacht forces for the eventual invasion
Intended as a training tank to introduce the concept of mobile armoured
warfare into the Wehrmacht Army, its design began in 1932 and mass production
started in 1934. Despite the original purpose of the vehicle, the Panzer I saw
combat in Spain 1936 to 1939 and Czechoslovakia's in 1939. The experience gained
during these earlier campaigns would shape the way Wehrmacht armour invaded Poland
in 1939 and France in 1940. In 1941 the old Panzer I chassis was being used to
produce tank destroyers. There were many attempts to upgrade the Panzer I throughout
The Panzer Is armour protection and light armament affected
its overall performance in combat. Although this should not be a surprise as it
was never designed for a combat role. The Panzer I formed large portions of Wehrmacht
total armour strength in most major campaigns between September 1939 and December
This clip shows Panzer I's on parade, doing complex manoeuvres. Sources:
German Military Vehicles.
Armoured Fighting Vehicles of Germany World War II.
Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World Two.
For a complete list of sources