Blitzkreig was a new and shocking type of warfare practiced by the Germans at the start of World War Two.
This light tank was the most numerous of the German made vehicles serving in the Wermacht at that time. Yet it was clearly a transitionary type, and the German high command never wanted it to be a main battle tank.
Going back to the early 1930s the German Army was reinventing itself. The first German tank of this period, appropriately the Panzer I, was seen as more of training and development tool than a main battle tank. It’s total armament was two light machine guns mounted together in a small turret. The long range plan called for two battle tanks; one that would be for use against other tanks, the other was optimized for infantry support work. But both of these designs, true tanks, would require a lot of growth in German heavy industry to build.
So a transitionary design was conceived. The Panzer I would be enlarged slightly so it could mount a 20 mm cannon. The rate of fire for this main gun was very high. But this is still pretty light firepower, and the Panzer II was lightly armored as well. The tank was reasonably fast with a top speed over 30 mph and had decent reliability. All in all an acceptable tank in the early war years, especially if it had heavier support near by.
The next generation of tanks were still immature when WWII started. So the Panzer II, and Panzer 38t built by Skoda in Czechoslovakia would be Germany’s main tanks. No doubt this type remained in service far too long. There were significant numbers deployed with the famous Afrika Korps, and it was even still in use when Germany attacked the Soviet Union. It may be obvious to say a Panzer II was no match for a T-34; but everyone knew this. The type was useful against enemy light and recon forces.
Some efforts were made to improve the design with better suspension, armor and a bigger gun. But since much bigger tanks ruled the battlefield from 1942 on the Panzer II was finally dropped from production. Its chassis would however form the basis of next generation tank destroyers such as the Wespe and Marder.
This subject is from the Tamiya kit and represents a unit that fought in the Battle of France.