Panzer I, Ausf A

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Panzer I, Ausf A

Postby Whiterook » Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:49 pm

An early workhorse in the German military, the Panzer I was a child of the treaty of Versailles. With Hitler’s victory in the 1933 elections, Germany started rearming and expanding its army. Due to the 1919 treaty, the German army had previously been severly handicapped in what it could produce and field in terms of weaponry. But when Hitler came to power, things changed.

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Panzer I, Ausf A


The genesis of the Panzer I began in 1932, with the official German ordance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz.101, Sonderkraftfahrzeug/Special-Purpose Vehicle at the outset. Panzer I was the short name for Panzerkampfwagen I (armored fighting vehicle mark I), abbreviated PzKpfw I. In the tank's early beginnings, only fifteen were delivered without turrets for training purpose only. But not long afterwards, mass-production of the proper military model began.

Starting in 1934, it became the first mass-produced tank of the Wehrmacht. By 1936, the vehicle got its modern name, the Panzerkampfwagen I, Ausführung A (Ausf. A).

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Beautiful Model Representation


This Panzer continued until early 1936. Around 800 were built, having several limitations. The armor was insufficient, being at its thickest, only 13 mm (0.51 in) thick. Early models had huge suspension problems, making the tank pitch backwards at high speeds. A tank wheelie!!!!

There were also concerns about the propulsion and overheating. The commander was both gunner and loader of the two machine guns, which is almost as bad as texxting and driving today! Communication was done through old-fashion vocal tubes. With its two 7.92mm machine guns, light armor and speed, these machines were nothing more than training and scout tanks. Despite this, most of them fought in regular Panzer divisions alongside the improved Ausf. B until late 1941.

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One of early production Panzer I Ausf. As in 1936, with the original tri-tone camouflage.
Pzkpfw-1_ausfA_1936.png (71.79 KiB) Viewed 478 times


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Panzer I Ausf. A of the XVIIth Panzerdivision in Poland, September 1939.
Pzkpfw-1_ausfA_poland39.png (66.44 KiB) Viewed 478 times


Pzkpfw-1_AusfA_afrikakorps1940.png
One of the very first Panzers that landed with the Afrika Korps, in January 1941. It\’s a late production Ausf. A from the XXIst Panzerdivision. Notice the uniform beige low quality paint, already attacked by sand, and the large identifications numbers still over the original European feldgrau tone.
Pzkpfw-1_AusfA_afrikakorps1940.png (80.4 KiB) Viewed 478 times


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Panzerkampfwagen I in Spain, Nationalist forces, Legion Condor, “El Negrillo”, June 1938.
Pzkpfw-1B_spain1937.png (79.96 KiB) Viewed 478 times
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Re: Panzer I, Ausf A

Postby McCoy » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:35 pm

Allthough painfully obsolete when the war started it did fulfill it's role to maximum in crew training.
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Re: Panzer I, Ausf A

Postby Whiterook » Fri Nov 20, 2015 5:31 pm

Yes, indeedy! It ws perhaps the perfect training vehicle for its time, as it was small, light, and therefore fairly maneuverable ...though I am sure the problematic suspension made for an "Old West Stage Coach" -like ride!!!

One of the things that truly amaze me is how far size went in so short a timespan....such as the Panzer I in 1941 vs the Tiger I in 1945.

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If memory serves, the machine guns were small in scope, as well....MG 13s?

And of course, their small size also led to limitations not a problem for its later bug brothers. For instance, fording....

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Re: Panzer I, Ausf A

Postby McCoy » Fri Nov 20, 2015 7:50 pm

Yes, it was armed with two MG13 so your memory serves you right there.

Germany shouldn't have fielded it at all but they're short on armour from day one all through the war.

The best panzer they fielded in Poland was the Cz 38 as neither the PzKpfw III or IV that was fielded in Fall Weiss wasn't even near as good as most think. They're not proven enough and both failed misserably in the Polish campaign. Both did prove themself later on but not from the beginning.
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Re: Panzer I, Ausf A

Postby MAGNA » Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:37 am

Interestingly, the Panzerjager 1 with a larger gun was the first of the tank hunters made. This idea went on with other
chassis being used. About 200 of these were made and mainly used in North Africa and Russia.

Panzer 1's were also to be exported to countries such as Bulgaria and Spain. The Bulgarian effort didn't happen in the end.
China got around ten in 1937 and they were used later against Japan. Some were also sent to Hungary in 1942.

Besides the Jager type, the other main use was as a command tank with a different superstructure.

The Spanish contingent was still in service in the mid fifties until replaced by US tanks.
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Re: Panzer I, Ausf A

Postby McCoy » Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:43 am

The Panzerjäger I with it's 47mm gun was really good when it was introduced but like most other weaponry it fell victim to the as ever fast faced evolution of warfare.
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