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Panzer PzKpfw Mk II (SdKfz 121)

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                                                                                    Panzer Mk  II History
Origins
Development contracts for a projected ten-ton tank were issued in July1934. Three firms submitted prototypes which were tested rigorously until the contract was given to MAN, and the first vehicles were produced in 1935. These vehicles were used for development only, and all had a 20 mm cannon mounted in the turret with a co-axial machine-gun. As a result of this development, production vehicles had thicker armour and a more powerful engine.


                                                                                                Models
PzKpfw II Ausf A
First produced during 1937, this became one of the most widely used vehicles in service during 1939 and 1940. It had an angled front hull.

PzKpfw II Ausf B and C
These two models were almost identical and differed from the Ausf A in having a prominent turret cupola.

PzKpfw II Ausf D and E
The Ausf D and E were built by Daimler-Benz and differed from other models by having a different Famo/Christie suspension. First produced in 1938, they had larger road wheels but retained the earlier superstructure, and were capable of speeds up to 55 kph. The conversion was not a success as the suspension was too weak for prolonged crosscountry work, and the variant was withdrawn in 1940. The chassis were then converted to other uses.

PzKpfw II Ausf F
The Ausf F reverted to the earlier suspension of the Ausf A, B and C. It had thicker armour and some detail changes but the armament remained unchanged. A revised cupola was fitted.

PzKpfw II Ausf G and J
These two models were almost identical to the Ausf F but had a stowage bin fitted to the back of the turret. Following on from the above models came a series of vehicles based on the PzKpfw II but featuring heavier armour and revised suspensions with interleaved road wheels. These prototypes were not developed beyond the prototype stage until one, the VK 1303, was selected as the basis for a light reconnaissance tank which emerged as the Luchs.

PzKpfw II Ausf L (SdKfz 123)
This model was named the Luchs (Lynx) and was built in late 1942. It entered service in early 1943. Despite the numerous improvements made to the basic design, the armament remained the 20 mm cannon and one machine-gun, but after 100 had been produced, a further 31 were fitted with a 5 cm gun. Production ceased in May 1943. The Luchs was the last of the German light tanks in production and service, for after 1943 production was switched to the heavier tanks. Exactly why this lightly armed vehicle was kept in production at such a late stage of the war is difficult to determine. Perhaps the answer was that the Luchs was intended as a reconnaissance tank only, and can be regarded as a tracked armoured car.


                                                                                                Variants
Flammpanzer II
Many of the PzKpfw II Ausf D and E vehicles withdrawn from service were converted to flamethrower tanks by the addition of two flame projectors on each front track cover. The crew was reduced to two, and the vehicle had a flame throwing range of about 40 yards. One machine-gun was retained for defence. About 95 were converted.

Geschutzwagen II fUr 15 cm sIG 33
There were two versions of this self-propelled artillery carriage. The first was a simple conversion of an Ausf C to carry the standard infantry heavy support weapon. It entered service in 1942, but it soon became apparent that the chassis was overloaded, and a second version appeared during 1943on which the chassis was lengthened by the addition of an extra roadwheel.

Geschiitzwagen II fur 7.5 cm Pak 40/2 (Marder II)
The Marder II (Martin II) entered service in 1942 and was one of the more successful of the numerous Panzerjager vehicles. It mounted a special version of the hard-hitting 7.5 cm Pak 40 anti-tank gun, and Ausf A, C, and F chassis were used for the conversion. A total of 1,217 were made, and the type served on many fronts.

PzJag 11 Ausf D, E fur 7.62 cm Pak36(r)
During the early stages of the Russian campaign the T-34 tank was soon found to be invulnerable to most German weapons. As a result large .numbers of captured Russian Model 1936 field guns were converted to anti-tank guns and some were mounted on redundant Ausf D and E chassis. These vehicles were rushed into action, despite their open fighting compartments, and were used as tank-hunters.


Geschiitzwagen II fiir 10.5 cm 1eFH 18/1 Wespe
One of the most successful of all the mobile field artillery pieces produced in Germany during 1939-1945 was the Wespe (Wasp). It vas a conversion of the basic PzKpfw I chassis to carry a standard field artillery piece, and the type was produced n large numbers 683 were in service in 1942. Normal crew was four men. Some were produced minus the jun and were used for carrying ammunition.

Amphibious PzKpfw II Ausf A
A small number of vehicles were concerted for amphibious warfare in preparation for Operation Seelowe Sea Lion) during 1940. Despite successful trials the type was not used in action.

Technical Specification

Mk II Variations and Plans

Plans

Mk II Ausf B or C Mk II Geschutzwagen Mk II Panzerjager  

 
Specifications Ausf D & E Ausf F Luchs
Image

Weight 10 Tons 9.5 Tons 11.8 Tons
Max Road Speed 55  kph / 34 mph  40 kph / 24.8 mph 60  kph / 37.3 mph
Road range  200 km / 124  miles  200 km / 124  miles  250 km / 155  miles
Cross Country Range 130  km / 80.7 miles 100  km / 62 miles 150  km / 93 miles
Length Overall 4640  mm / 182.7 inches 4810  mm / 189.3 inches 4630  mm / 182 inches
Width 2300 mm / 90.5 inches 2280 mm / 89.8 inches 2490 mm / 98 inches
Height 2020 mm / 79.5 inches 1980 mm / 78 inches 2130 mm / 83.8 inches
Engine 140 HP 140 HP 180 HP
Track Width 300 mm / 11.8 inches 300 mm / 11.8 inches 360 mm / 14.2 inches
Wheel base  1920 mm / 75.6  inches  1920 mm / 75.6  inches  2070 mm / 81.5  inches
Armament 1 1 x KwK 30 or 38 1 x KwK 30 or 38 1 x KwK 30
Armament 2 1 x 7.92mm machine gun 1 x 7.92mm machine gun 1 x 7.92 mm machine gun
Ammunition Carried 1 180 x 20 mm 180 x 20 mm 330 x 20 mm
Ammunition Carried 2 1425 x 7.92 mm 2550 x 7.92 mm 2550 x 7.92 mm
Bow Armour   30 mm / 1.2 inches   35 mm / 1.38 inches   30 mm / 1.2 inches
Side Armour 14.5 mm / 0.57 inches 20  mm / 1.18 inches 30 mm / 1.18 inches
Roof & Floor Armour 14.5 mm / 0.57 inches 14.5 mm / 0.57 inches 13 mm / 0.51 inches
Turret Armour 30 mm / 1.18 inches 30 mm / 1.18 inches 30 mm / 1.18 inches
Crew 3 3 4