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Pz. Kpfw. 38 (t): Light Tank (Czech)

Pz. Kpfw. 38 (t): Light Tank (Czech)

This is the Czech tank L.T.H. The chassis of this vehicle is frequently converted by the Germans for use as a self-propelled mount for artillery pieces, such as the 7.5 cm. Pak 40 and 7.62 cm. Pak 36 (r) anti-tank guns, and the 15 cm. s.I.G. 33. The primary characteristics of the Pz. Kpfw. 38 (t) are its four large Christie-type bogie wheels of equal size; two top rollers forward; flat-topped turret with prominent cupola, and a square gun mantlet covering the whole front of the turret.

The turret is round with a square front. It has a traverse of 360° and an internal diameter of about 48 inches. Its floor does not revolve. The traversing gear, which is fast and light in action, is operated by a wheel on the left-hand side of the gunner. The bulge at the rear of the turret is fitted for ammunition storage.

All main construction is riveted with the exception of the top of the superstructure, which is bolted. The turret front has a basic armor of 25 mm with an additional 25 mm plate. The front vertical plate is similarly armored; the side superstructure armor is 30 mm in thickneses.

The suspension consists of four 30-inch diameter rubber-tired wheels on two bogies with half elliptic springs, a high front sprocket 22 1/4 inches in diameter and a rear idler. There are two return rollers mounted well forward. The track is of the outside center guide type, with single pin secured by circular clip.

The tank is powered by a Praga T.N.H.P.S. O.H.V. 6-cylinder, water-cooled, gasoline engine, rated 125 h.p. at 2200 r.p.m. The ignition is Bosch magneto.

The armament consists of a 3.7 cm. gun and one light machine gun coaxial in the turret, and one light machine gun in the front superstructure.

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight         10 tons
Length 15 ft., 3 ins.
Width 7 ft.
Height 7 ft., 2 ins.
Ground clearance 15 ins.
Tread centers 5 ft., 9 1/2 ins.
Ground contact 8 ft., 6 3/4 ins.
Width of track 11 ins.
Pitch of track 4 1/2 ins.
Track links 89
Fording depth 3 ft.
Theoretical radius of action
     Roads 140 miles
     Cross-country 100 miles
Speed
     Roads 26 m.p.h.
     Cross-country 18 m.p.h.
Armor
     Front plate 25 + 25 mm
     Sides 30 mm
Armament One 3.7 cm. gun
Two light M. G.’s
Ammunition (rds.)
Engine 125 h.p. Praga O.H.V.
Transmission 5 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Epicyclic clutch brake
Crew 4

German: p. 18

Pz. Kpfw. II Aus. F (Sd. Kfz. 121): Light Tanks

Pz. Kpfw. II Ausf. F (Sd. Kfz. 121): Light Tanks

Produced in 1941. This is the latest type of Pz. Kpfw. II tank identified in action. The major modifications appearing in this model are (1) increased thickness of the basic frontal armor, (2) new design of hull nose, (3) use of uninterrupted length of plate for front vertical superstructure plate, (4) use of dummy visor mounted alongside the driver’s visor.

The single skin nose of the Model F hull is constructed, of flat plates 35 mm thick with a Brinell hardness of 426 and is nearer vertical than the superimposed nose plate in the earlier reinforced models. This modification to the nose of the hull has shortened its length by approximately five inches.

The turret front and mantlet remain unaltered except for the omission of the additional plates and a corresponding thickening of the basic armor to 30 mm.

Model F is equipped with a new driver’s visor of the double shutter type. A dummy visor, a one-piece aluminum casting, is mounted alongside the driver’s visor on the right, presumably to draw fire from the latter.

The suspension arrangement of five bogie wheels and four return rollers is the same as that utilized in the previous models A, B and C.

The power plant consists of the HL 62 TR Maybach, a 6-cylinder, water-cooled gasoline engine rating 140 B.H.P. at 2600 r.p.m.

The transmission is of normal synchromesh, manual control type, providing six forward speeds and one reverse, and the steering system utilizes the epicyclic clutch and brake principle.

Armament comprises one 2.0 cm KwK 30 gun with coaxial 7.92 M.G. 34 in turret.

Models G and J have been mentioned in an official German document but there are no details available.

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight         10.5 tons
Length 14 ft., 9 ins.
Width 7 ft., 4 ins.
Height 6 ft., 6 ins.
Ground clearance 13 ins.
Tread centers 6 ft., 2 ins.
Ground contact 7 ft., 10 ins.
Width of track 11 1/8 ins.
Pitch of track 3 5/8 ins.
Track links 106
Fording depth 3 ft.
Theoretical radius of action
     Roads 125 miles
     Cross-country 85 miles
Speed
     Roads 30 m.p.h.
     Cross-country 15 m.p.h.
Armor
     Front plate 35 mm
     Sides 20 mm
Armament One 2.0 cm KwK 30
One 7.92 mm M.G. 34
Ammunition (rds.) 2 cm gun 180
M.G. 2550
Engine 140 B.H.P. Maybach HL 62 TRM
Transmission 6 forward speeds, 1 reverse
Steering Epicyclic clutch brake
Crew 3

German: p. 10

Pz. Kpfw. II Aus D, E (Sd. Kfz. 121): Light Tanks

Pz. Kpfw. II Ausf D, E (Sd. Kfz. 121): Light Tanks

Produced in 1939. Comparatively few of these models were made and these were later converted to flamethrower tanks (Pz. Kpfw. II, Aus. (F)).

Model D—Although the hull, turret, and superstructure of this model are similar to preceding models, its suspension arrangement of four large, rubber-tired, Christie-type bogie wheels which touch the top and bottom of the track make it easy to recognize. Models D and E are the only Pz. Kpfw. II tanks with this type of suspension. The bogie wheels are large enough to eliminate return rollers. The front drive sprocket, rear idler, and the dry-pin, center-guide track complete the suspension assembly. The track can be fitted with snow spuds. These are inserted in the outer web members and held by a split cotter-pin.

The power plant is the Maybach HL 62 TR, six-cylinder, water-cooled engine rated at 140 B.H.P. The transmission provides five forward speeds and one reverse. The steering system embodies the epicyclic clutch and brake principle.

The normal Pz. Kpfw. II armament of one 2 cm Kw.K. 30 with one coaxial 7.92 mm M.G. 34 is mounted. Armor plate thicknesses range from 30 mm front to 15 mm sides.

Model E—Same as Model D.

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight         10 tons
Length 16 ft.
Width 7 ft., 6 ins.
Height 6 ft., 9 ins.
Ground clearance 12 ins.
Tread centers 5 ft., 10 ins.
Ground contact 7 ft., 10 ins.
Width of track
Pitch of track
Track links 96 (est.)
Fording depth 3 ft.
Theoretical radius of action
     Roads 125 miles
     Cross-country 85 miles
Speed
     Roads 30 m.p.h.
     Cross-country 12 m.p.h.
Armor
     Front plate 30 mm
     Sides 15 mm
Armament 1—2.0 cm Kw.K. 30
1—7.92 M.G. 34
Ammunition
Engine Maybach 140 B.H.P.
Transmission Synchromesh, 5 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Epicyclic clutch brake
Crew 3

German: p. 8

Pz. Kpfw. II Aus A, B, C (Sd. Kfz. 121): Light Tanks

Pz. Kpfw. II Aus A, B, C (Sd. Kfz. 121): Light Tanks

Model A was produced in 1937, followed by B and C in 1938. It is not known whether there are any important differences between these models. All had a suspension consisting of five equally spaced rubber-tired bogie wheels on each side mounted independently on suspension arms pivoted on hull and provided with quarter elliptic leaf springs. There are four 8½ in. diameter return rollers on each side, a 2 ft., 7 in. diameter sprocket, and a 2 ft., 1 in. diameter idler.

The frontal armor of this series was originally only 15 mm thick and the hull had a rounded nose formed by the bending of a single plate which also incorporated the glacis and nose plate. At some time after the battle of France (1940) the armor of these models was reinforced by bolting 20 mm armor plates on the front of the tank. The additional armor on the front of the hull consisted of flat nose and glacis plates which entirely altered the appearance of the hull and nose and gave the effect of spaced armor in front of the rounded part of the basic plate. The gun mantlet armor was thickened by the addition of a 15 mm plate.

The Maybach, HL 62 TR, 6-cylinder gasoline engine, which comprises the power plant, has a rating of 140 h.p.

The armament consists of a 2.0 cm gun which is fired by a trigger on the elevating handwheel, and a coaxial 7.92 mm M.G. 34 which is fired by a trigger on the traversing handwheel.

These models are often converted for use as mounts for heavy anti-tank guns such as the 7.5 cm Pak 40 and the 7.62 cm Pak 36 (r), as well as the 10.5 cm l.F.H. 18 M, known as the Wasp, and the 15 cm s.I.G. 33; the suspension for the latter having a sixth bogie wheel.

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight         10 tons
Length 15 ft., 2 3/4 ins.
Width (overall) 7 ft., 4 ins.
Height 6 ft., 5 3/4 ins.
Ground clearance 13 ins.
Tread centers 6 ft., 2 ins.
Ground contact 7 ft., 10 ins.
Width of track 11 1/8 ins.
Pitch of track 3 5/8 ins.
Track links 105
Fording depth 3 ft.
Theoretical radius of action
     Roads 125 miles
     Cross-country 85 miles
Speed
     Roads 30 m.p.h.
     Cross-country 15 m.p.h.
Armor
     Front plate 15 + 20 mm
     Sides 15 mm
Armament One 2.0 cm KwK 30
One 7.92 mm M.G. 34
Ammunition 2.0 cm gun 180
M.G. 1425
Engine 140 h.p. Maybach HL 62 TRM
Transmission Crash-type gear box, 6 fwd. speeds, 1 reverse
Steering Epicyclic clutch brake
Crew 3

German: p. 7

Pz. Kpfw. II Aus a1, a2, a3, b, c: Light Tanks

Pz. Kpfw. II Ausf a1, a2, a3, b, c: Light Tanks

The early development of the Pz. Kpfw. II is indicated by five models, a1, a2, a3, b and c. They were considered as prototype tanks.

Model a1—Had a suspension arrangement of six small bogie wheels, each side mounted on three hull pivots connected by an outside girder. There were four return rollers, sprocket, and a cast rear idler. It weighed about 8.4 tons, was manned by a crew of three and mounted one 2 cm KwK 30 and a coaxial 7.92 mm M.G. 34 in the turret. It was powered by a six-cylinder Maybach (HL 57 TR) gasoline engine and was fitted with epicyclic and brake steering without a final reduction gear. The frontal armor was 20 mm in thickness, the sides 15 mm.

Model a2—Same as Model a1 except for variation in construction of engine compartment and welded rear idler instead of cast.

Model a3—Same as Model a1 except for minor modifications in the suspension arrangement and cooling system.

Model b—Incorporated an improved Maybach (HL 62 TR) engine, as well as a new track with wider driving sprockets, bogie wheels and return rollers. A final reduction gear was also introduced, which necessitated slight alterations in the structure of the front of the hull. The model weighed 9 tons.

Model c—An entirely new suspension comprising five independently sprung bogie wheels on each side made its appearance in this model. It is believed that the torsion bar system of bogie wheel suspension originated in this tank. Modifications to the driving sprocket, rear idler, and return rollers, the latter of which now numbered four, were made. Improved epicyclic and steering brakes were also introduced, the latter being equipped with automatic take-up to compensate for wear. Model c weighed 9 1/2 tons.

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight         8 1/2 to 9 1/2 tons
Length 15 ft., 2 ins.
Width 7 ft., 4 ins.
Height 6 ft., 5 ins.
Ground clearance 13 ins.
Tread centers 6 ft., 2 ins.
Ground contact 7 ft., 10 ins.
Width of track 11 1/8 ins.
Pitch of rack 3 5/8 ins.
Track links 106
Fording depth 3 ft.
Theoretical radius of action
     Roads 102 miles
     Cross-country 60 miles
Speed
     Roads 30 m.p.h.
     Cross-country 15 m.p.h.
Armor
     Front plate 20 mm
     Sides 15 mm
Armament One 2 cm KwK 30
One M.G. 34
Ammunition (rds.) 2 cm gun 180
M.G. 2550
Engine HL 57 TR or HL TRM 62
Maybach 140 B.H.P.
Transmission 6 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Epicyclic clutch brake
Crew 3

German: p. 6

Pz. Kpfw. I Aus. B (Sd. Kfz. 101): Light Tank

Pz. Kpfw. I Ausf. B (Sd. Kfz. 101): Light Tank

Produced by the Krupp Company. In this model the 100 horsepower, 6-cylinder, water-cooled Maybach engine replaced the former Krupp air-cooled engine.

The turret, from which the gunner’s seat is suspended, is hand traversed through 360°. The turret floor does not revolve. The inside diameter of the turret ring is 36 1/2 inches. The hull and superstructure are essentially the same as Model A.

The suspension differs from Model A in that an additional bogie wheel has been utilized. The trailing idler has been replaced by a rear elevated idler. There is also an additional return roller. The quarter elliptic spring is anchored to the under side of the transverse bogie casting allowing the spring to bump its own opposite end. The coil spring is not used except for the forward independently mounted bogie wheel. There are 99 links in the tracks.

With a bore of 90 mm and piston stroke of 100 mm the engine develops 100 h.p. at 3000 r.p.m. The valves are single overhead camshaft driven from helical timing gears at the rear of the engine, operating two inclined valves per cylinder through rockers mounted on independent shafts, one for inlet and one for exhaust The rockers are operated through rollers. Valve clearance is adjusted by rotation of eccentric bushings on rocker shafts. A Solex duplex type carburetor is utilized, and a Pallas gasoline fuel pump incorporating a bowl filter and hand primer, the latter operated by remote control from the fighting compartment. The transmission and steering mechanism remain the same as Model A.

The armament consists of two turret-mounted 7.92 mm M. G. 13’s. Five smoke candles are carried on a rack at the rear and may be released from inside the tank.

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight        6 tons
Length 14 ft., 6 ins.
Width 6 ft., 9 ins.
Height 5 ft., 7 ins.
Ground clearance 11 1/2 ins.
Tread centers 5 ft., 5 ins.
Ground contact 8 ft.
Width of track 11 ins.
Pitch of track 3 11/16 ins.
Track links 99
Fording depth 2 ft.
Theoretical radius of action
     Roads 87 miles
     Cross-country 72 miles
Speed
     Roads 32 m.p.h.
     Cross-country 15 m.p.h.
Armor
     Front plate 15 mm
     Sides 10 mm
Armament Two 7.92 mm M. G. 13
Ammunition (rds.) 1525
Engine 100 h.p. Maybach Model N. L. 38 T
Transmission 5 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Clutch brake
Crew 2

German: p. 2