The Panzer I was a German light tank which was manufactured in the 1930s and used in the Spanish Civil War and during the first years of World War II. Since it was lightly armoured and armed only with machine guns, it could not engage enemy tanks in combat; so, it was employed to provide fire support to infantry. The German Army’s official designation was Panzerkampfwagen I (armored fighting vehicle I), abbreviated PzKpfw I. Among the German tanks of WWII, it was one of the most widely produced armoured vehicles.
Designed in 1932, Panzer I was developed from the Landswirtschaftlicher Schlepper (La S) armored fighting vehicle. The design was influenced by the British Carden Loyd tankette; the German government had secretly bought two British Carden Loyd Mk.IV tankette chassis in 1932 from the Soviet Union. The Panzer I was manufactured by Henschel, MAN, Krupp, Daimler, from 1934 to 1937. The tank was armed with two 7.92mm-caliber, MG-13 Dreyse machine guns, mounted in a small rotating turret. Machine guns were largely useless against even the lightest tank armor of the time, restricting the Panzer I to a training and anti-infantry role by design.
Panzer I was mass produced in two main similar variants, Ausf A and Ausf B. These variants had different suspensions and engines. Ausf A was manufactured from July, 1934 to June, 1936 , while Ausf B was produced from August, 1935 to June, 1937. Panzer I Ausf A was powered by 59hp, four-cylinder Krupp engine and Ausf B with a 100hp Maybach engine, which was an improved version of Ausf A. Both models shared identical turret and superstructure.
Type: light tank
Weight: 6 tons
Length: 4,42 m
Width: 2 m
Height: 1.7 m
Armour: 13mm-thick steel on glacis plate; 7mm on the flanks
Crew: two (commander + driver)
Maximum speed: 40 km/h