Image size: 1600 x 903 pixel. 348 KB
Date: Friday, 1 November 1940
Panzerkampfwagen II ausf C (abbreviated PzKpfw II: armored combat vehicle, version C) also known as Sonderkraftfahrzeug 121 (abbreviated SdKfz: Special Ordnance Vehicle). At the time this photo was taken, the Panzertruppen was expanding, adding whole new divisions in preparation of the invasion of the Soviet Union. 1113 of the Panzer II A/B/C models were built from March 1937 through April 1940 by Alkett, FAMO, Daimler-Benz, Henschel, MAN, MIAG, and Wegmann. These models were almost identical and were used in service interchangeably. This was the most widespread tank version of the Panzer II. It was armed with a 20mm rapid fire cannon and a 7.92mm machine gun. In 1940 the Panzer II and the Czech designed 35t and 38t made up the bulk of the German armor formations. They were inferior to the French medium tanks like the Char B1bis, but with radio communications and employed en masse they could defeat the French armor. With the experience in Poland and France, additional armor plates were added as losses to antitank weapons were higher than expected. When Operation Barbarossa began in June 1941, the Panzer II (and III) were outclassed by the Soviet T-34, and while new Panzer IIs were produced through 1944, they served in reconnaissance roles and not as antitank weapons. The chassis was adapted to a range of antitank weapons, called the Marder II, mounting a 75mm gun in an open turret. They were moderately successful when employed by a trained crew, but lacked protection from artillery or small arms. The Panzer II was still fighting seven years later when Germany surrendered.