16 November 2014

Panzer 38(t) and Panzer II on the Move

Image size: 1600 x 1170 pixel. 302 KB
Date: Saturday, 1 June 1940
Place: France
Photographer: Unknown

Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) (SdKfz 140), extreme left, and Panzerkampfwagen II (SdKfz 121) climbing a grade, right, on the move. This is a rare color shot, which may be staged for the German war photographer. Please note that these two tanks have a clean rear deck and the helmets hanging over the side and rear of the Panzer II! It was taken in 1-10 June 1940 during the breakout of 7. Panzer-Division (Generalmajor Erwin Rommel) out of a valley near the Somme river. Originally the picture was published in the book "Entscheidende Stunden", a German propaganda book printed in 1941. When the Germans annexed the whole of Czechoslovakia, they took over management of the Skoda arms works. Skoda had developed the 38(t), which the Czechs called the LT-38, in 1935 and the first orders, for export, were placed in 1938. The Germans took over the production run, substituting the 38(t) for their PzKpfw III in the Panzer Divisions. It was armed with two 7.92mm machine guns and a 37mm main gun. At the time of the Invasion of France in 1940 Czech tanks made up a quarter of the Germans' panzer forces. The small turret didn't allow the tank to be upgraded, and production of the 38(t) ceased in 1942. the chassis was adapted into a number of successful self-propelled guns and tank destroyers. In combat, the Panzer II units would scout for the Panzer III and 38(t) units, identifying targets, troop strength and weak points for the heavier tanks to exploit. The Panzer II could not stand up to the Soviet heavy tanks and losses were high. Many crews fitted their vehicles with additional armor in the field.


1 comment: