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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf B light tank

Photos

PzKpfw I Ausf B light tank at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds:
Germany's Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf B light tank
Nick Francis

Design

The idler was raised off the ground. Nose was redesigned to accommodate the final reduction gear.

Crew

The driver sat on the left hand side of the hull.

Engine

The Ausf B had a Maybach NL 38TR engine installed as the one in the Ausf A was inadequate. As the engine was larger, the length of the hull was increased by 1' 5" and an additional road wheel and return roller were added. The height of the compartment was also increased.

The ZF Aphon FG 31 transmission was installed.

Turret

The turret was offset on the right hand side. Turret had internal mantlet.

Armament

The machine guns could fire 550 rounds/minute. The bullet weighed 198 grams and had a muzzle velocity of 2,580'/sec. It was fed by a 25 round detachable magazine.

The main armament used a TZF2 sight.

There was an internal mantlet in the turret.

Production

Henschel produced most of these with Wegmann assisting.

  • PzKpfw I Ausf B: 399, 675, >800, 840, ~1,500, 2,000
    • Production: 1935 - 1937, 1935 - 1941, August 1935 - June 1937
    • Chassis #s: 10478 - 16500
    • Manufacturers: Henschel, MAN, Daimler-Benz, Krupp-Gruson, Wegmann; Henschel, MAN, Daimler-Benz, Krupp-Gruson
      • Chassis: Krupp
      • Superstructure: Daimler-Benz

Usage

Issued to all Panzer units from 1935 to 1940. Starting in 1941 it was being phased out and only 74 were in combat units at the start of the invasion of Russia.

The PzKpfw I Ausf Bs were used in Poland, France, and the early phase of the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

Specifications

  Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf B
Crew Commander, driver
2
Radio FuG2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 13,230 lb
5.7 tons, 5.8 tons, 6 tons
5,893 kg, 6,000 kg
Length 14.5', 14' 6", 14' 7", 14.7'
4.42 m, 4.4 m
Height 5', 5.6', 5.65', 5' 7", 5' 7.7", 5' 8", 7.7"
1.7 m, 1.72 m
Width 6.75', 6.8', 6' 9", 6' 9.1", 6' 10"
2.0 m, 2.06 m, 2.1 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 10", 11.6"
0.29 m, 0.3 m
Ground contact length 94.5"
2.47 m
Ground pressure 6.2 psi
0.42 (kg/cm2), 0.52 (kg/cm2)
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 2: 7.92 mm MG
2: 7.92 mm MG 13
2: 7.92 mm MG 34
2: 7.92 mm / 0.312" MG
2: MG
2: 7.9 mm MG 13 (Dreyse light machine guns)
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 1,525, 2,250, 3,125
2,250 Patr SmK
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 0.51"
7 - 13, 13, 15
Hull Front, Upper 13, 13@22°
Hull Front, Lower 13@27°
Hull Sides, Upper 13, 13@22°
Hull Sides, Lower 13@0°
Hull Rear 13, 13@0° & 13@19°
Hull Top 5, 6, 6@83-90°
Hull Bottom 5, 6, 6@90°
Turret Front 15, 13, 13@10°
Mantlet: 13 round
Turret Sides 13, 13@22°
Turret Rear 13, 13@22°
Turret Top 8, 8@82-90°
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach NL 38TR
Maybach
Maybach-Krupp
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Air
Water
Cylinders I-6, 6
Capacity  
Net HP 100
100@3,000 rpm
Power to weight ratio 17.2 HP/ton
Compression ratio 6.7:1
Transmission (Type) ZF Aphon FG 31
5 forward, 1 reverse
Steering Clutch and brake
Starter Hand and electric
Electrical system 12-volt
Ignition Magneto
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 39 gallons (22 gallons in front tank, 17 gallons in rear tank)
145 liters, 146 liters (in 2 tanks)
Road consumption 2.7 mpg
103 liters per 100 km of road
Cross country consumption 1.8 mpg
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand
Speed - Road 24.8 mph, 24.9 mph, 25 mph
40 kph, 42 kph, 50 kph
Speed - Cross Country 7-9 mph
40 kph
Range - Road 87 miles, 90 miles, 95 miles, 95.1 miles, 105 miles, 105.6 miles
140 km, 153 km, 170 km, 180 km
Range - Cross Country 71 miles, 71.4 miles
115 km, 130 km
Turning radius 2.1 m
Elevation limits +18° to -12°
Fording depth 1' 11", 23.6"
0.58 m, 0.6 m, 0.7 m
Trench crossing 4.6', 4' 7"
1.4 m
Vertical obstacle 1' 2", 14.6"
0.36 m
Climbing ability 30° (57%) slope
60%
Suspension (Type) Front road wheel coil spring
Remaining wheels sprung in pairs with 1/4 elliptic spring per pair
Wheels each side 5
Return rollers each side 4
Tracks (Type) Dry pin
Length  
Width 11"
280 mm
Diameter  
Number of links 00
Pitch 3.6"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 5.5', 65.75"
1.67 m

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. Panzer Truppen The Complete Guide to the Creation and Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1933-1942, Thomas L. Jentz, 1996
  3. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary Doyle, 1999
  4. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. AFV Collection No. 1 Panzer I The Beginning of a Dynasty, Lucas Molina Franco, 2005
  7. Tanks - Over 250 of the World's Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles, Chris Chant, 2004
  8. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  9. Tank Data, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, 1968?
  10. Airfix Magazine Guide #8 German Tanks of World War 2, Terry Gande and Peter Chamberlain, 1975
  11. Panzers At War, Michael and Gladys Green, 2005
  12. German Tanks and Armoured Vehicles 1914 - 1945, B. T. White, 1966
  13. AFV #15 Panzerkampfwagen I & II, Major-General N. W. Duncan
  14. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site