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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf L, Luchs ("Lynx"), SdKfz 123; Panzerspähwagen II (PzSpWg II) light tank

Design

Daimler-Benz was given the specifications in 1938 to increase the speed of the PzKpfw II.

It had the standard PzKpfw II turret, except it didn't have the cupola or vision ports. It did have two periscopes installed in the roof. The superstructure extended out over the tracks allowing for a larger turret.

It had five sets of interleaved bogie wheels.

Last 35 (another source says 31) vehicles had 50 mm KwK 39 L/60 gun.

Prototype

A prototype for a vehicle that emphasized speed was delivered in April 1942. In late 1942 the Germany Army developed a prototype of a fast reconnaissance vehicle, the VK1301. It became the PzKpfw II Ausf L, then later called the Luchs.

A VK1601 design emphasized armor protection.

A mild steel prototype was ready in 1942.

Production

An order was placed for 800, but only 131 were constructed between 1943 and January 1944.

  • V.K. 901: 3, 75
    • Production: 1940
  • PzKpfw II Ausf L, Luchs: 100, 131, 135 (100 with 20 mm, 35 with 50 mm)
    • Production: - May 1943, 1942 - May 12,1943, 1943 - 1944, 1943 - January 1944, September 1943 - January 1944
    • Manufacturer: MAN
      • Turret and superstructure: Daimler-Benz
      • Chassis: MAN

Variants

  • V.K. 1601, Pzkpfw II, neuer Art, verstärkt (new type uparmored): Designed by Daimler-Benz. Overlapping suspension wheels. Thicker armor. New turret. Was not put into production as it was felt a heavy vehicle should be armored with something more than just a 20 mm.
  • V.K. 901: Constructed by Daimler-Benz and MAN. Not produced as was too lightly protected.
  • VK 1301: Prototype that became the PzKpfw II Ausf L.
  • VK 1303; V.K. 1303: Prototype that became the PzKpfw II Ausf L.
  • PzKpfw II Ausf L:
  • V.K. 1602 Leopard (leicht): Designed by Daimler-Benz. 50 mm main armament.
  • V.K. 1602 Leopard (schwer): Prototype with 7.5 cm KwK 41. Weighed 22 tons. Was not produced.

Usage

Saw action in Russia and France. Standard equipment of reconnaissance battalions of panzer divisions until 1945.

New Classification

In 1943 these light tanks became Aufklängspanzers (armored reconnaissance vehicles).

Specifications

  VK 901
Crew 3
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 9.2 tons
Length  
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 20 mm KwK 38
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.92 mm MG
MG - coaxial  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 180
Secondary  
MG 1,425
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 10 - 30
Front: 30
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL 45
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP 145@2,800 rpm
Power to weight ratio 15.7 HP/ton
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Capacity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 32 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 100 miles
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side 5
Return rollers each side 0
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  VK 1301
Crew 4
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 12.8 tons
Length  
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
MG - coaxial  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL 66P
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP 180@3,200 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Capacity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf L, SdKfz 123 "Luchs"
Crew Commander, gunner, radio operator, driver
3, 4
Radio FuG12, FuG Spr a
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 11.8 tons, 13 tons
13,208 kg
Length 14' 6", 15' 2", 15.4', 15' 5"
4.63 m
Height 6' 11.8", 7', 7.08', 7' 1"
2.13 m, 2.21 m
Width 8' 2", 8' 3"
2.48 m, 2.49 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 4"
0.34 m
Ground contact length 2.2 m
Ground pressure 0.75 kg/cm2
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 20 mm KwK
20 mm KwK 30
20 mm KwK 38 L/55
20 mm
20 mm KwK 30 L/55
20 mm KwK 38
20 mm (1st 100 produced)
OR 50 mm
50 mm L/60 (last 35 produced)
Late models: 50 mm L/60
Secondary  
MG 7.92 mm MG
7.92 mm MG34
MG
MG - coaxial 7.92 mm MG34
MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 330
Secondary  
MG 2,250, 2,550
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 10 - 30, 30
Front: 30
Sides: 20
Hull Front, Upper 30, 20@0°, 20@90°, 30@10°
Hull Front, Lower 20@90°, 30@25°, 30@22°
Hull Sides, Upper 30, 20@0°, 20-30@85-90°
Hull Sides, Lower 20@0°
Hull Rear 20@30°, 20@28°, 20@60°
Hull Top 13, 13@90°, 10@86-90°
Hull Bottom 10@90°
Turret Front 30, 30@20°, 30@10°, 30@80°
Mantlet: 30 round
Turret Sides 20, 15@20°, 15@70°, 20@21°
Turret Rear 20@20°, 20@21°, 20@70°
Turret Top 13@80-90°, 12@79-90°, 13@0-10°
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach, Maybach HL 66 P
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders 6, R-6
Capacity  
Net HP 178, 180
Power to weight ratio 15.2 HP/ton
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Synchromesh SSG 46
6 forward, 1 reverse
Steering Differential
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity 52 gallons
236 liters
Road consumption 95 liters per 100 km
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand
Speed - Road 37 mph, 37.3 mph, 37.5 mph, 38 mph, 40 mph
60 kph
Speed - Cross Country 26 mph, 28 mph
42 kph
Range - Road 93 miles, 155 miles
150 km, 250 km, 290 km
Range - Cross Country 59 miles, 93 miles
95 km, 150 km
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -9° to +°
Fording depth 1.32 m
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Torsion Bar
Wheels each side 5
Return rollers each side 0
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 2' 2.2"
0.36 m
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6' 9.5"
2.07 m
  VK 1602
Crew 4
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Length  
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 50 mm KwK 39 L/60
Secondary  
MG  
MG - coaxial 1: MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front 80
Turret Sides 60
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP 550
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Capacity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 37 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. Panzer Truppen The Complete Guide to the Creation and Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1933-1942, Thomas L. Jentz, 1996
  2. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary Doyle, 1999
  3. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  4. German Tanks of World War II, Dr. S. Hart & Dr. R. Hart, 1998
  5. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  6. Panzers At War, Michael and Gladys Green, 2005
  7. Airfix Magazine Guide #8 German Tanks of World War 2, Terry Gande and Peter Chamberlain, 1975
  8. German Tanks and Armoured Vehicles 1914 - 1945, B. T. White, 1966
  9. AFV #15 Panzerkampfwagen I & II, Major-General N. W. Duncan
  10. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
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