PzKpfw I

The Panzerkampfwagen I (or Panzer I) was a light tank produced in the 1930s. The tank's official German ordnance inventory designation was SonderKraftfahrzeug (SdKfz) 101 ("special purpose vehicle 101"). The tankd was intented as training tank to introduce the concept of armored warfare to the German army. The design of the Panzer I began in 1932 and mass production started in 1934. The Panzer I's performance in armored combat was limited by its thin armor and light armament of two machine guns, which were never intended for use against armoured targets, rather being ideal for infantry suppression, in line with inter-war doctrine. 

Tanks appeal to the imagination which is why they were and are often used for propaganda purposes. Here PzKpfw I tanks on one of the meetings of the NDSAP.


The Panzer I saw combat in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, in Poland, France, the Soviet Union and North Africa during the Second World War, and in China during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Experiences with the Panzer I during the Spanish Civil War helped shape the German Panzerwaffe's invasion of Poland in 1939 and France in 1940. in this role and that of training vehicle for armored warfare the Panzer I's contribution to the early victories of Nazi Germany during World War II and the debelopment of the Panzerwaffe was significant.


Although lacking in armored combat as a tank, it formed a large part of Germany's mechanized forces and was used in all major campaigns between September 1939 and December 1941. In later years it still performed much useful service against entrenched infantry and other 'soft' targets, which were unable to respond even against thin armor, and who were highly vulnerable to machine gun fire. 


By the end of 1941, the Panzer I as a tank was obsolete but its chassis design was used as the basis of a number of tank destroyers and assault guns.