Light tank armed with two machine guns
German World War II armored fighting vehicles gallery
Developed by the Krupp company, Panzer I was more just a verification and training vehicle than a real war machine. The first incomplete prototype (without the armored body and turret) was prepared already in July 1932. The undercarriage was inspired by the design of British Vickers-Carden-Lloyd tractor.
Serial production started at the end of 1933. Nevertheless the first batches were still only chassis without body and turret and the army used them only for training purposes. First actually complete tanks started to be delivered only at the beginning of 1935. Panzer I was armed with two 7,92 mm MG 13 machine guns and had a very light armor. It was powered by 60 hp Krupp M305 engine.
A new generation of Panzer I, marked Ausf. B, was introduced in 1936. It was longer and had a 100 hp Maybach engine. Both generations of Panzer I were produced in large numbers and widely used at army exercises and parades. Obsolete Panzer I chassis were later often used for lot of different specialized conversions (commander tanks, ambulances, ammo carriers, recovery vehicles etc.).
There were two more version of Panzer I, marked Ausf. C and Ausf. F but these were more or less different vehicles which had nothing in common with the classic Panzer I and were only produced in limited numbers.