The Panzer I was a light tank produced in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Intended only as a training tank, it saw combat in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, in Poland, France, the Soviet Union and North Africa during the Second World War. Its performance in armored combat was limited by its thin armour and light armament of two machine guns, which were never intended for use against armoured targets.
About Panzer I in brief
The Panzer I was a light tank produced in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Intended only as a training tank, it saw combat in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, in Poland, France, the Soviet Union and North Africa during the Second World War. It continued to serve in the Spanish Armed Forces until 1954. Its performance in armored combat was limited by its thin armour 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. It would soon be surpassed as a front-line armoured combat vehicle by more powerful German tanks, such as the Panzer III, and later the Panzer IV, Panzer V, and Panzer VI. Later in the war, the turrets of many obsolete Panzer Is and Panzer IIs were repurposed as gun turrets on specially built defensive bunkers, particularly on the Atlantic Wall. In the early 1920s, German tank theory was pioneered by General Oswald Lutz and his chief of staff, Lieutenant Colonel Heinz Guderian. Like his contemporary Sir Percy Hobart, Lutz also envisioned a fast breakthrough tank, which was to be heavily armored against enemy anti-tank weapons and have a large, 75-millimeter gun. This included a slow infantry tank, armed with a small-caliber cannon, to defend against enemy tanks. The six produced Großtraktor were later put into service for a brief period with the 1 Panzer Division; the Leichttraktor remained in testing until late 1920s.
The Panzer Is were used in all major campaigns between September 1939 and December 1941, where it still performed much useful service against entrenched infantry and other \”soft\” targets. The post-World War I Treaty of Versailles of 1919 prohibited the design, manufacture and deployment of tanks within the Reichswehr. Paragraph Twenty-four of the treaty provided for a 100,000-mark fine and imprisonment of up to six months for anybody who wanted to build armoured vehicles, tanks or similar machines, which may be turned to military use. Despite the manpower and technical limitations imposed on the German Army by the Treaty ofVersailles, several ReichsweHR officers established a clandestine general staff to study World War I and develop future strategies and tactics. By 1930, the German companies Krupp, Rheinmetall and Daimler-Benz were contracted to develop prototype tanks armed with an 80mm cannon. These were designed under the cover name Groß Amtraktor to veil the true purpose of the vehicle. By 1941, the Panzer I chassis design was used as the basis of tank destroyers and assault guns. It was used in the invasion of Poland in 1939 and France in 1940, and in the Second Sino-Japanese War in China in 1950. It remained in service until 1954, when it was replaced by the Panzer V, which had a much more powerful 75-mm cannon and was used for the Battle of the Bulge.