The most underrated Panzer? – Panzer I

The most underrated Panzer? - Panzer I

What was the most underrated German Panzer during the Second World War? It was clearly not the Königstiger, which was likely the most overrated nor the Panzer IV, which is considered the workhorse of the German Armored Forces. The Tiger and the Panther are also quite well represented all over the place. Similarly, the Panzer III gets its fair share of representation as well. Which leaves us with the Panzerkampfwagen I & II.

Disclaimer: I was invited by the Deutsche Panzermuseum Munster (Germany). Be sure to check out their channel here:

Videos referred to that did could not be linked via cards:
NATO Counter Guide:
German Army Expansion 1933-1939:

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Pöhlmann, Markus: Der Panzer und die Mechanisierung des Krieges: Eine deutsche Geschichte 1890 bis 1945. Ferdinand Schöningh: Paderborn, 2016.

Jentz, Thomas L.; Doyle, Hilary Louis: PANZER TRACTS No.1-1 Panzerkampfwagen I. Kleintraktor to Ausf.B. Panzer Tracts: Maryland, USA, 2002.

Jentz, Thomas L.; Doyle, Hilary Louis: PANZER TRACTS No.1-2 Panzerkampfwagen I. Kl.Pz.Bf.Wg. to VK 18.01. Panzer Tracts: Maryland, USA, 2002

Müller, Rolf-Dieter (Hrsg.); Volkmann, Hans-Erich (Hrsg.): Die Wehrmacht – Mythos und Realität. R. Oldenbourg Verlag: München, 1999.

Wettstein, Adrian E.: Die Wehrmacht im Stadtkampf 1939-1943. Ferdinand Schöningh: Paderborn, 2014.

Pahl, Magnus: Panzertruppen der Legion Condor, in: Militärgeschichte 1/2012

Absolon, Rudolf: Die Wehrmacht im Dritten Reich. Band IV, 5. Februar 1938 bis 31. August 1939

#MilitaryHistory #Panzer #tanks


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  1. Tanks were just 5% of Germany’s military budget in the pre-war years. The Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine got everything! Doctrine is great, but Guderian started out as a signals guy. Radio, radio, radio!!! Just 20% of French and Russian tanks even had radios (command tanks)! This article on Russian doctrine through 42-43 gives us peek into the problems you’re facing without radios against an enemy who has them in every tank. The article says Russian field manuals state tanks must communicate using signal flags and motorcycle dispatch(!!!) and then discusses the problems inherent in this approach:

    “The radio establishment for a September 1941 Tank Brigade was:

    “Light Tank Cos (HQ, 2 x T-60, 2 x platoons of 3 T-60 each). No radios at all

    Medium Tank Cos ( HQ 1 x T34, 3 x platoons of 3 x T34 each). Radios in company and platoon commanders tanks

    Heavy Tank Cos (HQ 1 x KV, 3 x platoons of 2 x KV each). Radios in company and platoon commanders tanks

    Battalion HQ, no command tanks at this stage, but allocation of 2 x radio trucks (2 x sets each).

    This must have greatly affected the Soviet ability to fight effectively at tactical level and no doubt ensured the failure of many armoured thrusts and the practise of, at platoon level, the "follow my leader" approach which generally resulted in the whole platoon firing at the one enemy tank and a whole platoon, and indeed tank Company, immobilised when the lead tank was taken out of action.”

    What do we do? Open the hatch and get the flags! Now imagine that when the enemy is doing armored thrusts to get in your rear,

    Why can’t a training tank have weapons? The thing was obviously meant to “train” manufacturers and military as the “real” tanks came down the pipeline later.

    I would like to see a fast light tank armed with one of the Gatling guns from an A-10 Warthog and maybe 6 Hellfire missiles, have a little detachable drone for reconnaissance (and to guide the missiles). Nasty.

  2. I guess it can be compare with air borne capable tanks some 40 years later? In the very early stage of ww2, the advance speed can compare to air borne, i would describe it is a air borne without planes. Although it is not fair to compare tanks with 40 years gap, but a tank is a tank, once it leave the cargo plane, they are on their own. Are those 40 years later tanks such as british scorpion, german weasel doing much better than this old work horse?

  3. Your knowledge is so precious. Thank you so much… But your German-English language is so difficult to understand… Why not speaking just a wonderful German version of your wonderful report, and with just an English text below. Or if you have to speak your Deutsch-English, then please help and just put a German text below. Quite hard to understand you. And it's so interesting what you're telling us.

  4. Actually in Spain, the 'Gruppe Drohne' experimented a bit regarding the Problem with the T26. They used special armour-piercing Machinegun-Ammo with which they were able to penetrate the T26. They had to come within a range of under 100m though. The spanish tankers then modified some Pzkpfw I with 20mm-Breda-Guns, but the germans refused it, since the Pzkpfw II was about to get produced

  5. Great video! I used to hold those same negative 'hindsight' views of the Panzer I. This video wouldve been helpful to my HOI4 campaign. I chose to stop production of Panzer I and focus on Panzer III. Now I see that a lot of light tanks early would've been nice to have. Infantry cannot stand up to a focused combined arms push. If you have a lot of Panzer I early enough you can steam roll everyone. Now I have less Panzer III and they cannot push everywhere at once. I have to focus a smaller group of Panzer III. More Panzer I would allow more breakthroughs across a wider front.
    Great video! Thank you for all your research and translation / english videos!

  6. Your last summary kind of proves the opposite of what you may have intended. By building a large number of very poor tanks, the Germans were able to start a war in 1939 that by almost any conceivable measure they could not win. Had they delayed the war and developed a more capable tank a few years later, it is at least possible they could have achieved a different outcome. Of course, there are a lot of variables involved in such predictions, but they went to war with the Panzer I and they lost.

  7. 1400 panzer 1 could have been converted into 1400 panzer Jagger 1 though 1937 to 1940. The production loss would have been ~ 300 Panzer II .

    Alternatively 160 instansetzungswagen plus 50 Minenerunfer BI and 38 x15cm sIG33 (Sf) auf Pz-I and 51 x Mun Schlepper . The last two models would be repurposed conversions , so > 200 Panzer-II production would still be lost [~ ]. The guns would come stock of 37mm PaK, and later from captured stock of Austrian and Czech 47mm guns through this period.

  8. Imagine the terrible tanks Japanese were using against China that posed something close to Invincible. At the same time, in front of the US Army (Sherman most likely), Japanese tanks were coming back to earth to their final & fast destination.