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During the early stages of World War II, Germany’s light panzers, such as the Pz Ia, formed the bulk of their armoured strength. Fighting across most theatres which German forces took to the field, the Pz 1a was also found in some numbers fighting in the Spanish Civil War.

 

First produced in the mid-1930s, the Panzer I was initially designed as a training tank as German forces developed the concept of armoured warfare. Going on to see action during the Spanish Civil War (the Spanish were still using it up until 1954!) as well as during World War II in Poland, France, the Low Countries, North Africa and on the Russian Front, the Panzer I was also in use by Chinese forces in their conflict with the Japanese.

 

Although thinly armoured and lightly armed with two machine guns, the Panzer I formed a large proportion of the German armoured forces as not enough of the heavier Pz III and IV tanks were supplied. The chassis of this light tank was developed further to become tank destroyer and assault gun variants.

Panzer Ia

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