The Germany Army wanted the PzKpfw II to be a training tank, like the PzKpfw I.2 It was to be used until the PzKpfw III and PzKpfw IV became available in the late 1930s.2,11
In 19328 / July 1934, the Army Weapons Department put out specifications for a 10 ton armored vehicle, that had a 20 mm gun in a fully revolving turret.2,7,11 Henschel, Krupp, and MAN worked on designs.6,9,11 Krupp used its PzKpfw I prototype and installed a 20 mm gun and a machine gun in the turret.11 The Henschel and MAN prototypes were similar but had different suspensions.8 The one by Augsburg-Nuremburg Machine Works (MAN) was selected for a pre-production run.2,6,9
The hull was made from welded heat-treated steel.6,9
The driver sat on the left side.9 The fighting compartment was also located on the left side.6
The engine was mounted in the rear with the drive sprocket in the front.3,5,9
The PzKpfw II's turret was constructed of welded steel.9 The turret was slightly set to the left.9
The 20 mm KwK38 could fire 450 rounds/minute.4 The AP shell weighed 0.31 lbs and had a muzzle velocity of 2,559'/second.4 It was fed by 10 round magazines.4,5 Could penetrate 24 mm of armor at 500 yards. It's maximum effective range was 656 yards (600 m).
The PzKpfw II carried 180 rounds of 20 mm ammunition and 1,425 rounds of machine gun ammunition.9
From 1935-1937 MAN completed several prototypes.2 These were designated the Landwirtschäftlicher Schlepper (LaS, industrial tractor) 100, as it was against the Treaty of Versailles for Germany to develop tanks.2,8,9,11 In 1938 they were designated the Panzer II.2
MAN became responsible for chassis and Daimler-Benz for superstructure.6 It started being delivered in 1935 but it took 18 months for the design to be finalized and production could increase.
1/La S 100: 2511
Production: 1935 - ?8, 1935 - 194211
Manufacturers: FAMO6,9 of Breslau (1936-43), MIAG6,9 in Brunswick (1936-40), Wegmann6,9 of Kassel (1935-41).
PzKpfw II Ausf D: The suspension was a modified Famo/Christie suspension.7 The road wheels were larger than previous models.7 The suspension turned out to be deficient when going cross country.7 They were withdrawn from use and converted to other uses.7
PzKpfw II Ausf E: The suspension was a modified Famo/Christie suspension.7 The road wheels were larger than previous models.7 The suspension turned out to be deficient when going cross country.7 They were withdrawn from use and converted to other uses.7
Flammpanzer II: "Flamingo."13 Two flamethrowers on the front corners.13
Panzerbefehlswagen II: Command version. 200 Ausf B chassis were modified. The turret was fixed and a small table was installed internally with Fu 2 and Fu 6 radios. 96 were available for the invasion of Poland.
5 cm Pak 388, 5 cm PaK38 L/60 auf Fahrestell Panzerkampfwagen II (Sf), 5cm Pak 38 auf Fgst PzKpfw II: Self propelled gun, similar to Marder II, with 50 mm gun.1 Only prototypes made.8
Schwimmpanzer II (Schwimmkörper), Amphibious PzKpfw II Ausf A: During the summer of 1940, 50 Schwimmpanzer IIs were converted from PzKpfw IIs.2 Was designed for Operation Sea Lion (Seelöwe), the invasion of England.2,7
Flotation devices installed to sides and front. All openings were made water tight. In September and October 1940 Armored Battalion A of the 2nd Panzer Regiment in Putlos was used in the conversion. Alkett of Berlin, Bachmann of Ribnitz, and from Sachsenberg of Roslau were asked to design equipment that would allow the speed of 10 kph6/6 mph6 in water and be able to withstand seas in a wind of force 3-4. 52 of the kits were delivered. The hull was divided into 3 chambers with walls that were made from inflated celluloid bags. A marine propeller was added and was run off the engine via an extension sleeve, universal joint, and shaft. There was a rubber tire placed between the turret and hull. The vehicle would submerge to approximately the top of the track covers. The turret guns could be fired while in the water.
Used by the 18th Panzer Regiment in the central sector in Russia in 1941.
Brükenleger: Had a 2 part pivoting bridge. Four were in service with the engineers of the 7th Panzer Division in Belgium and France.
Pionier-Kampfwagen II (ohne Aufbau): Carrier for engineers, which involved removing turret.
5 cm Pak 38 auf Fgst PzKpfw II: Placed a 5 cm Pak 38 on a PzKpfw II chassis.10 2 prototypes were delivered in January 1942, but production was cancelled as the 50 mm gun was unsuitable to battle the tanks that were being faced in 1942.1
5cm Pak 38 L/60 auf PzKpfw II n.A (Sd 7gst VK901); Pz Sfl Ic fur 5 cm Pak 38; Panzer Selbstfahrlafette 1c / 5cm PaK38 auf Panzerkampfwagen II (VK901): Two prototypes were used in the Soviet Union in early 1942.10 Had a crew of four and weighed 10.5 tons.10
Bergepanzer: Armored recovery.8
Even with the experiences in France showing that the Pz II was obsolete, an Armor Committee on July 17, 1941, met to determine how to expand the number of panzer divisions to 36 as ordered by Hitler. It was decided that they would need 4,608 Pz IIs, and equally surprising is that production on Pz IIs continued.
Was used in the Spanish Civil War and it was found that it was outclassed, but the General Staff kept it in production into 1942.11
1,223 were used in the invasion.2 81 were destroyed by Polish forces.2 32 loses were from the 4th Panzer Division that sent them into the suburbs of Warsaw on September 8-9.2
After battle experience in Poland some tanks received 20 mm armor bolted onto the front.2
16 PzKpfw IIs were with the 40th Panzer Battalion.2
For the invasion of France in 1940 there were 955 / ~1,00012 available.11
Most PzKpfw IIs were used in areas that weren't critical.2 In the Ardennes, General Heinz Guderian's XIX Panzer Corps had 146 PzKpfw IIs.2
By July 1, 1941 there were 1,067 and by April 1, 1942, this had gone down to 866.9
In May 1942, during the battle for Tobruk, there were 50 PzKpfw IIs out of a total of 560 tanks.2 There were still 31 at the battle of El Alamein in October 1942.2
Taken off the Frontline
In early 1943, the remaining PzKpfw IIs were withdrawn from frontline units, and deployed in anti-partisan operations and garrison duties.2