Panzer I.B gallery

The Panzer I.B chassis was originally designed for the “Kleine Panzerbefehlswagen” or light command tank, but it was the effective and quick solution for the problems encountered in the Panzer I.A.
The thin armour and its scarce armament converted these “tanks” into little more than armoured hulls for reconnaissance missions, not being able to face with guarantees any tank of that time armed with a gun, whatever the caliber.
The Panzer I.B weighed 5.8 tons, but thanks to the new engine and its new undercarriage, mobility was increased along with reliability. This light tank reached 40 km/h and was one of the keys to German success at the start of WWII despite not being a paragon of virtues.
Almost 700 Panzer I.B started the WWII, but in less than two years there were only 70 in service. The latter fought in Russia as company commander’s vehicle and with tank destroyer battalions. in 1943 the commanders raised a complaint to the High Command due to the inadequacy of the vehicle for that mission.
With the outbreak of the 1936 Spanish Civil War and the support from Russia to the Republican army, with the shipment of huge amounts of aircrafts and tanks, Germany and Italy began to do the same with the Nationalist army commanded by General Franco.
Germany sent 5 shipments to Spain with a total of 122 Pz.I light tanks. However, the last 4 shipments were exclusively from Pz.I B, of which 91 units arrived. It seems that only one original B model is preserved in the World, and it is the one shown in this image. This tank belongs to the collection of the Museum of Armoured Means, (MUMA), placed at El Goloso base, Madrid, Spain.
This is the same previous example, to which a different pattern has been applied. This time showing the symbols of the “Agrupación de Carros de Combate de La Legion”, (Legion’s Tanks Group), which was one of the units that widely used these vehicles.
In this drawing it is visible the camo scheme with which the Panzer I.B, belonging to the “Bandera de Carros de La Legión”, (Legion’s Tank Flag), were painted. The “Bandera” is a Battalion type unit used in some special units within the Spanish Armed Forces.
The Nationalists Panzer I.B always suffered from an ineffective armament to face the powerful Republican T-26B medium tanks and BA-6 armoured cars. In fact, the Panzer I.B could only penetrate their armour less than 150 meters away with special armour-piercing 7.92mm rounds.
Panzer I.B. were used on all fronts of the Spanish Civil War, although the Nationalist Army ended up using mainly captured Republicans T-26B tanks.
The light weight of these tanks, allowed them to be easily transported in general utility trucks, which allowed them to be easily deployable at relatively long distance.
Once the Spanish Civil War ended, the surviving vehicles remained in service until well into the 1950s, although their military value were more than questionable at this point. Finally, they were withdrawn from service when American equipment began to arrive to Spain, as a result of the 1953 Mutual Defense Assistance Pact signed with United States Government.

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