Lot 0351: 1936 PzKpfw I Turret (Germany)
This particular turret is a recent discovery in southern Greece.
Although a Panzer 1 (officially named Sd. Kfz. 101) is very hard to find, its tower, in original condition, is even rarer and highly collectable!
BAIV BV, together with Tracks and Trade are currently offering an absolutely unique and a must-have for the serious collector of tanks and tank related materials of German origin!
Despite the fact that the Panzer I was conceived as a training tank, it was available in large quantities when the invasion of Poland started.
They were used for scouting, spearheading assaults, and supporting infantry. Speed, surprise, and close aviation support proved efficient against the Polish and after just 5 weeks Poland fell.
In Denmark and Norway, the Panzer I proved very useful due to the lack of good antitank weapons and served for infantry support and scouting. They were still largely available for the campaign of The Netherlands, Belgium and France, but couldn’t take on the vastly superior French tanks head-on. However, they were once again successful due to their speed, communication and tactical use.
This turret is one of the remains of the Balkan campaign.
The German invasion of Greece (Γερμανική εισβολή στην Ελλάδα) was part of the Balkan Campaign. Germany invaded both Yugoslavia and Greece on 6 April 1941. The Greek Army was already fighting in Albania against the Italians in the Greco-Italian War. Before the German attack Commonwealth troops arrived in Greece and took up positions. The Germans attacked via Yugoslavia but the Metaxas Line where Fort Rupel held out for several days. During the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of the Corinth Canal the Germans beat the Allies. Eventually the Germans took over mainland Greece as the Allies evacuated their remaining troops. In May 1941 the Battle of Crete followed. After this the Germans were in full control of Greece and the Axis occupation of Greece started.
In Africa, the first Panzer I’s were shipped in February 1941 to Tunis, becoming part of the 15th Panzer Division under Erwin Rommel’s command of the so called ‘Afrikakorps’. In July 1941, 410 Panzer I’s were part of the three army groups that participated in Operation Barbarossa. After several encounters with the Russian T-34s, KV-1s and the Russian weather, it became obvious that the Panzer I was completely obsolete and the last surviving units were converted to support vehicles or used for police duties and training.
In 1942, Hungary received 14 Panzer I Ausf.B’s and command versions, which were used to fight the Russians in Ukraine. Other later versions, such as the Ausf.C and Ausf.F, saw service until the end of 1944, as well as special versions like the Panzerjäger I and the impressive sIG 33 auf Panzer I Ausf.B howitzer carrier. Some African Panzer Is were converted to Flammenwerfer auf Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf A (flamethrowers), which fought at Tobruk. Others served as munition carriers in Russia (Munitionsschlepper I Ausf.A ) and some were converted into AA batteries, like the Flakpanzer I, equipped with the 20 mm (0.79 in) Flak 38 L/112.5 gun. Ultimately 24 were built and fought in Ukraine and Stalingrad, where most were lost.
Although it became obsolete quite fast, the Panzer I formed a large part of Germany’s armored forces and participated in all major campaigns between 1939 and 1941. The tank would soon be surpassed by better known tanks, such as the Panzer IV, Panther and Tiger. Nevertheless, the Panzer I’s contributions to Nazi Germany’s tank development were significant and formed the knowledge base for many different tanks.
Even though it was not the first tank of the German Army, the Panzer I Ausf.A was the first German tank to enter serial production and the first German tank to see combat in large numbers. It is one of the most nondescript but also one of the most important German tanks, with over 1,190 built between late 1934 and early 1936.
Although not the most effective in tank versus tank combat, it played an important role in training a new generation of German tank crew members and in spurring further tank development. Furthermore, it was highly important during the early phases of the Second World War. The Panzer I Ausf.A first saw action during the Spanish Civil War and in the Second Sino-Japanese War, being Germany’s first true export tank. Its frontline service life ended in 1941, by which point the Panzer I was considered unsuitable even in the reconnaissance role, though it continued to see service as a training and auxiliary tank.
This turret (Ausf.B)
According Mr Johannes Dorn, who is specialized in the historic aspects of German vehicles the turret as for all Panzer I turrets was built by Daimler Benz. There were exactly 1,160 Panzer I Ausf.A with turrets built meaning this Panzer I Ausf.B turret (1,180) was No. 20 in the Ausf.B series. In theory this should match with the chassis number 10542 which was also built by Daimler Benz meaning it was still part of the 5a./La.S. series.
On April 13th the 9th German Panzer Division fought in a tank-on-tank battle against the British near Ptolemais. In this battle the Germans lost a handful of tanks, the British in the tens.
This turret is one of the turrets from the knocked-out German tanks which was, after the battle, utilized by the German Army as a ‘Panzerstellung’ fortification.
As the war progressed, these light tanks were obsolete for the main European battlegrounds and were "recycled" to be used in more useful roles as parts or metal.
This turret was installed at an airfield near Larissa as part of defensive measures against possible guerilla attacks. It was used during WW2 and later on during the Greek civil war 1946 to 1949.
After that it was forgotten and left unattended to be part of the forestry. Most of the fortifications in Greece were diminished and scrapped as deemed obsolete in the late 60's and 70's. Only a handful of German bunker examples survive to this day mostly because they were inside military designated areas.
In the late 90's during cleanups in the area it was removed with the purpose of being scrapped for metal. Incidentally it remained stored for many years at the property of a Greek collector until its discovery by BAIV’s agent Mr. Efthymios Gourgouris in 2012.
It took him over 10 years to convince the previous owner to
offer it on the collector’s market. One of a kind unique opportunity for the high-end collector/restorer. Genuine German piece of armor in original untouched condition.
We thank Mr Johannes Dorn (picture Left) for his contribution to this brochure. We have met him at Militracks in Overloon. His information was very helpful to make this brochure.
Souces: Johannes Dorn, Wikipedia, Tank Encyclopedia, http://the.shadock.free.fr/ http://the.shadock.free.fr and own archive
World War I ended for Germany with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which, among many other things, restricted the country from constructing and designing any tanks. But, since the newly formed Weimar Republic did not want to be left behind in terms of tank development, the Reichswehr, the army of the Weimar Republic, secretly trained with dummy tanks, which were either bicycles or cars disguised as tanks.
Later, when a secret treaty which involved the sharing of technology and trading of resources was signed with the Soviet Union, Germany started to design new tanks and could test these safely in the Soviet Union. The two most notable tanks of the Weimar Republic were the Großtraktor (Eng: Big Tractor) and Leichttraktor (Eng: Light Tractor), but both were only prototypes manufactured in very small numbers.
After the Nazis took over in Germany, all secret projects with the Soviet Union were scrapped, as was the training school in Kazan. Hitler’s new regime ignored the Versailles restrictions and pushed on with the development of new tanks since the old Leichtraktor and Großtraktor were considered unfit for purpose.
When developing the future doctrine for tanks, two factions stood against each other. The first one, under General Guderian, wanted to quickly equip the German Army with tanks as a stopgap until the arrival of what would become the Panzer III and IV.
The other one, under General Beck, was against the idea of having a stopgap tank because it believed all production capability should be put into the creation of the eventual Panzer III and IV. In the end, Wa. Prüf. 6 (Waffen Prüfamt 6, Eng: German Weapons Design and Ordnance Department responsible for the development of military vehicles) agreed with Guderian’s idea, even though a light machine gun tank would not fit the German Army’s criteria of having a tank that would be able to attack alongside infantry and have at least some anti-tank capability. Guderian felt that a small tank that did not cost too many resources would make a good transition model.
In 1930, Wa. Prüf. 6 turned to Krupp and requested the design of a new tank using the suspension of the previously purchased light tracked tractor from Vickers Armstrong. Krupp developed the Kleintraktor (Eng: Small Tractor) which, after three failed prototypes, was already very similar to the Panzer I.
In 1933, Krupp was given the first production contract for 135 vehicles codenamed 1. Serie La.S. (Landwirtschaftlicher Schlepper, Eng: Agricultural Tractor) or later Krupp-Traktor (Eng: Krupp Tractor). An additional contract for 3 vehicles, each based on Krupp’s Kleintraktor, was given to five different companies: Krupp Großen Werk (Großen Werk was the part of Krupp responsible for manufacturing in the 1930s), Daimler-Benz, Rheinmetall-Borsig, Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (MAN), and Henschel.
Unlike other countries’ design firms, the German design office often gave contracts to different firms which would then create only one part of the tank. Krupp and Daimler Benz were both tasked with the creation of a turret and a hull, while the other firms were tasked with only creating a hull.
After a series of evaluations of different prototypes, which all visually looked very similar to the Kleintraktor, Krupp’s hull and the Daimler-Benz turret and superstructure won. Whilst evaluating the different prototypes, the first series (only chassis without turrets and superstructures) was already ordered from Krupp and built, creating the future training school vehicles. But Wa. Prüf. 6 was not pleased with the finished product and Krupp had to redesign the whole tank. This new design would later become the Panzer I Ausf.A.
The first official designation was La.S., which is an abbreviation for the German words Landwirtschaftlicher Schlepper (Eng: Agricultural Vehicle). This was chosen due to the Treaty of Versailles still affecting Germany’s tank production and to deceive enemy intelligence. The designation 1-4. Serie denotes the production series of La.S. and when the tanks were built.
When, in 1939, it was made obvious to the entire world that Germany was rearming, the official name changed to the better-known Panzer I Ausf.A. designation, which, in full, was Sd.Kfz.101 Panzerkampfwagen I Ausführung A.
Training schools kept calling them the 2-4. Serie/Landwirtschaftlicher Schlepper. Sd.Kfz. (Sonderkraftfahrzeug, Eng: special purpose vehicle) was a classification system used by Wa. Prüf. 6 to identify all German military vehicles, while Panzer/Panzerkampfwagen I was generally used by the troops.
In 1933, Krupp won the competition to produce the hull and Daimler-Benz the superstructure and turret for the La.S.
Initially, it was planned that Krupp would produce 150 2. Serie La.S and Daimler-Benz 300 superstructures and turret sets. However, this was never achieved, and, in the end, it was agreed on a final figure of 200 finished tanks.
In a meeting with Krupp, Wa. Prüf. 6, and the other firms in February 1934, it was discussed who should produce what. Krupp was tasked with providing updated blueprints with the changes from the old 1. Serie La.S. Krupp was then to provide these new designs and 10 engines to the other firms: (Henschel, Grusonwerk (part of Krupp), MAN, Daimler Benz, Rheinmetall). In turn, these companies were to construct 30 hulls each and Krupp 50. The production deadline was for February 1935.
When the first vehicles were delivered to the troops, they were unsatisfied due to the engine being too weak to perform on an obstacle course. As a result, General Lutz turned to Wa. Prüf. 6 and demanded that the production of La.S. should stop after the 2. Series and only be restarted if imminent war became a possibility. However, the La.S.’ successor, the La.S. 100 (later the Panzer II), was still in development and could not be completed until 1936.
Picture above: Colorized photo of a Panzer I Ausf.A during a training exercise in 1935. Note the chessboard-like pattern on the turret, which indicates the tank belonged to either a company or platoon commander. Colorization by Johannes Dorn. – Original source: Panzer Tracts
As a result, Krupp’s order for La.S. was increased to 1,000 vehicles shortly thereafter. Krupp was also tasked with providing over 650 engines. Krupp did not have the production capability to keep up with this contract and therefore considered outsourcing the order to even more outside firms.
In the end, the Reichswehrminister (Eng: Minister of Defense) demanded that all production capability should be going into the La.S., with over 1,000 vehicles to be completed and handed over to the troops by July 1935. Krupp was to produce 215 chassis, while the other firms were to produce the rest. In August 1935, after over 600 tanks were already completed, an order was issued that 150 chassis should be used as training school tanks. Therefore, production of a third series (the 3. Serie/La.S.) with only minor modifications was started by Krupp. Because the Panzer I only had a radio receiver and was not able to send out messages, a new command tank was designed using the chassis of the 2. Serie/La.S., with 15 built. The last 175 tanks from the planned 1,000 tanks were called the 4. Serie/La.S.. In the end, 1,160 Panzer I Ausf.As were built.
Ausf.B and variants
The Ausf.B was an improved version of the first model. It appeared in 1936 and was built until 1938, with around 675 machines produced.
The main difference was a longer chassis (by 40 cm) with one more road wheel, in order to accommodate a much more reliable and powerful water-cooled, six-cylinder Maybach NL 38 TR delivering 90 bhp, along with a new gearbox.
The suspension was also largely improved. The weight rose to 5.8 tons, but neither the armament nor armor were modified.
During the war, the ‘main’ version of the Panzer I was the Ausf.A.
Soon, both Ausf.A and B served as basis for sub-versions and adaptations, such as the kleiner Panzerbefehlswagen, or light command tanks, which had their turret replaced by a larger superstructure.
In 1940, several Panzer I Ausf.Bs were rearmed with the Czech 47 mm (1.85 in) gun, resulting in the Panzerjäger I tank hunter.
Other were equipped the 15cm sIG and became the heavy artillery carrier 15 cm sIG 33 (Sf) auf Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf B, which was designed to destroy fortifications with its 150 mm (5.9 in) howitzer.
The resulting tank had a very high profile, only partial crew protection, and both the chassis and propulsion were highly overloaded.
After the failed project of the first series of La.S., a second series was started in February 1934. Although it resembled the previous versions, almost all of its components had to be redesigned. These changes mainly included the enlargement of the return rollers, bigger fuel tanks, and the increase of the hull height by 50 mm. Additionally, for the first time, Wa. Prüf. 6 wanted a radio set inside the tank to improve communication. Therefore, a more powerful electric generator had to be fitted inside the rear. Later, the proposed increase in the hull height was canceled. Before entering production, a new cooling system was implemented. It consisted of two air filters and air intake which greatly improved the cooling of the engine.
Like the other components of the Panzer I, the turret’s origin can be traced to the development of the Kleintraktor, when Daimler-Benz was tasked with providing a turret for the series. It was a success and only small modifications on the inside had to be made, making the Panzer I turret visually almost identical to the first turret of the Krupptraktor. The turret could be fully rotated, mounted on a ball-bearing race, and armed with two MG 13s which could be aimed with a telescopic sight. There were two visors with vision slits on the back, two without vision slits on the sides, and a commander’s hatch on top. Furthermore, there were two visors that could be opened directly in front of the machine guns.
Picture right: Inside view of the turret. – Source: Panzer Tracts
|Model||Turret PzKpfw I Ausf.B|
|Production figures||The Panzer I was the first German tank to enter serial production and the first German tank to see combat in large numbers. It is one of the most nondescript but also one of the most important German tanks, with over 1,190 built between late 1934 and early 1936.|
|According Mr Johannes Dorn, who is specialized in the historic aspects of German vehicles, the turret as for all Panzer I turrets was built by Daimler Benz. There were exactly 1,160 Panzer I Ausf.A with turrets built meaning this Panzer I Ausf.B turret (Production Nr. 1,180) was Nr. 20 in the Ausf.B series. |
In theory this should match with the chassis number 10542 which was also built by Daimler Benz meaning it was still part of the 5a./La.S. series.
|Color||The remains of the original colors; Erdgelb (earth yellow), Matt Braun (matt brown), and Matt Grün (matt green) are still identifiable|
|Weight||Approx. 290 kg) (640 lbs.)|
|Dimensions||Length: 127 cm (50") |
Width: 113 cm (44 ½")
Height: 35 cm (13 ¾")
|Armament||2 x MG13. The MG 13 (shortened from German Maschinengewehr 13) is a German light machine gun developed by converting the Dreyse Model 1918 heavy water-cooled machine gun into an air-cooled version. Developed in 1928 and |
Note: Secondary armament not included!
|Armor||Shield: 15 mm (5/8") |
Sides: 15 mm (5/8")
Top: 10 mm (3/8")
|Permit(s)||Export permit for cultural heritage|
|Date of Production||1938|
Location: Nederweert, The Netherlands.
Condition: In great untouched condition with nice
Permits: Export permit will be applicable.
Between € 35.000 and € 55.000