Historical models depicted in this page are from Italaerei (Italeri) 1978/79.
The Panzerkampfwagen I was a milestone in the history of the Reich's rise in military power. In 1939 it was
used in the Polish and French campaigns and later as a reconnaissane and training vehicle, for the excessively thin armor plates
and weak armament of two 7,92-millimeter machine guns rendered this vehicle useless for the main battlefront.
The German armored and mechanized divisions used as command vehicle this light and highly manoeuvrable tank, which derived
from the standard tankette Panzerkampfwagen I.
After the invasion of Czechoslovakia the Germans used large numbers of light tanks Panzer 38t
for their own army. In 1941 still one third of all German tanks were of Czech design. The Panzer 38t had a good mobility
and a reliable engine, but its weak armor and 37-millimeter gun rendered it obsolete shortly after the Blitzkrieg. Later this model
would serve as the basis for the tank destroyers Marder III and Hetzer.
As the Hetzer, the Marder III tank destroyer was developed from the chassis of the Panzer 38t.
The rotating turret was replaced by fixed armor plates and a 75-millimeter gun. This early design from 1942 was certainly more primitive
than the later Hetzer, which had increased protection by means of heavier armor and a lower profile.
The Jagdpanzer Hetzer was a small tank destroyer developed in 1943 from the chassis of the light tank
Panzer 38t, originally built by the Czech company Skoda Works. It was armed with the L/48 75-millimeter gun (PaK 39) mounted
in a fixed superstructure. Until the end of the war only 1577 units of the Hetzer were built.
Of all tanks produced by the Germans the Panzerkampfwagen IV is one of the best known and most widely used.
The production by Krupp was started in 1936 and, by the end of the war, 9000 units had been produced. This tank is often compared
with the American M4 Sherman; like that one, the PzKpfw IV received successive upgrades during the whole conflict
to keep it capable of struggling against the newest enemy tanks.
The first versions of the PzKpfw IV were intended as a support for the infantry, but later
versions had instead a clear anti-tank role. The PzKpfw III was too small to allow the installation of turrets which could
house guns of caliber larger than 50-millimeter and because of this its production was discontinued. Fortunately for the Germans the
PzKpfw IV was large enough to mount the newer guns and therefore it would become the workhorse of the German
armored forces. The Panzerkampfwagen IV H was one of the last versions of the PzKpfw IV family;
armed with a L/48 75-millimeter gun it was capable of fighting successfully against the Russian T-34 and any Anglo-American tank at
distances of up to 1000 meters.