Historical Information for Panzer 35(t)
The LT-35 or LT vz. 35 was a Czechoslovak-designed light tank used mainly by Nazi Germany during World War II. In German service it had the formal designation Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) (Pz.Kpfw. 35(t)) but it is commonly referred to as the Panzer 35(t).
The LT-35 was a conventional tank design for the late 1930s, with riveted armor, a two-man turret, and rear-mounted engine. Main armament was a Škoda vz 34 37.2 mm gun. A 7.92 mm machine gun was fitted as well. An unusual aspect of the gun mounting was the ability to operate the machinegun as a coaxial gun or independently in a ball mount. The turret crew consisted of two: the commander/gunner and loader. In the hull, the driver was on the right and the radio operator to his left; the radio operator also had a ball-mounted 7.92 mm machine gun. A total of 72 rounds of 37 mm ammunition and 1,800 rounds of belted 7.92 mm ammunition was carried.
The Škoda six-cylinder engine produced 120 hp. It was mounted in the rear along with the six-speed transmission and drove the rear-mounted drive sprocket. Eight small pairs of road wheels on four bogies carried the tank, with a single front idler, and four track return wheels. The suspension was derived from the Vickers 6-Ton tank. Both transmission and steering were mechanically assisted with compressed air, reducing driver fatigue. This last feature proved problematic in the extreme conditions of the Eastern Front.
The LT vz35 was constructed in the Czech Škoda Works, and produced from 1936. Eighty were built by ČKD in 1937. Total production was 434, including 298 for the Czechoslovak Army, 126 for Romania (under the designation Škoda R-2) and ten for Bulgaria. The Czechoslovak army had placed the initial order for the S-ll-a in October 1934, and had rushed development of the tank despite a great number of faults that came to light. The first production order for 160 tanks was placed on 30 October 1935, and deliveries began in July 1936. The Czechoslovak army placed a follow-on order for 103 in November 1937, and a third for 35 in 1938. In August 1936 Romania placed an order for 126; these were delivered from May 1937. Afghanistan ordered ten in 1938. The Afghan vehicles were exported to Bulgaria in 1939 on German orders. The Wehrmacht used 219 vehicles captured from the Czechoslovak army in March 1939.
The LT vz.35 tanks were used in the Czechoslovak Army from 1937 until 1939.
In 1939, following the completion of the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, 219 vehicles of the Czechoslovak army were seized by the Germans. They were first used, from 5 June 1939, by the Cavalry as LTM 35. After 16 January 1940 they were used under the designation Pz.Kpfw. 35(t) by German armored units. The letter (t) stood for tschechoslowakisch (Czechoslovak), an assignment for captured equipment. In German service, the 37 mm-armed tanks were used as substitutes for the Panzerkampfwagen III medium tank.
The German 6th Panzer Division used 35(t)s in the Invasion of Poland, Battle of France and the USSR. The fighting in the invasion of the Soviet Union exposed the vehicle's unsuitability for cold weather operations and general unreliability. In late November all PzKpfw 35(t)s were reported non-operational. This weakness, in addition to their thin armor and inadequate firepower, resulted in most being withdrawn from tank units and all 26 in working condition in 1942 were sold to Romania. From 1940 on there had not been any spare parts available and tanks had to be completely rebuilt to remain operational, so it had already been decided the summer campaign of 1941 was to be their last. The tank continued for another year in service with Slovakia and Romania. Some were later rebuilt by Germany as munition carriers. The Axis Slovak army used 79 tanks against the USSR. Bulgaria used 26 tanks, delivered by Germany in March 1940, with the normal A-3 gun and 10 tanks with the better A-7 gun delivered in 1939. The Romanian army employed 126 of the tanks against the USSR in 1941 and 1942. Twenty vehicles were rebuilt as tank destroyers TACAM R-2 with an ex-Soviet 76.2 mm gun.
Technical Information Panzer 35(t)