German soldiers on a Panzer 35(t). Russia, October 1941.

Panzer 35(t) – History

History of Panzer 35(t), a light tank designed in Czechoslovakia but used by the German army during the Second World War.

I’ll tell you a bit about the history of the light tank Panzer 35(t), or Pz.Kpfw. 35(t), as it was commonly known the Panzerkampfwagen 35(t). Designed in Czechoslovakia, it was used in the initial stages of the Second World War by the German army.


The production of this vehicle started in 1935 in Czechoslovakia, by Škoda and ČKD industries. Originally it had the denomination Lehký Tank vzor 35, that is "Light Tank model 1935" (abbreviated to LT vz. 35 or LT-35). A number of 434 were built, whose 126 were sold to Romania and 10 to Bulgaria. After the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939, the Germans seized 244 tanks, calling them Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) (where t stands for tschechisch, that is "Czech"), whereas the remaining where acquired by the newly born Slovakia.

Technical features

The main armament was a 37.2 mm (1.46 in) KPÚV vz. 34 gun, plus two 7.92 mm (.31 in) ZB vz. 37 machine guns, one in the turret and another in the front hull.

It had a 120 HP petrol engine, capable of bringing the tank to a maximum speed of 34 km/h (21 mph) with an autonomy of 120 km (75 mi). Each side of the suspension consisted of 8 wheels on two bogies with leaf springs, plus an additional one as aid for obstacle crossing, 4 return rollers, a rear drive sprocket and a front idle sprocket.

The armor was made of riveted steel plates, 8 to 25 mm (0.31 to 0.98 in) thick. Its crew, during the service in the Czechoslovakian army, was of 3 men: commander, driver and radio operator; the Germans, in order to improve the crew efficiency, added a fourth member as a loader.

Operating history

These tanks fought with the Wehrmacht during the invasion of Poland of 1939 and in the French campaign of 1940; they ended their operational career with the invasion of Soviet Union in 1941, due to the lack of spare parts. Afterwards their hulls were used to produce command tanks or ammunition carriers, whereas Hungary and Romania modified them into tank destroyers. The last nation in which they saw service was Bulgaria, that used them for training until 1950s.

The Panzer 35(t) was overall a good tank at the end of the 1930s, with a reliable mechanics and an adequate armament, but it became inevitably obsolete already since the second year of war.

From Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

By Mark Pellegrini (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Lt. vz. 35 at the United States Army Ordnance Museum (Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, USA).

Image sources: 1, 2

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