Panzer II was the common name of a German tank used in World War II. The official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen II (abbreviated PzKpfw II or PZKW II). Designed as a stopgap while other tanks were developed, it played an important role in the early years of World War II, during the Polish and French campaigns. By the end of 1942 it was largely removed from frontline service and production of the tank itself ceased by 1943, but its chassis was used for several other armored vehicles.
Panzer II in The War That Came Early
Despite its flaws, the Panzer II was the most advanced German tank fielded in the Czechoslovakian campaign in 1938. However, given the limited support Czechoslovakia received from its allies, the sheer number of Panzer II's overcame the individual defects of the tank. They were then used in Germany's invasion of the Netherlands and Belgium that led up to Germany's nearly successful drive on Paris, France.
Sgt. Ludwig Rothe commanded a Panzer II from October 1938 through April 1939, when he was killed, and his panzer destroyed, during the Battle of France. His radioman Theo Hossbach survived, and was assigned to another Panzer II within a matter of weeks.
Panzer II in Worldwar
Although woefully under-gunned, when the Race arrived in mid 1942, the Panzer II was still pressed into service against the Race because it was still a tank that could fight. It was also bitterly remembered by veterans of the Russian Front as being a death trap to be stuck when tackling Soviet tanks. Colonel Heinrich Jäger used experience of being in a Panzer II, fighting a T-34 as a method of preparing his new panzer crews against fighting Race landcruisers.