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[Profile] Vehicle Profile - Pz.Kpfw. 35(t)


The Pz.Kpfw. 35(t) in War Thunder:

In War Thunder, the PzKpfw 35(t) is a German reserve light tank with a BR value of 1.0, and the first tank of the "Czechoslovak“ tank branch in the German technological tree. It can achieve a top speed of 33 kph (20.5 mph) in 12 seconds on flat surfaces; the full 360° hull traverse is completed in 21 seconds in 3rd gear, giving the tank a hull traverse rate of 17.1° per second. The turret completes full 360° circle in 26 seconds, and so, the turret traverse rate is 13.8° per second.

The PzKpfw 35(t) is armed with a single 37 mm (1.46‘‘) KwK 34(t) main gun with a reload time of 3.5 seconds (given the loader is fully trained and specialised), which gives the tank s rate of fire of 17.1 rounds per minute. The gun can utilise four ammunition types: Pzgr.34(t) APC, Pzgr.34(t) umg. APCBC, PzGr.40(t) APCR, and Gr.34(t) HE.

The secondary armament then consists of one coaxially mounted 7.92 mm (0.31‘‘) ZB vz.37 machine gun. There is a hull-mounted machine gun as well, but it is not functional yet in-game. The ammunition supply is 72 rounds for the main gun, and 1800 rounds for the machine gun. The armour thickness ranges from 25mm in the frontal and mantlet areas, reaching as low as 12mm in the rear upper plate.

The PzKpfw 35(t), compared to other reserve tanks such as the T-26, M3A4 and BT-5, can be described as a jack of all trades. It’s not as fast as the BT-5 or M3A4, but is definitely faster and more agile than the T-26. The gun’s penetration is lower than US or Soviet reserve tier tank guns, but is still sufficient to penetrate most other tanks in the opposition on its given BR spread. One advantage of the gun is its ability to utilise sub-caliber APCR ammunition, but since your basic rounds are more than enough to defeat the armour of your foes, you would only need to use them very rarely. 

As for gameplay, only the basic rules of tank combat should be applied due to the fact its at the reserve tier. As reserve tanks can easily destroy each other even from the front, be sure to be the one to fire first and preferably aim for turrets to disable the enemy gunner and/or gun breech – this will give you time to land a second killing blow and prevent return fire. Your unsloped armour is too thin to ensure safe ricochets and will be penetrated even by 20 mm autocannons, so always angle your hull to give you at least some chance of ricochet. As for a choice between the PzKpfw II and PzKpfw 35(t) as your starter tank – the PzKpfw II is somewhat faster and more agile and has the advantage of stronger frontal armour and sheer rate of fire due to its autocannon. The PzKpfw 35(t) has the advantage in mid-range penetration, as the light 20 mm autocannon rounds lose their penetration over distance rapidly. To sum the differences up, the PzKpfw II is more of a front-line brawler, while the PzKpfw 35(t) is more suited to second line sniping and support roles.

The PzKpfw 35(t) can be a fun tank to play and will be the first contact with German armour in War Thunder for many players. If you’re a rookie, use this tank to learn the basics of War Thunder tank warfare. If you’re a veteran player seeking a break from higher tier tank carnage, you can always return to your roots at the reserve tier. Further research of the PzKpfw 35(t) will then lead you to the famous PzKpfw 38(t) light tank, featuring an improved gun and mobility.

The Pz.Kpfw. 35(t) in History:

At the end of 1934, Czechoslovakian army officials asked two manufacturers, Skoda and CKD, to develop new tank prototypes in order to update and modernise their armoured vehicles. The Skoda factory responded with a prototype light tank, designated SU. This vehicle was armed with a 4.7 cm (1.85‘‘) vz.36 gun and two machine guns. The prototype was eventually rejected, but the Skoda factory used it as a basis for a new vehicle, designated Š-II-a, and after army trials, the Czechoslovakian army officials signed a contract with Skoda for 160 new tanks, designated as LT vz. 35 (LT = abbreviation for Lehký Tank – “Light Tank“), in October 1935.

The tank was propelled by a rear mounted Skoda T-11/0 water-cooled V-4 engine, producing 120 horsepower at 1800 RPM and allowing the tank to reach a maximum speed of 34kph (21.2 mph) on the road. The 6-speed transmission, brakes and steering system were all equipped with mechanical assists actuated by compressed air. This feature was highly advanced for its time, and significantly reduced driver fatigue. The crew consisted of three men: the commander (at the same time acting as a gunner and a loader), driver and radioman, who also manned the hull machine gun.

The LT vz.35 was armed with a 37mm (1.46‘‘) UV vz.34 (or Skoda A3) gun, featuring a semi-automatic breech and allowing a practical rate of fire of up to 12 rounds per minute and a theoretical rate of fire up to 23 rounds per minute. This gun, using standard APC armour piercing rounds, was able to pierce up to 45mm (1.77‘‘) of armour at the range of 500 metres (550 yards) with a muzzle velocity of 675 m/s (2215 ft/s). The secondary armament then consisted of two ZB vz. 35 7.92mm (0.31‘‘) machine guns, with one machine gun being mounted coaxially to the main gun and the other mounted in the hull. The ammunition supply was 78 rounds for the main gun and 2700 machine gun rounds. As for armour protection, the hull and turret armour was 25mm (0.98‘‘) thick, the side hull and turret armour was 16mm (0.63‘‘) thick, and the rear hull and turret armour had thickness of 8mm (0.32‘‘).

Until the Munich Agreement in September 1938, 298 LT vz. 35 tanks were manufactured, with an additional 112 tanks being sold to Romania, which used them under designation Skoda R-2. After the Munich Agreement situation and the following occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, all LT vz. 35 were confiscated by the German army, which redesignated it as PzKpfw 35(t). These tanks received several modifications, such as new headlights, radio intercoms and a fourth crew member, acting as a loader. The combat debut of the PzKpfw 35(t) was the Polish campaign in September 1939.

The tank was successfully used during the battle of France in 1940 and was deployed on the Eastern Front as well. However, the tank did not cope well in the harsh conditions of the Russian winter. The pneumatic assists often failed due to extremely low temperatures, and as with other German tanks, the fuel and oil lines were prone to freezing. The tank’s riveted armour proved to be dangerous for its own crew due to spalling in case of being hit, but most importantly, the tank was already obsolete by 1941, as its gun was unable to effectively engage Soviet medium and heavy tanks such as the T-34 and KV-1. The tank was thus relegated to second-line duties at the end of 1941 and served in these roles until 1942, where it was phased out of service.

A small number of PzKpfw 35(t)‘s were modified as command tanks (designated PzBfWg 35(t)), while others were converted to artillery tractors and armoured ammunition transports. Other operators of the tank included Slovakia and Bulgaria; two tanks were also obtained by Hungary, which used them as a basis for their 40M Turán I medium tank, while Romanians used their R-2 tanks as a basis for the TACAM R-2 tank destroyer.

Author: Jan “RayPall” Kozák

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