Kleiner Panzerbefehlswagen I (Sd Kfz 265)

The Kleiner Panzerbefehlswagen I (PzBefw I) was a small armoured command vehicle, based on the Panzer I light tank. That tank carried a radio receiver but no transmitter and nor did it have enough space for a radio operator. On the PzBefw I extra space was created by removing the turret and extending the superstructure upwards, increasing the overall height of the vehicle by 25cm. The extra space was used to house a FuG6 radio transmitter and a third crew member to operate it. One machine gun was carried in the extended superstructure. The PzBefw also featured a longer chassis and used a more powerful Maybach NL38TR engine, replacing the 60hp engine used on the Panzer I Ausf I.

Between 1935 and 1940 the PzBefw I was standard equipment in the German Panzer divisions. Each Panzer division contained sixteen tank companies, formed into four battalions, two regiments or one brigade, a total of twenty three headquarters, each with at least one command tank. It was this emphasis on combined action that made the German Panzer Divisions so much more dangerous than an examination of their actual tanks would suggest. In 1940 the PzBefw was also issued to the signals and observation battalions of the Panzer artillery regiments.

One hundred and ninety PzBefw Is were produced between 1935 and 1937. Of those, 96 were still in used in May 1940 at the start of the invasion of France and the Low Countries. After that campaign they were withdrawn at company level, but retained at higher levels until the end of 1942. After the Polish campaign 15mm of armour was added to the front of the hull, superstructure and cupola, bringing the total up to 28mm. Even so, by the end of 1941 the PzBefw I was badly outdated.

Number produced




Hull Length

4.42m/ 14.5ft

Hull Width

2.06m/ 6.75ft


1.99m/ 6.53ft




5.9 tons


Maybach NL38TR



Max Speed

24.8 mph/ 40 km/hr

Max Range

106 miles/ 170km


One 7.92mm machine gune





Top/ Bottom


13mm/ 0.5in

13mm/ 0.5in

13mm/ 0.5in

6mm/ 0.23in


13mm/ 0.5in

13mm/ 0.5in

13mm/ 0.5in

6mm/ 0.23in

Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War II, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary L. Doyle. A superb detailed reference guide that covers every type of tank, armoured car, self-propelled guns and semi-tracked vehicle that was used by the German Army between 1933 and the end of the Second World War War. An essential reference book for anyone interested in the subject. [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (30 November 2007), Kleiner Panzerbefehlswagen I (Sd Kfz 265) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_kleiner_panzerbefehlswagen.html

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