Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf D and Ausf E

The Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf D and Ausf E were virtually indistinguishable fast tanks, only very slightly related to the standard Panzer II light tank. They were developed in 1938 by Daimler Benz as fast fighting vehicles (Schnellkampfwagen), and used a different hull, superstructure and suspension to the standard Panzer II. Only the turret was retained from the earlier tank.

The new tank used a very different form of suspension to the normal Panzer II, which used a combination of five road wheels and four return rollers, the Ausf D and Ausf E used four large Christie-type road wheels, which also served as the return rollers.

The top speed of the new variant was 45mph. This was achieved in part by adding a seventh higher gear, which increased the top speed of the tank on roads, but the cross-country performance was not so good.

It had originally been intended to use the Panzer II Ausf D and Ausf E to equip the tank detachments of the light divisions, but during 1938 Guderian was appointed as Chief of the Inspectorate of the Mobile Troops, and he decided to convert the light divisions into Panzer divisions.

As many as 250 Ausf Ds and Ausf Es were ordered but only 43 were completed. These were used to equip Panzer-Regiment 8 of Panzer Brigade 4, which in April 1939 became the nucleus of the 10th Panzer Division. Both types were withdrawn in March 1940, and used as the basis for the Panzerkampfwagen II Flamm (flame thrower). The same fuselage was also used as the basis for self propelling guns, in some cases using partly completed fuselages from the original order.

Number produced



May 1938-August 1939

Hull Length

4.65m/ 15.2ft

Hull Width

2.3m/ 7.5ft


2.06m/ 6.8ft




10 tons


Maybach HL62TRM


140 hp

Max Speed

55 km/h/ 45mph

Max Range

200km/ 124 miles


One 2cm KwK30 L/55
One 7.92mm MG 34





Top/ Bottom


14.5mm / 0.57in   

14.5mm/ 0.57in    

14.5mm/ 0.57in 

10mm/ 0.4in


30mm/ 1.2in 

14.5mm/ 0.57in    

14.5mm/ 0.57in    

15mm/ 0.6in


30mm/ 1.2in

14.5mm/ 0.57in    

14.5mm/ 0.57in    

5mm/ 0.2in

Gun mantlet

16mm/ 0.62in




German Light Panzers, 1932-1942, Bryan Perrett. This is a well balanced book that combines a technical discussion of the various types of light tanks, a look at the Panzer divisions and their equipment and the battlefield tactics and experience of the German light tank forces. [see more]
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 February 2008), Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf D and Ausf E ,

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