The story

Leichter Kampfwagen II


The Schwerer Kampfwagen A7V was first used at St Quentin on 21st March 1918. Although some of its features, such as the sprung tracks and the thicker armour, made it better than British tanks at that time, the A7V was less successful as a battle vehicle. The main problems concerned its mechanical reliability and the difficulty it encountered crossing enemy trenches.

The German Army needed a new design and by the summer of 1918 the Leichter Kampfwagen II began to be produced by the Daimler company. Its length was 16 ft. 8 in. which enabled it to cross a 6 ft. 6 in. trench. It weighed 8.7 tons and it had a 5.7-cm gun. The German Army ordered of 580 of these tanks but the war came to an end before any reached the front-line.


The Forgotten Great War Tank Germany Should Have Built

When the German army’s first domestically-built tanks rolled into combat in March 1918 at St. Quentin Canal, the armored beasts looked considerably different from British and French designs — and most post-war tanks to follow.

The A7V was a monster, stuffed with 18 crew members and brimming with six machine guns and a 57-millimeter cannon. While certainly terrifying to Allied troops, it was expensive, slow, mechanically troubled and too limited in number to affect the outcome of the war.

It was not the worst tank ever, but not exactly good, either. There’s a reason why the bulk of Germany’s World War I tank force was comprised of captured — and superior — French and British designs.

Perhaps worst of all, the A7V’s armored overhang and top-heavy design could get it easily entangled in the broken maze of trenches across the Western Front. Tanks need numbers and decent mobility to be effective, but the German high command envisioned them as glorified, lumbering pillboxes.

There was another way. German tank designers had better plans that, while neglected at the time, were an improvement over the clunky A7V.

As the A7Vs headed to war, the tank’s designer Joseph Vollmer worked a light, three-crewed design called the Leichter Kampfwagen, or light combat car. Basically, it was an armored tractor with a single, 7.92-millimeter machine gun.

The Germans only built two of them, and they never saw combat.

But combat wasn’t the point, as the design served as a prototype for the follow-up Leichter Kampfwagen II — or LK II. This upgraded version weighed nearly nine tons due to its additional armor, around two tons more than its predecessor. A rearward, four-cylinder, 60-horsepower engine allowed speeds of 10 miles per hour.

LK IIs with machine guns, renamed the Stridsvagn m/21, served in the Swedish army in the 1920s and 1930s. Carsten Krueger Wassen photo via Wikimedia

There were few outward differences between the two tanks. The biggest change in the LK II was the addition of a 37-millimeter cannon in the rotating, rear turret.

Conceptually, the LK prototypes were similar in kind to the French Renault FT, arguably the most successful tank of World War I. And like the Renault, the Germans planned to manufacture hundreds of LK IIs.

While it’s impossible to know how well the LK IIs might have performed, they would have likely been a better use of resources than Germany’s failed U-boat campaign, which sucked up scarce steel and fuel and — disastrously for Berlin— triggered an American intervention.

At the least, large numbers of LK IIs might’ve stood a chance of performing more effectively than the handful of clumsy A7Vs, which did not.

“The best way to make use of these scanty resources would have been to concentrate them as a combined force on some point where we needed to gain a rapid decision, and where the ground was reasonably favorable for the movement of tanks,” German general and armored warfare theorist Heinz Guderian wrote in his 1937 book Achtung-Panzer!

“But this was too much for the high command to swallow.”

In any case, Vollmer’s lean designs came too little, too late. The Central Powers’ few battlefield experiments with tanks, while at times successful in isolated cases, were strategically useless. Allied advances and a cascading collapse of German morale forced an end to the conflict in November 1918.

And like the LK I, Vollmer only produced two LK IIs before the war ended.

Yet the LK II had a life after World War I.

Following the Treaty of Versailles, which banned Germany from building tanks, Berlin secretly sold 10 LK IIs to neutral Sweden, shipping them in pieces for later assembly. Sweden rechristened the machines as Stridsvagn m/21s, gave them machine guns, upgraded their engines and components and handed them over to the army.

The clunky A7Vs, on the other hand, were almost all destroyed during the war or captured and scrapped. Right-wing Freikorps paramilitaries built a handful of similar bespoke monsters to crush the 1919 Spartacist uprising in Berlin … and that was it.

Only one A7V, Mephisto, survives to the present day as a museum piece.

The LK II still never saw combat and remains largely forgotten. Nevertheless, it was probably more significant, over the longer term, than the A7V.

During the interwar period, Guderian — one of the 20th century’s most influential military theorists — spent years studying and refining his ideas regarding tank warfare, which erupted on a terrifying scale in 1939. Ten years before the outbreak of World War II, Guderian encountered real tanks for the first time … during a trip to Sweden.


This Was Germany's World War I Tank (And It Was A Real Killer)

But combat wasn’t the point, as the design served as a prototype for the follow-up Leichter Kampfwagen II — or LK II. This upgraded version weighed nearly nine tons due to its additional armor, around two tons more than its predecessor. A rearward, four-cylinder, 60-horsepower engine allowed speeds of 10 miles per hour.

When the German army’s first domestically-built tanks rolled into combat in March 1918 at St. Quentin Canal, the armored beasts looked considerably different from British and French designs — and most post-war tanks to follow.

The A7V was a monster, stuffed with 18 crew members and brimming with six machine guns and a 57-millimeter cannon. While certainly terrifying to Allied troops, it was expensive, slow, mechanically troubled and too limited in number to affect the outcome of the war.

It was not the worst tank ever, but not exactly good, either. There’s a reason why the bulk of Germany’s World War I tank force was comprised of captured — and superior — French and British designs.

Perhaps worst of all, the A7V’s armored overhang and top-heavy design could get it easily entangled in the broken maze of trenches across the Western Front. Tanks need numbers and decent mobility to be effective, but the German high command envisioned them as glorified, lumbering pillboxes.

There was another way. German tank designers had better plans that, while neglected at the time, were an improvement over the clunky A7V.

As the A7Vs headed to war, the tank’s designer Joseph Vollmer worked a light, three-crewed design called the Leichter Kampfwagen, or light combat car. Basically, it was an armored tractor with a single, 7.92-millimeter machine gun.

The Germans only built two of them, and they never saw combat.

But combat wasn’t the point, as the design served as a prototype for the follow-up Leichter Kampfwagen II — or LK II. This upgraded version weighed nearly nine tons due to its additional armor, around two tons more than its predecessor. A rearward, four-cylinder, 60-horsepower engine allowed speeds of 10 miles per hour.

There were few outward differences between the two tanks. The biggest change in the LK II was the addition of a 37-millimeter cannon in the rotating, rear turret.

Conceptually, the LK prototypes were similar in kind to the French Renault FT, arguably the most successful tank of World War I. And like the Renault, the Germans planned to manufacture hundreds of LK IIs.

While it’s impossible to know how well the LK IIs might have performed, they would have likely been a better use of resources than Germany’s failed U-boat campaign, which sucked up scarce steel and fuel and — disastrously for Berlin— triggered an American intervention.

At the least, large numbers of LK IIs might’ve stood a chance of performing more effectively than the handful of clumsy A7Vs, which did not.

“The best way to make use of these scanty resources would have been to concentrate them as a combined force on some point where we needed to gain a rapid decision, and where the ground was reasonably favorable for the movement of tanks,” German general and armored warfare theorist Heinz Guderian wrote in his 1937 book Achtung-Panzer!

“But this was too much for the high command to swallow.”

In any case, Vollmer’s lean designs came too little, too late. The Central Powers’ few battlefield experiments with tanks, while at times successful in isolated cases, were strategically useless. Allied advances and a cascading collapse of German morale forced an end to the conflict in November 1918.

And like the LK I, Vollmer only produced two LK IIs before the war ended.

Yet the LK II had a life after World War I.

Following the Treaty of Versailles, which banned Germany from building tanks, Berlin secretly sold 10 LK IIs to neutral Sweden, shipping them in pieces for later assembly. Sweden rechristened the machines as Stridsvagn m/21s, gave them machine guns, upgraded their engines and components and handed them over to the army.

The clunky A7Vs, on the other hand, were almost all destroyed during the war or captured and scrapped. Right-wing Freikorps paramilitaries built a handful of similar bespoke monsters to crush the 1919 Spartacist uprising in Berlin … and that was it.

Only one A7V, Mephisto, survives to the present day as a museum piece.

The LK II still never saw combat and remains largely forgotten. Nevertheless, it was probably more significant, over the longer term, than the A7V.

During the interwar period, Guderian — one of the 20th century’s most influential military theorists — spent years studying and refining his ideas regarding tank warfare, which erupted on a terrifying scale in 1939. Ten years before the outbreak of World War II, Guderian encountered real tanks for the first time … during a trip to Sweden.

This first appeared in WarIsBoring here.

(This article first appeared several years ago and is being republished due to reader interest.)


The German delays in developing their own tanks were due to a report following the examination of a knocked out Mk.II tank in 1917. The British Mk.II tank had been built as a training vehicle with a soft-metal armor plate. Nevertheless, instructions were given for them to be transported to the battlefield and used in combat. The Germans conducted firing trials on this tank and concluded that it was not a serious threat, because the armor could be penetrated by machine-gun fire, artillery, and direct fire from anti-aircraft and field guns. The advances made at Cambrai with the fully armored Mk.IV tank changed their appraisal of the usefulness of the tank. The Germans started a process of recovering as many Mk.IV tanks as possible, rearming them with German guns and using them against their previous owners. They also built twenty Sturmpanzerwagen A7V break-through tanks. German designers realized they needed a more agile light tank to perform a cavalry role. Work started on designing a Leichter Kampfwagen, a light tank.


Contents

Following the war, the Swedish government purchased parts for 10 examples in secrecy for the sum of 200,000 Swedish kronor. The parts were shipped as boiler plates and agricultural equipment and then assembled in Sweden as the Stridsvagn m/21 (Strv m/21 for short), which was essentially an improved version of the LK II prototype. The Strv m/21 was armed with a single 6.5mm machine gun.

In 1929, five were rebuilt to create the Strv m/21-29 variant which was armed with a 37mm gun or two machine guns and was powered by a Scania-Vabis engine. One of these improved vehicles was driven by Heinz Guderian during a visit to Sweden in 1929.

The Germans later bought a main share of the Landsverk Company and made Otto Merker the main designer and in 1931, it produced the Strv m/31 (L-10), which was the first tank produced in Sweden.

The Strv m/21-29 remained in service until 1938. A surviving example can be seen at the Deutsches Panzermuseum at Munster, Germany, and both strv m/21 and strv m/21-29 was displayed at the Axvall Tank Museum in Sweden.

One Strv m/21-29 is in the early stages of being restored to full working order in Sweden. [1]


The LK-II was a late WWI German tank that, in fact, was late for the Great War to End all Wars And just a little too early for the next one war. The folder has a larger version (1:22 and a smaller at 1:36 also in the colorful Swedish version. Now all the WWI tanks in this in your folder have been updated to be in relative matching scales so you can display them as a set. Always print from your FREE (forever) MyModels folder.

LK-II German WWI Tank


Leichter-Kampfwagen-LK-I and II WWI German Tanks drawing by designer Richard Dery

Some photos of the Leichter-Kampfwagen-LK-II WWI German Tank

The German A7V WWI Tank was first used at St Quentin on 21st March 1918. Although some of its features, such as the sprung tracks and thicker armour, made it better than British tanks at that time, the A7V was less successful as a battle vehicle. The main problems were with its mechanical reliability and the difficulty it encountered crossing enemy trenches. This is a great model and is the most popular one in the FG WWI Tank collection


The German Army needed a new design and by the summer of 1918 the Leichter Kampfwagen II began to be produced by the Daimler company. Its length was 16 ft. 8 in. which enabled it to cross a 6 ft. 6 in. trench. It weighed 8.7 tons and it had a 5.7-cm gun. The German Army ordered of 580 of these tanks but the war came to an end before any reached the front-line.


A winter photo that seems to have been posed for. This gives one a good idea of the small scale of the LK-II tank. The entire Fiddlersgreen WWI Tank collection can be seen HERE


The Leichter-Kampfwagen-LK-II WWI German Tank. Thanks to FG designer Richard Dery


Deutsches Panzermuseum - German Tank Museum
Musée des Blindés - French Tank Museum
Bovington Tank Museum - United Kingdom Tank Museum
Yad La-Shiryon- Israeli Tank Museum
Parola Tank Museum - Finnish Tank Museum
General George C Marshall Museum- Dutch Tank Museum
Tank Museum-Kubinka, Russia
Australian War Memorial- Canberra, Australia


LK II je trebao dobiti top od 57 mm. Naravno, tako veliki top nije mogao smjestiti u malu kupolu, već je odabrano da se ugradi u oklopno tijelo. Uz to je zadržana i inačica sa strojnicom u kupoli. Kako bi se povećala pokretljivost, odlučeno je da se originalne gusjenice širine 14 cm zamijene znatno širim od 25 cm. S pojačanim oklopom i gusjenicama od 25 cm masa novog tenka bez posade bila je 6,35 tona, što je bilo na rubu snage ugrađenog benzinskog motora. [2]

Njemački je glavni stožer od obavještajne službe 26. travnja 1918. dobio prva veća saznanja o brojnosti i mogućnostima tenka Renault FT-17, koja su se temeljila na iskazu zarobljenog francuskog vojnika. Odmah je postalo jasno da njemačka vojska ozbiljno kasni u razvoju tenkova. Do tada se A7V već dokazao kao potpuni promašaj, a razvoj njegova nasljednika ozbiljno je kasnio. Odjednom je masovna proizvodnja lakih tenkova naoružanih topovima postala vrlo primamljiva, gotovo spasonosna. Usprkos tome njemačka je vojska imala i kronični nedostatak vučnih vozila za topništvo, pa je uvjetovala da se novi laki tenk mora prilagoditi i za njihovu vuču. Za tu namjenu odabrana je inačica naoružana strojnicom. [2]

Prvi prototip LK II tenka dovršen je krajem lipnja 1918. u inačici naoružanoj topom od 57 mm, a 23. istog mjeseca glavni je stožer odobrio početak serijske proizvodnje. Namjera je bila da LK II naoružani topovima "pokrpaju rupu" nastalu nedostatkom teških tenkova. Zbog toga je 17. srpnja 1918. ministarstvo obrane odobrilo kupnju prve serije od 580 LK II. Do 30. lipnja 1919. trebalo je isporučiti 2000 primjeraka, a do kraja prosinca iste godine još 2000. Međutim, namjera je bila dobra, ali njezino ostvarenje baš i nije. Inačica s topom označena je kao LK-Wagen, a sa strojnicom kao LK-Protze. [2]

Naime, prva testiranja s topom od 57 mm obavljena su 29. kolovoza 1918. i pokazala su da su masa i trzaj oružja prejaki za konstrukciju tenka. Jedno rješenje bilo je ojačati tijelo. Ali to bi dovelo do dodatnog povećanja mase i daljnjeg odgađanja početka serijske proizvodnje. Drugo rješenje je bilo ugradnja topa manjeg kalibra. Tako je 30. rujna 1918. odlučeno da se LK-Wagen naoružaju topovima kalibra 37 mm. Kako bi se donekle otklonio nedostatak kupole top je dobio mogućnost djelovanja od - 30 stupnjeva. Na bočnim vratima ugrađen je otvor za smještaj strojnice kalibra 7,9 mm. Da bi se dodatno olakšalo brzo napuštanje vozila pod paljbom, na stražnji dio su dodana velika treća vrata. [2]

Završna ili bolje rečeno serijska inačica dobila je tročlanu posadu (zapovjednik, ciljatelj/punitelj i vozač). Dva dodatna spremnika za gorivo, ukupne zapremine 170 (neki izvori navode 150) litara, smještena su u prostor iza vozača, točno ispod topa. Kako bi se dodatno zaštitili, dobili su zasebni oklop od osam milimetara. Iako neki izvori navode da je planirana ugradnja benzinskih motora snage 40 i 50 KS, većina navodi podatak o motoru snage 60 KS. Snaga se prenosila preko mjenjača s četiri brzine. Maksimalna brzina bila je između 14 i 16 km/h. Iako se u podacima navodi autonomija od 65 do 70 kilometara, ona je ponajviše ovisila o konfiguraciji terena i umijeću vozača da ne preoptereti slabašni motor. Zbog potrebe povećanja oklopne zaštite, oklop na prednjem dijelu vozila povećan je s osam na 14 milimetara, a masa je povećana na 8890 kg. Oklop na bočnom dijelu i dalje je bio samo osam milimetara. Debljina podnice bile je samo tri milimetra. Procijenjena cijena LK II 1918. godine bila je između 65 i 70 tisuća maraka. [2]

Prvi serijski LK II (u inačici LK-Wagen) dovršen je 10. listopada 1918. I danas se vode rasprave koliko je točno LK II dovršeno prije okončanja I. svjetskog rata. Svi su ugovori za proizvodnju otkazani u studenom 1918., a okupacijske su snage sustavno ili uništavale ili odvozile sve njemačko oružje. Jedan izvještaj njemačkog ministarstva obrane od 30. rujna 1919. navodi da je za potrebe Grenzschutz Ost (graničnih snaga na Istoku) naručeno 90 lakih tenkova na gusjenicama, 58 oklopnih vozila na kotačima i 30 oklopnih kamiona nosivosti četiri tone. Dostupni izvori ne navode jesu li ti tenkovi i isporučeni te da li su borbeno djelovali protiv novonastale Crvene armije. Većina stručnih izvora navodi da je početkom 1920. Mađarska, za svoju novoformiranu vojsku, kupila jedan LK II (LK-Protze), pa ubrzo potom još jedan radi testiranja. Do kraja 1920. godine mađarska je vojska uspjela kupiti dvanaest jeftinih primjeraka iz zaliha njemačke vojske. Svih 14 LK II dodijeljeni su školi za obuku policije, gdje su ostali skriveni sve do 1928. godine. Početkom tridesetih godina prošlog stoljeća samo je sedam mađarskih LK II još uvijek bilo operativno. Međutim, u knjizi "Strana oklopna vozila u Mađarskoj od 1921. do 1441." autori su Biro Adam, Eder Miklos i Sarhidai Gyula - navode se nešto drukčiji podaci. Tvrdi se da je Mađarska kupila LK II od tvrtke Steffens & Heymann, Berlin-Charlottenburg, koji su prvobitno ponuđeni Švedskoj. Šveđani su odustali od ove ponude jer su dobili bolju od tvrtke Uge Gmbh. Tenkovi nisu dovršeni sve do početka tridesetih godina prošlog stoljeća, a i tada je isporučeno šest ili najviše sedam primjeraka. Autori tvrde da su zaista razmješteni u policijsku akademiju, gdje su djelovali zajedno s talijanskim lakim tenkovima Fiat 3000B. [2]

Švedska je 1921. kupila najmanje jedan LK II (LK-Protze), također za potrebe testiranja. Neki izvori tvrde da su zapravo kupili 10 tenkova i za njih platili 100 000 švedskih kruna. U Švedsku su prebačeni brodom kao kotlovi i dijelovi za poljoprivredne strojeve. Na njihovoj su osnovi za švedsku vojsku razvijeni tenkovi označeni kao Stridsvagn m/21 (Strv m/21). Dobili su kupolu sa strojnicom kalibra 6,5 mm i pojačani oklop, zbog čega je masa povećana na 9,7 tona. Tijekom 1929. tenkovi Strv m/21 prerađeni su u Stridsvagn m/21-29 (Strv m/21-29), naoružani ili jednim topom kalibra 37 mm ili s dvije strojnice. Ugrađen je novi, jači benzinski motor, Scania Vabis 1554 s 85 KS. Usprkos znatno jačem motoru maksimalna se brzina povećala, zbog povećanja mase, za samo dva kilometra na sat. Strv m/21-29 ostali su u operativnoj uporabi sve do 1938. godine. Ubrzo potom, kako bi se izbjegle odredbe Versajskog ugovora, kojima im je branjen razvoj novih oružja, njemački je kapital kupio udio u švedskoj tvornici Landsverk, te dovelo Josepha Vollmera za glavnog konstruktora. Rezultat je bio prvi švedski tenk Strv m/31 (L-10). [2]


LK II

The Leichter Kampfwagen II ("light combat vehicle"), commonly known as the LK II, was a light tank designed and produced in limited numbers in Germany in the last year of World War I. A development of the LK I, it incorporated a fixed rear superstructure and had two distinct configurations one variant being armed with the MG󈇼/15, and the other being armed with a 5.7 cm Maxim-Nordenfelt gun. Its armor was 8 to 14 mm thick, which led to a total weight of 8.75 tons. Power was provided by a Daimler-Benz Model 1910 4-cylinder 55-60 hp gasoline engine, giving a maximum speed of 14 to 18 km/h with range of 65–70 km.

The LK II was designed by German engineer and automobile designer Joseph Vollmer, who also designed the A7V, the K-Wagen and the LK I. Vollmer was appointed to the position of chief designer for the German War Department's motor vehicle section

Only two prototypes were produced by June 1918, and were followed by orders for 580 tanks, which were never completed.


The Forgotten Great War Tank Germany Should Have Built

An LK II at the German Tank Museum in Munster. Huhu photo via Wikimedia

Joseph Vollmer’s LK II wasn’t very good, but still a better idea than the A7V

When the German army’s first domestically-built tanks rolled into combat in March 1918 at St. Quentin Canal, the armored beasts looked considerably different from British and French designs — and most post-war tanks to follow.

The A7V was a monster, stuffed with 18 crew members and brimming with six machine guns and a 57-millimeter cannon. While certainly terrifying to Allied troops, it was expensive, slow, mechanically troubled and too limited in number to affect the outcome of the war.

It was not the worst tank ever, but not exactly good, either. There’s a reason why the bulk of Germany’s World War I tank force was comprised of captured — and superior — French and British designs.

Perhaps worst of all, the A7V’s armored overhang and top-heavy design could get it easily entangled in the broken maze of trenches across the Western Front. Tanks need numbers and decent mobility to be effective, but the German high command envisioned them as glorified, lumbering pillboxes.

There was another way. German tank designers had better plans that, while neglected at the time, were an improvement over the clunky A7V.

As the A7Vs headed to war, the tank’s designer Joseph Vollmer worked a light, three-crewed design called the Leichter Kampfwagen, or light combat car. Basically, it was an armored tractor with a single, 7.92-millimeter machine gun.

The Germans only built two of them, and they never saw combat.

But combat wasn’t the point, as the design served as a prototype for the follow-up Leichter Kampfwagen II — or LK II. This upgraded version weighed nearly nine tons due to its additional armor, around two tons more than its predecessor. A rearward, four-cylinder, 60-horsepower engine allowed speeds of 10 miles per hour.

LK IIs with machine guns, renamed the Stridsvagn m/21, served in the Swedish army in the 1920s and 1930s. Carsten Krueger Wassen photo via Wikimedia

There were few outward differences between the two tanks. The biggest change in the LK II was the addition of a 37-millimeter cannon in the rotating, rear turret.

Conceptually, the LK prototypes were similar in kind to the French Renault FT, arguably the most successful tank of World War I. And like the Renault, the Germans planned to manufacture hundreds of LK IIs.

While it’s impossible to know how well the LK IIs might have performed, they would have likely been a better use of resources than Germany’s failed U-boat campaign, which sucked up scarce steel and fuel and — disastrously for Berlin— triggered an American intervention.

At the least, large numbers of LK IIs might’ve stood a chance of performing more effectively than the handful of clumsy A7Vs, which did not.

“The best way to make use of these scanty resources would have been to concentrate them as a combined force on some point where we needed to gain a rapid decision, and where the ground was reasonably favorable for the movement of tanks,” German general and armored warfare theorist Heinz Guderian wrote in his 1937 book Achtung-Panzer!

“But this was too much for the high command to swallow.”

In any case, Vollmer’s lean designs came too little, too late. The Central Powers’ few battlefield experiments with tanks, while at times successful in isolated cases, were strategically useless. Allied advances and a cascading collapse of German morale forced an end to the conflict in November 1918.

And like the LK I, Vollmer only produced two LK IIs before the war ended.

Yet the LK II had a life after World War I.

Following the Treaty of Versailles, which banned Germany from building tanks, Berlin secretly sold 10 LK IIs to neutral Sweden, shipping them in pieces for later assembly. Sweden rechristened the machines as Stridsvagn m/21s, gave them machine guns, upgraded their engines and components and handed them over to the army.

The clunky A7Vs, on the other hand, were almost all destroyed during the war or captured and scrapped. Right-wing Freikorps paramilitaries built a handful of similar bespoke monsters to crush the 1919 Spartacist uprising in Berlin … and that was it.

Only one A7V, Mephisto, survives to the present day as a museum piece.

The LK II still never saw combat and remains largely forgotten. Nevertheless, it was probably more significant, over the longer term, than the A7V.

During the interwar period, Guderian — one of the 20th century’s most influential military theorists — spent years studying and refining his ideas regarding tank warfare, which erupted on a terrifying scale in 1939. Ten years before the outbreak of World War II, Guderian encountered real tanks for the first time … during a trip to Sweden.


LK II je trebao dobiti top od 57 mm. Naravno, tako veliki top nije mogao smjestiti u malu kupolu, već je odabrano da se ugradi u oklopno tijelo. Uz to je zadržana i inačica sa strojnicom u kupoli. Kako bi se povećala pokretljivost, odlučeno je da se originalne gusjenice širine 14 cm zamijene znatno širim od 25 cm. S pojačanim oklopom i gusjenicama od 25 cm masa novog tenka bez posade bila je 6,35 tona, što je bilo na rubu snage ugrađenog benzinskog motora. [2]

Njemački je glavni stožer od obavještajne službe 26. travnja 1918. dobio prva veća saznanja o brojnosti i mogućnostima tenka Renault FT-17, koja su se temeljila na iskazu zarobljenog francuskog vojnika. Odmah je postalo jasno da njemačka vojska ozbiljno kasni u razvoju tenkova. Do tada se A7V već dokazao kao potpuni promašaj, a razvoj njegova nasljednika ozbiljno je kasnio. Odjednom je masovna proizvodnja lakih tenkova naoružanih topovima postala vrlo primamljiva, gotovo spasonosna. Usprkos tome njemačka je vojska imala i kronični nedostatak vučnih vozila za topništvo, pa je uvjetovala da se novi laki tenk mora prilagoditi i za njihovu vuču. Za tu namjenu odabrana je inačica naoružana strojnicom. [2]

Prvi prototip LK II tenka dovršen je krajem lipnja 1918. u inačici naoružanoj topom od 57 mm, a 23. istog mjeseca glavni je stožer odobrio početak serijske proizvodnje. Namjera je bila da LK II naoružani topovima "pokrpaju rupu" nastalu nedostatkom teških tenkova. Zbog toga je 17. srpnja 1918. ministarstvo obrane odobrilo kupnju prve serije od 580 LK II. Do 30. lipnja 1919. trebalo je isporučiti 2000 primjeraka, a do kraja prosinca iste godine još 2000. Međutim, namjera je bila dobra, ali njezino ostvarenje baš i nije. Inačica s topom označena je kao LK-Wagen, a sa strojnicom kao LK-Protze. [2]

Naime, prva testiranja s topom od 57 mm obavljena su 29. kolovoza 1918. i pokazala su da su masa i trzaj oružja prejaki za konstrukciju tenka. Jedno rješenje bilo je ojačati tijelo. Ali to bi dovelo do dodatnog povećanja mase i daljnjeg odgađanja početka serijske proizvodnje. Drugo rješenje je bilo ugradnja topa manjeg kalibra. Tako je 30. rujna 1918. odlučeno da se LK-Wagen naoružaju topovima kalibra 37 mm. Kako bi se donekle otklonio nedostatak kupole top je dobio mogućnost djelovanja od - 30 stupnjeva. Na bočnim vratima ugrađen je otvor za smještaj strojnice kalibra 7,9 mm. Da bi se dodatno olakšalo brzo napuštanje vozila pod paljbom, na stražnji dio su dodana velika treća vrata. [2]

Završna ili bolje rečeno serijska inačica dobila je tročlanu posadu (zapovjednik, ciljatelj/punitelj i vozač). Dva dodatna spremnika za gorivo, ukupne zapremine 170 (neki izvori navode 150) litara, smještena su u prostor iza vozača, točno ispod topa. Kako bi se dodatno zaštitili, dobili su zasebni oklop od osam milimetara. Iako neki izvori navode da je planirana ugradnja benzinskih motora snage 40 i 50 KS, većina navodi podatak o motoru snage 60 KS. Snaga se prenosila preko mjenjača s četiri brzine. Maksimalna brzina bila je između 14 i 16 km/h. Iako se u podacima navodi autonomija od 65 do 70 kilometara, ona je ponajviše ovisila o konfiguraciji terena i umijeću vozača da ne preoptereti slabašni motor. Zbog potrebe povećanja oklopne zaštite, oklop na prednjem dijelu vozila povećan je s osam na 14 milimetara, a masa je povećana na 8890 kg. Oklop na bočnom dijelu i dalje je bio samo osam milimetara. Debljina podnice bile je samo tri milimetra. Procijenjena cijena LK II 1918. godine bila je između 65 i 70 tisuća maraka. [2]

Prvi serijski LK II (u inačici LK-Wagen) dovršen je 10. listopada 1918. I danas se vode rasprave koliko je točno LK II dovršeno prije okončanja I. svjetskog rata. Svi su ugovori za proizvodnju otkazani u studenom 1918., a okupacijske su snage sustavno ili uništavale ili odvozile sve njemačko oružje. Jedan izvještaj njemačkog ministarstva obrane od 30. rujna 1919. navodi da je za potrebe Grenzschutz Ost (graničnih snaga na Istoku) naručeno 90 lakih tenkova na gusjenicama, 58 oklopnih vozila na kotačima i 30 oklopnih kamiona nosivosti četiri tone. Dostupni izvori ne navode jesu li ti tenkovi i isporučeni te da li su borbeno djelovali protiv novonastale Crvene armije. Većina stručnih izvora navodi da je početkom 1920. Mađarska, za svoju novoformiranu vojsku, kupila jedan LK II (LK-Protze), pa ubrzo potom još jedan radi testiranja. Do kraja 1920. godine mađarska je vojska uspjela kupiti dvanaest jeftinih primjeraka iz zaliha njemačke vojske. Svih 14 LK II dodijeljeni su školi za obuku policije, gdje su ostali skriveni sve do 1928. godine. Početkom tridesetih godina prošlog stoljeća samo je sedam mađarskih LK II još uvijek bilo operativno. Međutim, u knjizi "Strana oklopna vozila u Mađarskoj od 1921. do 1441." autori su Biro Adam, Eder Miklos i Sarhidai Gyula - navode se nešto drukčiji podaci. Tvrdi se da je Mađarska kupila LK II od tvrtke Steffens & Heymann, Berlin-Charlottenburg, koji su prvobitno ponuđeni Švedskoj. Šveđani su odustali od ove ponude jer su dobili bolju od tvrtke Uge Gmbh. Tenkovi nisu dovršeni sve do početka tridesetih godina prošlog stoljeća, a i tada je isporučeno šest ili najviše sedam primjeraka. Autori tvrde da su zaista razmješteni u policijsku akademiju, gdje su djelovali zajedno s talijanskim lakim tenkovima Fiat 3000B. [2]

Švedska je 1921. kupila najmanje jedan LK II (LK-Protze), također za potrebe testiranja. Neki izvori tvrde da su zapravo kupili 10 tenkova i za njih platili 100 000 švedskih kruna. U Švedsku su prebačeni brodom kao kotlovi i dijelovi za poljoprivredne strojeve. Na njihovoj su osnovi za švedsku vojsku razvijeni tenkovi označeni kao Stridsvagn m/21 (Strv m/21). Dobili su kupolu sa strojnicom kalibra 6,5 mm i pojačani oklop, zbog čega je masa povećana na 9,7 tona. Tijekom 1929. tenkovi Strv m/21 prerađeni su u Stridsvagn m/21-29 (Strv m/21-29), naoružani ili jednim topom kalibra 37 mm ili s dvije strojnice. Ugrađen je novi, jači benzinski motor, Scania Vabis 1554 s 85 KS. Usprkos znatno jačem motoru maksimalna se brzina povećala, zbog povećanja mase, za samo dva kilometra na sat. Strv m/21-29 ostali su u operativnoj uporabi sve do 1938. godine. Ubrzo potom, kako bi se izbjegle odredbe Versajskog ugovora, kojima im je branjen razvoj novih oružja, njemački je kapital kupio udio u švedskoj tvornici Landsverk, te dovelo Josepha Vollmera za glavnog konstruktora. Rezultat je bio prvi švedski tenk Strv m/31 (L-10). [2]

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