|This page is about the German light tank Pz.38(t) F. For other versions, see Pz.38(t) A and Pz.38(t) n.A..|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. F is a rank I German light tank with a battle rating of 2.0 (AB) and 2.3 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.41.
The Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf.F variant is an up-armoured version of its predecessor: the Ausf. A. Notably, armour on all sides has been doubled from 25/15/15 mm to a decent 50/30/30 mm. However, the increased armour thickness brings additional weight, making this tank a bit slower than the Ausf. A variant. The cannon remains the same, a decent, quick-firing 3,7 cm KwK38(t) L/48. The vehicle can certainly hold its ground at this BR, although usage of APCR ammo is sometimes necessary, and the cannon's damage output is sometimes lacking compared to other vehicles at this rank.
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour (hull, turret, cupola)
- Cast homogeneous armour (gun mantlet)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 50 mm (20°) Front plate
30 mm (74°) Upper glacis
50 mm (15°) Lower glacis
8 mm (68°) Bottom junction glacis
|30 mm||30 mm (14°)|| 30 mm (16°) Front glacis |
15 mm Turret section
15 mm (0-30°) Rear section
|Turret|| 50 mm (10°) Turret front
25 mm + 50 mm (10°) Gun mantlet
|30 mm (8°)||8 mm|
|Cupola||15 mm||8 mm|
- Suspension wheels, tracks and torsion bars are 15 mm thick.
- The belly of the tank is 8 mm thick
- Add-on tracks on the front hull are 15 mm thick.
- Mudguards are 4 mm thick.
The Pz.38(t) F has similarly bad survivability as the Pz.35(t) and Pz.38(t) A, but it boasts double the front hull and turret front armour. This makes it frontally immune to many reserve-tier guns, particularly Japanese, French, and Italian ones. But while it is harder to initially penetrate, its internal components are still weak and your battle rating is also higher. Angling your hull will increase your chances of surviving a hit.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
As a light tank, the Pz.38(t) F accelerates decently and is able to reach its top speed of 46 km/h in a dozen of seconds. Braking happens quickly but the hull wobbles for a full second afterwards. The lack of neutral steering makes turning on the spot slow (2 km/h): make sure to build a little speed before turning and you'll turn much faster (12 km/h). The reverse speed is average: it will not get you out of a dangerous situation quickly but isn't a handicap either. Turning in reverse is equally slow (-3 km/h). The Pz.38(t) F reaches 14 km/h when fording, 18 km/h when driving uphill with some speed built-up but a mere 4 km/h uphill from a stop. The narrow tracks will grant you a decent mobility on hard terrain (solid ground, roads) but poor mobility on soft terrain (mud, snow, sand). Light obstacles (fences and bushes) are not a problem but medium to large obstacles (posts, trees, concrete blocks and parked vehicles) will reduce your mobility: avoid them.
The Pz.38(t) F has a good mobility like the Pz.38(t) A, if not slightly more sluggish (because of the additional armour weight).
Modifications and economy
|37 mm KwK38(t)||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
The KwK38(t) gun offers a below-average penetration power at its battle rating. Its average muzzle velocity allows for a rather flat firing trajectory but the accuracy drop is noticeable from 700 m distance and becomes a handicap over 1,000 m. The rotation speed of the turret is slow but average compared to other tanks at the same rank or battle rating. Elevation and depression angles of the gun are important, allowing you to fire from unusual positions (behind a ridge, on a slope, etc.). The shoulder-stop stabilizer allows for a good targeting but at very slow speed (under 8 km/h). The reload time of the gun is short, in line with other tanks equipped with a 37 mm cannon at the same BR. Your recoil is non-existent: coupled with the short reload time, this allows you to make rain shells on a target. The average penetration power of the APC shot and the important loss of penetration of the APCR above 500 m are the biggest weaknesses of the Pz.38(t) F regarding its armament. This will force you to get close to enemy tanks to have a chance at penetrating them, nullifying your increased armour advantage in the process.
The ammunition available to the Pz.38(t) F allows for engaging all types of targets:
- Pzgr. 34(t): APC; a shell with explosive filler but an average penetration power. It should be the main ammunition used in battle.
- PzGr 40: APCR; a composite round with the best penetration but no explosive filler and that will only penetrate flat vertical surfaces. Pack a few of these shells to use against heavily armoured foes that the Pzgr. 34(t) can't penetrate. This round however becomes fairly ineffective above 500 m distance.
- Pzgr.(t) umg.: APC; a shell offering a penetration power similar to the Pzgr. 34(t) while being a bit faster and slightly lighter.
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|90||76 (+14)||61 (+29)||46 (+44)||31 (+59)||16 (+74)||1 (+89)||Yes|
- The visual discrepancy concerns the number of shells per rack as well as the total number of sells (72 shells modeled for 90 available).
- Rack 1 & 2 are modeled as 16 shells each, racks 3 & 5 as 14 shells each and racks 4 &6 as 6 shells each. However, each rack will disappear after you've fired 15 shells from it.
- Turret empty: 61 (+29) shells.
|7.92 mm MG37(t)|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
The small calibre of the MG37(t) machine gun makes it largely ineffective against all armoured vehicles but the ones with an open compartment.
Usage in battles
The Pz.38(t) F is used in much the same way as the Pz.38(t) A. It is heavier and better armoured than its predecessor, but it still can get to ambush positions quickly. The gun is the same, but the higher battle rating pits it against better armoured threats that it cannot deal with easily, even with its APCR shell.
- Where to go?
The Pz.38(t) F is not a front-line tank. This is the most important aspect of playing this tank, this tank does not brawl well. Use its mobility to get to an ambush position that the enemy will not expect it to be at, but do not rush too far forward, as the armour will likely not save you if you come up against an enemy tank. From an ambush position you will hopefully be able to hit the enemy in the side with the Pzgr. 34(t) round. The HE filler in the round should be able to disable an enemy tank in 1-2 well placed shots, and it is likely to cripple the enemy tank with only 1 shot, if not outright destroy it. Don't drive out in the open, unless you are absolutely sure it is clear, or if the situation requires it. Most enemy tanks can penetrate the Pz.38(t) F's frontal armour at range, so do not expose it to them.
Do not stray to far from hard cover. The armour will not protect you from anything more than machine gun fire. If you spot an enemy that is looking in your direction, assume they are going to fire, and try to either shoot first, or take cover, or both - if your shot does not take out the enemy's gun. Do not risk your tank to enemy fire, as it will often end badly for you. In order to reduce the chances of the enemy hitting your tank, hull-down tactics can be quite successful. The Pz.38(t) F has 10 degrees of gun depression, allowing the use of a ridge or hill to fire upon the enemy with only the turret showing to the enemy tanks. This is the ideal position to be in, especially if side shots of the enemy present themselves from that hull-down position.
If you are not in a hull-down position, perhaps it's an urban environment or whatever the situation, you can angle the tank to increase the chance of an enemy's shot bouncing off of your tank. The hull should be angled just slightly away from the enemy tanks, in order to increase the effectiveness of your armour. Be careful to not over angle. If you angle too much, you will expose the side armour to where it is an easy penetration by enemy tanks. Note: angling is unlikely to save the tank from penetration, but against low penetration guns it could be the difference between life or death. Additionally, if you angle correctly and the enemy hits the sharply angled side of your tank, the angle will be too great and the shell will bounce.
- Which rounds to carry?
You should use the Pzgr. 34(t) as your main round, as it can reliably penetrate most, if not all, of the tanks of your BR. It has a better post-penetration damage than the APCR if you can penetrate the target because it has high-explosive filler. Always carry a few PzGr 40 rounds additionally to the APC shell. The APCR has the most penetration out of all the available shells, so it should be carried, just in case you meet a heavily armoured target.
- Enemies worth noting
- Regardless of distance, the Pz.38(t) F will have trouble penetrating heavily armoured enemies: the Valentine I, the B1 bis or ter, the Matilda III, the Churchill I and the M4A3 (105).
- How to defeat a Pz.38(t) F
In a frontal encounter, shoot right in the front plate if the Pz.38(t) F did not angle its hull. This will knock out the gunner and the commander at least as the crew is cramped in a very tight space. If the tank is angled, aim for the base of the turret. When flanking, the plate right under the turret or the turret itself are the weakest spots.
Pros and cons
- Decently good gun with HE-filled rounds
- Good armour
- High-penetration APCR shells can penetrate almost all enemies
- Slower than many tanks
- The small crew compartment provides low survivability
- Inadequate gun when up-tiered
In 1935, ČKD (Českomoravská Kolben-Daněk), the tank manufacturer in Czechoslovakia, wanted to find a replacement to the LT vz.35 (also known as the Panzer 35(t) in German service). The reason was that the vz.35 was overly complex and had faults that impeded its efficiency. Orders for new tanks would be coming from the gradually growing Czechoslovak army, and so they worked jointly with Škoda Works in the development of this new tank.
The next tank design, designated in Czechoslovakia as the LT vz.38, was a conventional model for the interwar period. The armour was riveted with 25 mm thick plates in the front hull and was not sloped. A new model was needed with a complete overhaul. The engine was placed in the rear of the tank, with a two-man turret in the centre and the driving compartment in the front with a front transmission. Perhaps the most significant feature of this tank design was the use of a leaf-spring unit suspension consisting of four large wheels. The turret housed the 37 mm Skoda A7 cannon, with about 90 rounds of ammunition stored in the vehicle. Unlike traditional designs, the coaxial machine gun was mounted on a ball mount, allowing it to be aimed independently on targets. It could also be fixed for coaxial usage. A second machine gun in the front could be used by the assistant driver, who also doubled as the radio operator placed on the left of the driver, who was on the right side of the tank. The LT vz.38 was a very reliable design and other nations either ordered tanks (Peru) or purchased a license for production (Sweden).
The LT vz.38 was successfully exported under the name "TNH". It was given to Iran, Peru, Switzerland, and Lithuania, all under different names, but only in small quantities (Iran bought the most at 50 units). The British Royal Armoured Corps ordered one trial model for an evaluation, but their data showed that the vehicle was uncomfortable for the crew. It was impossible to aim the gun when the tank is in motion; thus, the British did not order any and returned the trial model. Then in 1937, the Czechoslovak armed forces started a contest for a new tank to be put into service. Three companies, Škoda, ČKD, and Tatra, were involved and submitted their various designs with Škoda a variant of the LT vz.38, ČKD a prototype model different from the LT vz.38, and Tatra a very different design concept altogether. The army then chose the LT vz.38 model and ordered 150 units in July 1938, but these were never put to service in Czech usage when Germans occupied Czechoslovakia in March 1939.
When Germany took control of Czechoslovakia, they ordered the LT vz.38 production to continue as its firepower, armour, and mobility was considerably better than that of the Panzer I and Panzer II, which made up most of the German armoured forces in 1939. At first, it was used under the designation LTM 38, but this was changed in January 1940 to the Panzerkampfwagen 38(t), or the Panzer 38(t) for short. The Panzer 38(t) was used as a substitute for the Panzer III due to the similarity in armour and armament. The 37 mm Skoda A7 cannon was renamed the 37 mm KwK38 (t). The Germans would gradually upgrade the design in its production life and have seven different variants (A-G). The armour plates classified each option; one with 25 mm of frontal riveted armour originally, and the other with a total frontal armour thickness of 50 mm by bolting on another 25 mm of armour to the hull. Production under Germany control continued from 1939 to 1942, with a total of 1,414 tank units built (excluding export models and other vehicles built with the chassis).
The Panzer 38(t) served well in the initial campaigns for Germany in World War II, performing well in the invasion of Poland and France in 1939 and 1940 respectively. Some notable German tank aces would start their careers with this tank; such as Otto Carius, who would become one of Germany's well known Tiger aces. Though unable to deal with the heavier tanks in Allied service, it was able to engage the armour of most light tank designs at the time. It wasn't until the initiation of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, where the Panzer 38(t) would become outclassed in all ways by the Soviet T-34s and KV-1 tanks. Due to the small two-man turret, it could not be modified to accept a larger gun capable of defeating these tanks. Not only that, but the Panzer 38(t) was also vulnerable to the Soviet 47 mm anti-tank gun due to the lower armour quality on the tank. These two drawbacks of the Panzer 38(t) caused it to be retired from front-line services for better tanks such as the Panzer IV. Despite its retirement, the chassis was found to be a very adaptable design, so it would continue to be used in a variety of roles such as the Marder III and Jagdpanzer 38(t) tank destroyer, Flakpanzer 38(t) anti-aircraft gun, and the Grille self-propelled artillery piece. A dedicated reconnaissance variant known as the Aufklärungspanzer 38(t) was also built to supplement the need for reconnaissance vehicles.
Despite its retirement as a front-line weapon, the Panzer 38(t) tank still saw usage as a reconnaissance vehicle and an anti-partisan vehicle in German-controlled territory. The usage of the chassis in different roles freed up many turrets to serve as fortifications to be used in a variety of locations, such as the Atlantic Wall, which proved well in against infantry attacks as its small 37 mm cannon was inadequate against the increasing armour of Allied tanks.
The Panzer 38(t), as a widely exported tank model, also saw service with Romania, Kingdom of Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Peru, and Iran. Sweden was one of the few countries that were granted a license to construct the Panzer 38(t) under their designation as the Stridsvagn m/41 after their initial batch were seized by the Germans with the takeover of Czechoslovakia. Deliveries of the first batch of the initial tank model started in December 1942 and ended in August 1943. Then a second batch of 122 units was ordered in mid-1942 for more of these tanks due to urgent demand, the second batch would have the 50 mm armour plate thickness and with a redesigned interior and better engine to compensate the weight increase. 104 of the second batch were delivered before production ended in March 1944. Some of these tanks would be converted into sav M/43 assault guns or armoured personnel carriers during and after the war. Peru was also another prolific user of the Panzer 38(t), using them in the Ecuadorian-Peruvian War in 1941 as the mainstay of their tank battalions. The tanks along with the lack of capable anti-tank weapons in Ecuadorian forces made the Panzer 38(t) very successful in the war and even stayed in service for more than 50 years before being retired.
A modified version of the Pz.38(t) light tank designed on the basis of combat experience in Poland. The tank's armour was enhanced to 50 mm in the front and 30 mm on the sides. Two similar versions of the Pz. 38(t) Ausf. E and Ausf F were released between November, 1940 and October, 1941. 525 tanks were produced, including both versions.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- Other vehicles of similar configuration and role
- [Vehicle Profile] Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. A & F
- [Legends] Panzerkampfwagen 38(t)
- [Wikipedia] Panzer 38(t)
- [Tanks Encyclopedia] Panzerkampfwagen 38(t)
- [Military Factory] LT vz. 38 / PzKpfW 38(t) (SdKfz 140)
|Germany light tanks|
|Pz.II||Pz.II C · Pz.II C (DAK) · Pz.II C TD · Pz.II F · Pz.Sfl.Ic|
|Sd.Kfz.234||Sd.Kfz.234/1 · Sd.Kfz.234/2 · Sd.Kfz.234/2 TD|
|Marder||Marder A1- · Marder 1A3 · Begleitpanzer 57 · DF105|
|Wheeled||Sd.Kfz.221 (s.Pz.B.41) · Class 3 (P) · Radkampfwagen 90|
|Other||Ru 251 · SPz 12-3 LGS|
|Argentina||TAM · TAM 2C · TAM 2IP · JaPz.K A2|
|Czechoslovakia||Pz.35(t) · Pz.38(t) A · Pz.38(t) F · Pz.38(t) n.A. · Sd.Kfz. 140/1|