Usually people don’t pay attention to low-tiered vehicles, either treating them as funny seal-clubbers or simple tanks to pass by to get to higher-tiered ones. I don’t think in such a fashion because light tanks have quite different methods of operation. You can’t expect light tanks to side-scrape or bounce shots consistently. Oh wait a minute, I know a tank that can bounce shots quite well and even side-scrape in a pinch! Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to my little freund Panzerkampfwagen II!
The father of German armored warfare Heinz Guderian once said that armor, mobility and firepower are the three most important attributes of any high-performing tank. This is true because if you lack in any one department you really need to be on your heel all the time to compensate for your weakness. Fortunately, Panzer II does not lack in any one area! I will explain here in this post with the help of screenshots and quantitative and qualitative comparisons with other tanks. Let’s start off with ARMOR!
ARMOR (Fully upgraded)
Excluding the premium tanks, only the American tier 2 tank destroyer T18 has a stronger frontal armor than the Panzer II (the T18 has 51 mm of frontal armor). With 30 mm of frontal armor, you can easily shrug off machine gun shots, which are so prevalent in the lower tiers. For instance, you won’t feel bad when going up against an American T7 Car. On occasion, you will also be able to bounce shots even from tier 3 tanks! Since the armor is so tough, you will have difficulties penetrating the frontal hull armor of other Panzer IIs. It is highly recommended that you do not ever show your back to the enemy as 15 mm of armor can be penetrated by anything. With proper angling and side-scraping, you could pull off decent bounces every now and then to conserve your HP. Speaking of HP, the Panzer II has 260 hit points with the turret upgrade, which makes it a tank that can afford to get shot a few times. Coupled with its excellent armor, you can really push a front and spearhead the attack while your allies support you from the rear and flanks.
FIREPOWER (2 cm Flak 38)
This tank does not have what I call a “proper tank cannon”. It has two machine gun type guns: 2 cm KwK 38 and 2 cm Flak 38. As soon as you have enough experience points, you should quickly upgrade to the much better 2 cm Flak 38, which has superior penetration. This rapid fire weapon can penetrate most enemy armor frontally. Even the feared T18 can be penetrated where it has a small strip of weaker armor at the front. With a dispersion of 0.45, the gun certainly is poor when it comes to accuracy. This is why you should not try to snipe in this tank. If you have very low HP and the enemy as well, you can still land shots in short quick bursts. You should not expect effective penetration at long range. This tank is a brawler no doubt. With excellent fire rate and superb armor, you should really be up front and fight other tanks head on. You can choose two types of ammunition: AP and APCR. Definitely carry some APCR shells to crack tough nuts like the Panzer S35. If you do see a Panzer II J in a battle, you should really try to kill off other tanks so that your better-equipped teammates can handle the German mobile fortress. With this gun, you have 10 degrees of gun depression which is quite good when you are fighting in hilly environments. In terms of firepower, this tank should perform quite well.
One thing that I did find a bit wanting is the lack of a choice to equip a tank gun like that of a Panzer 35t, a tank that I will review in the future. To be certain, this would be historically inaccurate but it would be awesome if the Panzer II could have the 37 mm KwK L/47 cannon. Just food for thought!
With a speed boost and under the right conditions, the Panzer II can reach top speed of 40 km/hour. It has enough mobility to traverse through the battlefield and assist failing flanks. Undoubtedly, this German light tank cannot keep up with a Soviet BT2 or a British Cruiser III. Still, its hull can turn quite well and you will be able to get behind tank destroyers easily. In short, this tank will not fail you when it comes to mobility.
If you plan on driving this great tank, I recommend the following equipment setup for maximum effectiveness:
- Improved Ventilation: +5% to all crew skills
- Enhanced Gun Laying Drive: +10% to aiming speed
- Improved Suspension: +30% to track health
For ammunition, I carry:
- Armor Piercing (AP): 220 rounds
- Armor Piercing Composite Rigid (APCR): 100 rounds
For consumables, I carry:
- Multi-purpose Restore Pack (* Cure-all package for your crew and tank)
- Engine Boost (* Useful for maps like Mines where quick capturing of hill is vital.)
- Chocolate (* +10% to all crew skills)
When fighting in the battlefield, you will encounter different types of tanks. While you should always be careful when fighting any tank, there are certain vehicles that you should really watch out for. From my experience, these are the vehicles that you should be extra cautious about:
- T18 (Tier 2): Get behind it as quickly as possible!
- Cruiser III (Tier 2): Don’t get caught in the back with its Pom-Pom gun!
- T82 (Tier 3): Beware, this tank destroyer can one-shot kill you frontally!
- T-46 (Tier 3) and Ke-Ni (Tier 3) tanks can rip through your health pool. Don’t get alone with these tanks for you will face a terrible fate.
Hopefully my review helped you to better understand this German light tank. If you were looking for a decent light tank to train your light tank crew skills, then this is for you!
(Want to thank Dungodung for the lovely picture of Panzer II at the Belgrade Military Museum in Serbia!)