- "Maybe 38(t) can do something up close..."
The Panzer 38(t) was a Czech tank that served in the German Army after Czechoslovakia was occupied in 1938. In the anime, it was first seen during a flash-forward scene in Episode 1, and then later appeared in Episode 2.
The Panzer 38(t) tank was designed by the Czech firm ČKD as replacement for the LT-35 tank, which had a troublesome pneumatic system to help its suspension and transmission, and was complex; the TNHPS (manufacturer's designation) roughly resembled it, but had much simpler suspensions (although it sported large wheels, it wasn't a Christie suspension but a conventional leaf springs one). It was a conventional 1930s design, with a 37 mm gun, limited and riveted armor (originally at most 30 mm) and good speed; its real gift was its good reliability and its easiness of maintenance and for repairs.
None had entered production when Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, yet its production was continued for the Wehrmacht, whose need for gun-armed tanks was dire (most of the Panzerwaffe still had obsolete designs like the Panzers Iand II). It served with distinction during the Polish and French campaigns, but began to be retired from frontline duty during Operation Barbarossa, as its firepower (a 37 mm gun) and its protection (maximum 50 mm on some models with additional plates bolted on) weren't a match for Soviet tanks like the T-34. Production ceased in 1942, but the chassis kept being used for such designs like the Marder III and the Jagdpanzer 38(t)(known after the war as the Hetzer) for the rest of the war, with especially the latter being very successful and very common in the Wehrmacht.
It was produced also by Sweden with minor modifications as the Stridsvagn m/41.
In Girls und PanzerA Panzer 38(t) was found in the woods during the search for Ooarai's long-lost tanks; it was assigned to Turtle Team, made up by the Students' Council members, which they like all other teams, except for Anglerfish changed the painting scheme by painting it gold, making it very visible.
During the training match against St. Gloriana it got stuck in the first encounter because its tracks were very prone to breaking loose; its crew repaired the tracks and returned to the fight, only to miss at a ridiculously close range and being subsequently knocked out by a combined volley. After that, it was repainted in the conventional dark scheme. Against Saunders it served as the flag tank. Against Pravda it got a moment of glory, as, with sudden and daring tactics, it managed to knock out some T-34 tank with well-aimed close shots (fundamental for that was the substitution of Momo, who lacked the coolness and patience to fire accurately, with Anzu as the gunner), before being taken out.
For the finals, it was decided to convert it into a Hetzer tank destroyer with a mod-kit, to improve its usefulness.
In Kuromimine Girl's High School, the Panzer 38(t) is used as a training vehicle for first-year students alongside the Panzer III. Itsumi Erika, commanded a Pz. 38(t) (Tank No. 4) during her practice sessions as a first year. Erika's tank was noted as being far better than the rest of the first-years during maneuvers and firing drills.
Tank basic characteristics
Ooarai had a standard Panzer 38(t).
- Main Gun : 3.7 cm KwK 38(t) L/47.8
- Other : 2x 7.92 mm ZB-53 (MG 37(t)) MGs
- Hull Armor (mm) front 25 sides 15 rear 15
- Turret Armor (mm) front 25 sides 15 rear 15
- Speed : 42 km/h (26 mp/h) on road, 15 km/h off road