Aviation & Aerospace - Airpower 2024 - Aircraft by Country - Aircraft Manufacturers Vehicles & Artillery - Armor 2024 - Armor by Country - Armor Manufacturers Infantry Small Arms - Warfighter 2024 - Small Arms by Country - Arms Manufacturers Warships & Submarines - Navies 2024 - Ships by Country - Shipbuilders U.S. Military Pay 2024 Military Ranks Special Forces by Country

SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen

Command Tank

Nazi Germany | 1938

"The SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen was a successful Command Tank conversion of the Panzer I Light Tank series for the Germans heading into World War 2."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/31/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Recognizing the need to better keep its field commanders informed during combat actions, the German Army pushed for a new tank designed around communications. Their first successful, purpose-designed example became the SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen ("Armored Command Car"), based upon the chassis of the Panzer I Ausf. B Light Tank production model. About 190 of the type were modified as command tanks and saw service from the start of the war in 1939 until the end of the war in 1945.

The conversion process for the new vehicles involved removal of the traversing turret (and standard armament) and, in its place, an all-new fixed superstructure was added with sloped sides. Internally, there was room for a crew of three - driver, commander, and dedicated radioman. A frame antenna network was arranged externally around the superstructure to help extend the ranges possible with the installed radio fits (FuG2 and FuG6). A 7.92mm MG13 ball-mounted machine gun was set at the right side of the hull superstructure for local defense and pistol ports were also built-in for the occupants. Additional internal fuel stores were added to help increase the vehicle's operating range. With these changes, the already tight crew quarters became that much more cramped and the vehicle exceeded the original Panzer I's operating weight.

The general form and drive function of the Panzer I ausf. B was left largely intact though the original Krupp engine of 60 horsepower was upgraded to a Maybach NL38TR 4-cylinder gasoline-fueled engine of 100 horsepower and this added a slight increase to the vehicle's road speed despite the added weight.

Article Continues Below Advertisement...
Daimler-Benz was charged with modifying the Panzer I to the command tank forms and managed a total of 190 vehicles from the period spanning 1935 to 1937 - just in time for training maneuvers leading up to World War 2. The vehicle's first-actions took place during the Polish invasion beginning September 1st, 1939 and the SdKfz 265 stood as the standard command tank of Panzer formations into 1940 until they were given up for more modern solutions built upon the framework of the latest German tanks. The vehicle underwent the usual upgrades following their initial use such as added armor for improved survivability and some lost their ball-mounted machine guns altogether to help with the restrictive space in the fighting compartment. They were then used in the invasions of the Low Countries and France, leading to the Fall of France in June of 1940. From there, the tanks managed a service record in the Balkans and the North African campaigns during 1941 until the line was ultimately pulled from frontline service before the start of 1943. Those that remained functional were pressed into service as trainers and operated until the end of the war in Europe which came in May of 1945.

Hungary marked the only other operator of the SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen and this only in very limited numbers.

As finalized, the SdKfz 265 design showcased a length of 4.4 meters, a width of 2 meters and a height of 1.7 meters. Armor protection ranged from 6mm to 13mm across its various facings. A quarter-elliptical leaf-sprung suspension system allowed for cross-country travel and in keeping up with the rest of the mechanized forces. Operational range reached out to 180 miles and road speeds peaked at 25 miles per hour.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen Command Tank.
1 x Maybach NL38TR 4-cylinder air-cooled gasoline engine developing 100 horsepower.
Installed Power
25 mph
40 kph
Road Speed
180 miles
290 km
The physical qualities of the SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen Command Tank.
14.4 ft
4.4 meters
O/A Length
6.8 ft
2.08 meters
O/A Width
5.6 ft
1.7 meters
O/A Height
12,787 lb
5,800 kg | 6.4 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen Command Tank.
1 x 7.92mm MG13 machine gun in front-right hull face.

Any personal weapons served by the crew and fired through available pistol ports.
Not Available.
Nightvision - NONE.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - NONE.
Notable series variants as part of the SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen family line.
SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen - Base Series Designation; based on the chassis and running gear of the Panzer I ausf. B production model; Maybach 4-cylinder engine of 100 horsepower installed along with special mission equipment and revised hull superstructure.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 190 Units

Contractor(s): Daimler-Benz (Conversion Process) - Nazi Germany
National flag of modern Germany National flag of Nazi Germany National flag of Hungary

[ Hungary; Nazi Germany ]
1 / 5
Image of the SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
2 / 5
Image of the SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
3 / 5
Image of the SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
4 / 5
Image of the SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
5 / 5
Image of the SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen
Image from the Federal German Archives.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen Command Tank appears in the following collections:
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Scale Military Ranks U.S. DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols US 5-Star Generals WW2 Weapons by Country

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Part of a network of sites that includes Global Firepower, WDMMA.org, WDMMW.org, and World War Next.

©2024 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2024 (21yrs)