Tuesday, April 14, 2015
The Leichter Kampfwagen (English: light combat car) or "LK I" was a German light tank prototype of the First World War.
The LK I was designed by Joseph Vollmer. It was based on a Daimler car chassis, using the existing axles to mount sprocket and idler wheels. Its design followed automobile practice, with a front-mounted engine and a driving compartment behind it. It was the first German armored fighting vehicle to be equipped with a turret, armed with a 7.92 mm MG08 machine gun.
Only two prototypes were produced in mid-1918, but no vehicles were ordered. It was designed as an experimental cavalry tank to pave the way to LK II.
The Germans were impressed with the new Whippet tanks and sought to counter them with a light tank of their own, the LK II (“LK” for Leichte Kampfwagen). Largely a copy of the Whippet in exterior form, the LK II, at 19,600 pounds, was considerably lighter than the Whippet and was actually better-powered with a 55-hp engine. One version mounted a 57mm gun and another sported two machine guns. The Germans planned to produce 580 of them, but the war ended before the LK II could appear on the battlefield. Sweden used it as the foundation for its Strv M-21 of 1921, the basis of that nation’s tank technology.