Lurking behind feared and iconic vehicles such as the Panzer IV, Panther, and Tiger is the little Panzer I. It is very important to remember that World of Tanks is not an exact historical simulation, but it does give a good sense of actually how poor the Panzer I was compared to later tanks. This is something it has in common, of course, with a lot of interwar vehicles – what always surprises me is that the better known Panzer III and IV tanks comprised only a small number of the tanks involved in those most successful of Blitzkrieg campaigns – Poland and France – where the vast majority of tanks were the Panzer I and II.
I must admit I did not feel quite at home in the Panzer I. While it manages a respectable (for Tier II) top speed of around 40km/h, it feels a slow 40km/h. This is almost certainly because with its armour-piercing machine-gun – which does not have good penetration – it has to get close the enemy. All three guns for this tank are armour-piercing machine-guns, and all are quite inaccurate due to the recoil and low penetration. This means getting close to the enemy is the only way to go. Even so there are some tanks – a T18 for example, which it will have difficulty damaging. As a final weakness even with upgraded tracks it not quite fast and agile enough to circle the same T18 – which means without friends you very quickly get a dead Panzer I. As an example of the weakness of the gun in a recent game 49 hits on an enemy M2 Light equalled just 98 damage.
This is probably why I have not really adapted well to this tank. It requires fairly aggressive play to be able to do anything, but does not have the necessary punch to take on many targets by itself. There are no doubt many out there with more success at this tank than me. If this were a higher Tier tank, I might play it a little more to try to find how better how it ticks, as it is however I am done with this tank for the time being. My final tally is 12 games with 5 victories and 8 kills – hardly the most flattering statline, but sometimes that just happens.
Indeed the overall impression is of a tank that is just not quite good enough – and all the flaws I mentioned are address I understand in its successor the Panzer I Ausf. C -a tank I am very much looking forward to trying out.