Sometimes you encounter a tank that just does not agree with you, and for me the Panzer II Ausf. G is one such tank. I have struggled mightily with it, taking what felt like a very long time before I started to get even some success with it. Even that though has felt like cycling up a very steep hill. Perhaps with time and effort I would learn to take advantage of this tank’s strengths, but right now we feel mismatched.
This tank is an upgrade of the good old Panzer II, and in many respects feels very similar. I always found myself thinking the Panzer II should go faster than it did, and I feel the same with the Panzer II Ausf. G. By that I mean this tank feels slow, even if it is chugging along at 40+ km/h. Partly this is because the tank feels slow to accelerate, and also because this tank loses its speed very quickly in a turn or climb. While it is rated to 60+km/h, that is almost dishonest advertising.
Some light tanks are surprisingly well armoured, but this one is not. Indeed the armour is less than its predecessor. In reality this means pretty much every tank this vehicle encounters can penetrate it – especially if they get a flanking shot. This makes it unlike many other Tier III tanks which can bounce own-tier shells from time to time. In a sense this can be understood by its relatively late development, this was designed more as a scout tank rather than an early-war light tank, and its view range is reasonable for that role. The upgraded radio gives it the necessary signal range.
The speed and survivability of this tank have their own unique frustrations, but where I have really struggled is trying to get the best out of the top gun. The other two guns are autocannons inherited from the Panzer II, and are really inadequate for tanks higher than Tier III. The top gun is the 3cm MK103. This is another autocannon, but with much higher penetration and damage, though fewer overall shells (though that does not matter since so many of the shells of the earlier guns would bounce). The accuracy is fairly poor, but what really is liable to be a major cause of baldness amongst World of Tanks players it the reload time of the clip. Twelve seconds. A twelve-second reload for a Tier III tank. Think about that a moment – that is as long or longer than many guns right at the top tiers. In a Tier III match the only other guns that have a similar lengthy reload that I can think of are the howitzers on the T82 and Cruiser Mk II – but those two guns are HE guns whose shells regularly one-shot tanks at tier, and even at Tier IV. In theory the 3cm MK103 could do the same – except thanks it its own recoil quite a few shells often miss. I am sure there are ways to get the best out of this gun, but other than getting right up close (metal to metal close) I do not quite know.
My final tally with the Panzer II Ausf. G is fifteen matches with six victories and twelve enemy tanks destroyed. Most of my success came in my last few matches where I did start of figure a few things out, by which time I decided to just move on. One day I might return to this vehicle and try to make it shine, but that will be a long time in the future.