Panzer B2 is a German Tank unit. It is a captured French heavy tank pressed into German service after the battle of France. Meant to be a breakthrough tank in trench warfare, it was considered to be very well armoured and powerfully armed in 1940. However, tank design had advanced by leaps and bounds and the Panzer B2 had clearly become an outdated design by 1944. Its armour and gun only makes it suitable to fighting light tanks, though it fulfills its role as infantry support very well with its howitzer. While the B2 is not the best tank by any stretch of the imagination, especially in phase B, it's the closest thing 716. Infanterie has to a medium tank, giving the division much-needed mobile firepower and light armour.
One one-star B2 is available in phase A, where it has more potential as the powerful tanks have not been fielded yet. It is effective against most units in this stage: infantry and vehicles.
Overview[edit | edit source]
The most powerful French tank in 1940, the 32-ton B1-bis was armed with a hull-mounted SA 35 75mm howitzer for use against fortifications, a turret-mounted SA 35 47mm gun, and a MAC 31 7.5mm machinegun. Although its design philosophy was rooted in World War I experiences, with the specifications that eventually culminated in the B1 dating back to 1919, the tank put in production in 1935 was overall an advanced design, including self-sealing petrol tanks, a fireproof bulkhead, a gyroscopic compass, an electric starter and a floor escape hatch was used for the disposal of empty cases. It proved itself largely invulnerable to German tanks during the Fall of France, defeated by logistical problems and strategic mistakes rather than direct combat.
With 365 built before the defeat of France, many Char B1s were captured in serviceable condition and pressed into German service as Panzerkampfwagen B-2 740(f). Most were utilized as tanks, primarily for occupation duties, but a number were modified for special purposes: Sixteen were converted into self-propelled artillery, mounted with a 10.5 cm leFH 18 light howitzer in an open-top casemate. Another sixty were modified by replacing the hull howitzer with a flamethrower, creating the Flammwagen auf Panzerkampfwagen B-2(f).
The tanks of the 716. Infanterie Division are part of Panzer-Abteilung 213.
Strategy[edit | edit source]
Phase A is where this tank is at its best, as it can reliably deal with infantry and other soft targets as well as vehicles & light tanks.
Phase B is where the more heavy stuff is usually brought in and Panthers, Churchills, Wolverines among others all start pouring onto the battlefield. The Panzer B2 (f) seems extremely underwhelming compared to these more modern tanks (it is), but the static 716. Infanterie is not meant to duke it out with Allied tanks while fielding Germany's best units. It is foremost a defensive division, as it focuses on infantry, towed anti-tank units and anti-aircraft Flaks. In this battlegroup, the Panzer B2(f) is mainly equipped to deal with soft targets and to act as the advance unit of a methodical push, supported by copious amounts of artillery and infantry.
The B2 is not a great tank, but it is at least a tank, in much the same way that Airborne divisions lack heavy anti-tank weaponry. It is best employed in a supporting role or as a mobile defence (in any case more mobile than the Flaks and the anti-tank guns). It can't go toe to toe with other tanks - artillery, airpower, Flaks and anti-tank units must help rectify the imbalance. However, its excellent howitzer means it is a great counter to lighter vehicles, infantry, and low-level AT guns at 1000m range.
Gallery[edit | edit source]