Panzer II is the common name of a German tank used in World War II. The official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen II (abbreviated PzKpfw II). Designed as a stopgap while other tanks were developed, it played an important role in the early years of World War II, during the Polish and French campaigns. By the end of 1942 it was largely removed from frontline service and production of the tank itself ceased by 1943, but its chassis was used for several other armoured vehicles.
The Panzer II was the main battle tank of the German Panzer divisions beginning with the invasion of France, until it was replaced by the Panzer III and IV in 1940/41. Afterwards, it was used to great effect as a reconnaissance tank. The Panzer II was tested in the Spanish Civil War and used in the German campaigns in Poland, France, Holland, Denmark, Norway, North Africa and Russia. After being removed from front-line duty, it was used for training, on secondary fronts and for patrolling occupied Europe.