The Reichswehr, the new post-war German armed forces, envisioned a tank in the 15 ton class. In early 1928, it was obvious that a light tank was needed in addition to the medium tank. The initial Kleinetraktor (small tractor) concept envisioned a 6 ton tank with a 60 hp engine, reaching a speed of up to 40 kph and armed with a 37 mm cannon. However, in May of 1928 it became clear that 60 hp is not enough to reach the required mobility. At a meeting on May 26th, the requirements were corrected, and its name changed from Kleinetraktor to Leichttraktor.
It's worth mentioning that Krupp, one of the creators of the Kleinetraktor concept, was working on other fighting vehicles. In October of 1927, Krupp began work on the self propelled gun mount known as teh Motorlafette. Later, this name changed to L.S.K. (leichte Selbstfahrkanone, light self-propelled cannon). Overall, the design was similar to the Kleiner Sturmwagen that Krupp's engineers developed during WWI. The engine was in the rear, unlike the Kleinetraktor. The fighting and driving compartments were in the front. The driver was shifted to the right, and a 37 mm or 75 mm gun was placed behind him.
The L.S.K. concept was discussed for a year and a half, and Krupp finally received a contract for two prototypes. The Germans paid 10,500 marks for the development and 132,000 marks for production of the two prototypes. A year later, the total grew to almost 170,000 marks. Even though the project started about six months before the Leichttraktor, both tanks reached trials at about the same time. The L.S.K.'s mass grew from 4.5 tons to 5.3 tons, and the tank weighed almost 7.9 tons with armour and armament. Krupp's design was plagued by the same problems as the Leichttraktor, especially the suspension. After 84 km of driving, the vehicle was returned to the factory, where the suspension was replaced. This didn't help much.
The last production batch was the 4.Serie/La.S. 175 tanks were ordered, but MAN was not among the manufacturers this time. Grusonwerk received a contract for 40 tanks, 9366-9405. Rheinmetall was to produce 30 tanks with serial numbers 9931-9960. Henschel ended up with the biggest contract: 64 tanks with serial numbers 10436-10476. Tanks from the fourth series had a widened transmission access hatch and a reinforced transmission.
The real total amount of tanks in series 2-4 was smaller than expected: 1075 units instead of over 1300.
In April of 1936, these tanks received their final designation: PzKpfw I (MG) with index SdKfz 101 (special vehicle 101). 2.Serie/La.S.- 4.Serie/La.S. tanks are known as PzKpfw I Ausf. A. During use in combat, their design underwent a large number of changes. By the start of WWII, the tanks received a converted air intake above the engine deck, a smoke grenade launcher, and the suspension was modernized. You can familiarize yourself with a modernized PzKpfw I Ausf. A from the second series in this photoshoot from the Arsenalen museum.