If you’ve read the P-IIb part, you might remember that the IIb category program didn’t end well, but let’s get back to the beginning. The Š-IIb light tank (sometimes incorrectly written as S-IIb or even Sh-IIb) came to be, just like its Praga counterpart, the P-IIb, as a result of the Czechoslovak army infantry tank competition. It was based on the requirements, set by the army in January 1935. The Š-IIb design works were started by the end of the same month and went parallel with the Š-IIa design, that would turn out to be the LT Vz.35 (or, as you know it, Panzer 35t), although the work on the Š-IIa was a bit ahead and went faster. The Š-IIa prototype was tested in June 1935 and its design influenced the Š-IIb as well, with modifications being made on the suspension of both designs.
There were some delays, but in September 1935, Škoda was able to finish the proposal and an offer for the army. There were some negotiations between Škoda and the army in November, but the army was relatively satisfied and ordered one prototype on 13.1.1936 – with the date of delivery set at 20.1.1936. This insane 7 day limit was chosen for a simple reason – the prototype (ordered without the radio and armament) was already built and all that was left to do was to transfer it to the army.
After being transferred to the army (1st Tank Regiment in Milovice), the vehicle recieved a serial number (13.637) and was trialled under the VTLU (military technical institute) oversight. It did not pass the trials and was not accepted in service. Škoda also failed to market the vehicle abroad. The prototype, already paid for by the army. Like the P-IIb, this vehicle was also attached to the training comany in Vyškov in 1937, where it remained until the German occupation in 1939. Its further fate is unknown and currently, no photo of this vehicle was found, the drawing above was published by V.Francev.
The vehicle weighed around 13 tons (12,8 tons – Pejčoch, 13,1 tons – Francev) and had a crew of four (driver, radioman, gunner, commander). It had an armor layout very similiar to the competing P-IIb, to the point where the turrets between P-IIb and Š-IIb were actually interchangeable. The frontal and side armor was 25mm thick, the engine cover was 20mm thick and the bottom and roof were 10mm thick. Furthermore, there was a 4mm firewall between the engine and the combat compartment. The vehicle was powered with a Škoda Š-II 8 liter watercooled 4 cylinder engine (producing 105 horsepower at 1800 RPM) – other sources (Francev) state the engine was actually designated T-11/0. That allowed the tank to go as fast as 25,7 km/h (other sources 26,2 km/h). It was armed with the standard gun of the time, the Czechoslovak 37mm Vz.34ÚV (A3) with 84 rounds for it.
I.Pejčoch – Obrněná Technika
V.Francev – Československá obrněná vozidla 1918-1948