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During the early days of Operation Barbarossa, the Germans found they needed a more powerful and mobile anti-tank weapon to combat the Soviet T-34 and KV tanks they encountered. The Marder II was built using Panzer II light tanks. The initial versions used captured 76mm Soviet F-22 anti-tank guns re-chambered to accept German 75mm rounds. Later versions used the 75mm Pak 40 gun itself and had a slightly lower silhouette. In both versions, the rear and top remained uncovered, and the front and side armor was very thin, leaving the crew with very little protection.

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