Panzer Elite is a tank simulation in which you command a platoon of tanks for either the US Army or the German Heer. Your main role is to play the tank commander and give commands to your crew - drive here, shoot at that - as well as the other tanks in your platoon. You can also call in artillery strikes using a mission map.
The game consists of a number of missions called scenarios. The missions can be strung together into a campaign which takes place in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, and Normandy, and at the end of a campaign you are asked if you would like to move onto the next.
The crew of both your tank and the other tanks in the game will improve in quality as the game progresses. You can see this in many different ways; they start spotting targets earlier, gunnery improves greatly, and drivers will attempt to "hide" their tank in a hull-down position. In addition you are given the chance to change equipment, ammo, and crew between each mission, so you will start the campaign with a beat up tank and end with the latest and greatest.