French 9e and 25e DIM 's H-35/39 problem

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Kelvin
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French 9e and 25e DIM 's H-35/39 problem

Post by Kelvin » 04 Feb 2018 07:50

In accordance with David Lehmann 's the number of AFV in Western campaign of 1940 in AHF , 9e and 25e DIM had one H-35/39 squadron and one Panhard 178 squadron but from Lee Sharp : French Army OOB volume V mentions initially they neither had any AFV and then some White Armoured cars but eventually, they recieved two Hotchkiss 35/39 squadron that mean H-35/39 light tanks replaced both Panhard 178 and Schneider P 16 armoured half-track in AMD and AMR squadron.

So which one is correct : did 9e and 25e DIM had both Panhard and H-35/39 or just all AFV is purely H-39/35 ? Thank

alain adam
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Re: French 9e and 25e DIM 's H-35/39 problem

Post by alain adam » 05 Feb 2018 21:04

Hello ,
in
-9th DIM , you have the 2nd GRDI ( motorized with "automitrailleuses" ) with 13 AMD 35 ( P178 ) and 12 Hotchkiss H39 (plus 3 for the "volant" )
-25th DIM , you have the 5th GRDI ( motorized with AM ) with the same dotation .

In fact , the Hotchkiss tank was used as an AMR in this case , to replace old P16's , and give somme power , replacing AMR ZT 2 or 3 , with their antitank 25mm canon either in casemate or turret , depending on the model .
Please have a look to this page :
http://www.atf40.fr/ATF40/chars.html#GRDI
and this for the organization of a GRDI motorized with AM
http://www.atf40.fr/ATF40/divers/GRDI%20moto%20am.pdf
Twice documents in french , sorry ...

Hope it will help you .
Regards,
Alain
ATF40 ( Armée de Terre Française 1940 ) : French ground army in 1940 , website atf40.fr

Kelvin
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Posts: 2632
Joined: 06 Apr 2007 14:49

Re: French 9e and 25e DIM 's H-35/39 problem

Post by Kelvin » 06 Feb 2018 07:47

alain adam wrote:Hello ,
in
-9th DIM , you have the 2nd GRDI ( motorized with "automitrailleuses" ) with 13 AMD 35 ( P178 ) and 12 Hotchkiss H39 (plus 3 for the "volant" )
-25th DIM , you have the 5th GRDI ( motorized with AM ) with the same dotation .

In fact , the Hotchkiss tank was used as an AMR in this case , to replace old P16's , and give somme power , replacing AMR ZT 2 or 3 , with their antitank 25mm canon either in casemate or turret , depending on the model .
Please have a look to this page :
http://www.atf40.fr/ATF40/chars.html#GRDI
and this for the organization of a GRDI motorized with AM
http://www.atf40.fr/ATF40/divers/GRDI%20moto%20am.pdf
Twice documents in french , sorry ...

Hope it will help you .
Regards,
Alain
Hi, Alain, thank for your help. Very much appreciated. Your website you posted seem like a actual number of AFV possessed by French motorized Troop in 1940, mean they really had in indivdual division in May 1940 ?

And distribution of ZT-2 and ZT-3 is two two depolyment in five DIM apart from 9. and 25.DIM ? Thank

Kelvin

alain adam
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Location: lyon

Re: French 9e and 25e DIM 's H-35/39 problem

Post by alain adam » 06 Feb 2018 20:59

Hi Kelvin ,

If we have some interrogations about french army in 1940, you can consider informations from my website near to the real .
Of course there's some errors, but not in this case , this subject is very clear for me ( for DIM's ) .
The only doubt is on the type of Hotchkiss , H35 or H39 , but the latest information says H39 ( with a canon SA38 ) .

For many subject , you can trust my website , it's the more precise website around the world on the french army in 1940 .
Try the website from the beginning : atf40.fr . You will have oob's , maps with positions during the campaign , informations on units of each type , informations on tanks and so on ...
Regards ,
Alain
ATF40 ( Armée de Terre Française 1940 ) : French ground army in 1940 , website atf40.fr

Kelvin
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Joined: 06 Apr 2007 14:49

Re: French 9e and 25e DIM 's H-35/39 problem

Post by Kelvin » 07 Feb 2018 07:40

Hello, Alain, thank for your reply. I don't have interrogation on your information. Before this, most of French army division informaton I found only have more like authorized figure on their AFV number , I know in real world , it is hard for military leadership to make all divisions had the same thing and same number exactly in accordance with TOE. Just like 3e DCR had different number of APC in comparsion with 1er and 2e DCR. It is what I am looking for. Thank again.

alain adam
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Posts: 35
Joined: 23 Dec 2017 19:58
Location: lyon

Re: French 9e and 25e DIM 's H-35/39 problem

Post by alain adam » 13 Feb 2018 20:22

Hi Kelvin ,
In fact you have to consider two types of engines :
- tanks or vehicles produced since a long time
- at the opposite , new stuff , still in production , and with a quantity released not suffisant to be dispatched in all units at the theoretical quantity approved by an official oob .

The Lorraine VBCP , as the Laffly-Hotchkiss W15T , and some other vehicules are not produced in may 1940 with a suffisant quantity to equip all the units to respect the defined OOB .
It's why the dotation was first reduced in each BCPP ( case of Lorraine VBCP ) , and not distribued to all DCR divisions .

This is not the case for tanks , but ie have to specify some points :
- Somua S35 and B1bis were suffisant only because the oob of the DLM and the DCR was reduced : From 2 regiments with only S35 , we have finally two regiments with an half of Hotchkiss and an half of Somua for DLM , and from 4 battaillons of B1bis , we have finally the half on Hotchkiss and the half on B1bis . So , real oob of lighter divisions were complete ( except the one or two tanks with mecanic problems , and sometimes we have one or two additionnal tank , not defined in the oob )
- For this reason , 1st , 2nd and 3rd DCR , as 1st , 2nd and 3rd DLM were well organized , as required by the oob ( except for the 3rd DLM , with Hotchkiss tanks to replace AMR 35 in "regiment de dragons portés" : better dotation , and because the production of AMR 35 was stopped ) . At the opposite , the 4th DCR was organized during the campaign and was organized with ... what they could found ( parts of future 4th DLM , infantry tanks ... ) , it's why this division was not organized like the others .

For tanks , you only have to know wich one are still in production to keep doubts on actual dotation for units :
1) Somua S35 and B1bis : i've already explain the problem . the productions will help to replace losses and create some small units
2)D2 : finaly dedicated to be infantry tank , and will be integrated in 4th DCR because de gaulle know very well this kind of tanks , and not many B1bis available at this date : This is a medium tank with a capacity like Somua S35 ( when rearmed )
- Hotchkiss H39 : used for every task : infantry , cavalry , infantry independant bataillons . In french "bon à tout faire" , but don't forget this is a small tank with only two men , and a "long" gun of 37mm , equivalent to the german gun on Pz III , but better armor than the german tank
-Renault R40 : infantry independant bataillons dedicated , but will be used later as reinforcement in divisions or armored groupements
All the other productions were stopped ( FT , D1 , FCM2C , FCM36 , R35 , H35 ) or will finish during the campaign to be replaced by a newer version ( case of R35/R40 if i remember well ) .

Anyway , on the begining of the campaign , all DCR and DLM was with a full dotation of tanks ( the first 3 of each ) . Every GBC ( organic unit of 1 , 2 or 3 BCC ) has a full dotation of infantry tanks ( excep the particular case of 51th BCC with FCM2C , reduced to 7 heavy tanks ( 2*3 + 1 ), the original OOB was 3*3 +1 , but two of them was dismantled between the two wars ( and turret send to mareth line in tunisia ) and the last one used as reserve in depot , but with motor problems . All the FT units are full ( or overfull ) because local depots keep some quantities of this old tank , and something like 1200 stay at Gien ( only a short part able to be used , but many spare parts to maintain bataillons at full dotation ) .
For information , in these bataillons , the 1940's dotation is 2 FT gun tanks for 1 machinegun tank .

On this page , i try to define each dotation for each infantry and cavalry unit
http://www.atf40.fr/ATF40/chars.html
When you have the green color behind the text , it's the actual dotation for the 10 of may 1940 . When it's blue , it's a new unit , appearing during the campaign , with or without informations of quantity of tanks on my website . For this kind of units , you can have doubts ( and i've seen an error on the 2nd polish BCC today :) , but most on time it was already verified ) . For the other , in green , no problems with the quantity and type of tanks .

One example to better undestand :
The 40th BCC was initially with FT tanks , and few modern tanks ( hotchkiss ) . it was a tank education bataillon at the mobilization , called at this time "bataillon de manoeuvre" . The bataillon will receive a Renault tank dotation on the 19th of may 1940 , with a part of Renault R35 ( 37mm short gun : one compagny of 15 tanks ) , and a part of Renault R40 (37mm long gun : two compagny of 15 tanks each ) . Of course, the previous tanks return to depot , and was able to be used in other units , it's why local depots with the progressive modernisation of the french army will have many and many FT tanks , and sometimes never send them to the central depot of Gien . And after , these tanks were re-used in march compagny , to replace losses, or create new units .

At the opposite to the german army , you have to understand the french army had what we say in french "ceinture et bretelles" .
( in english something like "belt and braces" , meaning they have on hand quantity of tanks at many levels ) .
The first level was in the bataillon/regiment. In light tank bataillon you have 39 tanks aligned , and 6 in reserve to replace losses .
The second level , is the local depot or the divisionnal mecanic unit , with a quantity of tanks of each type .
The third level is the reparation parc, with a balance of tanks of each type to distribute .
The fourth level is the main depot of Gien , receiving each production of new tanks and one hand quantity of remaining tanks of each type not already distribued .
The five level , not dedicated to be used , but was used at the end of the campaign : local depots, schools etc .

For all this reasons , you will have everytime the full dotations ( except maybe one or 2 , sent for repair ) at the 10 of may 1940 , and after it will be depending on the choice of the great commanders, to rearm or reconstruct some units or not .

On the opposite way , germans try to use every available tank in 1940 and have no real reserve . It's why some panzerdivisions cannot reach to be more than 50 % of dotations after hard combat , while french units can be rearmed very fast for common tanks ( not for B1bis and Somua S35 , and some other not produced neither in stock , like FCM36 )

My text is quite long , but i've tried to explain without exploring too many details , it's very complex .

Regards,
Alain
ATF40 ( Armée de Terre Française 1940 ) : French ground army in 1940 , website atf40.fr

alain adam
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Posts: 35
Joined: 23 Dec 2017 19:58
Location: lyon

Re: French 9e and 25e DIM 's H-35/39 problem

Post by alain adam » 14 Feb 2018 19:34

Hi ,
just to provide some examples , and complete my text , during my researchs i found some informations about actual daily dotation in some tank bataillons ( operative tanks , the missing tanks are under repair , or destroyed in few cases ) .
I made a short graphic , per day for these one , when i found this kind of information ( not really easy to have it ! ) :
1st BCC
http://atf40.les-forums.com/topic/20/1e-bcc/
5th BCC
http://atf40.les-forums.com/topic/5/5e-bcc/
10th BCC
http://atf40.les-forums.com/topic/17/10e-bcc/
12nd BCC
http://atf40.les-forums.com/topic/10/12e-bcc/
21st BCC
http://atf40.les-forums.com/topic/9/21e-bcc/
24th BCC
http://atf40.les-forums.com/topic/12/24e-bcc/
29th BCC
http://atf40.les-forums.com/topic/7/29e-bcc/
30th BCC
http://atf40.les-forums.com/topic/8/30e-bcc/
31st BCC
http://atf40.les-forums.com/topic/6/31e-bcc/


Regards ,
Alain
ATF40 ( Armée de Terre Française 1940 ) : French ground army in 1940 , website atf40.fr

Kelvin
Member
Posts: 2632
Joined: 06 Apr 2007 14:49

Re: French 9e and 25e DIM 's H-35/39 problem

Post by Kelvin » 15 Feb 2018 07:17

alain adam wrote:Hi Kelvin ,
In fact you have to consider two types of engines :
- tanks or vehicles produced since a long time
- at the opposite , new stuff , still in production , and with a quantity released not suffisant to be dispatched in all units at the theoretical quantity approved by an official oob .

The Lorraine VBCP , as the Laffly-Hotchkiss W15T , and some other vehicules are not produced in may 1940 with a suffisant quantity to equip all the units to respect the defined OOB .
It's why the dotation was first reduced in each BCPP ( case of Lorraine VBCP ) , and not distribued to all DCR divisions .

This is not the case for tanks , but ie have to specify some points :
- Somua S35 and B1bis were suffisant only because the oob of the DLM and the DCR was reduced : From 2 regiments with only S35 , we have finally two regiments with an half of Hotchkiss and an half of Somua for DLM , and from 4 battaillons of B1bis , we have finally the half on Hotchkiss and the half on B1bis . So , real oob of lighter divisions were complete ( except the one or two tanks with mecanic problems , and sometimes we have one or two additionnal tank , not defined in the oob )
- For this reason , 1st , 2nd and 3rd DCR , as 1st , 2nd and 3rd DLM were well organized , as required by the oob ( except for the 3rd DLM , with Hotchkiss tanks to replace AMR 35 in "regiment de dragons portés" : better dotation , and because the production of AMR 35 was stopped ) . At the opposite , the 4th DCR was organized during the campaign and was organized with ... what they could found ( parts of future 4th DLM , infantry tanks ... ) , it's why this division was not organized like the others .

For tanks , you only have to know wich one are still in production to keep doubts on actual dotation for units :
1) Somua S35 and B1bis : i've already explain the problem . the productions will help to replace losses and create some small units
2)D2 : finaly dedicated to be infantry tank , and will be integrated in 4th DCR because de gaulle know very well this kind of tanks , and not many B1bis available at this date : This is a medium tank with a capacity like Somua S35 ( when rearmed )
- Hotchkiss H39 : used for every task : infantry , cavalry , infantry independant bataillons . In french "bon à tout faire" , but don't forget this is a small tank with only two men , and a "long" gun of 37mm , equivalent to the german gun on Pz III , but better armor than the german tank
-Renault R40 : infantry independant bataillons dedicated , but will be used later as reinforcement in divisions or armored groupements
All the other productions were stopped ( FT , D1 , FCM2C , FCM36 , R35 , H35 ) or will finish during the campaign to be replaced by a newer version ( case of R35/R40 if i remember well ) .

Anyway , on the begining of the campaign , all DCR and DLM was with a full dotation of tanks ( the first 3 of each ) . Every GBC ( organic unit of 1 , 2 or 3 BCC ) has a full dotation of infantry tanks ( excep the particular case of 51th BCC with FCM2C , reduced to 7 heavy tanks ( 2*3 + 1 ), the original OOB was 3*3 +1 , but two of them was dismantled between the two wars ( and turret send to mareth line in tunisia ) and the last one used as reserve in depot , but with motor problems . All the FT units are full ( or overfull ) because local depots keep some quantities of this old tank , and something like 1200 stay at Gien ( only a short part able to be used , but many spare parts to maintain bataillons at full dotation ) .
For information , in these bataillons , the 1940's dotation is 2 FT gun tanks for 1 machinegun tank .

On this page , i try to define each dotation for each infantry and cavalry unit
http://www.atf40.fr/ATF40/chars.html
When you have the green color behind the text , it's the actual dotation for the 10 of may 1940 . When it's blue , it's a new unit , appearing during the campaign , with or without informations of quantity of tanks on my website . For this kind of units , you can have doubts ( and i've seen an error on the 2nd polish BCC today :) , but most on time it was already verified ) . For the other , in green , no problems with the quantity and type of tanks .

One example to better undestand :
The 40th BCC was initially with FT tanks , and few modern tanks ( hotchkiss ) . it was a tank education bataillon at the mobilization , called at this time "bataillon de manoeuvre" . The bataillon will receive a Renault tank dotation on the 19th of may 1940 , with a part of Renault R35 ( 37mm short gun : one compagny of 15 tanks ) , and a part of Renault R40 (37mm long gun : two compagny of 15 tanks each ) . Of course, the previous tanks return to depot , and was able to be used in other units , it's why local depots with the progressive modernisation of the french army will have many and many FT tanks , and sometimes never send them to the central depot of Gien . And after , these tanks were re-used in march compagny , to replace losses, or create new units .

At the opposite to the german army , you have to understand the french army had what we say in french "ceinture et bretelles" .
( in english something like "belt and braces" , meaning they have on hand quantity of tanks at many levels ) .
The first level was in the bataillon/regiment. In light tank bataillon you have 39 tanks aligned , and 6 in reserve to replace losses .
The second level , is the local depot or the divisionnal mecanic unit , with a quantity of tanks of each type .
The third level is the reparation parc, with a balance of tanks of each type to distribute .
The fourth level is the main depot of Gien , receiving each production of new tanks and one hand quantity of remaining tanks of each type not already distribued .
The five level , not dedicated to be used , but was used at the end of the campaign : local depots, schools etc .

For all this reasons , you will have everytime the full dotations ( except maybe one or 2 , sent for repair ) at the 10 of may 1940 , and after it will be depending on the choice of the great commanders, to rearm or reconstruct some units or not .

On the opposite way , germans try to use every available tank in 1940 and have no real reserve . It's why some panzerdivisions cannot reach to be more than 50 % of dotations after hard combat , while french units can be rearmed very fast for common tanks ( not for B1bis and Somua S35 , and some other not produced neither in stock , like FCM36 )

My text is quite long , but i've tried to explain without exploring too many details , it's very complex .

Regards,
Alain
Hello, Alain,thank so much for your text and right now I fully understand the AFV dotation of French armoured units. Is it the problem on French armoured forces after Dunkirk is lack of specialist in AFV ? If the best personnel of three DLM and two DLC were lost in Fall Gelb, when French knew she need to build more big armoured units to counter German unit, like coversion of 1 and 4 DLC into 4 and 7 DLM and rebuild three old DLM, but many good crews were lost. Is it main cause of their setback in Fall Rot ? Thank

alain adam
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Location: lyon

Re: French 9e and 25e DIM 's H-35/39 problem

Post by alain adam » 15 Feb 2018 20:56

In fact , if many armoured or motorized units were lost in the sector of Dunkirk , most of the crews were evacuated by sea and resent to France, to reform divisions .
The main problem was , begining of june , to found available modern tanks .
In addition , i have to say , beyond french front , some point of centralization of tank's crew without vehicule were organized .
So , no lack of crews , but a real problem to found available Somua or B1bis . Plenty of FT tanks were available , but , as you know , not very usable for an armoured unit .
It's why , ending may and during june , small units were formed ( compagny ) , with modern tanks not really tested , and produced during april or may , or taken in school units , or depots ( but in this case , old and sometimes with mecanics problems )
Later in june , they used directly tanks ( not completly assembled , i.e. some without turret ) from the tank's plants and evacuate them to the south of France .
So , during Fall rot , the powerful of armored units was mainly the troops beyond Maginot line, and if my memory is good , 3 "sword groupements" to try to consolidate the front in the north east with any tank they can found . But the main problem was not with the tanks : the front was longest , and the quantity of infantry troops was very limited by km² because many french troops was already prisonners . It's why Weygand used the solution of hedgedog positions : very hard to destroy , but you can bypass them , keeping a risk on your logistic chain if you don't destroy them .
(I've to add , for information , Weygand followed only Gamelin instructions made in 1939 for this strategy , but Gamelin thought a solution with new units could be done to re-enforce the army , like US or british divisions , or maybe north african divisions : none of them will appear in june 40's to help this strategy : Weygand was just stupid to use this solution but already convinced that French army was lost )

Dunkirk was the real and effective destruction of french modern tanks , by abandon , to save the crews .
And B1bis , everywere was maily lost during movements , not in combat duty . When you lost the field you cannot go to take the tank and repair it , so you lost it definively .
Tank's plant were not mobile , and when germans were in it , no way to have new productions .
It's why a the end , the main tank in french army was the Renault R35 , with his poor gun of 37mm (short) , and of course the FT tank from the WW1 with the same gun or a machine gun .
All others were remnants of units , but the french try to use everything . A compagny of british cruiser tanks , before evacuation , let their tanks to french crews , as an example .
In the main mind of US people , they thought French army do not a real fight in 1940 . That's not true , and everything was used , but the war was lost during the first days of may 1940 , in fact . Only a strategy problem , so a great commander problem , so a politic problem ... The french troops and the french armament was good ( many times better than german ) , but the strategy was poor . We cannot change the history .

Regards,
Alain
ATF40 ( Armée de Terre Française 1940 ) : French ground army in 1940 , website atf40.fr

Kelvin
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Posts: 2632
Joined: 06 Apr 2007 14:49

Re: French 9e and 25e DIM 's H-35/39 problem

Post by Kelvin » 17 Feb 2018 18:04

Hi, Alain, thank for your answer. Just my opinion, Weygand possibly under pressure from politican and dared not to evacuate many troop from the front, like those manning the Maginot line. Those troop remained idle until Heeresgruppe C launched their offensive. Should Weygand take this option, he might have another 25 divisions on hand and also increased the number of infantry troop per km. I suppose everything go too fast and made them hesitate to take action. They thought just like previous war, both exhausted each other for a while and then built up new troop in the rear. And allied blockade would bring pressure upon German economy just like WWI.

I think the organization of DIM and DLM are very good organization. German motorized divisions did not have any AFV in this time while DIM had three different types of AFV. DLM had about 300 AFV including Panhard 178, also strong artillery pieces ( 3 battalions), strong recce troop, what DLM lack was relative weak in weaponary of engineer companies, only two old MG while German engineer had 8 cm mortar and also abundant of MG on hand.

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