► Photothread: French Equipment in German Service

A section dedicated to photo threads on panzer and other Axis vehicles.
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RedBaron
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Post by RedBaron » 08 Sep 2003 19:55

Great! Lots of info I didn't know... Great topic.

Paul Lakowski
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Post by Paul Lakowski » 09 Sep 2003 03:53

Heres an interesting site posted from another forum....it appears to show that the Pak 97/38 [French 75mm cannon mounted on the Pak 38 gun carrage] was produced in some considerable numbers...3712 to be exact over 1942 and 1943.Too bad they didn't think of that in 1940/41 and produced the 1000-2000 Pak 38 50L60 instead as tank guns to requipp the Pz-IIIs , while the carrages went to 75mm guns :wink:

http://members.tripod.com/~Sturmvogel/GermWeapProd.html

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 09 Sep 2003 09:04

Wow that strange ... I had this figure about the famous "75". Used by 18 countries including the US (until 1941), UK (1939-40 in small numbers), Poland, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Romania, Finland (48, 12 of which arrived in time for the Winter War), Lithuania & Spain. France had 4500 in service in June 1940, most of which ended in German hands as FK 97(f) and FK 231(f) (modernized version) used for 2nd line troops and fortifications. In 1942 the Germans converted 600 for anti-tank use (on the PaK 38 carriage) as the 7.5cm PaK97/38 for the eastern front. The modernized version (with tires) is called FK 231(f) in German service.The FK 97(f) has wheels and is more like the WWI model.

Big discrepancy between 600 and 3712 ... Perhaps my number is wrong ... or at least it only concerns French 75mm Mle1897 and they have used many more from other countries ? I am not sure it would have been adapted as a tank gun, the only ine having the 75mm Mle1897 in a turret wasa the huge Char FCM 2C. The hull 75mm of the Char B1bis was a SA35 model, a shortened version and in the FT17BS it was a 75mm BS even shorter. The B1bis 75mm fired both AP and HE shells but the old FT17 fired generally only HE shells, it was typically an infantry support tank and during WW2 quite only used in North Africa and in Madagascar in small numbers.
Even in 1940 the '75' in its normal configuration has been used in an AT task, even more and more when units had to deploy in hedgehogs.
The studies led by Brandt in 1938/1940 aimed to increase the initial velocity of the shells (without increasing of the chamber pressure) and also more generally to increase the AT power of the shells. The French company developped a serie of sub-calibrated shells for the 25, 37, 75, 155 and 203 mm calibers (the two last ones for the French navy). The other nations did not developp similar or equivalent systems before 1941/1942. The most outstanding realization of this serie is probably the 75/57 mm shell with a muzzle velocity of 900 m/s and a penetration of 90 mm armor at 1000 m at an impact angle of 35° ... The 75 mm Mle 1897 guns could have engaged and destroyed German Panzer IVs at 2500 m with it ! But with the standard 1910M "breaking" shell the panzers were generally engaged/destroyed at 800 to 1000 m.
Except the sub-calibrated shells, Brandt also developped a 75 mm HEAT shell at this time, using the patent of the swiss Mohaupt. The tests took place in Bourges in 1940 and the results were that impressive that they were put in the secret immediately.
The war ministry allowed Brandt to give the exploitation licenses to the USA and the United Kingdom. The sub-calibrated shells are used in the UK to developp the APDS shells (armoured piercing discarted sabot) issued from 1942/1943. The first AT guns using them were the 6 Pdr and 17 Pdr AT guns.

David

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Post by Paul Lakowski » 09 Sep 2003 18:31

Hi david I was surprised too at the number...I had no idea. It looks like from these figures that Russia 76mm guns were used to the same extent.

One thing that does surprise me alot is the amount of ammo produced for these guns!According to this site, they produced 2.6 million HEAT shells along with 1.3 million AP shells for the French 75 during the war!

AS to overall numbers , in Alister Hornes "Too Lose a Battle" he states that one of the war bootie was 7000 french 75mm field guns falling into german hands[ page 650, he says many were brough out of retirement by the french in the last days of the german invasion], maybe thats part of the answer...you could always email the site to get there info?

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 12 Sep 2003 14:29

Hi,

Just a few words more about French 1939/1940 vehicles used after 1940 but this time not by the German army ... One captured H-39 was the first tank of Tito's partisans. Just after WW2, Israelis got hold of a dozen units, the first model they had in numbers, and used them until 1956. These tanks of the Blitzkrieg era of WW2 had seen service with the French Army in 1940, then the Wehrmacht, and again with the French army. Numbers of H-39 light tanks were sent out from France in 1947 and 1948 to participate to the Indochina war. The first arrived in May 1947 to equip the REC (Foreign Legion Cavalry Regiment), with 20 more in April 1948.
The Renault UE Chenillette saw also service during the early Indochina war. This version had casemate armed with a FM 24/29 (an AMX development, built initially for export orders to China pre-WW2). There were a few Renault MG-armed chenillettes in Cambodia during the Indochina war. These might also be German converted vehicles (Sicherungsfahrzeug UE(f), an infantry support vehicles armed with one or two MG34s) used again by the French army. The Panhard P178 armoured car was also used in Indochina in its P178B version armed with a 47mm SA35 gun.
Did you also know that the CEFEO made use of several ex-Japanese tanks early in the early Indochina war ! The main user of these was an ad-hoc formation (apparently the reforming Détachment Motorisée du Cambodge) in Cambodia, which used Renault UE with machine-guns mounted, plus a mixture of Japanese Type 89B medium tanks, Type 95 light tanks and Type 94 tankettes. There were at least 9 Japanese tanks still in service on 15th February 1946.
Several japanese planes were also used by the French army in the early indochina war like Nakajima Ki.43, Najkajima Ki.46 and Aichi E13A-1 seaplane for example.

Best regards,

David

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Bayerlein spirit
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Beute

Post by Bayerlein spirit » 12 Sep 2003 15:38

Salut David

Find here two pictures of Unic P107(f) and Hotchkiss R35 ( may be vehicle captured in Cherbourg ) Isigny-Normandie 07 1944
Correct or not? :wink:
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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 12 Sep 2003 15:57

Hey, nice pics ! Thank you :) Where are they from ?
The second one is more a Somua MCG I think.

David

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Bayerlein spirit
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French captured vehicles

Post by Bayerlein spirit » 13 Sep 2003 18:30

Sources eBay for both trucks and about Isigny picture "Histoire de guerre" magazine.
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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 13 Sep 2003 18:52

Wow I really like this one and its kind of "action" ... many thanks ! Did you also found that on ebay ? Perhaps a stupid question but I never used this bid system, how do you find these pics on ebay ?

David

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 14 Sep 2003 02:07

Image
Somua S-35 in Russia, partisan warfare

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Somua S-35 in Italy in 1944

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Hotchkiss H-39 (37mm SA38 gun)

from http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/

David

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 22 Sep 2003 13:28

Image

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French trucks in German service

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A Somua S-35 captured by Yugoslavian partisans

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Not in axis service but what can be done with engineer's skills :)

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leSPW107(f)

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No info about this one ... it is a German SdKfz.251 with a French APX tank turret !



And know different French equipments in Romanian service (from http://www.worldwar2.ro) :

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Renault R-35

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Two R-35 tanks tow a captured BT-2 in Bessarabia. July 1941.


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Renault R-35 rearmed with a soviet 45mm gun

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Chenillette Renault UE

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Hotchkiss twin-AA gun

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60mm Brandt mortar

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81mm Brandt mortar

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A 105 mm Schneider model 1936 towed by a Skoda 6STP6L truck

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75 mm model 1897 from the 6th Horse Artillery Regiment in Hungary in November 1944

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Although it seems incredible, the 120 mm De Bagne model 1878 howitzer was used in 1944 !

Regards,

David

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 22 Sep 2003 14:03

Image

A Somua S-35 on the Leningrad front in 1941

didier laugier
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My small contribution

Post by didier laugier » 23 Sep 2003 15:02

Hello
Ok some other pictures...

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Regards
Didier

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 23 Sep 2003 16:48

Very nice, thanks !
Any info about these pictures ? unit ? where ? when ? etc. ?

n°1 could be a 7,5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 35H (f)

n°2 is a Renault R-35

n°3 is a damaged Panhard P178, somebody could probably recognize the division thanks to the markings ?

n°4 is a Renault UE with a French 25mm AT gun (2.5 cm Pak 112/113 (f))

n°5 could be a Artillerie Schlepper 35R 731(f) ... but what is the gun model ? Is there a cork/top in the barrel ?

n°6 could be a Munitionspanzer 35R 731(f)

n°7 is showing Somua S-35s

David
Last edited by David Lehmann on 23 Sep 2003 17:49, edited 2 times in total.

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 23 Sep 2003 17:23

Notes/characteristics about several French vehicles :

FCM 2C
The very heavy tank FCM Char 2C (FCM means "forges et chantiers de la Mediterranee") was developed as a heavy breakthrough vehicle in WW1. The order called for a vehicle that would span all German trenches. Ten tanks were built and named as follows : n°90 Poitou, n°91 Provence, n°92 Picardie, n°93 Alsace, n°94 Bretagne, n°95 Touraine, n°96 Anjou, n°97 Lorraine (later renamed Normandie), n°98 Berry, n°99 Champagne. Originally, 300 tanks of this type were supposed to be built. Only 8 tanks were operationnal in 1940 (n°92 and n°95 were out of service and scuttled on 12th June 1940) and assigned to the 51st BCC (bataillon de chars de combat). But the tanks, loaded onto special railroad cars, were attacked by the German Luftwaffe and disabled or destroyed. The tank n°99 was captured intact by the Germans and brought back to Berlin. In 1942 it was seen in France at the Renault plant being overhauled. Brought back to Germany, the tank was captured by the USSR and was last seen in 1948 in East Germany.
It was armed with four 8mm Hotchkiss HMGs and a 75mm Mle1897 gun (the gun + 1 CMG in the front turret). It had a 12-men crew with 3 men in the front turret and 1 man in a rear turret.
weight : 69t
crew : 12 men
maximum armor : 40mm
maximum speed : 12 km/h
autonomy : 100 km
armament : four 8mm Hotchkiss MGs and one 75mm Mle1897 gun

RENAULT FT-17/18
Probably the first modern and one of the most successful tank of World War 1. This light tank was the first of the classic tank design which featured a turret with a 360-degree traverse. Thanks to the small size of the tank they could enter forested areas, where larger British Mark V or French Saint Chamond and Schneider were useless. The FT-17 was often used in mass attacks. 480 were used in the counterattack near Soissons in July 1918 alone.
The main task of tank units was to eliminate machine gun nests and destroy barbed-wire obstacles, enabling infantry to cross no-man's-land. The principal advantages of the Renault tanks were their small size, agility on the battlefield, and large numbers. French troops praised their support by the light tanks and demanded it in every operation. Although tank - infantry cooperation was poor due to lack of training, nevertheless, infantry units always requested the support of the tanks in every offensive operation.
Renault FTs took part in 4356 engagements. Field guns were the main threat to the tanks, accounting for 356 totally destroyed Renaults, of 440 lost during the war. The other threats were : mines, tank traps, and the Mauser antitank rifles. Antitank trenches, shell holes and wide infantry trenches temporarily put more tanks out of action than direct engagement with the enemy.
This tank remained in service right up to 1944 when the Germans used them in the street fighting in Paris. The allies encountered a few following the Torch landings in 1942.
The FT-17M was armed with a 8mm Hotchkiss MG and in 1931 it was replaced by a Reibel MAC31 in 7.5mm, the FT-17C was armed with a 37mm SA18 L/21 gun and the FT-17BS had a short barrelled 75mm BS gun. There was also a command radio version (TSF), a FT-17 "char demineur" (one of the earliest minesweeping tanks with 2 plough shares mounted on the front to sweep mines out of the way.), a "char projecteur" (a searchlight variant for police use) and a version carrying fascines which could be dropped into wide trenches. About 3728 had been built until 1921 (2100 with MG, 1246 with 37mm gun, 39 with 75mm gun, 188 TSF, 155 for "school" units) and more than 3177 during WW1 alone.
The FT-18, close to the FT-17 was distinguished by the cast cylindric turret, whereas the FT-17 has an octogonal one. It has been widely exported : Italy, USA, USSR, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Holland, Japan, Poland. It has been used by the French and the Spanish armies during the Rif war between 1919 and 1926 and by the Polish 1st tank brigade with French officers in 1919-1920 against the Red Army. 1560 were still on hand in 1940 in the French Army and about 723 in operationnal units in metropolitan France and in the colonies. The Germans used them under the name Panzerkampfwagen 17R/18R 730(f) many were used in security task on the rear lines, in armored trains or were given to the Luftwaffe as snow plows for airfields.
weight : 6.7t
crew : 2 men
maximum armor : 22mm
maximum speed : 7.5 km/h
autonomy : 35 km
armament : a 8 mm Hotchkiss TMG, a 7.5mm MAC1931 TMG, a 37mm SA18 L/21 gun or a 75mm BS gun.

RENAULT R-35
In 1933 the French High Command called for the design of a 6 ton tank as a replacement for the aging Renault FT-17. The vehicle was designed to have a crew of two and to be armed with one or two 7.5mm machine-guns or a 37mm gun. Manufactures that took part in design process were Renault, Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranee (FCM), Compagnie General de Construction des Locomotives and Delaunay Belleville.
The first prototype was manufactured by Renault at the end of 1934 and was based upon the Auto-mitrailleuse de Reconnaissance 1935 Type ZT. The vehicle was called the Renault ZM (prior to acceptance) and immediately sent into trials in the winter of 1935. By Spring, an order for 300 was placed. The tank was now called "char leger modele 1935-R" (R-35). Over 1600 had been built by 1940 and about 1100 R-35/R-40 were operationnal on the front facing Germany in May 1940.
weight : 10.6t
crew : 2 men
maximum armor : 40mm (bolted casted plates)
maximum speed : 20 km/h
autonomy : 140 km
armament : a 37mm SA18 L/21 gun and a 7.5mm MAC1931 CMG
Following the fall of France many were pressed into service in the German army or converted under the name of Panzerkampfwagen 35R 731(f), Befehlspanzer 35R (f), PzKpfw 35R 731(f) armed with MG34s, Munitionspanzer 35R 731(f), Artillerie Schlepper 35R 731(f), Zugkraftwagen 35R 731(f), 4,7cm Pak(t) auf PzKpfw 35R (f), 5cm Pak38 auf PzKpfw 35R (f), 10.5cm leFH18(Sf) auf 35R(f), Flammenwerferpanzer 35R (f), 8cm sGrW34 auf PzKpfw 35R 731(f) and some were used in armored trains.

RENAULT R-40
A variation of the R-35 was developed by Atelier de Construction d’Issy-les-Moulineaux (AMX) which introduced a new suspension that consisted of 12 pairs of small road-wheels on each side mounted in pairs, vertical coil springs, and protective skirting plates. The tracks were like on the Char B1. About 1100 R-35/R-40 were operationnal on the front facing Germany in May 1940. This vehicle mounted the long barreled 37mm SA 38 L/33 gun. Like the R-35 it was used by the Germans under the name Panzerkampfwagen 40 R 736(f).
weight : 12t
crew : 2 men
maximum armor : 40mm (bolted casted plates)
maximum speed : 20 km/h
autonomy : 130 km
armament : a 37mm SA38 L/33 gun and a 7.5mm MAC1931 CMG

HOTCHKISS H-35
Its conception is close to the Renault R-35, the H-35 is equiped with the same turret. The H-35 is equiped with a 37mm SA18 gun and sometimes with a 37mm SA38 gun. About 700 produced between 1936 and 1939 and about 398 H-35 were operationnal on the front facing Germany in May 1940.
weight : 9.6t
crew : 2 men
maximum armor : 40mm (bolted casted plates)
maximum speed : 35 km/h
autonomy : 150 km
armament : a 37mm SA18 L/21 gun or a SA38 L/33 gun and a 7.5mm MAC1931 CMG
The Germans used it under the name Panzerkampfwagen 35H 734(f), Munitionsschlepper 35H 734(f), 7,5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 35H (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)", Slf. fur 28/32cm Wurfrahmen auf PzKpfw 35H (f), Artillerie Panzerbeobachtungswagen auf 35H 734(f) and some were some were used in armored trains.

HOTCHKISS H-38 and H-39
Both H-38 and H-39 are derived from the H-35 but with a more powerful engine (120hp instead of 85hp) and heavier armor. Both of them could have short or long (H-38/H-39L) 37mm gun. 540 H-39 have been produced between 1939 and 1940. About 790 H-38/H-39 were operationnal on the front facing Germany in May 1940. One captured H-39 was the first tank of Tito's partisans. Just after the war, Israelis got hold of a dozen units, the first model they had in numbers, and used them until 1956.
weight : 12.1t
crew : 2 men
maximum armor : 45mm (bolted casted plates)
maximum speed : 36 km/h
autonomy : 120 km
armament : a 37mm SA18 L/21 gun or a SA38 L/33 gun and a 7.5mm MAC1931 CMG
The Germans used the H-38 under the name Panzerkampfwagen 38H 735(f), 7,5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 38H (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)", Munitionsschlepper 38H 735(f), Grosser Funk- & Befehlspanzer 38H 735(f), Artillerie Panzerbeobachtungswagen auf 38H 735(f), 10,5cm leFH18/40 auf Geschützwagen 38H (f), Slf. fur 28/32cm Wurfrahmen auf PzKpfw 38H (f), 8cm sGrW34 auf PzKpfw 38H 735(f) and some were used in armored trains.
The H-39 was used under the name Panzerkampfwagen 39H 735(f), Munitionsschlepper 39H 735(f), 7,5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 39H (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)", Slf. fur 28/32cm Wurfrahmen auf PzKpfw 39H (f), 10.5cm leFH18(Sf) auf Geschutzwagen 39H(f), Artillerie Panzerbeobachtungswagen auf 39H 735(f) and some were used in armored trains.

FCM 36
The FCM-36 was built by the Societe des Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranee, designed to accompany infantry. This was the first mass produced French diesel powered tank. 100 units were built and used agaisnt the Germans in the 4th and 7th BCC. It had an octagonal shaped turret. The armor is a welded type armor. There were mud chutes running along the top of the tracks. An actual very modern look but a poor armament with its 37mm SA18 gun. It was used by the Germans under the name Panzerkampfwagen FCM 737(f) and converted to 7,5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw FCM (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)" and 10,5cm leFH 16 auf Geschuetzwagen FCM (f).
weight : 12.35t
crew : 2 men
maximum armor : 40mm (welded casted plates)
maximum speed : 24 km/h
autonomy : 225 km
armament : a 37mm SA18 L/21 gun and a 7.5mm MAC1931 TMG

D1
French plans to create new modern infantry support tanks led to the development of the Renault Char D1. 160 units were built between 1932 and 1935. They were first equiped with the Schneider ST-1 turret but later models were fitted with the ST-2 model in 1933. It was armed with a 47mm SA 34 tank gun and a coaxial 7.5mm MAC31 MG. The tank also carried a 7.5mm MG in the bow. In France in 1940 the 67th BCC is equiped with D1 tanks, the others operate mostly in Tunisia in the 61st and 65th BCC. After armistice they are issued to the 2nd, 5th and 7th Regiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique (RCA) and in November 1942 they saw action first against the US troops and then again axis troops in Tunisia. About 45 of them were used against the Germans. The German Army used them under the name Panzerkampfwagen D1 732(f).
weight : 14t
crew : 3 men
maximum armor : 30mm
maximum speed : 18 km/h
autonomy : 90 km
armament : a 47mm SA34 L/30 gun and a 7.5mm MAC1931 CMG (115 shells and 5100 cartridges)

D2
Even while the Char D1 was being produced, work was proceeding on the Renault Char D2. Production models were first fitted with the ST-2 turret but rapidly with the APX-1 and APX-4 turrets (same turret as the B1bis tank). This turret was armed with a 47mm SA34 tank gun and a coaxial 7.5mm MAC1931 MG. The tank also had a bow 7.5mm MAC1931 MG. 100 of these tanks were produced between 1937 and 1940 and 50 were equipped with the long barreled SA35 47mm gun. 100 D2 were operationnal against Germany. In April 1939, some 15 tanks were projected to be transformed in flamethrower tanks. The German Army used them under the name Panzerkampfwagen D2 733(f) and number of turrets was sent to Croatia and mounted on armored trains.
weight : 19.75t
crew : 3 men
maximum armor : 40mm
maximum speed : 23 km/h
autonomy : 100 km
armament : a 47mm SA34 L/30 or SA35 L/34 gun and two 7.5mm MAC1931 (TMG and BMG) (120 shells and 5100 cartridges)

Char B1 and B1bis
Conceived by general Estienne (pioneer of French tank arm) in 1920, this tank had an original conception. In 1929-30, three pilot models were built by Renault and FCM. These later became designated Char B. These three pilot models were extensively reworked and modified for tests. The first one, reengined and uparmored became the early prototype for the B1-ter in 1937. The Char B1 was the production version of the Char B. Production began in 1935. Only a small number were built before construction changed to the more powerful B1-bis in 1937. The B1-bis was the main battle tank of the French army in 1940 and was nicknamed "Kolosse" by the Germans. Considered one of the most powerful and advanced tanks in the world, it was hampered only by it's low speed and cost of production. The B1-ter did not go beyond prototype stage. The Char B series had self-sealing fuel tanks, grouped lubrication, electric starter, and a floor escape hatch. There were the first French tanks to have electric powered traverse. It was steered through a double differential combined with the Naeder (a hydrostatic unit). The driver used the Naeder steering system to line up the 75mm gun as it couldn't move left or right. It ran on a Holt suspension which was covered by skirting. The suspension was leaf and coil springs on vertical articulations. The tracks were driven by the rear sprocket and could be adjusted from the inside. They had the APX1 turret.
The Chars B were used in the 4 French armored divisions (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th DCRs = Division Cuirasée de Réserve). Each division had 2 battalions of theoretically 34 Chars Bs and 2 battalions of 45 light tanks. There were also B1-bis distributed to 4 independent companies (347th, 348th, 349th and 352nd CACC = compagnie autonome de chars de combat). About 500 B1bis have been built from 1937 to 1940. The French B1bis gave the Germans a bad licking resisting 37mm anti-tank gunners with their superior armour. Although Guderian and Kleist would mostly dismiss these concerns, the up-and-coming officers in the German army would never forget the impression left of fearing enemy heavy armour and the need to counter them at the infantry level. Had the B1bis been better employed, it would have easily defeated any invading German tank in 1940 but it nevertheless had a low autonomy. They were used/converted by the Germans under the name Panzerkampfwagen B1/B2 740(f), 10,5cm leFH18/3 auf Geschützwagen B2(f) (16 converted in 1942), Flammenwerferpanzer Renault B2 (f) (retaining the turret-mounted 47mm, but with the hull-mounted 75mm replaced by a flamethrower) and Fahrschulpanzer B1 (f) (turretless).

B1
weight : 28t
crew : 4 men
maximum armor : 40mm (bolted casted plates)
maximum speed : 28 km/h
autonomy : 200 km
armament : a 47mm SA34 L/30 gun and a coaxial 7.5mm MAC1931 in the turret, a 75mm SA35 L17 gun and one 7.5mm MAC1931 MG in the hull.

B1bis
weight : 31.5t
crew : 4 men
maximum armor : 60mm (bolted casted plates)
maximum speed : 28 km/h
autonomy : 180 km
armament : a 47mm SA35 L/34 gun (30 AP, 20 HE) and a coaxial 7.5mm MAC1931 in the turret, a 75mm SA35 L17 gun (14 AP, 60 HE) and one 7.5mm MAC1931 MG in the hull. The B1bis had also 35x150 rounds MAC31 drum magazines, for a total of 5250 cartridges.

The French B1bis gave the Germans a bad licking resisting 37mm and even 75mm tank gunners with their superior armour. The Pak36 was therefore also called the "door-knocker" by the Germans Although Guderian and Kleist would mostly dismiss these concerns, the up-and-coming officers in the German army would never forget the impression left of fearing enemy heavy armour and the need to counter them at the infantry level. Had the B1bis been better employed, it would have created many problems ti the invading German tanks in 1940 but it nevertheless had a low autonomy.

On 16th May in Stonne, a single B1bis tank (Lieutnant Bilotte's "Eure") pushes through the german defenses and moves through Stonne. He attacked a German column of Pz.Rgt.8 and destroyed 2 PzIV, 10 PzIII and 2 Pak 36 guns. The first shots destroyed simultaneously the first (with the 47mm gun) and the last tank (with the 75mm gun) of the column. The armor of the B1bis was scattered with 140 impacts, no one penetrated or really damaged the armor.
On the evening of 17th May in the bridgehead of Hauteville-Neuvilette, the 6.PzD had pulled a French heavy tank attack back. One of the 3.7cm Pak36 (Leutenant Neckenauer) had hit a French tank 25 times. Only at the 26th shot the track was hit and the tank could be neutralized.
The B1bis was almost invincible when engaged by 3.7cm Paks until they noticed that they could fire in a small area on the left side of the tank which is a cooling-intake ... but it was not very easy to hit. When they used 8.8cm Flak it could easily be destroyed.
On 17th May in Crécy (North of Laon), report from the 1.PzD (BA-MA, RH 27-1/170, p.29) :
Despite the south exit had been protected, several French tanks appeared. One B1bis tank rolled over the defenses and took the direction of Mortiers, advancing along the 1st KRAD-Schützen battalion. At Mortiers the Pz.Rgt.1 was totally surprised and the B1bis tank advanced through Mortiers. Only after that the German tanks attacked the B1bis on its rear and finally it stopped and surrendered, immobilized. Dozens of impacts of 37mm and 75mm were visible on the B1bis but no one penetrated the armor.


SOMUA S-35
The vehicle was designed and manufactured by the Société d'Outillage Mecanique et d'Usinage d'Artillerie (SOMUA) and comes from a requirement from the French High Command in 1931. It was a tank for the cavalry, fast, well-armed and well-protected. It was the world first tank made of whole casted parts instead of bolted plates. In Service with the French army in 1936 and by May-June of 1940, the French army had about 400 in service against the Germans in frontline units. Due to the French tactics at the time it was not used to its best effect. Many experts regarded the SOMUA S-35, in 1940, as the best medium tank in the world. Equipped with excellent cast and sloped armor, the tank was considered hard to kill by German anti-tank gun teams as well as by German tank crews. One other advantage was that it was able to turn faster than most other tanks because for that not only one track was slowed down but the opposite track was also accelerated. Its only but serious failing was the mono-seated turret but actually the SOMUA S-35's APX4CE turret is sometimes described as a "one-and-a-half-man turret", as the enlarged turret ring, compared with the APX1 found on the B1bis, allowed the radio operator to provide assistance to the commander/gunner/reloader. This tank was the core of the tanks battalions of the DLM (Division Legere Mecanique = light mechanical divisions), what the French made the closest to the German panzerdivisions. The Somua carried 118 rounds for the gun (28 HE and 90 AP) and 2250 cartridges (15x150 rounds drum magazines for the 7.5mm MAC31). The Somua of the platoon commander had an ER29 radio (50 kg, range 5km) and the squadron commander had an ER29 and an ER26ter radio (150kg, range 30-60km). Both of these were mounted inside the hull. The driver sat at left front and the radio operator/loader sat on the right slightly behind him. This position allowed him to pass ammunition to the commander/gunner. In 1940 a diesel engine version is produced and called S-40.
A few S-35s were used by the Free French forces in Tunisia against the Afrika Korps in 1943. These tank crews before leaving their Somuas pulled away the embossed "SOMUA" plates and welded them on the new Shermans.
Germans used about 297 Somua S-35s under the name Panzerkampfwagen 35S 739(f). From 1941-1944 many were used by training units. It saw action on the Russian front during operation Barbarossa and later in the Balkans mostly in anti-partisans warfare. The Somua as well as other Hotchkiss and Renault French tanks were really liked in the Balkans because of their small size which allowed them to operate in the mountain areas, on the small trails and "roads" there and to provide close fire support to the engaged infantry units. These tanks were nevertheless not only used for training or anti-partisans warfare when you look at their engagements in Russia and in Finland. In Finland the Somua S-35 and Hotchkiss H-39 tank were present in the Panzer Abteilung 211. Pz.Abt.211 destroyed 24 Russian tanks and 5 AT-guns between 4-8.7.41 in Salla, North Finland.
They could also by foundd as Fahrschulpanzer Somua 35S(f) (turretless) and as protection in armored trains. In Normandy in 1944 they were still fighting with the 21.PzD. Several hundred were also given to Italy.
weight : 19.5t
crew : 3 men (Commander, driver, radio operator)
maximum armor : 56mm (casted armor)
maximum speed : 45 km/h (V8 engine 190 hp)
autonomy : 257 km
armament : a 47mm SA35 L/34 gun (RoF = 15 rpm, max penetration 65mm with the 1935 APC shell and 82mm with the 1936 APCBC shell) and a coaxial 7.5mm MAC1931 in the turret (RoF = 750 rpm, 10° left and right). The 47mm SA35 gun is just coming into production in 1937. This weapon is probably the best anti-tank gun in 1940. No German tank is thick enough to resist its punch at 800-1000m.
turret rotation (electric + manual for final aiming) : 360° in 28 seconds

Detailed armor :
Turret front : 56mm/0°
Gun mantlet : 56mm/round
Turret sides : 46mm/22.5°
Turret rear : 46mm/22.5°
Turret roof : 30mm/72.5° and 90°
Superstructure front : 36mm/22°
Superstructure sides : 35mm/22°
Superstructure rear : 25mm/30°
Superstructure top : 20mm/82° and 90°
Hull front : 36mm/round
Hull sides : 10 + 25 mm/0°
Hull rear : 35mm/0° and 25mm/30°
Hull top : 20mm/90°

RENAULT AMR 33
The auto-mitrailleuse de reconnaissance Renault, model 1933 was a light recon armored car (aka Renault type VM), fast and having good cross country performance. About 132 were used by the French Army. Its turret was armed with a single 7.5mm MAC1931. Used by the Germans under the name Panzerspaehwagen VM 701(f).
weight : 5.5t
crew : 2 men
maximum armor : 13mm
maximum speed : 54 km/h
autonomy : 257 km
armament : a 7.5mm MAC1931 in the turret

RENAULT AMR 35
The Auto-mitrailleuse de Reconnaissance Renault, model 1935 was a light recon armored car (aka Renault type ZT). 200 units were ordered but about 138 were issued in active units in May 1940. The AMR-35 ZDT1 version is armed with a 13.2mm HMG in a turret, the AMR-35 ZT2 model has a turret with a 25mm SA35 L/53 gun and a coaxial 7.5 mm MAC31 and the AMR-35 ZT3 version has no turret at all and a 25mm SA-L Mle34 in the hull. The later one was designed to be a tank hunter. Used by the Germans under the name Panzerspähwagen ZT 702(f), some were rearmed with 20mm KwK 30 or KwK 38 L/55 guns and even with a 8cm Granatwerfer.
weight : 6.5t
crew : 2 men
maximum armor : 13mm
maximum speed : 60 km/h
autonomy : 200 km

AMD LAFFLY 50AM
Designed on the basis of the White armored car from 1917. The Laffly 50AM had a 2-men turret.
weight : 6.5t
crew : 4 men
maximum armor : 7mm
maximum speed : 70 km/h
autonomy : 300 km
armament : a 37mm SA18 L/21 gun and a 7.5mm coaxial MAC1931 firing on the rear side of the turret

AMD LAFFLY 80AM
Also designed on the basis of the White armored car from 1917, the Laffly 80AM is already obsolete when entering in service in 1934. Only 28 units have been produced before being replaced by the P178. The Laffly 80AM was incorporated into two squadrons in North Africa and saw action in Tunisia in 1942 with the Free French forces.
weight : 7.5t
crew : 4 men
maximum armor : 7mm
maximum speed : 80 km/h
autonomy : 400 km
armament : a 13.2mm turret HMG a 7.5mm MAC1931 firing on the rear side of the turret

AMD PANHARD 165/175
The Panhard 165/175 is an armored car which entered service in 1933. Most of them were used in North Africa. It had a 2-men turret. Used by the Germans under the name Panzerspaehwagen 203(f).
weight : 6.7t
crew : 4 men
maximum armor : 9mm
maximum speed : 75 km/h
autonomy : 750 km
armament : a 37mm SA18 L/21 gun and a 7.5mm coaxial MAC1931 in the turret

AMD PANHARD P178
The Panhard 178 is a 4x4 armored car which entered service with the French army shortly before World War 2. The P178, nicknamed "pan-pan", was a very good and reliable armored car. It had a 2-men APX-3 turret and its 25mm SA35 gun had very good AT capacities. Some were armed with two turret MGs (only Vichy and axis forces) instead of the normal 25mm main gun and coaxial MG and some others with a 47mm SA35 gun and a coaxial MG in late 1940. The 47mm version was called P178B and participated to combats in June 1940. The P178 was pressed into German service designated Panzerspaehwagen P204(f). These armored cars were used throughout Europe and in the Soviet Union by German forces for recon, anti-partisan and security duties. Many were converted for use with armored trains their tires replaced with flanged steel wheels and were used to scout the tracks ahead of trains. Some were rearmed with 20mm KwK 30 or KwK 38 L/55 guns and even with 50mm KwK L/42 guns. After the Liberation of France in 1944 production was resumed for use by the Free French. The P178B is an improved version of the Panhard 178, it entered production after the Liberation of France in 1944. It's turret mounted a 47mm gun. The Panhard 178B remained in use with French forces into the 1960's.
weight : 8.2t
crew : 4 men
maximum armor : 13mm
maximum speed : 72 km/h
autonomy : 300 km
armament :
- 1x 25mm SA35 L/53 gun and 1x 7.5mm MAC1931 coaxial MG (P178) (+ 1x MAC1931 AAMG)
- 2x 7.5mm MAC1931 turret MGs (P178 MG) (+ 1x MAC1931 AAMG)
- 1x 47mm SA35 gun and 1x 7.5mm MAC1931 coaxial MG (P178) (+ 1x MAC1931 AAMG) in June 1940 (P178B)

AMD Laffly S15 TOE
The AMD Laffly S15 TOE is not only a recon armored car, it is an hybrid vehicle armored car and armored personnal carrier which can carry small infantry groups of 4-6 men. It saw mostly action in North Africa.
weight : 5t
crew : 3 men
maximum armor : 7mm
maximum speed : 60 km/h
autonomy : 1000 km
armament : a 7.5mm turret MAC1931

AMC P16 Mle29
The AMC Citroen-Kegresse P16 is ordered in 1939. 96 vehicles were delivered and used in 1940 for example in the 7th GRDI.
weight : 6.8t
crew : 3 men
maximum armor : 11mm
maximum speed : 50 km/h
autonomy : 250 km
armament : a 37mm SA18 L/21 gun and a coaxial 7.5mm turret MAC1931

RENAULT AMC-34
The AMC-34 (aka AMC-34 type YR) was a test vehicle based on the AMR-33, only 12 vehicles had been produced in 1935. The decision to adopt AMC 1935 ended the production for this vehicle. They have been rapidly transfered to units based in North Africa (1st and 5th RCA). It was first armed with a 25mm SA35 L/53 gun and later with a 47mm SA34 L/30 gun in order to have the ability to fire HE shells.
weight : 9.7t
crew : 3 men
maximum armor : 20mm
maximum speed : 40 km/h
autonomy : 200 km
armament : a 25mm SA35 L/53 gun or a 47mm SA34 L/30 gun, and a coaxial 7.5mm turret MAC1931

RENAULT AMC-35
Built by Renault in 1935 and lasting through 1940, the AMC-35 was a fast full-tracked cavalry combat armored car designed to accompagny the motorized units. Only 17 units have been produced, the Somua S-35 replaced it in the cavalry combat tank role. It equiped also he Belgian Army with 12 vehicles. It was equiped with the APX-2 model turret. Used by the Germans under the name Panzerkampfwagen AMC 738(f).
weight : 14.5t
crew : 3 men
maximum armor : 25mm
maximum speed : 42 km/h
autonomy : 125 km
armament : 47mm SA35 L/34 gun + coaxial 7.5mm turret MAC1931 in the ACG1 version and 25mm SA35 L/53 gun + coaxial 7.5mm turret MAC1931 in ACG2 version.

LORRAINE 37L
The Lorraine 37L was a supply carrier often towing a tracked trailer. 482 vehicles delivered in 1939/1940.
weight : 5.24t + 1.2t for the trailer
crew : 2 men
maximum speed : 35 km/h
autonomy : 135 km
It was also largely used/converted by the Germans under the names : Lorraine 37L(f) Schlepper, Gefechtsfeld-Versorgungsfahrzeug Lorraine 37L(f), Grosser Funk- & Beobachtungspanzer Lorraine (f), Munitionstransportkraftwagen auf Lorraine Schlepper, 7,5cm Pak40/1 auf Geschuetzwagen Lorraine "Marder I (SdKfz 135)", 10,5cm leFH18 auf Geschuetzwagen Lorraine (Wespe-equivalent), 12,2cm Kanone (r) auf Geschuetzwagen Lorraine (f) and 15cm sFH13/1 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine (Hummel-equivalent). The SPA were issued to the German divisions before the availability of the Wespe and Hummel in 1943.


LORRAINE 37L SPG
The Lorraine 37L was armed with a 47mm SA37 L/53 AT gun, designed to be a tracked tank destroyer, to ambush the German armored divisions. Manufacturing started in May 1940 and those that arrived to the front had little impact on the war. Captured units were immediately pressed into the German service as 4,7cm Pak181(f) auf Geschuetzwagen Lorraine.

CHENILLETTE RENAULT UE
Made by Renault, the UE supply carrier carried a crew of two man and generally no armament (sometimes an AA mount with a FM 24/29 or a 25mm SA-L Mle34 AT gun). It was used primarily for supply transportation to the first line units, often towing a tracked trailer. The Renault UE (model 1931) and UE2 (model 1937) was the vehicle produced in the highest number before June 1940 with 5148 vehicles delivered to the French Army. An armed version with a 7.5mm casemate MAC1931 in a casemate was also delivered in May/June 1940 (about 150 vehicles), the vehicle was then called UE31.
weight : 2.64t
crew : 2 men
maximum armor : 9mm
maximum speed : 30 km/h
armament : a FM 24/29 AAMG ans sometimes a 25mm SA-L Mle34 L/72 AT gun (UE and UE2) and a 7.5mm MAC1931 in a casemate for the UE31.
Captured vehicles were used massively (3000 vehicles) by the German army, many variations were developed : UE 630(f) Schlepper, Infanterie UE-Schlepper (f), Kleiner Funk- und Beobachtungspanzer UE (f), Fernmeldekabel-Kraftwagen UE (f), 3,7cm Pak 35/36 auf UE (f), Slf. 28/32cm Wurfrahmen auf UE (f) (four rockets), Luftwaffensicherungsfahrzeug auf UE (f), Munitionsschlepper auf UE (f), Sicherungsfahrzeug UE(f) (infantry support vehicles armed with one or two MG34s).

LAFFLY W15 TCC (CC = chasseur de chars = tank destroyer)
The Laffly W15 TCC has been produced in the May-June panic. A prototype has been tested during the Phoney war, and was fully armored. The early May engagements revealed the need for a self propelled AT gun, and W15 chassis were requisitionned to receive 47mm L/53 Mle37 AT guns. Only the first vehicles were totally armored, for the others, armored plates were put to protect the front part of the vehicle and two small other plates were added to the conventionnal shield of the AT gun on the rear. 70 were operationnal by the end of May 1940 and saw action. They were issued to 14 anti-tank batteries (BACA = batterie d'anti-chars automoteurs) of 5 vehicles. They give outstanding results in Abbeville and on the Loire defenses but had little impact on the whole war. They were indeed a little bit high but proved to be very succesful, lightly armored but fast and adapted to hit and run tactics.
weight : 4.96t
crew : 6 men
maximum armor : 12-15mm
maximum speed : 48 km/h
armament : a 47mm SA37 L/53 AT gun with 30 rounds and a FM 24/29 AAMG.

LAFFLY S20 TL (VDP)
The Laffly S20TL is a softskin personnal carrier, developped during 1934-1937, also known as "VDP" for "voiture de Dragons Portes", Dragons Portes's car. Each Laffly S20TL was equiped with two AA mounts which could possibly be fitted on each aft corner, on each side, and on the center the first row of rear seats and the rest of the hull. The devices could accomodate either a FM 24/29 or a 8 mm Hotchkiss MG. However for combat, both LMGs were supposed to be used by the squad (only during transport would the LMGs be used in an AA role. 630 S20TL vehicles had been delivered in 1940 to the French army for a total of 1175 ordered. There were also other variants of the S20 : a fuel tank version (39 vehicles), a command truck (69 vehicles) and a tank destroyer version of the S20 TL carrying a 25mm AT gun (40 vehicles) used for example in the 4th DCR. The characteristics of the Laffly S20 TL are :
weight : 3.9t
crew : 1 driver + 10 men for the carrier (6 men for the tank destroyer)
maximum speed : 65 km/h
autonomy : 138 km
armament : none for the carrier except an AAMG during travel, a 25mm SA-L Mle34 L/72 AT gun for the tank destroyer version

LORRAINE 38L (VBCP)
The Lorraine 38L is the French armored personnal carrier also known as "VBCP" for "voiture blindee de Chasseurs Portes", Chasseurs Portes's armoured car. 440 vehicles ordered but only 150 vehicles delivered and wused by the French. French troop transports are fitted with one or more anti-aircraft mountings for the passenger’s machine-guns, allowing them to fire from the vehicle. The Lorraine 38L had a carry capacity of 12 men (6 in the tractor and 6 in the trailer). The platoon leader's vehicle had only 7 occupants so there would have been ample space in the trailer for ammunitions and other items. The bigger Lorraine 39L model, expected to be in mass production from August 1940, had a capacity of 10 men without trailer. Only one Lorraine 39L was built before the armistice. 30 Lorraine 38L were modified in 1944 for the FFI (Free French forces of the Interior) and armed with a German MG151/15 (15mm) aircraft heavy machinegun.
weight : 5.46t + 2.05t for the trailer
crew : 1 men (1 driver + 6 men in the chenillette and 6 men in the trailer)
maximum armor : 6-8mm
maximum speed : 35 km/h
autonomy : 135 km

LORRAINE 44
30 Lorraine 38L have been modified in 1944 for the FFI (Free French forces of the Interior) and armed with a German MG151/15 (15mm) aircraft heavy machinegun.

BERLIET VUDB
The Lyonnaise firm of Berliet built various armored cars between the wars, one of the earliest being this "voiture de prise de contact" (litterally : vehicle to make contact) which was first built in prototype form in 1929. Berliet received an order to build 50 for the French army the following year and later a further 12 were built for the Belgians. The armored cars saw service mostly in North Africa with the French army during the Rif war but also in France.
Weight : 4.95t
Engine : 40 hp
Maximum speed : 53 km/h
Length : 4.50 m
Width : 1.94 m
Height : 2.15 m
Crew : 1 men + 6 men recon team
Armament : 1-2 FM 24/29 + slits allowing the recon team to fire from the truck

CITROEN-KEGRESSE P17 (CK P17)
1442 pieces of this softskin halftrack were used by the French army in September 1939. weight : 1.85t (could carry 0.7t and tow 1.3t), crew : 2 men, maximum speed : 32 km/h. The CK P19 (547 pieces) was heavier and faster.

CITROEN TYPE 45
4000 pieces of this truck were used by the French army.
weight : 4.1t (could carry 3.5t)
maximum speed : 60 km/h

RENAULT AGK
About 1500 pieces of this truck were used by the French army.
weight : 5.54t (could carry 5t)
maximum speed : 58 km/h

RENAULT AGR
About 3050 pieces of this truck were used by the French army.
weight : 4.32t (could carry 3.5t)
maximum speed : 59 km/h

David
Last edited by David Lehmann on 03 Mar 2004 14:22, edited 2 times in total.

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