Renault R-35, R-39 and R-40

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David Lehmann
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Renault R-35, R-39 and R-40

Post by David Lehmann » 03 Jul 2004 20:51

RENAULT R35
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 Méditerranée (FCM), Compagnie Générale de Construction des Locomotives and Delaunay Belleville.The first prototype was manufactured by Renault at the end of 1934 and was based upon the AMR 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 léger modèle 1935-R" (R35). The Renault R35 was the most common tank in the French army with about 1500 tanks produced until the armistice. On 10th May 1940 there were about 900 R35 tanks in metropolitan France and 230 tanks in the French colonies. The tank was equipped with the APX-R turret (cast) and the hull consisted of three cast sections that were bolted together. The side plates carried bogies and front driving sprocket. The final drive and differentials were housed under nose plates. It was steered through a Cletrac geared differential and brakes. The driver was located to left side and had 2 splits and an episcope. The turret had 3 episcopes and a domed cupola with binoculars. There was a seat for the commander and the hatch in the rear of the turret that opened down could be used as a seat. The machine guns spent cases went down a chute through a hole in the floor. Initially the R35 had no radio, but later models had one installed. The engine was to the right in the rear with the self-sealing fuel tank on the left. Some R35 tanks were fitted with AMX crossing tails. The Renault R35 tank has also been exported in Romania (200 + 100 ordered, 41 delivered in September 1939 + 34 ex-Polish R35s. About 30 R35s were rearmed with Soviet 45mm tank gun), Turkey (100), Poland (50) and Yugoslavia (50).
Weight : 10.6t
Length : 4.02m
Width : 1.87m
Height : 2.13m
Crew : 2 men
Maximum armor : 43mm (APX-R turret is cast and hull is cast armor + RHA bolted elements)
Maximum speed : 20-23 km/h (Renault engine, 4 cylinders, gasoline, 85 hp, 5880 cm3, 2200 rpm, water cooled)
Diameter of turning circle at 6 km/h : 8.50m (Jentz)
Transmission : 4 forward, 1 reverse
Autonomy : 140 km
Ground pressure : 0.86 kg/cm² (compared to 0.73 for PzIIc, 0.92 for a Pz III e/f and 0.83 for PzIVd)
Armament : a 37mm SA18 L/21 gun and a 7.5mm MAC1931 CMG (42 AP, 58 HE and 2400 cartridges - elevation of -16 to +20° and traverse of 5° right and 5° left but could be blocked to aim only with the turret rotation). Some were rearmed with a 37mm SA38 L/33 and called Renault R39, only a few vehicles for some platoon and company leaders). During travel the MG was sometimes dismounted and put on the AA mount on the rear of the turret. The main gun is then facing the rear of the vehicle.

The real detailed armor thickness (mm) (unlike most of the games and several books) :
Turret Front : 40mm/5° and 28° + gun mantlet
Turret Sides : 40mm/28°
Turret Rear : 40mm/30° (rear hatch is 40mm thick)
Turret Top : 25mm/90°
Copula : 40mm/round
Hull Front, Upper : 43mm/37° (driver’s hatch is 40mm/23°)
Hull Front, Lower : 40mm/round
Hull Sides, Upper : 40mm/10°
Hull Sides, Lower : 40mm/0°
Hull Rear : 32mm/24°
Hull Top : 25mm/90°
Hull Bottom : 10mm/90°


The surface of the front (turret and hull) really exposed to the enemy fire : 2.00 m2 with only 0.65 m2 with a slope inferior to 30°

1st gear – speed : 3.5 km/h
2nd gear – speed : 5.5 km/h
3rd gear – speed : 10 km/h
4th gear – speed : 20 km/h (23 km/h according to Russian data measured on a captured Polish R35)
Top Speed in medium difficult offroad terrain : 8.7 km/h
Maximum slope to climb 23° on soft ground.

Renault R35/39/40 and Hotchkiss H35/39 tanks vision means :

Hull :
1x E2B episcope (early models) (28° vertical field of view) OR 1x PPL RX 180 P episcope (30° vertical field of view)
2x lateral slits

APX-R or APX-R1 (37mm SA18 or 37mm SA38 gun) turret (1552 kg) :
1x L.739 sight (37mm SA18 gun) OR 1x L.767 sight (37mm SA38 gun)
3x diascopes (28° vertical field of view) (early) OR 3x PPL RX 160 episcopes (30° vertical field of view)
1x rear slit

Cupola :
1x Estienne slit (114° field of view – 120mm x 10mm slit protected by a 24mm thick armored shutter) (early) OR 1x PPL RX 180 P episcope (APX-R1) (30° vertical field of view)


37mm SA18 gun version :
Image

Crew loading 150-rounds MG magazines :
Image

R35 with MG on AA mount :
Image

R35 tank sight, gun and CMG :
Image


RENAULT R40
The Renault R40 is the final variation of the R35. It was developed by the Atelier de Construction d’Issy-les-Moulineaux (AMX) which introduced a brand new and better suspension that consisted of 12 pairs of small road-wheels on each side mounted in pairs, vertical coil springs, and protective skirting plates. This vehicle mounted the long barreled 37mm SA38 L/33 gun in the APX-R1 turret and had an AMX crossing tail. A little bit less than 120 tanks had been built from 10th May on only and put into service with the serial number 51541 to 51658. They equipped the 40e BCC (30 R40 and 15 R35), the 48e BCC (29 R40 and 16 R35), the reconstituted 28e BCC (24 R40 and 21 R35) in beginning June and two Polish companies in France (companies "Pagézy" and "Chabowski" with 15 R40 each).
Weight : 12t
Length : 4.02m
Width : 1.87m
Height : 2.13m
Crew : 2 men
Maximum armor : 43mm (APX-R turret is cast and hull is cast armor + RHA bolted elements)
Maximum speed : 20-23 km/h (Renault engine, 4 cylinders, gasoline, 85 hp, 5880 cm3, water cooled)
Transmission : 4 forward, 1 reverse
Autonomy : 140 km
Armament : a 37mm SA38 L/33 gun and a 7.5mm MAC1931 CMG (42 AP, 58 HE and 3000 cartridges - elevation of -16 to +20° and traverse of 5° right and 5° left but could be blocked to aim only with the turret rotation).

Image

Image


Information about the armament :

7.5mm 'Reibel' MAC Mle1931
MMG/HMG used in fortifications (twin mounts) and as coaxial or turret MG (AMR-33, Panhard MG) in most of the vehicles. The armor piercing and incendiary rounds were mostly used in the fortifications and armoured cars.
Caliber : 7,5X54 mm
Barrel length : 600 mm
Capacity : 150 rounds drum magazine
Rate of fire : 750 rpm
V° : 820 m/s
Range : 1000-1500m

Ammunitions :
- Cartouche Mle1929 (heavy ball)
- Cartouche Mle1929 T
- Cartouche Mle1929 P and PT (AP and APT) (Penetration of 8mm /15° at 50m)
- Cartouche Mle1935 I (Incendiary)

37mm SA18 L/21 gun
Used in the FT-18/18C, Renault R-35, Hotchkiss H-35/38/39, FCM-36, Laffly 50AM, Panhard 165/175 and AMC P16 Mle1929. This gun was in fact intended to support infantry, it was more designed to destroy MG nests than to fight against tanks. Efficient against armored cars and PzI tanks, at close range against PzII tanks.
Rate of fire : 10-15 rpm
Telescopic sight : 1.5x
Practical AT range : 100-400m

Ammunitions :
Obus de rupture Mle1892/1924 (APHE)
Caliber : 37x94R mm
Weight of projectile : 0.500 kg (15g explosive)
V° = 388 m/s
Penetration : 12mm at 0m

Obus explosif Mle1916 (HE)
Caliber : 37x94R mm
Weight of projectile : 0.555 kg (30g explosive)
V° = 367 m/s

Obus de rupture Mle1935 (APCR / API)
Caliber : 37x94R mm
Weight of projectile : 0.390 kg
V° = 600 m/s
Penetration : 18mm /30° at 400m

The Obus de rupture Mle1935, often referenced as an APCBC, was in fact what the British would have called an APCR. It consisted of a special steel core inside a magnesium sheath. The French actually referred to it as an API (Armor Piercing Incendiary) because the magnesium burst into flame on impact.

Obus explosif Mle1937 (HE)
Caliber : 37x94R mm
Weight of projectile : 0.555 kg (56g explosive)
V° = 440 m/s

Boîte à balles Mle1918 (cannister / schrapnel)
Calibre : 37x94R mm


37mm SA38 L/33 gun
Used in the Renault R39, R-40, Hotchkiss H-35/39
Rate of fire : 10-15 rpm
Telescopic sight : 1.5x
Practical AT range : 800m

Ammunitions :
Obus de rupture Mle1938 (APC) - in German service : Pzgr 146(f) -
Caliber : 37x149R mm
Weight of projectile : 0.700 kg
V° = 705 m/s
Penetration : 30mm /30° at 400m

Obus explosif Mle1938 (HE)
Caliber : 37x149R mm
Weight of projectile : 0.670 kg (60 g explosive)
V° = 600 m/s

Regards,

David
Last edited by David Lehmann on 29 May 2005 12:32, edited 4 times in total.

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 03 Jul 2004 21:44

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Last edited by David Lehmann on 29 May 2005 12:32, edited 1 time in total.

Tony Williams
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Post by Tony Williams » 04 Jul 2004 06:21

One correction - the Obus de rupture Mle 1935 was not an APCBC, it was what the British would have called an APCR. It consisted of a special steel core inside a magnesium sheath. The French actually referred to it as an API because the magnesium burst into flame on impact. In the photo below from my website, the Mle 1935 is the third from the left, labelled 37x94R:

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and Discussion forum

Image

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 04 Jul 2004 07:52

Thanks for the correction Tony :)

Best regards,

David

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 22 Jul 2004 16:55

Close view on the 37x94R Mle1935 APCR/API projectile fired from the 37mm SA18 gun :

Image

Regards,

David

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 22 Jul 2004 23:18

The 37mm SA18 and the 7.5mm MAC31 MG during maintenance (the telescopic sight is on the table).
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