Polish R35 in Kubinka

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Musashi
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Polish R35 in Kubinka

Post by Musashi » 08 Mar 2005 01:04

Hallo!

[This article has been sent to me by David Lehmann who requested me to translate it from Russian. I requested my friends from a Polish WW II forum to translate it into Polish and I translated the Polish version into English.]


R-35, the most widely produced French light tank of WW II was developed to order of army for cooperation with infantry. Since 1935 to 1940 1070 tanks for the French Army and 560 for export were produced by the firm Renault.
In April 1939 Poland agreed a contract for delivery of 100 R-35. In July that year first 49 tanks arrived to Warsaw. 21st light tank battalion has been built of them and it has been located near Romanian border. A few tanks of that battalion took part in fights against German and Soviet troops in September 1939. However due to lack of spare parts and poor crews’ training (all the documentation of tanks was in French and instructions have not come yet) the tanks were quickly lost. Most of R-35s evading capitulation crossed the Romanian border at the end of September, where they were interned.
Two or three R-35s have been captured by the Red Army. One of them was delivered to the Kubinka range at the beginning of 1940 aiming at examining it. The tank had following damages:
a ruined petrol pump and petrol installation, lack of: sparker, accumulator, diodes and driver’s gauges of the dash-board, seats of crew, combat equipment, part of the armament, specialistic equipment, tools and spare parts.
The tank has been completely pulled to pieces and then assembled. To make it possible some spare parts of the second tank have been used (the one blown up by Poles) and home-made parts: accumulator, headlight, horn and some metal parts. Due to lack of spare parts necessary to full repairing of the tank the movement trials were performed at the distance of 25km only.
Besides, there were performed trials of the resistance of the tank to firing. The trials of the resistance of the armour of the Renault tank were performed using 7,62mm common mk. 1908 bullets as well as armour-piercing B-30 and 12,7mm DK bullets. There were also trials using a 45mm tank gun mk. 1938, the standard armament of T-26. The front of the turret has been shelled by AP shells of 764 m/s muzzle velocity. The results are presented in the table.

Code: Select all

Thick. of arm. Slope of armour Dist. of shoot Diam. of entry  D. o. exit  Result of shot 
40mm           28deg           200m           50x60mm         52x60mm     Through 
40mm           28deg           200m           52x57mm         53x58mm     Through
40mm           28deg           200m           54x56mm         54x57mm     Through 
40mm           28deg           200m           52x50mm         57x52mm     Through
40mm           28deg           300m           56x55mm         58x57mm     Through 
40mm           28deg           300m           57x56mm         60x56mm     Through 
40mm           28deg           300m           60x55mm         60x60mm     Through 
40mm           28deg           300m           52x53mm         54x55mm     Through
40mm           28deg           500m           60x50x24mm      None        Cavity

Conclusions:

The French Renault tank produced in 1939 turned out to be a new construction, differing from all the tanks, which had been produced by this firm in the past. From the construction features one should conclude, that this tank is destined to the strict cooperation with infantry.

The armoured hull of the Renault tank has the following advantages:

The armour of the tank consists of the separate moulded parts of thickness up to 40mm.
1. Shelling the turret using a 45mm gun with AP ammo showed, that the shell is able to partially pierce the armour at the distance of 500m and closer causing a cavity.

a) moulding most of the armoured parts allows to start the mass production of the armoured hulls in a very short time.
b) a small number of the armoured parts and the simplicity of their fusion decreases time needed for dismantling and assembling the armour and makes repairing of the tank easier.
c) small dimensions and applying of the technology of moulding of the hull assured its small mass (9,6 T) in spite of significant thickness of the armour, which reached 40mm.
2. A propulsion unit was a mass produced car engine of Renault. Its construction is not too modern.
3. Transmission of mechanic type is not interesting, besides a differential gear. Usage of the differential gear in the character of the mechanism allowing to turn is very sensible.
4. The moving part of the tank is made inelegantly, the suspension is hard and dissatisfactory.
5. Dense location of aggregates in the hull allowed to hold everything what is necessary in a small tank.
6. Location of the fuel tanks in the propulsion section together with the propulsion unit caused a huge danger of fire and was utterly inadequate.
7. The Renault tank produced in 1939 is interesting for the mother industry only thinking about production of the moulded armour.
Last edited by Musashi on 08 Mar 2005 01:30, edited 3 times in total.

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 08 Mar 2005 01:12

Great Job and Great Article Musashi!!! It was very clever the way you managed to get it translated.
Also, I've never seen a Russian commentary on this tank, so you have done the forum a great service!!!
My thanks as well to David Lehmann, whose devotion to French armor is becoming legendary!!! He did fantastic in unearthing this article!

Best Regards,
David :D

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Post by Musashi » 08 Mar 2005 01:22

Thank you, David.
I had adjusted the table after you posted your comment. I hope most of the text is understable. There were a few technical words, which I only suppose are proper (like differential gear) :wink: I sacrificed myself a bit, because it's 1:37 AM in Poland now. There are a few interesting photos, which are hard to extract from a PDF document. Perharps I'll take a few screenshots of them in the morning.

Best regards,
Chris
Last edited by Musashi on 09 Mar 2005 01:31, edited 1 time in total.

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 08 Mar 2005 01:26

I think you did fine Chris!!! Also, I love the cooperation between different people speaking different languages but coming together to share information. David has sent me tons of stuff on French Armor and I'm very happy you could help him out. And posting the article here is an added bonus!

Best Regards,
David :D :D

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 08 Mar 2005 09:52

Hello,

Great :)

Thanks a lot Chris, that's very nice from you.
If possible I wish to see also from the second part of the article which is more descriptive of the tank itself. There is also in the table the armor thickness and and angles for different parts but I am not able to read the name of the parts described.

Concerning the suspension, speed etc., even the much heavier B1bis heavy tank had better performance than the R35.

Best regards,

David

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Musashi
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Post by Musashi » 08 Mar 2005 13:14

David Lehmann wrote: If possible I wish to see also from the second part of the article which is more descriptive of the tank itself. There is also in the table the armor thickness and and angles for different parts but I am not able to read the name of the parts described.
Hi David!

When my friend was translating this article, he came to conclusion it's no need to translate everything, because technical-combat data of R35 is accessible in the Internet.
However if you provide me the number of the page which you want to be translated, I will ask him. Do you mean a few parts in the table on the last page?

Best regards,
Chris

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 08 Mar 2005 22:07

Hi Chris !

I cannot really tell if the text is worth translating or not since I am completely unable to read it but the very few that can be found on the Internet about French tanks is generally rather wrong ... even books like Jentz's contains big mistakes regarding French tanks. Even French books are not always really detailed about technical stuff, you need to find the wartime army manuals like I try to collect them.

Also can you tell me who is exactly the author of this article ? Is it from the Kubinka museum, is it from military sources, is it from a magazine according to you ?

Yep I meant in the last table, there are data about the armor thickness with angles, could you just translate the areas that are concerned ?

Regards,

David

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Post by Grendel » 11 Mar 2005 06:31

David,
I'll try ro find some time and translate whole article for you during the weekend.Author name is Alexander Surkow and article was published in "Tank-Master" Magazine in March of 2000.Here's some of the pictures form this article - maybe they'll be interesting to someone.
Regards
Chris Kurylowicz - Grendel
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Post by Grendel » 11 Mar 2005 06:35

Right side view and engine deck.
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Post by Grendel » 11 Mar 2005 06:40

Driver controls, turret view and inside of the empty hull, after it was taken apart - very sad view.
After extensive testing this tank finished its short and rather unuseful life in some soviet smelter.
Regards
Chris
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Post by David Lehmann » 11 Mar 2005 09:34

Hello,

Thanks Grendel / Chris :)

Is Alexander Surkow someone well known in the tank area ?
First I thought it was a study from the Russian military.

You can notice that it is the early APX-R turret, not an APX-R1. There are protruding diascopes instead of the PPL RX 160 episcopes (if the optical devices are the same in the export version to Poland than the French version).
The turret weights 1552 kg (I don't remember if it is with or without the weapons).

The observations means :
1x L.713/L.739 sight (37mm SA18 gun) OR 1x L.767 sight (37mm SA38 gun if R39 or R40)
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 (30° vertical field of view)

You can also note that in this turret the gun had a traverse of 5° left and 5° right. Could be used to aim or blocked in order to aim only with the rotation of the turret.

From the very very little I was able to read in the Russian article I think I have understood that the engine had 82 hp. This is probably early or export version, the French R35 in 1940 have usually a Renault engine with 4 cylinders, gasoline, 85 hp, 5880 cm3, 2200 rpm, water cooled. I have a weight of 10.6 t instead of 9.6 t like in the article.

Except the very old FT-17s the R35 was the worst of the French tanks considering the mobility and speed. The Hotchkiss H35/35, the FCM36 etc. and even the heavy B1bis had better performance.

- Speed of the R35 :
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
Speed in medium difficult offroad terrain : 8.7 km/h
Maximum slope to climb 23° on soft ground (note that in German manuals the slope on soft ground was generally listed as maximum slope to climb unlike in French manuals, indicating the maximum slope on hard ground).

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).

- You can for example compare the speed with the Hotchkiss H39 (German trials) :
1st gear – speed : 3.65 km/h
2nd gear – speed : 7.3 km/h
3rd gear – speed : 13 km/h
4th gear – speed : 24 km/h
5th gear – speed : 36.5 km/h
Backwards gear – speed : 4.5 km/h
All speeds are indicated with engine on 2800 rpm.
Top speed : 36.5 km/h onroad and 16km/h in medium difficult offroad

The H39 engine : Hotchkiss 6L6 1938, 6 cylinders, gasoline, 120 hp, 5970 cm3, 2800 rpm, water cooled
For a weight of 12.1 t


- The Renault B1bis (German trials) :
1st gear – speed : 2.1 km/h (at 1600 rpm)
2nd gear – speed : 6.9 km/h (at 1600 rpm)
3rd gear – speed : 9.6 km/h (at 1600 rpm)
4th gear – speed : 17 km/h (at 1800 rpm)
5th gear – speed : 28 km/h (at 1800 rpm)

Usual top speed :
25 km/h onroad
21 km/h easy offroad
10-15 km/h hard offroad

If the engine has not been running during the day it has to be started and ran at 600-800 rpm (idle rpm range) during about 10 minutes. Otherwise, the driver started in 3rd gear and let the engine reach 1200 rpm before starting the tank. I don't know if it is just the procedure to start the engine once at the beginning or if it is always started in 3rd gear.
Big obstacles are negotiated at slow speed but between obstacles the tank has to run at normal speed to avoid loosing time. For that purpose there is the FIEUX circuit breaker system that allows going directly to 4th gear (from the 1st one for example) without having to change gradually all the gears and to accelerate much more rapidly.

The Renault B1bis engine : Renault engine, 6 cylinders, water cooled, gasoline, 307 hp, 16500 cm3, 1900 rpm, 2 Zenith type 70 AR 172 carburettors, 2 SEV G6 type 160 magnetos
For a weight of 31.5 t


- The Somua S35 :
1st gear - speed 3.7 km/h (French trials) / 4 km/h (German trials)
2nd gear - speed 9.2 km/h (French trials) / 9.1 km/h (German trials)
3rd gear - speed 18.1 km/h (French trials) / 17.8 km/h (German trials)
4th gear - speed 30.2 km/h (French trials) / 29.7 km/h (German trials)
5th gear - speed 41.1 km/h (French trials) / 40.7 km/h (German trials)

--> indicated at 2000 rpm for the German trials

- mean speed on roads : about 35 km/h
- mean speed in normal offroad ground (fields etc.) : 32.3 km/h
- mean speed in hard offroad ground (rough, ditches etc.) : 11.19 km/h

The Somua S35 engine : Somua V8 engine, water cooled, gasoline, 190 hp at 2000 rpm, up to 2300 rpm, 12700 cm3
For a weight of 19.5 t

The driver started normally in the 2nd gear. The 1st gear was only used on steep slopes or for driving over obstacles. The speed values are indicated for the normal engine running speed of 2000 rpm, but it could reach 2300 rpm ; allowing probably in this case to reach the maximum speed of 44-45 km/h if the distance was sufficient and the ground good enough.


Regards,

David

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Post by Musashi » 13 Mar 2005 11:20

Hi David,

my friend has just translated the rest of the table. You were interested in data of armour and I if you want to know more ask me. The Polish version is here.

Code: Select all

                   Armour [mm]   slope [degrees]
Front:             40            cylindric shape
Front plate:       43            37
Rear plate:        32            24
Top:               25            90
Bottom:            10            90
Turret side:       40            28
Turret top:        25            90
Regards,
Chris

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Post by David Lehmann » 13 Mar 2005 11:32

Hi Chris,

Thanks a lot, many sources on the web for example and even Jentz if I remember well (this last one is also wrong for the Somua armor etc.), talked about the front hull armor being 32mm and the rear and side hull being 40mm thick.
These values seems far more logical and believable and were probably measured live on the captured R35.

For the remaining of the article I don't know what is worth, I cannot read Polish more than Russian ;)

In the last table of the article the armor values are a bit more detailed, there is also a 40mm/0° ... front turret ? And a 40mm/23°, where is this one ?
They say that the rear is 32mm/24° but when you look at a model there would be grossly a 11° and a 35° angle on the rear.

Best regards,

David
Last edited by David Lehmann on 13 Mar 2005 11:54, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Jan-Hendrik » 13 Mar 2005 11:34

Polish is so easy tto understand ...


Jan-Hendrik

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Musashi
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Post by Musashi » 13 Mar 2005 12:27

Sorry David, but I don't see other data on armour.
I see you provided off-road (8,7 km/h) speed and speed in a road (20 km/h) in your previous post. According to the Soviet test the speed in a road was 23 km/h and there is no data on off-road speed.

Regards,
Chris
Jan-Hendrik wrote:Polish is so easy tto understand ...
Man,
I don't understand what is a purpose of this comment. Somebody could say, that Urdu, Japanese or Swahili is so easy to understand for him and you would not know what is going on :roll:
You can join that forum and post in Polish or English. There are many Poles of German origin (from Silesia) and a few Poles living in Germany. You will be surprised how many forumists use German avatars. That forum is friendly, every forms of insults are forbidden. There is: 7-day banning, 14-day banning and the total banning. Now you can read it and decide to register then. Zbrodnie wojenne section (war crimes) is particulary interesting. You can find many information there, which are very difficult to find in literature.
http://www.drugawojnaswiatowa.org/forum/index.php
Pozdrawiam,
Krzysiek

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