"In landing operations, retreat is impossible, to surrender is as ignoble as it is foolish. above all else remember that we as attackers have the initiative, we know exactly what we are going to do, while the enemy is ignorant of our intentions and can only parry our blows. We must retain this tremendous advantage by always attacking rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, and without rest." - General George S. Patton, Jr.

Blog RSS Feed Report abuse 1945 AMX ANTI-TANK SELF-PROPELLED

1 comment by ʇɐuʞɐʇǝp on Jan 16th, 2014

1945 AMX ANTI-TANK SELF-PROPELLED

In 1945 the French attempted to produce materials of national origin. AMX was studying several anti-tank self-propelled based only available to french chassis and with the 16 Pounder anti-tank gun (76, 2mm). Three referenced projects 141 are known to us by the plans in the archives of Châtellerault. At that time, the 76.2 mm gun was no longer the standard of battle tanks and the chassis were more than ten years old, and was not conceivable to resume production.
Project on chassis R 35Total weight in working order: 11 910 kgSupply of ammunition: 70 rounds

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Project on R 35 chassis with canon huntingTotal weight in working order: 11,046 kgSupply of ammunition: 42 shells
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S 35 chassis projectTotal weight in working order: 21 658 kgSupply of ammunition: 86 shells
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Chars-francais.net

Report abuse AMX 50

0 comments by ʇɐuʞɐʇǝp on Jan 14th, 2014

Historical Info

AMX
50 100 during a parade in Paris, 1950. At the time France was counting
the AMX 50 to become the future tank for the Western European nations

When it became obvious that frontal armor of only 30 mm on M 4 tank
would not be sufficient for the next generation of french tanks, the
prototype was uparmored. In order to save weight. it was decided to
install a novel oscillating turret, designed by FAMH. Nevertheless, when
the first prototype, now under the designation AMX 50 after its
intended weight class, was delivered in 1949, it weighed 53.7 metric
tonnes.

Development history

In the winter of 1950 instead of the 90 mm, a 100 mm gun was fitted,
designed by the Arsenal de Tarbes. The second prototype with a slightly
different turret, but also with a 100 mm gun, was ready soon after. The
prototypes had a length, with gun, of 10.43, a width of 3.40 and a
height of 3.41 metres. It was intended to fit a 1200 hp engine to attain
a speed much superior to all existing medium tank types. The Maybach HL
295 (a redesigned German gas engine in 1945 captured at Friedrichshafen
by Engineer-General Joseph Molinié) and a Saurer diesel engine were
tested. Both failed to deliver the required output and maximum speed was
in fact no higher than 51 km/h. The prototypes were tested between 1950
and 1952.

Parallel designs

AMX Chasseur de Char

Competitive
designt that was eventualy rejected.Somua SM closely resembled the AMX
50; It too had an oscillating turret, first with a 90 mm, then with a
100 mm gun.


AMX from 1946 designed the AMX Chasseur de Char, a lightly armoured
34 tonne tank destroyer based on the M4 chassis, but fitted with a
modern rounded sleek turret for the 90 mm gun. No prototype was built.
Somua SM
In competition with AMX, the SOMUA company also developed a tank
to meet the demand for a heavily armed vehicle: the Char SOMUA SM, that
however had been conceived as a heavy tank, Char Lourd, in the sixty
tonne weight class, from the very beginning, again imitating the German
King Tiger. The order to build a prototype was given in 1946, the
vehicle was delivered in October 1951, weighing 56 metric tonnes. Both
companies had in the end been forced by the Army to work along identical
and detailed specifications. As a result the SOMUA SM closely resembled
the AMX 50: it too had an oscillating turret, first with a 90 mm, then
with a 100 mm gun. The main external difference was that the nine road
wheels were not overlapping. It only was tested between January and July
1953 as many parts had not been sufficiently developed; the delay
ensured that the type was rejected.

AMX 50 Series development history

Oscillating turret

Close up photo of a typical oscillating turret design

Because there were five prototypes, it is not possible to give a
description applying to all of them in detail. Weighing about fifty-five
tons, the general AMX 50 project was the heaviest of a trio of French
AFV designs of the postwar period (the others being the AMX-13 and the
Panhard EBR) to feature an oscillating turret. The oscillating turret
design, lacking a conventional gun-mantlet, is in two separate parts,
with an upper and lower part connected by two hinge bolts or pivots, the
gun being fixed within the upper section. The horizontal movement of
the gun, traversing, is conventional, but the vertical movement,
elevation, is achieved through the pivoting of the entire upper section
with respect to the lower section. This method of elevation has two main
advantages. Firstly it allows for a smaller turret volume, as no
internal space is needed for the vertical movement of the gun breech.
Secondly, it allows the use of a relatively simple auto-loader fed by
multiround magazines, achieving a very high rate of fire for as long as
the magazines were loaded, as the gun is also fixed with respect to the
auto-loader located in the back of the upper turret, i.c. a protruding
bustle. The automatic loading system worked satisfactorily when the
calibre was 100 mm. After the larger 120 mm gun was introduced,
reliability suffered, due to the increased weight of the rounds used.
The oscillating turret was a very fashionable concept in the fifties,
and also applied in some American projects, such as the T57 and T58.
Only the French however, would produce operational systems.
German rolemodels
The hull was equipped with a torsion bar suspension designed to
ensure a vehicle with good cross-country mobility. The hull and
suspension recalled both the German Tiger and the Panther tanks which,
having entered French service after the war, were well known and
deliberately imitated. Especially the engine deck, the sprockets and the
tracks are strongly reminiscent of the German design style. The nine
overlapping tyred road wheels each side, were however much smaller. The
French engineers had not been aware at first that the much admired
German overlapping design had been motivated by a shortage of high
quality rubber, necessitating large road wheels to lower tyre tension,
which then were made overlapping to better distribute the load pressure.
As France would have no trouble obtaining rubber of the desired
quality, this feature was superfluous. Therefore the road wheels were
made smaller, compared to the first design proposal, both to save weight
and lower the profile of the tank, which was quite high due to a deep
hull, a problem only changed in the fifth prototype. The track now had
to be supported by five top rollers. The overlapping system as such was
maintained in all prototypes; with smaller wheels it allowed for nine
instead of the originally planned eight wheels, five forming the outer,
four the inner row.

AMX
50 100 during trials. First of the AMX 50 protoypes is easily
recognisable by an oscillating turret and a Panther like sloped front
plate

The engine and transmission system was in the
rear of the vehicle with rear drive sprockets. The transmission was
derived from the ZF of the Panther. The functions of final drive and
steering were combined in a single assembly; for each gear two turning
radii could be selected. The engine was the Maybach HL295 12 cylinder of
29.5 litres, using fuel injection combined with spark ignition. The
project goal was to bring the engine output to 1200 hp, implying a very
favourable hp/litre ratio of over forty. This proved to be
unrealistically ambitious, given the level of technological development
at the time; in reality not even a ratio of thirty was reliably
attained.
The hull sides were vertical, as in the case of the Tiger, while the
front of the hull was in the first three prototypes evenly inclined at
approximately 40 degrees from the horizontal, using sloped armour
similar to that of the Panther and Tiger II. The corners between the
glacis and the sides were truncated. The first two prototypes had a
frontal protection level equivalent to about 120 mm "line-of-sight"
thickness in the horizontal plane. The type was thus not particularly
heavily armoured for its time. The weight increase with the third
prototype was mainly caused by the larger turret and even in its fourth
"uparmoured" form, doubling the frontal armour thickness, the AMX 50 was
less well protected than its American and British competitors,
themselves inferior in armour to the Soviet heavy tanks they had been
created to fight. The fifth prototype used a lower cast hull, with a
rounded frontal section for a better weight efficiency.
Above the massive hull, there was the oscillating turret,
smaller, lighter and more compact than that of the Tiger; the sloped
face of the upper part had a thickness of 85 mm. In the turret rear back
there was the commander's cupola, well equipped with optical equipment.
The turret had an optical rangefinder. The first two prototypes had
twin 7.5 mm "Reibel" machine guns placed on top of the roof as an
AA-weapon, a third was coaxial. In the first design proposal for a 120
mm version, the conventional turret had a high cupola armed with both a
machine gun and a 20 mm MG 151 rapid fire cannon. However the third and
fourth "120 mm" oscillating turret prototypes had a single 7.5 mm AA
machine gun and a second 7.5 mm coaxial machine gun. For the production
vehicles it was considered to install a coaxial 20 mm gun; lighter
armoured targets could then be engaged without depleting the limited
ammunition stock in the turret magazines. Despite the auto-loader, the
crew was four: a second man was seated in the hull, functioning as
radio-operator, but mainly needed to replenish the turret magazines from
the hull ammunition stocks.
Jack of all trades wannabe

AMX50 120. First upguned and uparmored prototypes from the year 1955. Note the spear (IS-3 like) shaped front hull


The AMX 50 as originally planned, would have been a medium, not a
heavy, tank. It was supposed to be light, well armed and above all
mobile. When the first two prototypes were made, low weight had already
been sacrificed in favour of a high protection level, but it was still
supposed to be a quite agile vehicle, in the 45 - 50 tonne weight class,
with a hp/tonne ratio of over twenty. Expectations were high: as
General Molinié afterwards ironically put it, it was hoped to create a
tank with the protection of the Panther, the firepower of the Tiger, the
mobility and abundance of the T-34, the reliability of the M4 Sherman
and all that weighing less than the M26 Pershing. At that time France
hoped to regain its position as a Great Power; rebuilding its armaments
industry served this goal. To build an indigenous battle tank was
however not merely a question of national prestige. Europe as a whole
was trying to recover from the devastations caused by the war and to
assert a modicum of independence towards the two superpowers, the USA
and the USSR. To this end in 1948 the Treaty of Brussels was signed,
which among other things was also a common defence agreement. The AMX
50, superior in armament and mobility to the existing American and
British designs, was seen as the logical candidate for a common European
tank, to equip the future armies of the Western European Union defence
organisation. The prototypes were proudly displayed during the 1950
Bastille Day parade. Somewhat inconsequentially, it was hoped that the
Americans would fund such a tank, as the financial position of the
European states would not allow them to rearm.

AMX 50B 120 rear view

That
same year, the situation changed drastically due to the outbreak of the
Korean War. Quickly the USA recommenced medium tank mass production, of
the new M47 Patton. When this tank proved to be unsatisfactory, an even
more advanced type was taken into production for the American forces,
the M48 Patton; thousands of M47s were leased for free to the European
allies, France included. The AMX 50 was suddenly made redundant as a
medium tank, despite a "100 mm" prototype being sent in 1952 to the
Aberdeen Proving Grounds for, successful, tests.
Engine problems
To save the project, a new rôle was found in the Soviet heavy
tank threat. In the early fifties, NATO tacticians were worried by the
strong armour of the Soviet vehicles, that seemed to be immune to the
guns of the existing Western types. In response Britain would develop
the Conqueror and the USA the M103 heavy tank; abandoning the SOMUA SM,
it was decided to let the AMX 50 evolve into a comparable type, even
though other French heavy tank projects were in existence, such as the
Char de 70 tonnes, a sort of "AMX 70". Already having a large chassis,
the AMX 50 could in principle easily be adapted to carry the desired 120
mm gun — a derivation by the Atelier du Havre of the American gun,
using the same ammunition — and had the advantage of a, on paper, very
powerful engine. In practice there were many obstacles. Room could in
fact only be found by increasing the height of the lower turret half,
negating the advantages of the oscillating concept and creating a
dangerous shot trap. The "uparmoured" version, with its deeper hull and
flatter turret, was specially designed to counter this and make the
vehicle immune in long range fire engagements, but further increased
weight. In 1955 the AMX 50 was nevertheless very close to being ordered
by the French government, that expected to produce the type for the
reconstituted German Army also. A production was planned of a hundred
for 1956. This decision had to be delayed however, due to the fact the
engine problems had not been solved: reliability could only be assured
if the output was limited to 850 hp, causing a mediocre hp/tonne ratio
of about 13:1.
Delays proved fatal

Seventy-ton version of the AMX 50 battle tank with a 120 mm gun and a frontal armor of 210 mm


The delay proved fatal to the project. In the late fifties, swift
advances in hollow charge technology led to an increased vulnerability
for heavy tanks. Mobility thus gained a priority over protection and the
very concept of a heavy tank became obsolete. As a result the project
was changed again in intention, now trying to present itself as an agile
main battle tank, with the same gun as the Conqueror but much lighter
and more powerful. This failed as it was much too large and expensive;
oscillating turrets also became unpopular as they were inherently
difficult to protect against nuclear and chemical contamination. The
engine problems with the Maybach were never overcome and lowering the
hull to save weight, as was done for the final prototype, made it
impossible to install a larger engine. Recognizing that the problem of
combining excellent mobility with heavy armour was for the time being
irresolvable, the AMX 50 project was terminated; the priority given to
mobility demanded a new design concept, leading to the AMX 30, the
lightest MBT of its time. Only in the early eighties would France again
attempt to combine heavy armour and armament in its tank designs,
beginning with the later AMX 32 prototypes. The AMX 50 would not be a
complete waste of time and effort however, as much technological
knowledge had been gained from which the AMX 30 would profit. In the
Musée des Blindés at Saumur an AMX 50 is shown, a combination of the
last cast hull and the Tourelle D.

Wiki.worldoftanks.com



Report abuse AMX 50 Foch

0 comments by ʇɐuʞɐʇǝp on Jan 12th, 2014

Historical Info

Canon Automoteur AMX 50 Foch

After
the war the French Army possessed no modern tanks with a heavy
armament. The ARL 44 was being developed, but this vehicle, though to be
armed with a powerful 90 mm gun, could hardly be called modern, as its
suspension system was obsolete. Therefore already in March 1945 the
French industry had been invited to design a more satisfactory vehicle.
The same year the AMX company (Atelier de Construction
d'Issy-les-Moulineaux) presented its projet 141, a project to build the
so-called M 4 prototype, armed with a 90 mm Schneider gun.
The M 4 closely resembled the German King Tiger in general form,
though the turret was to be made of welded sections; but to limit the
weight to a desired thirty metric tonnes the proportions were rather
smaller and the armor had a maximum of just thirty millimeters. Like the
later German tanks of the war it had, in this case eight, overlapping
road wheels. Part of the project was to study whether a modern torsion
bar suspension should be used or the height lowered by ten centimeters
through a fitting of leaf or coil springs.
Two prototypes of the M 4 were ordered. The Army soon indicated
that a protection level of thirty millimeters was unacceptably low. In
response armor was increased. To save weight it was decided to install a
novel oscillating turret, designed by FAMH. Nevertheless, when the
first prototype, now named the AMX 50 after its intended weight class,
was delivered in 1949, it weighed 53.7 metric tonnes. In the winter of
1950 instead of the 90 mm, a 100 mm gun was fitted, designed by the
Arsenal de Tarbes. The second prototype with a slightly different
turret, but also with a 100 mm gun, was ready soon after. The prototypes
had a length, with gun, of 10.43, a width of 3.40 and a height of 3.41
meters. It was intended to fit a 1200 hp engine to attain a speed much
superior to all existing medium tank types. The Maybach HL 295 (a
redesigned German gas engine in 1945 captured at Friedrichshafen by
Engineer-General Joseph Molinié) and a Saurer diesel engine were tested.
Both failed to deliver the required output and maximum speed was in
fact no higher than 51 km/h. The prototypes were tested between 1950 and
1952.

AMX 50 Foch


Based on the M 4 chassis in 1950, AMX presented a prototype of a
heavy tank destroyer in the form of a 120 mm self-propelled gun, the
Canon Automoteur AMX 50 Foch, named after Marshal Ferdinand Foch. It was
intended to give long range fire support to the medium/heavy AMX 50 100
mm model. The design had a lot of similarities with German Jagdpanther
tank destroyer. It had a long bareled 120 mm gun with a muzzle break
attached to a well sloped and heavily armored flat profile vehicle.
Remotely controlled anti-aircraft machinegun was placed on the right
side of the roof, while commander’s cupola with the range finder was
pushed to the left.

Unlike previous post war concepts like the Mle. 1948, several AMX 50 TDs
were built, the first in 1950. Field tests were promising, and army
started to prepare to adopt AMX 50 Foch in small numbers. When AMX
engineers managed to install a 120 mm gun into an oscillating turret of
the AMX 50 120 tank, Foch immediately become obsolete and all further
development and production were stopped.

Wiki.worldoftanks.com


Report abuse Char B1

2 comments by ʇɐuʞɐʇǝp on Jan 11th, 2014

Char B1 tank, France's most expensive tank at the start of the war


The Char B1 was a French heavy tank manufactured before World
War II. It was a specialised heavy break-through vehicle, originally
conceived as a self-propelled gun with a 75 mm howitzer in the hull;
later a 47 mm gun in a turret was added, to allow it to function also as
a Char de Bataille, a "battle tank" fighting enemy armour, equipping
the armoured divisions of the Infantry Arm. Starting in the early
twenties, its development and production were repeatedly delayed,
resulting in a vehicle that was both technologically complex and
expensive, and already obsolescent when real mass-production of a
derived version, the Char B1 "bis", started in the late thirties.
Although a second uparmoured version, the Char B1 "ter", was developed,
only two prototypes were built. Among the most powerfully armed and
armoured tanks of its day, the type was very effective in direct
confrontations with German armour in 1940 during the Battle of France,
but slow speed and high fuel consumption made it ill-adapted to the war
of movement then being fought. After the defeat of France captured Char
B1 (bis) would be used by Germany, with some rebuilt as flamethrowers or
mechanised artillery.

Development history

Different concepts

B1 wooden mock-up


The Char B1 had its origins in the concept of a Char de Bataille
conceived by General Jean Baptiste Eugène Estienne in 1919, e.g. in his
memorandum Mémoire sur les missions des chars blindés en campagne. It
had to be a "Battle Tank" that would be able to accomplish a
breakthrough of the enemy line by destroying fortifications, gun
emplacements and opposing tanks. In January 1921 a commission headed by
General Edmond Buat initiated a project for such a vehicle. To limit
costs, it had to be built like a self-propelled gun, with the main
weapon in the hull. To minimise the vehicle size this gun should only be
able to move up and down with the horizontal aiming to be provided by
turning the entire vehicle. The specifications included: a maximum
weight of thirteen metric tonnes; a maximum armour thickness of 25
millimetres; a hull as low as possible to enable the gun to fire into
vision slits of bunkers; a small machine gun turret to beat off enemy
infantry attacks, at the same time serving as an observation post for
the commander and a crew of at most three men. Two versions should be
built, the one a close support tank armed with a 75 mm howitzer, the
other an antitank-vehicle with a 47 mm gun instead. The French industry
was very interested in the project. In the past this had often led to
much non-constructive rivalry. Estienne, who in the war had personally
witnessed the dismal effects of such a situation, was determined to
avoid a repetition this time. He used his position as Inspector-General
of the Tanks to enforce the so-called "Estienne accord" on the
industrialists, ordering them to "reach a mutual understanding, free
from any spirit of industrial competition". To be allowed to join they
had to agree beforehand to relinquish any patents to the Army, which
would be free to combine all projects into a single type. In exchange
industry were promised very large orders of no less than a thousand
vehicles.
On these conditions four projects were started in 1921: two by a
cooperation between Renault and Schneider: the SRA and the SRB, one by
FAMH (Forges et Aciéries de la Marine et d'Homécourt, better known as
Saint Chamond) and the last by FCM (Forges et Chantiers de la
Méditerranée), the FCM 21. Renault and Schneider would each get to
produce 250 units, FAMH and FCM each 125. A fifth producer,
Delaunay-Belleville, of which the project (an improved FT 17) had been
rejected beforehand, would be allowed to make 83 tanks; the remaining
167 would be allotted at the discretion of the French State. On 13 May
1924 the four prototypes were presented at the Atelier de Rueil, where
they were compared, each having to drive over a twenty kilometre test
course. Immediately it became evident that their technical development
had been insufficient, most breaking down; the SRA even started to fall
apart. Maintenance was difficult because the engines were inaccessible.
All projects used a three men crew but differed considerably in size,
form and the solution chosen to laterally point the gun.

First prototypes

The SRA prototype


The SRA prototype was the heaviest vehicle with 19.5 metric
tonnes. Its length was 595 centimetres, its height 226 cm and its width
249 cm. It had a 75 mm howitzer in the right side of the hull and a
cast, 30 mm thick, turret with two machine-guns. It was steered by an
epicyclical transmission combined with hydraulically reinforced brake
disks—during tests this failed to provide the desired precision. Seen
from the front it already was very similar to the final model, but its
side view was more like that of the British Medium Mark D, including the
snake track-system, with the drive wheel higher than the idler in
front. The suspension used leaf springs. A Renault six-cylinder 180 hp
engine (a bisected 12V aircraft engine) allowed for a maximum speed of
17.5 km/h; a four hundred litre fuel tank for a range of 140 kilometres.

The SRB prototype

The SRB prototype
was a somewhat larger vehicle, six metres long, 228 centimetres high
and 2,5 metres wide. It was nevertheless lighter at 18.5 tonnes, a
result of having a smaller 47 mm gun—it thus was the antitank-version.
Using the same engine, its speed was accordingly slightly higher at 18
km/h. More limited fuel reservoirs holding 370 litres decreased the
range to 370 kilometres. It used an advanced hydraulic suspension system
and the hydraulic Naeder-transmission from the Chaize company combined
with a Fieux clutch and Schneider gear box. It used modified FT 17
tracks. The upper track run was much higher, creating enough room for a
side door on the left.
The FAHM prototype resembled the contemporary Vickers Medium
Tank. It weighed seventeen tonnes, was 520 centimetres long, 240 cm high
and 243 cm wide. It used a hydropneumatic suspension. Despite a weaker
Panhard engine of 120 hp it still attained a speed of 18.2 km/h. Fuel
reservoirs of just 230 litres limited its range to a mere seventy
kilometres. The 75 mm

The FAHM prototype

howitzer
was placed in the middle of the hull and steered by providing each
snake track with its own hydraulic Jeanny transmission. On top was a
riveted machine-gun turret with 25 mm armour.
The FCM 21 prototype was the lightest prototype was at 15.64
tonnes. It resembled a scaled-down Char 2C, the giant tank produced by
the same company. It was very elongated with a length of 6.5 metres and
width of 205 centimetres. A rather large riveted turret with a
stroboscopic cupola, adopted from the Char 2C, brought its height to 252
centimetres. Like the superheavy tank it had no real spring system for
the twelve small wheels per side. Separate clutches for each snake track
allowed to horizontally point the 75 mm howitzer in the middle of the
hull. It used the same Panhard engine as the FAHM type and its speed was
the lowest of all at 17.4 km/h. However, five hundred litre reservoirs
allowed for the best range at 175 kilometres.

Slow development progress

Prototype N° 101, here in its original state with a small machine gun turret


March 1925 Estienne decided to base the future production type on the
SRB, as regarded the general form and mechanical parts. However, it
would be fitted with the 75 mm gun, a Holt-track to be developed by FCM,
which company had completed a special research programme aimed at
optimising weight distribution, and the FAMH-suspension (later this
would again be discarded). Estienne also had some special desires: a
track tension wheel should be fitted, adjustable from the inside, and a
small gangway from the fighting room should improve the accessibility of
the engine compartment. Furthermore the front armour should be
increased to 40 millimetres. In November 1925 Renault was given the
order to build a wooden mock-up, that was finished early 1926. On 27
January 1926 it was decided to build three prototypes of what was
provisionally called a Tracteur 30, a final design by engineer Alleaume
of the Schneider company, cooperating with the STCC (Section Technique
des Chars de Combat). The first was to be delivered by Renault, the
other two by FCM and FAHM respectively. The same year the Direction de
l'Infanterie in the Plan 1926 redefined the concept of a Char de
Bataille. There would be a greater emphasis on infantry support,
implying that the antitank-capacity was secondary and no armour increase
was necessary. The weight was to be limited to 22 metric tonnes and the
speed might be as low as 15 km/h. However, a radio set would have to be
fitted to better direct and coordinate its actions; therefore a fourth
crew-member was needed. On 18 March 1927 the contracts for the three
prototypes were signed. The hull of first Renault vehicle, made of
softer boiler plate instead of armour steel to simplify changes, was in
January 1929 finished apart from the armament. It was delivered in
March. The separately produced cast turret was delivered on 23 April.
The howitzer could only be fitted in April 1930. This prototype was
allotted the series number N° 101. N° 102, the production of which FAMH
had shifted to Renault, was delivered soon after; in September 1930 FCM
delivered N° 103, constructed by the Atelier de Mépanti at Marseille.
One of the vehicles was fitted with an alternative 75 mm Schneider gun
instead of the 75 mm St Chamond M 21 from FAMH.

Trials and testing

The_FAHM_prototype_tank.jpg


Testing on the first prototype had already begun before the other two
were delivered, or even its main armament was fitted. It had with
24,750 kilogrammes a weight higher than specified but could nevertheless
reach a top speed of 24 km/h. From 6 May until August 1930 the
Commission d'Experiences des Matériels de Chars carried out a further
test programme on what was now officially called the Char B—the "B" not
referring to Bataille but to a general classification code. The
commission was largely satisfied with the vehicle, though many smaller
problems were detected that had to be improved. The FCM prototype
featured several alternative technologies: a Winterthur transmission, a
Citroën clutch and a Sulzer diesel engine, later replaced by a Clerget
diesel. All of these systems would prove to be more unreliable than the
original concept and were ultimately rejected.
The three vehicles were not only used for technological but also
tactical experimentations. Together with the Char D1 pre-series they
represented the only modern tanks in France and the Army was naturally
very interested in what lessons could be learned from them about future
warfare, outlining the concept of a Char de Manoeuvre. Neither Char de
Bataille nor Char de Manoeuvre are official type designations; they
refer to the tactical concepts only.. In October 1931 a small unit was
formed, the Détachement d' Experimentation in which the prototypes were
united from December, using the Camp de Châlons as a base to see how
they could be used in winter conditions. Afterwards they on their own
power drove to the Atelier de Rueil for repairs. In September they
participated in the Champagne summer manoeuvres as a Détachement
Mécanique de Combat; from 4 May 1933 N° 102 en 103 together formed a
Détachement d'Engins Blindés to perform tactical experiments in the army
bases of Coëtquidan and Mourmelon as part of a motorised light
division, followed by comparable experiments in April 1934 at Sissonne.
Technical aspects were not forgotten during these tests and it was
established they could attain an average road speed of 19 km/h, cross a
trench 2,4 metres wide and wade through a 105 centimetres deep stream.
The prototypes were again extensively altered to meet changes in
specifications. On 6 April 1934 the first order was made for seven tanks
of a Char B1. The "B1" refers to the fact that there were other
simultaneous projects to develop improved types: the Char B2, B3 and B
B.

Production

CharB1 BIS


The Char B1 was manufactured by several firms: Renault (182), AMX
(47), FCM (72), FAMH (70) and Schneider (32). Although it was the main
producer, Renault had not exclusively designed the tank. Therefore the
official name was not Renault B1 as often erroneously given. It was a
very expensive tank to build: the per unit cost was about 1.5 million
French francs. In France at the time two schools of thought collided:
the first wanted to build very strong heavy tanks, the other a lot of
cheap light tanks. Both sides managed to influence procurement policy to
the end that not enough tanks were built of either category, to the
exasperation of men like Colonel Charles de Gaulle who wanted to build
more of the medium Char D2, with a third of the cost of the Char B1 bis,
but armed with the same 47 mm gun.

Post WWI heritage

Disabled or abandoned French Char B1 bis tank No. 467, Nivernais II, surrounded by young German soldiers


The outer appearance of the Char B1 reflected the fact that
development started in the twenties: like the very first tank, the
British Mark I tank of World War I fame, it still had large tracks going
around the entire hull and large armour plates protecting the
suspension—and like all tanks of that decade it had no welded or cast
hull armour. The similarity resulted partly from the fact that the Char
B1 was a specialised offensive weapon, a break-through tank optimised
for punching a hole into strong defensive entrenchments, so it was
designed with good trench-crossing capabilities. The French Army thought
that dislodging the enemy from a key front sector would decide a
campaign, and it prided itself on being the only army in the world
having a sufficient number of adequately protected heavy tanks. The
exploitation phase of a battle was seen as secondary and best carried
out by controlled and methodical movement to ensure superiority in
numbers, so for the heavy tanks also mobility was of secondary concern.
Although the Char B1 had for the time of its conception a good speed, no
serious efforts were made to improve it when much faster tanks
appeared.
More important than the tank's limitations in tactical mobility,
though, were its limitations in strategic mobility. The low practical
range implied the need to refuel very often, limiting its operational
capabilities. This again implied that the armoured divisions of the
Infantry, the Divisions Cuirassées de Réserve, were—despite their name
that merely reflected the fact that they had originally been planned to
be raised in a secondary mobilisation—not very effective as a mobile
reserve and thus lacked strategic flexibility. They were not created to
fulfill such a role in the first place, which was reflected in the small
size of the artillery and infantry components of the divisions.
The one-man turret

The heavy tank B1 Poitou during the parade of July 14, 1938


Another explanation of the similarity to the British Mark I lies in
the Char B1's original specification to create a self-propelled gun able
to destroy enemy infantry and artillery. The main weapon of the tank
was its 75 mm howitzer, and the entire design of the vehicle was
directed to making this gun as effective as possible. When in the early
1930s it became obvious that the Char B1 also had to defeat
counterattacking enemy armour, it was too late for a complete redesign.
The solution was to add the standard cast APX-1 turret which also
equipped the Char D2. Like most French tanks of the period (the
exception being the AMC 34 and AMC 35) the Char B thus had a small
one-man turret. Today this is typically seen as one of their greatest
flaws. The commander, alone in the turret, not only had to command the
tank, but also to aim and load the gun. If he was a unit leader, he had
to command his other tanks as well. This is in contrast with the
contemporary German, British and Soviet policy to use two or three-man
turret crews, in which these duties were divided amongst several men.
The other nations felt that the commander would otherwise be over-tasked
and unable to perform any of his roles as well as the commanders of
tanks with two or three-man turret crews.
Whether this left the Char B1 less-formidable in actual combat
than a review of its impressive statistics suggests, is difficult to
ascertain. In 1940, the vast majority of Char B1 combat losses were
inflicted by German artillery and anti-tank guns. In direct meetings
with German tanks the Char B1 usually had the better of it, sometimes
spectacularly so as when on 16 May a single tank, Eure, frontally
attacked and destroyed thirteen German tanks lying in ambush in Stonne,
all of them Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs, in the course of a few minutes.
The tank safely returned despite being hit 140 times. Similarly, in his
book Panzer Leader, Heinz Guderian related an incident, which took place
during a tank battle south of Juniville: "While the tank battle was in
progress, I attempted, in vain, to destroy a Char B with a captured
47-mm anti-tank gun; all the shells I fired at it simply bounced
harmlessly off its thick armor. Our 37-mm and 20-mm guns were equally
ineffective against this adversary. As a result, we inevitably suffered
sadly heavy casualties".
The French favoured small turrets despite their shortcomings, as
they allowed for much smaller and thus cheaper vehicles. Although the
French expenditure on tanks was relatively larger than the German,
France simply lacked the production capacity to build a sufficient
number of heavier tanks. The Char B1 was expensive enough as it was,
eating up half of the infantry tank budget.

Variants

Char B1

CharB1 BIS


The original Char B1 had frontal and side armour up to 40 mm thick.
The vehicle had a fully traversing APX1 turret with a 47 mm L/27.6 SA 34
gun. This had a poor anti-tank capability: the thirty APHE (Armour
Piercing High Explosive) rounds among the fifty the tank carried had a
maximum penetration of about 25 mm. In addition, it was armed with a 75
mm ABS 1929 SA 35 gun mounted in the right-hand side of the hull front
and two 7.5 mm Châtellerault M 1931 machine guns: one in the hull and
the other in the turret. The 75 mm L/17.1 gun, that could fire both a HE
and the APHE Obus de rupture Modèle 1910M round, had a limited traverse
of only one degree to the left or the right (equating to about 18
metres at 500 m range). It was laid onto target by the driver (provided
with the gun sight) through the Naeder hydraulic precision transmission.
The traverse had only been made possible in order to precisely align
the gun barrel with the sight beforehand. The 75 mm gun had its own
loader—the remaining two crew members were the radio operator and the
commander, who had to load, aim and fire the 47 mm gun while commanding
the vehicle (as noted before, in the case of platoon leaders, command
other vehicles as well). The fighting compartment had the radio set on
the left and an exit hatch in the right side. All vehicles had the ER53
radio telegraphy set, which used Morse Code only, which proved not to be
the best solution in combat. A hatch in the rear bulkhead gave access
to a corridor (under which nineteen 75 mm rounds out of a total of
eighty were stowed) in the engine room to the right of the engine, which
was officially rated at 250 hp (190 kW), but had an actual output of
272 hp (203 kW). Each tank had its own team of three mechanics; in
battle some of these might join the regular crew.
The suspension was very complex with sixteen road wheels per side. There
were three large central bogies, sprung by a vertical coil spring. Each
central bogie carried two smaller ones. The three vertical springs
moved through holes in a horizontal beam, to both extreme ends of which
road wheels were attached by means of leaf springs: three at the front
and one at the back. The high track run gave the tank an old fashioned
look, reflecting its long development time. It had a maximum speed of 28
km/h and a weight of 28 metric tons. The range was about 200 km. A
total of 34 vehicles were built from December 1935 until July 1937. They
had series numbers 102 to 135. Chassis number 101 was kept apart to
build the Char B1 ter prototype.
Char B1 bis

The Char B1 bis Rhône at the Musée des Blindés at Saumur


The Char B1 bis was an upgraded variant with thicker armour at 60 mm
maximum (55 mm at the sides) and an APX4 turret with a longer-barrelled
(L/32) 47 mm SA 35 gun, to give the tank a real anti-tank capacity. It
was the main production type: from 8 April 1937 until June 1940 369
units were delivered out of a total order for 1144, with series numbers
201 to 569. Before the war manufacture was slow: only 129 had been
delivered on 1 September 1939. The monthly delivery was still not more
than fifteen in December; it peaked in March 1940 with 45 units. The
Char B1 bis had a top speed of 25 km/h (16 mph) provided by a 307 bhp
(229 kW) petrol engine. The first batch of 35 Char B1 bis used the
original engine butfrom 1938 to May 1940 they were slowly re-equipped.
Its weight was about 31.5 metric tons. The operational range was about
180 km which was similar to other tanks of the period. At 20 km/h the
three fuel tanks (total capacity of 400) would be exhausted in six
hours. To improve matters, at first, trailers with an 800 litre
auxiliary fuel tank were towed but this practice was soon abandoned.
Instead Char B1 units included a large number of fuel trucks and TRC
Lorraine 37 L armoured tracked refuelling vehicles specially designed to
quickly refuel them. The last tanks to be produced in June had an extra
internal 170 l (37 imp gal) fuel tank. To cool the more powerful engine
the Char B1 bis had the air intake on the left side enlarged. It is
often claimed this formed a weak spot in the armour, based on a single
incident on 16 May near Stonne where two German 37 mm PAK guns claimed
to have knocked out three Char B1's by firing at the intakes at close
range. The air intake was a 6-inch (150 mm) thick assembly of horizontal
slits alternately angled upwards and downwards between 28 mm thick
armour plates, and as such intended to be no more vulnerable than the
normal 55 mm side plates.
Over the production run the type was slowly improved. Tanks number 306
to 340 carried 62 47-mm rounds (and the old complement of 4,800 machine
gun rounds); later tanks 72 and 5,250. However the B1 bis had fewer 75
mm rounds compared to the earlier B1 : 74 instead of eighty, normally
only seven of which were APHE ammunition. Early in 1940 another change
was made when the ER53 radio was replaced by the ER51 which allowed
spoken wireless communication. The company and battalion command tanks
also had an ER55 for communication with higher command. The crews of the
1re DCR kept their old sets however, preferring them because the human
voice was drowned by engine noise.
Char B1 ter
The Char B1 ter, with sloped and welded 70 mm armour, a weight of
36.6 metric tons and an engine of 350 hp (260 kW) was meant to replace
the B1 bis to accelerate mass production from the summer of 1940. Cost
was reduced by omitting the complex Neader transmission and giving the
hull gun a traverse of ten degrees instead. Only two prototypes could be
finished before the defeat of France. In May 1940 it was agreed to
deliver nine Char B1's each month to Britain in exchange for a monthly
British production of the "H 39".

Operational history

Disabled or abandoned French Char B1 bis tank No. 467, Nivernais II, surrounded by young German soldiers


The Char B1 served with the armoured divisions of the Infantry, the
Divisions Cuirassées de Réserve. These were highly specialised offensive
units, optimised to break through fortified enemy positions. The mobile
phase of a battle was to be carried out by the armoured divisions of
the Cavalry, equipped with the SOMUA S35. The First and Second DCR had
69 Char B1's each; the Third 68. The 37th Bataillon de Chars de Combat,
serving with 1DCR, was at first equipped with the original B1; these
vehicles were refitted with the longer SA 35 gun in the spring of 1940.
The turret type designation was changed to APX1A. The battalion was
re-equipped with the Char B1 bis and in May reinforced by five of the
original tanks.
After the German invasion several ad hoc units were formed: the 4DCR
with 52 Char B1's and five autonomous companies (347e, 348e, 349e, 352e
and 353e Compagnie Autonome de Chars) with in total 56 tanks: 12 B1's
and 44 B1 bis. Also 28BCC was reconstituted with 34 tanks. The regular
divisions destroyed quite a few German tanks, but lacked enough organic
infantry and artillery to function as an effective mobile reserve. A
number of Char B1's (161) were captured by the Germans during the Fall
of France. These were later pressed into service as second line and
training vehicles under the name of Panzerkampfwagen B-2 740 (f). Sixty
became platforms for flamethrowers as Flammwagen auf Panzerkampfwagen
B-2 (f). Sixteen were converted into 105 mm self propelled artillery.
Ordinary tank versions were also frequently modified. For example,
additional armour was placed above the main gun, and a winch mechanism
was added behind the turret. One unit, Panzer-Abteilung 213, was
equipped with the Char B1 bis and deployed on the Channel Islands from
1941 to 1945. One of their tanks is displayed by the Bovington Tank
Museum, though repainted in French colours.
German use:

A Panzerkampfwagen B-2, showing the additional frontal armour above the main gun.


The principal German units that used the Char B1 bis.
• Panzer-Brigade 100
• Panzer-Regimente 100
• Panzer-Ersatz-Abteilung 100
• Panzer-Abteilung (F) 102
• Panzer-Abteilung 213
• SS-Panzer-Abteilung "Prinz Eugen"
• Panzer-Kompanie z.b.V. 12
• Panzer-Abteilung 223
• Beutepanzer-Kompanie 223
• I./Artillerie-Regiment 93 of 26. Panzer-Division
• II./Panzer-Regiment 1 of 1. Panzer-Division
• Panzer-Regiment 2 of 16. Panzer-Division
• I./Panzer-Regiment 36 of 14. Panzer-Division
• Panzer-Abteilung 205
• Panzer-Kompanie 206
• Panzer-Kompanie C (ND) 224
• Panzerjäger-Abteilung 657 (PK 224)


Char B1 tank, France's most expensive tank at the start of the war


The Char B1 was a French heavy tank manufactured before World
War II. It was a specialised heavy break-through vehicle, originally
conceived as a self-propelled gun with a 75 mm howitzer in the hull;
later a 47 mm gun in a turret was added, to allow it to function also as
a Char de Bataille, a "battle tank" fighting enemy armour, equipping
the armoured divisions of the Infantry Arm. Starting in the early
twenties, its development and production were repeatedly delayed,
resulting in a vehicle that was both technologically complex and
expensive, and already obsolescent when real mass-production of a
derived version, the Char B1 "bis", started in the late thirties.
Although a second uparmoured version, the Char B1 "ter", was developed,
only two prototypes were built. Among the most powerfully armed and
armoured tanks of its day, the type was very effective in direct
confrontations with German armour in 1940 during the Battle of France,
but slow speed and high fuel consumption made it ill-adapted to the war
of movement then being fought. After the defeat of France captured Char
B1 (bis) would be used by Germany, with some rebuilt as flamethrowers or
mechanised artillery.

Development history

Different concepts

B1 wooden mock-up


The Char B1 had its origins in the concept of a Char de Bataille
conceived by General Jean Baptiste Eugène Estienne in 1919, e.g. in his
memorandum Mémoire sur les missions des chars blindés en campagne. It
had to be a "Battle Tank" that would be able to accomplish a
breakthrough of the enemy line by destroying fortifications, gun
emplacements and opposing tanks. In January 1921 a commission headed by
General Edmond Buat initiated a project for such a vehicle. To limit
costs, it had to be built like a self-propelled gun, with the main
weapon in the hull. To minimise the vehicle size this gun should only be
able to move up and down with the horizontal aiming to be provided by
turning the entire vehicle. The specifications included: a maximum
weight of thirteen metric tonnes; a maximum armour thickness of 25
millimetres; a hull as low as possible to enable the gun to fire into
vision slits of bunkers; a small machine gun turret to beat off enemy
infantry attacks, at the same time serving as an observation post for
the commander and a crew of at most three men. Two versions should be
built, the one a close support tank armed with a 75 mm howitzer, the
other an antitank-vehicle with a 47 mm gun instead. The French industry
was very interested in the project. In the past this had often led to
much non-constructive rivalry. Estienne, who in the war had personally
witnessed the dismal effects of such a situation, was determined to
avoid a repetition this time. He used his position as Inspector-General
of the Tanks to enforce the so-called "Estienne accord" on the
industrialists, ordering them to "reach a mutual understanding, free
from any spirit of industrial competition". To be allowed to join they
had to agree beforehand to relinquish any patents to the Army, which
would be free to combine all projects into a single type. In exchange
industry were promised very large orders of no less than a thousand
vehicles.
On these conditions four projects were started in 1921: two by a
cooperation between Renault and Schneider: the SRA and the SRB, one by
FAMH (Forges et Aciéries de la Marine et d'Homécourt, better known as
Saint Chamond) and the last by FCM (Forges et Chantiers de la
Méditerranée), the FCM 21. Renault and Schneider would each get to
produce 250 units, FAMH and FCM each 125. A fifth producer,
Delaunay-Belleville, of which the project (an improved FT 17) had been
rejected beforehand, would be allowed to make 83 tanks; the remaining
167 would be allotted at the discretion of the French State. On 13 May
1924 the four prototypes were presented at the Atelier de Rueil, where
they were compared, each having to drive over a twenty kilometre test
course. Immediately it became evident that their technical development
had been insufficient, most breaking down; the SRA even started to fall
apart. Maintenance was difficult because the engines were inaccessible.
All projects used a three men crew but differed considerably in size,
form and the solution chosen to laterally point the gun.

First prototypes

The SRA prototype


The SRA prototype was the heaviest vehicle with 19.5 metric
tonnes. Its length was 595 centimetres, its height 226 cm and its width
249 cm. It had a 75 mm howitzer in the right side of the hull and a
cast, 30 mm thick, turret with two machine-guns. It was steered by an
epicyclical transmission combined with hydraulically reinforced brake
disks—during tests this failed to provide the desired precision. Seen
from the front it already was very similar to the final model, but its
side view was more like that of the British Medium Mark D, including the
snake track-system, with the drive wheel higher than the idler in
front. The suspension used leaf springs. A Renault six-cylinder 180 hp
engine (a bisected 12V aircraft engine) allowed for a maximum speed of
17.5 km/h; a four hundred litre fuel tank for a range of 140 kilometres.

The SRB prototype

The SRB prototype
was a somewhat larger vehicle, six metres long, 228 centimetres high
and 2,5 metres wide. It was nevertheless lighter at 18.5 tonnes, a
result of having a smaller 47 mm gun—it thus was the antitank-version.
Using the same engine, its speed was accordingly slightly higher at 18
km/h. More limited fuel reservoirs holding 370 litres decreased the
range to 370 kilometres. It used an advanced hydraulic suspension system
and the hydraulic Naeder-transmission from the Chaize company combined
with a Fieux clutch and Schneider gear box. It used modified FT 17
tracks. The upper track run was much higher, creating enough room for a
side door on the left.
The FAHM prototype resembled the contemporary Vickers Medium
Tank. It weighed seventeen tonnes, was 520 centimetres long, 240 cm high
and 243 cm wide. It used a hydropneumatic suspension. Despite a weaker
Panhard engine of 120 hp it still attained a speed of 18.2 km/h. Fuel
reservoirs of just 230 litres limited its range to a mere seventy
kilometres. The 75 mm

The FAHM prototype

howitzer
was placed in the middle of the hull and steered by providing each
snake track with its own hydraulic Jeanny transmission. On top was a
riveted machine-gun turret with 25 mm armour.
The FCM 21 prototype was the lightest prototype was at 15.64
tonnes. It resembled a scaled-down Char 2C, the giant tank produced by
the same company. It was very elongated with a length of 6.5 metres and
width of 205 centimetres. A rather large riveted turret with a
stroboscopic cupola, adopted from the Char 2C, brought its height to 252
centimetres. Like the superheavy tank it had no real spring system for
the twelve small wheels per side. Separate clutches for each snake track
allowed to horizontally point the 75 mm howitzer in the middle of the
hull. It used the same Panhard engine as the FAHM type and its speed was
the lowest of all at 17.4 km/h. However, five hundred litre reservoirs
allowed for the best range at 175 kilometres.

Slow development progress

Prototype N° 101, here in its original state with a small machine gun turret


March 1925 Estienne decided to base the future production type on the
SRB, as regarded the general form and mechanical parts. However, it
would be fitted with the 75 mm gun, a Holt-track to be developed by FCM,
which company had completed a special research programme aimed at
optimising weight distribution, and the FAMH-suspension (later this
would again be discarded). Estienne also had some special desires: a
track tension wheel should be fitted, adjustable from the inside, and a
small gangway from the fighting room should improve the accessibility of
the engine compartment. Furthermore the front armour should be
increased to 40 millimetres. In November 1925 Renault was given the
order to build a wooden mock-up, that was finished early 1926. On 27
January 1926 it was decided to build three prototypes of what was
provisionally called a Tracteur 30, a final design by engineer Alleaume
of the Schneider company, cooperating with the STCC (Section Technique
des Chars de Combat). The first was to be delivered by Renault, the
other two by FCM and FAHM respectively. The same year the Direction de
l'Infanterie in the Plan 1926 redefined the concept of a Char de
Bataille. There would be a greater emphasis on infantry support,
implying that the antitank-capacity was secondary and no armour increase
was necessary. The weight was to be limited to 22 metric tonnes and the
speed might be as low as 15 km/h. However, a radio set would have to be
fitted to better direct and coordinate its actions; therefore a fourth
crew-member was needed. On 18 March 1927 the contracts for the three
prototypes were signed. The hull of first Renault vehicle, made of
softer boiler plate instead of armour steel to simplify changes, was in
January 1929 finished apart from the armament. It was delivered in
March. The separately produced cast turret was delivered on 23 April.
The howitzer could only be fitted in April 1930. This prototype was
allotted the series number N° 101. N° 102, the production of which FAMH
had shifted to Renault, was delivered soon after; in September 1930 FCM
delivered N° 103, constructed by the Atelier de Mépanti at Marseille.
One of the vehicles was fitted with an alternative 75 mm Schneider gun
instead of the 75 mm St Chamond M 21 from FAMH.

Trials and testing

The_FAHM_prototype_tank.jpg


Testing on the first prototype had already begun before the other two
were delivered, or even its main armament was fitted. It had with
24,750 kilogrammes a weight higher than specified but could nevertheless
reach a top speed of 24 km/h. From 6 May until August 1930 the
Commission d'Experiences des Matériels de Chars carried out a further
test programme on what was now officially called the Char B—the "B" not
referring to Bataille but to a general classification code. The
commission was largely satisfied with the vehicle, though many smaller
problems were detected that had to be improved. The FCM prototype
featured several alternative technologies: a Winterthur transmission, a
Citroën clutch and a Sulzer diesel engine, later replaced by a Clerget
diesel. All of these systems would prove to be more unreliable than the
original concept and were ultimately rejected.
The three vehicles were not only used for technological but also
tactical experimentations. Together with the Char D1 pre-series they
represented the only modern tanks in France and the Army was naturally
very interested in what lessons could be learned from them about future
warfare, outlining the concept of a Char de Manoeuvre. Neither Char de
Bataille nor Char de Manoeuvre are official type designations; they
refer to the tactical concepts only.. In October 1931 a small unit was
formed, the Détachement d' Experimentation in which the prototypes were
united from December, using the Camp de Châlons as a base to see how
they could be used in winter conditions. Afterwards they on their own
power drove to the Atelier de Rueil for repairs. In September they
participated in the Champagne summer manoeuvres as a Détachement
Mécanique de Combat; from 4 May 1933 N° 102 en 103 together formed a
Détachement d'Engins Blindés to perform tactical experiments in the army
bases of Coëtquidan and Mourmelon as part of a motorised light
division, followed by comparable experiments in April 1934 at Sissonne.
Technical aspects were not forgotten during these tests and it was
established they could attain an average road speed of 19 km/h, cross a
trench 2,4 metres wide and wade through a 105 centimetres deep stream.
The prototypes were again extensively altered to meet changes in
specifications. On 6 April 1934 the first order was made for seven tanks
of a Char B1. The "B1" refers to the fact that there were other
simultaneous projects to develop improved types: the Char B2, B3 and B
B.

Production

CharB1 BIS


The Char B1 was manufactured by several firms: Renault (182), AMX
(47), FCM (72), FAMH (70) and Schneider (32). Although it was the main
producer, Renault had not exclusively designed the tank. Therefore the
official name was not Renault B1 as often erroneously given. It was a
very expensive tank to build: the per unit cost was about 1.5 million
French francs. In France at the time two schools of thought collided:
the first wanted to build very strong heavy tanks, the other a lot of
cheap light tanks. Both sides managed to influence procurement policy to
the end that not enough tanks were built of either category, to the
exasperation of men like Colonel Charles de Gaulle who wanted to build
more of the medium Char D2, with a third of the cost of the Char B1 bis,
but armed with the same 47 mm gun.

Post WWI heritage

Disabled or abandoned French Char B1 bis tank No. 467, Nivernais II, surrounded by young German soldiers


The outer appearance of the Char B1 reflected the fact that
development started in the twenties: like the very first tank, the
British Mark I tank of World War I fame, it still had large tracks going
around the entire hull and large armour plates protecting the
suspension—and like all tanks of that decade it had no welded or cast
hull armour. The similarity resulted partly from the fact that the Char
B1 was a specialised offensive weapon, a break-through tank optimised
for punching a hole into strong defensive entrenchments, so it was
designed with good trench-crossing capabilities. The French Army thought
that dislodging the enemy from a key front sector would decide a
campaign, and it prided itself on being the only army in the world
having a sufficient number of adequately protected heavy tanks. The
exploitation phase of a battle was seen as secondary and best carried
out by controlled and methodical movement to ensure superiority in
numbers, so for the heavy tanks also mobility was of secondary concern.
Although the Char B1 had for the time of its conception a good speed, no
serious efforts were made to improve it when much faster tanks
appeared.
More important than the tank's limitations in tactical mobility,
though, were its limitations in strategic mobility. The low practical
range implied the need to refuel very often, limiting its operational
capabilities. This again implied that the armoured divisions of the
Infantry, the Divisions Cuirassées de Réserve, were—despite their name
that merely reflected the fact that they had originally been planned to
be raised in a secondary mobilisation—not very effective as a mobile
reserve and thus lacked strategic flexibility. They were not created to
fulfill such a role in the first place, which was reflected in the small
size of the artillery and infantry components of the divisions.
The one-man turret

The heavy tank B1 Poitou during the parade of July 14, 1938


Another explanation of the similarity to the British Mark I lies in
the Char B1's original specification to create a self-propelled gun able
to destroy enemy infantry and artillery. The main weapon of the tank
was its 75 mm howitzer, and the entire design of the vehicle was
directed to making this gun as effective as possible. When in the early
1930s it became obvious that the Char B1 also had to defeat
counterattacking enemy armour, it was too late for a complete redesign.
The solution was to add the standard cast APX-1 turret which also
equipped the Char D2. Like most French tanks of the period (the
exception being the AMC 34 and AMC 35) the Char B thus had a small
one-man turret. Today this is typically seen as one of their greatest
flaws. The commander, alone in the turret, not only had to command the
tank, but also to aim and load the gun. If he was a unit leader, he had
to command his other tanks as well. This is in contrast with the
contemporary German, British and Soviet policy to use two or three-man
turret crews, in which these duties were divided amongst several men.
The other nations felt that the commander would otherwise be over-tasked
and unable to perform any of his roles as well as the commanders of
tanks with two or three-man turret crews.
Whether this left the Char B1 less-formidable in actual combat
than a review of its impressive statistics suggests, is difficult to
ascertain. In 1940, the vast majority of Char B1 combat losses were
inflicted by German artillery and anti-tank guns. In direct meetings
with German tanks the Char B1 usually had the better of it, sometimes
spectacularly so as when on 16 May a single tank, Eure, frontally
attacked and destroyed thirteen German tanks lying in ambush in Stonne,
all of them Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs, in the course of a few minutes.
The tank safely returned despite being hit 140 times. Similarly, in his
book Panzer Leader, Heinz Guderian related an incident, which took place
during a tank battle south of Juniville: "While the tank battle was in
progress, I attempted, in vain, to destroy a Char B with a captured
47-mm anti-tank gun; all the shells I fired at it simply bounced
harmlessly off its thick armor. Our 37-mm and 20-mm guns were equally
ineffective against this adversary. As a result, we inevitably suffered
sadly heavy casualties".
The French favoured small turrets despite their shortcomings, as
they allowed for much smaller and thus cheaper vehicles. Although the
French expenditure on tanks was relatively larger than the German,
France simply lacked the production capacity to build a sufficient
number of heavier tanks. The Char B1 was expensive enough as it was,
eating up half of the infantry tank budget.

Variants

Char B1

CharB1 BIS


The original Char B1 had frontal and side armour up to 40 mm thick.
The vehicle had a fully traversing APX1 turret with a 47 mm L/27.6 SA 34
gun. This had a poor anti-tank capability: the thirty APHE (Armour
Piercing High Explosive) rounds among the fifty the tank carried had a
maximum penetration of about 25 mm. In addition, it was armed with a 75
mm ABS 1929 SA 35 gun mounted in the right-hand side of the hull front
and two 7.5 mm Châtellerault M 1931 machine guns: one in the hull and
the other in the turret. The 75 mm L/17.1 gun, that could fire both a HE
and the APHE Obus de rupture Modèle 1910M round, had a limited traverse
of only one degree to the left or the right (equating to about 18
metres at 500 m range). It was laid onto target by the driver (provided
with the gun sight) through the Naeder hydraulic precision transmission.
The traverse had only been made possible in order to precisely align
the gun barrel with the sight beforehand. The 75 mm gun had its own
loader—the remaining two crew members were the radio operator and the
commander, who had to load, aim and fire the 47 mm gun while commanding
the vehicle (as noted before, in the case of platoon leaders, command
other vehicles as well). The fighting compartment had the radio set on
the left and an exit hatch in the right side. All vehicles had the ER53
radio telegraphy set, which used Morse Code only, which proved not to be
the best solution in combat. A hatch in the rear bulkhead gave access
to a corridor (under which nineteen 75 mm rounds out of a total of
eighty were stowed) in the engine room to the right of the engine, which
was officially rated at 250 hp (190 kW), but had an actual output of
272 hp (203 kW). Each tank had its own team of three mechanics; in
battle some of these might join the regular crew.
The suspension was very complex with sixteen road wheels per side. There
were three large central bogies, sprung by a vertical coil spring. Each
central bogie carried two smaller ones. The three vertical springs
moved through holes in a horizontal beam, to both extreme ends of which
road wheels were attached by means of leaf springs: three at the front
and one at the back. The high track run gave the tank an old fashioned
look, reflecting its long development time. It had a maximum speed of 28
km/h and a weight of 28 metric tons. The range was about 200 km. A
total of 34 vehicles were built from December 1935 until July 1937. They
had series numbers 102 to 135. Chassis number 101 was kept apart to
build the Char B1 ter prototype.
Char B1 bis

The Char B1 bis Rhône at the Musée des Blindés at Saumur


The Char B1 bis was an upgraded variant with thicker armour at 60 mm
maximum (55 mm at the sides) and an APX4 turret with a longer-barrelled
(L/32) 47 mm SA 35 gun, to give the tank a real anti-tank capacity. It
was the main production type: from 8 April 1937 until June 1940 369
units were delivered out of a total order for 1144, with series numbers
201 to 569. Before the war manufacture was slow: only 129 had been
delivered on 1 September 1939. The monthly delivery was still not more
than fifteen in December; it peaked in March 1940 with 45 units. The
Char B1 bis had a top speed of 25 km/h (16 mph) provided by a 307 bhp
(229 kW) petrol engine. The first batch of 35 Char B1 bis used the
original engine butfrom 1938 to May 1940 they were slowly re-equipped.
Its weight was about 31.5 metric tons. The operational range was about
180 km which was similar to other tanks of the period. At 20 km/h the
three fuel tanks (total capacity of 400) would be exhausted in six
hours. To improve matters, at first, trailers with an 800 litre
auxiliary fuel tank were towed but this practice was soon abandoned.
Instead Char B1 units included a large number of fuel trucks and TRC
Lorraine 37 L armoured tracked refuelling vehicles specially designed to
quickly refuel them. The last tanks to be produced in June had an extra
internal 170 l (37 imp gal) fuel tank. To cool the more powerful engine
the Char B1 bis had the air intake on the left side enlarged. It is
often claimed this formed a weak spot in the armour, based on a single
incident on 16 May near Stonne where two German 37 mm PAK guns claimed
to have knocked out three Char B1's by firing at the intakes at close
range. The air intake was a 6-inch (150 mm) thick assembly of horizontal
slits alternately angled upwards and downwards between 28 mm thick
armour plates, and as such intended to be no more vulnerable than the
normal 55 mm side plates.
Over the production run the type was slowly improved. Tanks number 306
to 340 carried 62 47-mm rounds (and the old complement of 4,800 machine
gun rounds); later tanks 72 and 5,250. However the B1 bis had fewer 75
mm rounds compared to the earlier B1 : 74 instead of eighty, normally
only seven of which were APHE ammunition. Early in 1940 another change
was made when the ER53 radio was replaced by the ER51 which allowed
spoken wireless communication. The company and battalion command tanks
also had an ER55 for communication with higher command. The crews of the
1re DCR kept their old sets however, preferring them because the human
voice was drowned by engine noise.
Char B1 ter
The Char B1 ter, with sloped and welded 70 mm armour, a weight of
36.6 metric tons and an engine of 350 hp (260 kW) was meant to replace
the B1 bis to accelerate mass production from the summer of 1940. Cost
was reduced by omitting the complex Neader transmission and giving the
hull gun a traverse of ten degrees instead. Only two prototypes could be
finished before the defeat of France. In May 1940 it was agreed to
deliver nine Char B1's each month to Britain in exchange for a monthly
British production of the "H 39".

Operational history

Disabled or abandoned French Char B1 bis tank No. 467, Nivernais II, surrounded by young German soldiers


The Char B1 served with the armoured divisions of the Infantry, the
Divisions Cuirassées de Réserve. These were highly specialised offensive
units, optimised to break through fortified enemy positions. The mobile
phase of a battle was to be carried out by the armoured divisions of
the Cavalry, equipped with the SOMUA S35. The First and Second DCR had
69 Char B1's each; the Third 68. The 37th Bataillon de Chars de Combat,
serving with 1DCR, was at first equipped with the original B1; these
vehicles were refitted with the longer SA 35 gun in the spring of 1940.
The turret type designation was changed to APX1A. The battalion was
re-equipped with the Char B1 bis and in May reinforced by five of the
original tanks.
After the German invasion several ad hoc units were formed: the 4DCR
with 52 Char B1's and five autonomous companies (347e, 348e, 349e, 352e
and 353e Compagnie Autonome de Chars) with in total 56 tanks: 12 B1's
and 44 B1 bis. Also 28BCC was reconstituted with 34 tanks. The regular
divisions destroyed quite a few German tanks, but lacked enough organic
infantry and artillery to function as an effective mobile reserve. A
number of Char B1's (161) were captured by the Germans during the Fall
of France. These were later pressed into service as second line and
training vehicles under the name of Panzerkampfwagen B-2 740 (f). Sixty
became platforms for flamethrowers as Flammwagen auf Panzerkampfwagen
B-2 (f). Sixteen were converted into 105 mm self propelled artillery.
Ordinary tank versions were also frequently modified. For example,
additional armour was placed above the main gun, and a winch mechanism
was added behind the turret. One unit, Panzer-Abteilung 213, was
equipped with the Char B1 bis and deployed on the Channel Islands from
1941 to 1945. One of their tanks is displayed by the Bovington Tank
Museum, though repainted in French colours.
German use:

A Panzerkampfwagen B-2, showing the additional frontal armour above the main gun.


The principal German units that used the Char B1 bis.
• Panzer-Brigade 100
• Panzer-Regimente 100
• Panzer-Ersatz-Abteilung 100
• Panzer-Abteilung (F) 102
• Panzer-Abteilung 213
• SS-Panzer-Abteilung "Prinz Eugen"
• Panzer-Kompanie z.b.V. 12
• Panzer-Abteilung 223
• Beutepanzer-Kompanie 223
• I./Artillerie-Regiment 93 of 26. Panzer-Division
• II./Panzer-Regiment 1 of 1. Panzer-Division
• Panzer-Regiment 2 of 16. Panzer-Division
• I./Panzer-Regiment 36 of 14. Panzer-Division
• Panzer-Abteilung 205
• Panzer-Kompanie 206
• Panzer-Kompanie C (ND) 224
• Panzerjäger-Abteilung 657 (PK 224)


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Report abuse Somua SAu 40

1 comment by ʇɐuʞɐʇǝp on Jan 8th, 2014

In 1935 France started the development of the new self propelled gun \
tank destroyer vehicle. Two companies responded with proposals. Societé
d'Outillage Mécanique et d'Usinage d'Artillerie (SOMUA) started work on a
project that was to become the SOMUA SAu 40, and Atelier de
Construction de Rueil (ARL)began developing its ARL 39V prototype.
Unlike the ARL V39, which was based on the BDR G1B tank, SOMUA
derived the SAu 40 from the very promising S35 cavalry tank that proved
to be the best tank in the French arsenal at the beginning of World War
2. The SOMUA SAu 40 prototype was to be finished and presented to the
army in 1937. Unfortunately, since it shared the main gun with competing
ARL V39, it had to wait for a full year for the both primary and
secondary armament to be mounted. Main armament was to be the 75 mm APX
gun, a modification of the mle. 1292 de Casemate gun originally
developed for fortifications. The gun un had a semi-automatic breech,
automatic shell rammer, and a very odd and unusual feature: it could be
retracted inside the hull to decrease the vehicle's length. Secondary
armament consisted of a 7.5 mm machine gun placed in a small turret on
the roof, similar to the competing ARL project. The 75 mm gun APX 1929
gun was to have a traverse arc of 7 degrees to the left and 7.6 to the
right with an excellent elevation arc from -10 to 30 degrees. Maximum
effective range was to be 2000 m, with an ammunition capacity of 102
rounds. The sights were quite advanced for its time, and they offered 4x
magnification, with a field of view of 125 degrees.

With tensions running high in Europe just prior to the outbreak of World
War 2, France was desperate for any kind of modern armor, and the SOMUA
SAu 40 was ordered into series production. An order for a total of 36
vehicles was placed. By 1 May 1940, 72 vehicles had been ordered, but
only the prototype was armed with the 75 mm gun. The production vehicles
were instead armed with the powerful 47 mm SA 37 anti-tank gun as tank
destroyers. It is known that the prototype SAu 40 fought during the
Battle for France in June 1940, probably along with a few production
vehicles. The fall of France in June 1940 brought an end to all further
development.

File:Sau40 01.jpg
File:Sau40 02.jpg
File:Sau40 03.jpg
File:Sau40 04.jpg

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Report abuse Object 252/253

0 comments by ʇɐuʞɐʇǝp on Jan 3rd, 2014

Following the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943, the Soviets were
able to acquire a few examples of the new generation of German tanks,
most notably the PzKpfw VI Tiger heavy tank (known as the "T-6H Tiger" to the Soviets) and the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) tank destroyer, better known as the Ferdinand (designated the "T-6P Ferdinand" by the Soviets). After studying these vehicles, the OGK NKTP (Otdel Glavnogo Konstruktora Narodniy Kommissariat Tankovoy Promishlennosti
- Main Design Department of the People's Commissariat of Tank
Production) developed a keen interest in some of their new features,
particularly the neutral steering capabilities of the Tiger and the electrical transmission of the Ferdinand.
They were found to make driving the tanks a lot easier, and the OGK
NKTP began considering the possible incorporation of these features into
Soviet tanks.
Between the 13th and 17th of November 1943, the OGK NKTP, along with the VAMM (Voennaya Akademiya Mekhanizatsii i Motorizatsii - Military Academy of Mechanisation and Motorisation) and the NATI (Nauchniy AvtoTraktorniy Institut - Automobile and Tractor Research Institute), began work on further increasing the IS-2 heavy tank's firepower and protection by developing a heavy assault
tank. The project was originally intended to produce a tank with a
rear-mounted superstructure and an electromechanical transmission
similar to that of the Ferdinand, and was led by Deputy Chief of the GBTU (Glavnoye Bronyetankovoye Upravleniye
- Main Tank Directorate) I. Lebedev. Early the next month, the design
bureau of the Experimental Plant No. 100 in Chelyabinsk, under the
leadership of Zhosef Kotin, designer of the KV and IS heavy tanks, began
work on a new heavy tank project. Eventually, two designs for the IS-6 were submitted, both in the "classical" tank configuration.
On 8 June 1944, the NKTP ordered the Experimental Plant No. 100, along with the Uralmashzavod (Ural Machine Plant) to begin design and construction of the two IS-6 designs as the Ob'yekt 252 and Ob'yekt 253
respectively. Preliminary design work had already been completed by the
Experimental Plant No. 100 under A. Yermolayev, and most of the
remaining design work would be the responsibility of Uralmashzavod, as
the ChKZ (Chelyabinsk Kirov Zavod - Chelyabinks Kirov Plant),
with which the Experimental Plant No. 100 was associated, was also
preoccupied with the production of existing tank designs, as well as
with work on the Ob'yekt 701 heavy tank (the prototype of the IS-4).
The Experimental Plant No. 100 would be resposible for construction of
the prototypes, while the Uralmashzavod would be responsible for
assembly and testing of the prototypes.
Strictly speaking, there were two different tanks which received the same designation IS-6: the Ob'yekt 252 and the Ob'yekt 253. The IS-6 featured ingame is the Ob'yekt 252. It was manufactured in October 1944, and can be easily distinguished from the Ob'yekt 253
by the large-diameter roadwheels and lack of track support rollers. The
suspension had previously been tested on the IS-3 experimental heavy
tank (Ob'yekt 244, not to be confused with the IS-3).
It was armed with the 122 mm D-30, an improved version of the 122 mm
D-25T (not to be confused with the later 122 mm 2A18 howitzer, which
also had the name of D-30). The D-30 was equipped with a shell rammer
for increased rate-of-fire, and also had a compressed gas system to
purge the barrel of gun fumes after firing. It was fitted with a 700 hp
V-12U diesel engine and a conventional mechanical transmission, while
the Ob'yekt 253 was fitted with the new electro-mechanical transmission. The Ob'yekt 252 underwent factory testing from 8 to 27 November 1944 before being sent, along with the Ob'yekt 253,
for further testing at the NIIBT (Nauchno-Ispitatyelniy Institut
BronyeTekhnika - Research and Testing Institute for Armoured Vehicles)
testing grounds in Kubinka.

Comparative testing with the Ob'yekt 701 showed that both IS-6
prototypes were broadly equivalent to it in firepower and mobility, but
were inferior in armour protection. Neither IS-6 design was eventually
selected for production; the Ob'yekt 252, with its mechanical transmission, was found to offer no significant advantages over existing heavy tanks, while the Ob'yekt 253's
electrical transmission was found to be too bulky, too unreliable, and
required too much space for the cooling units. The increased weight of
the electrical transmission also reduced the vehicle's maneuverability,
eliminating any advantages in handling the electrical transmission would
have provided. Further development of both IS-6 designs was thus
halted.


http://media.moddb.com/images/articles/1/148/147530/auto/IS-6_Pic-1.jpg
http://media.moddb.com/images/articles/1/148/147530/auto/IS-6_Pic-2.jpg
http://media.moddb.com/images/articles/1/148/147530/auto/IS-6_Pic-3.jpg
http://media.moddb.com/images/articles/1/148/147530/auto/320px-Iosif_Stalin_6_3.jpg

Report abuse The Archer

3 comments by ʇɐuʞɐʇǝp on Dec 16th, 2013

Self Propelled 17pdr, Valentine, Mk I, Archer

Author: Captain_Nemo

QA: Stream with the Chieftain Posted on December 9, 2013
- Archer and Achilles British tank destroyers will come.
A2RKk1u
The Archer is an unusual tank destroyer. It is unique not just in its
layout of the gun on the chassis but in the gun itself. It is the
British 17pdr. Now because of the gun alone the tank destroyer will
never be Tier 4 material. It simply has too much penetration with the
gun but more on that in a minute. Let us look at the background and
history of the Archer.
The Archer was the second in a series of self-propelled guns produced
on the Valentine chassis. The first design produced was the Ordnance QF 25-pdr on Carrier Valentine 25-pdr Mk 1, better known as the “Bishop”. The second design was the Self Propelled 17pdr, Valentine, Mk I
“Archer”. The Archer is not quite the expedient hack job that the
Bishop is nor is it nearly as bad as the hack job of adding a 6-pdr gun
and gunshield to the top of the Valentine in place of a turret. The
Archer was reasonably well thought out.

By 1942 everyone but the British had gotten on the Self-Propelled Gun
and Tank Destroyer bandwagon. The British had however designed the
17-pdr gun high velocity anti-tank gun, back in the Fall of 1941 which
was designed as the answer to the deadly German 8,8cm. The 17-pdr was
approved for production in mid-1942. The problem was, for the British,
to find a suitable mount for this long weapon from amongst the existing
tank chassis then currently available in reasonable numbers. The
Crusader was ruled out because it was too small and too underpowered to
take the mounting, leaving only the Valentine chassis as an option.
The earliest idea for the Valentine chassis was to use the existing
Bishop tank to mount the 17-pdr gun since the Bishop already mounted the
25-pdr howitzer and was already in production. This was quickly found
to be a very bad idea do to the length of the gun barrel and height of
the Bishop combined to make the Bishop even more unwieldy then it
already was. I.E. High center of gravity. The Ministry of Supply asked
Vickers to design a new self-propelled gun based upon the already proven
Valentine chassis and at the same time overcome the limitations of
dealing with the large size of the gun which was dealt with by pointing
the 17-pdr over the vehicle’s rear. Work started in July 1942 and the
prototype was ready for trials by March 1942. Firing trials were
conducted in April 1943 and resulted in some modifications to the fire
controls and to the gun mount. Once that was completed the vehicle was
placed into immediate priority production with the first Archer coming
off the production line in March of 1944. Once that was completed the
vehicle was placed into immediate priority production with the first
Archer coming off the production line in March of 1944 with the Archer
entered service in October 1944. It was used in North-West Europe and in
Italy, and was employed by the British and Egyptian army for many years
after the end of the war. By the end of the war, 665 of them had been
produced out of an order for 800. The Archer was classified as a
self-propelled anti-tank gun and as such was operated by the Royal
Artillery rather than by Royal Armored Corps during the war.
The fighting compartment consisted of a fixed armor plate
superstructure (8-14mm thick at best) incorporating both the original
turret space and the driving compartment. The gun could be traversed 11°
to the Right and11° to the Left of the center. Elevation was -7.5°
depression to a maximum of +15° elevation on level ground. One of the
problems experienced with the Archer with the 17-pdr mounting was that
the gun recoiled over the driver’s seat, and consequently the driver had
to get out of the vehicle as soon as he had reversed the vehicle into a
firing position another problem was the lack of overhead protection
which crews were critical of.39 rounds of ammunition were stowed. In
spite of its long gun, the Archer was little longer than the Valentine
chassis on which it was based.

Use of the Archer TD in WW: The Units
First off: not much is written about the Archer TD. Period. Secondly,
researching the unit that used it has been an unholy pain. Thirdly, I
somehow ended up with another article topic for a future article. What
information we do have from combat of the Archer comes from the 314th
Battery, 105th Anti-Tank Regiment. Royal Artillery. British XIII. Corps
operating under the command of the British 8th Army in Italy. Yes it is a
bit of a mouthful but it’s all I got. There are also mentions of the
Archer being used in indirect fire and direct fire, which happened a
lot, once the HE ammunition for the 17-pdr was redesigned to fire the
shell at a lower velocity. Once that happened, the Archer, just like the
M10, was only too frequently firing HE at the Germans and Italians or
taking out machinegun nests and pillboxes throughout Italy. From very
late 1944 to early 1945 (Winter) the Archer was also used in
North-Western Europe. Although I don’t know exactly where – yet. The
only unit I know of that used it in North-Western Europe was the 20th
Anti-Tank Regiment but information on them is even more sketchy then the
105th Anti-Tank Regiment.
The 314th Battery had made its start in Burma attached to the 7th
Armored Brigade which was part of the 7th Armored Division. The 7th
Armored Division was well known as the “The Desert Rats” and was
previously called the Mobile Division when it was stationed in Egypt
before the war. The 7th Armored Brigade, previously called the Mobile
Brigade, is also well known for their nickname as the ‘Green Rats’ or
the ‘Jungle Rats’ from when it went into Burma briefly in 1942. The 7th
Armored Brigade fought all over North Africa from 1939, through 1942,
against Italy and Germany and then it was shipped off to Burma to fight
Japan. (I know I skipped a lot of “action” but this is not an article on
the 7th Armored Brigade.)
The 314th Battery traveled with the 7th Brigade and fought a retreat
from Burma to India and in the process lost all of its 2pdr. portee’s
when it was forced to destroy them along the way. After that, the 314th
was sent to the Middle East through India and Iraq eventually landing in
Egypt where in December of 1942 it was placed under the newly formed
105th Anti-Tank Regiment. As to what they were doing between India and
Egypt… IDK the only note I have was that they were doing nothing
in-between India and Egypt in 1942 but I am sure somebody has info on
them somewhere. The information pool is a bit dry on the best of days
when dealing with units.
Now that we made it to Egypt lets go to Italy with the 8th Army. As
previously mentioned the Archer was not operational until around October
1944. While the Archer was on its way the 105th in 1942-43 made use of 2
batteries of 6-pdr portee’s and 2 batteries of Deacon’s in the Western
Desert and Tunisia. By the time it made it to Sicily in ’43 it was
equipped with 2 batteries of towed 17-pdr’s and 2 batteries of towed
6-pdr’s. By the time it got to Italy it had been re-equipped again with 2
batteries of M10’s, 1 battery of towed 17-pdr’s and 1 battery of towed
6-pdr’s.
It was only in late 1944 (I don’t have a date.) that the unit was
re-equipped with 2 batteries of M10’s and 2 batteries of Archer’s.
Batteries in 1944-1945 consisted of 12 guns each.

Other known units with the Archer that I know of:
20th Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery

C-Troop 18th Battery 2nd Anti-Tank Regiment 4th Brigade 2nd Canadian Infantry Division

An Anti-Tank Regiment in the 15th Scottish Division

Use of the Archer TD in WW: The Action
As I previously stated the 314th was re-equipped with Archers in late
1944. In late 1944 the sharp eyes of one of 314th Battery’s Archers
detected a Tiger tank and fired its 17-pdr at it. The round narrowly
missed and the German tank commander, upon hearing the sound of the
17-pdr firing at him, quickly moved his Tiger out of sight behind a
building. Unfortunately for the German commander the Tiger was spotted
by a Lysander Air Observation Post which signaled down to the Archer the
location of the Tiger behind the building. The Archer fired again and
the shot went through the building and knocked out the Tiger by piercing
its thinner side.
Soon this will be an all too common occurrence in World of Tanks. Minus the Lysander Air Observation Post ofc.
usLjNHY

Tier 5 Material
The Archer is a lot like the FCM 36 PaK 40, better known as one of
the many options that made up the Marder I series. It is a slow tank
destroyer packing a big gun, has good view range, an excellent rate of
fire, it also has a very limited gun transverse, crew are killed easily
and it should sit well back and or at the least not get spotted. And
that is where similarities end. The Archer is low to the ground and is a
compact design as previously stated. Being low to the ground it should
have a good camo value. In fact we can see how other vehicles with
similar profiles stack up.

How good a camo value you ask?
(Camo pulled to compare from Wotinfo.net)





Stationary Camo
Camo on the move
Camo after firing

Archer
22,5+
13+
7,7+

Sfl.IVc
12,79
7,67
4,16

StuG III
21,89
13,13
7,68

SU-85
22,57
13,54
7,63

Jagdpazner IV
23,77
14,26
8,34

Hellcat
21,14
12,69
7,4


Archer stationary camo: I would give it 24. Would not think twice on this.

Archer on the move camo: I would give it 13.8-14.4. Hetzer and Jagdpanzer IV cant be the only sneaky thing around.

Archer firing camo: I would go with about 7.4-8. Because the flash will be noticeable when that 17-pdr goes off.
The Archers 17-pdr gun should be pretty devastating at Tier 5 if
given a comparable rate of fire to the 8,8 cm Flak 41 L/74. That is to
say the 8,8 cm Flak 41 L/74’s rate of fire times damage divided by the
17-pdr’s damage to get a fair comparison. (8.0 r/m x 240 damage / 150 =
12.8 r/m)





The Gun
Rate of Fire
100% Crew
+BiA
+Food
Rammer(+BiA, Food, 100%)

(no rammer)
(no rammer)
(no ram)

OQF 17-pdr Gun Mark IIc
12.8
13.355
13.653
14.248
15.528

8,8 cm Flak 41 L/74
8.0
8.347
8.533
8.905
9.705

DPM (both)
1920
2003.28
2047.92
2137.2
2329.2


 





The Gun
Aim Time
Penetration
Damage
Accuracy
Ammo carried

17-pdr
2.3s(Stock)
171/239/38
150/150/190
0.32
39 Rounds



Flak 41 L/74
2.3s(Stock)
194/237/44
240/240/295
0.32
48 Rounds



 



The Gun
Traverse
Elevation

OQF 17-pdr Gun Mark IIc
11°Right/11° Left
-7.5° to +15°

8,8 cm Flak 41 L/74
5°Right/5° Left
-5°/+90°


Note: On the 17-pdr I thought about using the TOG II’s Rate of Fire
(12 r/m) but decided that it would be a hair too slow and that the RoF
from Black Prince, Centurion Mk. I, Caernarvon(12-14.29 r/m), AT-7,
AT-8(13.95-15.79 r/m) and AT-15A (13.95 r/m) was too high for a base
rate of fire. The S35 CA’s r/mis 11.11 and I ignored this when coming up
with this thing. The S35 CA carry’s 86 rounds of ammo compared to just
39 with the Archer.
EsadDbR
This may, to some people, make it seem like the Archer with its
17-pdr is now a machine-gun-spitting-lead machine… Well it is, and it
should be. What else did you expect? Gun transverse is not much better
than the Pz. Sfl. IVc although depression is and that depression will be
an important tactical advantage for this TD although it is not any
better then the StuG III. Elevation is not bad either with a comparable
arc to the Hetzer (-8 /+15°) and StuG II (-8/+23°) although I am not
sure if those arcs are for the top gun or not. Accuracy should more then
be on par with the Flak 8,8 as should aim time.
There is no way I would give it an aim time like the other 17-pdr’s
in game (1.7s to 1.9s base) and give it the same rate of fire as those
guns (13.65 r/m). That would be silly and stupid in terms of balance
plus as a Tank Destroyer the Archer should be sitting in wait and then
unloading it’s relatively small number of rounds quickly before driving
forward to get away. (Remember the gun faces the rear of the Tank
Destroyer.)
I plan on seeing at least three 17-pdr guns on the Archer with increasingly better specs.





The Gun
Rate of Fire
Accuracy
Aim Time
Penetration
Damage

OQF 17-pdr Gun Mark II
11,11
0.36
2.3s
171/239/38
150/150/190

OQF 17-pdr Gun Mark IIb
12
0.34
2.3s
171/239/38
150/150/190

OQF 17-pdr Gun Mark IIc
12,8
0.32
2.3s
171/239/38
150/150/190


For engines we can simply look to the Valentine tanks already in the
game. Namely the Valentine, Valentine II (Russian LL Premium T4) and
Bishop (UK SPG T5). HOWEVER, the Archer was an outgrowth of the original
Valentine chassis and as such a more powerful diesel engine, GMC 6-71M,
producing 192 hp was used in its production. In game this would be the
Archers top engine. As for Radios it is the same as the Valentine’s with
the use of the Wireless Set No. 19 Mk. II. Although I wonder if WG
would add the Wireless Set No. 19 Mk. III to the mix to give the Archer
just a little more radio range (550m vs 450m). It would make sense
considering its low top speed.
As for camo the Archer needs all the camo it can get. If we use the
1/3 rule for the reverse speed of a tank then this thing is dead slow at
11kph. I think it should have all the camo it can get on the move and
while sitting still. As for firing I have no problem with it losing a
lot of camo due to the good sized flash that will come off the end of
the 17-pdr.
For tracks I would expect the transverse to be something similar to
the Valentine (UK) at 40-42° per second. If not the higher figure for
the Valentine II (Russia) at 48° per second due to the lower vehicle
weight compared to the normal Valentine. It should be quite the
experience to drive and fire…
RML1H9uh
Summary



Archer Tank Destroyer


Hitpoints
350-360

Weight
36,960 lbs

Hull Armor
60/60/60

Open Top
8-14mm thick at best (Includes area around the front with the driver.)

Speed
32 km/h

Radio
No.19 Mk. II (450m)

Engine
GMC 6-71M 192 bhp (Historical)

Tracks
14 inches wide

Track centers/tread
7ft 3 inches

Transverse (tracks)
40°-48° per second. Maybe less as it depends on WG.

The Gun
Mark II 17-pdr

RoF
11.11 to 12.8 Base.

Aim
2.3s

Accuracy
0.36 to 0.32m

Penetration
171/239/38

Damage
150/150/190

Transverse
11°Right/11° Left

Elevation
-7.5° to +15°

Ammunition
39 Rounds

Crew
4 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver)

Weight
36,960lbs

I expect there to be several 17-pdr guns for the Archer with a starting base rate of 11.11 and moving to 12 and then to 12.8.


zGl5lrZ
Sources:
Nigelef.tripod.com
En.wikipedia.org
Wotinfo.net
The Valentine in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Bryan Perrett.

Vanguard 010 – Allied Tank Destroyers by Bryan Perrett.

British and American Tanks of World War II: The Complete illustrated
history of British, American and Commonwealth tanks, 1939-1945 by Peter
Chamberlain and Chris Ellis.

Report abuse Storm on 0.8.10 Test 2

0 comments by ʇɐuʞɐʇǝp on Dec 13th, 2013

Source: World-of-kwg.livejournal.com
Hello everyone,
Storm posts a lot these days, luckily for us. Now, he is asking for
your feedback on test round 2 of patch 0.8.10. Specifically, if you have
some FPS problems, you are to upload dxdiag log, python.log from game
files and a screenshot of your graphic settings. Please note there is no
point in uploading them here and posting them in comments, Russians
have enough feedback on their own (for once, the fact they have weaker
computers on average is a benefit to us).
If you REALLY feel like giving your feedback, go to the source linked
above and post it in comments. However, what I think is more
interesting is the discussion:
- 0.9.0 will bring HD graphic models, these HD models will be on standard graphic render too

- the levels of detail for HD client will be “normal” too, eg. you won’t
have to buy a new computer from 0.9.0 (SS: if I understand it
correctly, it will be possible to switch the HD models off by reducing
your texture quality)

- 0.9.0 will come in 2014

- in next patch (0.9.0) following maps will be fixed: Malinovka,
Erlenberg, Redshire, Highway, Sacred Valley, Northwest (SS: noooo don’t
touch Malinovka :( )

- apparently Malinovka has imbalanced base winrate

- in next patch there will be tier 10 TD fixes (nerfs), they are already
being tested, Storm states he will not tell what changes “so the New
Year is peaceful :)” But it’s not a camo nerf, Storm states that
camouflage changes will come later, as they require a lot of testing

- T57 Heavy will not be nerfed at all – Storm states its winrate actually dropped, he’s now 3rd worst on its tier.

- the FPS drops in test 1 were apparently fixed, Storm states that they
were caused by “improperly assembled shader package during the assembly
of the patch client, this was the reason for not only the FPS drops, but
also the graphic artefacts and weird trees, this is why the
supertesters have not caught it – the supertester version was assembled
normally”

- in 0.8.10, the garage sometimes shows different crew skills than
those, that are on the pop-up skill window, this is because there is a
bug in the number rounding

- Storm states that to implement both colours for the Japanese tanks
would be “expensive” (SS: or it could be interpreted as “requiring”),
because it would increase the client size by 10-20 percent

- according to Storm, the Ferdinand size difference is insignificant

Report abuse 4.12.2013

1 comment by ʇɐuʞɐʇǝp on Dec 4th, 2013

So, just a reminder, the test server is most likely tomorrow
- there are no plans for PvE gameplay in WoT for now

- there are no plans to export the game mechanism (the server part) to the client (making the game playable without internet)

- all the gun penetrations visible in game are rated at 100 meters,
penetration does not increase at distances between 0 and 100 meters

- when you log on to once server (EU1 for example), then in the garage
relog to (for example) EU2 and the game crashes, the relog will again be
to EU1. This will not be fixed.

- developers have not yet decided whether the penetration loss for AP
shells when hitting penetrable objects (walls etc.) will be different
from the APCR shell penetration loss in the future

- automatic ballistics adjustment (SS: as in, you aim somewhere and the
gun adjusts so that the shell reaches the point where you are aiming) is
calculated server-side, not client-side

- premium vehicles are selected for implementation based on the fact
they are available for such a role (SS: as in, when a vehicle is
considered and found suitable for a premium tank role, it is simply
implemented, that’s why some branches have multiple premium tanks
(German TD’s), while other have none (US TD’s) – if I understand it
correctly, it’s pretty much “what comes first”)

- also, Storm gathered feedback on unpopular tanks from this thread (Russian ofc), so we might eventually see some changes there (why would he be asking otherwise, right?)
And info from Overlord:
- official Girls und Panzer mod will definitely not come before the Japanese tanks

Ftr.wot-news.com

Report abuse Storm answers on 8.10

0 comments by ʇɐuʞɐʇǝp on Nov 11th, 2013

Source: World-of-kwg.livejournal.com
Hello everyone,
another short post by Storm about what’s going on in development for 8.10:
- if all goes well, next patch (8.10) will bring projectiles flying thru destructable objects such as fences and walls

- fixed a bug where in the tooltip for the loader on IS-7 it was
displayed that the crewman can’t train radioman skills, apparently this
bug caused a lot of butthurt

- fixed a bug where the average XP for crewmen was displayed as two
times lower than on the tank itself. It’s a visual bug, not the crewmen
getting less XP, don’t worry :)

- increased the turret rotation speed on Maus by 2 degrees/sec (eg. by almost 15 percent)

- changes for Lowe: upper side armor is 20mm thicker, -2,5 tons of
weight, +40 shells in ammo rack, depression buffed by 2 degrees
The Japanese are being worked on, maps are being reworked – work is in full swing.

From the discussion:
- there is not enough data yet whether top Waffenträgers are OP or not

- for now, only destructable objects will be penetrable, tests have
shown that while a 120mm subcaliber shell penetrating 10 huts in a row
is realistic, it changes gameplay on some places significantly

- for penetrating destructable objects there will be a loss of penetration for the shell

- the loss of penetration will not be a big one, it will be the same for all objects

- it’s not planned for shadows of objects to provide camo bonus

- the Lowe gun elevation will also be buffed despite not being listed above

- Storm states that the Maus turret rotation buff is important, as the turret rotates really slowly

- E-100/Maus “Tiger-II-like” turret with a 128mm gun is a complete fake

- in the future, shells will be flying through buildings too

- Storm states that the reason for this change is for the gameplay to be “more understandeable”

- there will be “non-linear loss of penetration with each hit of the object”

- Storm is not aware of any FPS drop issues in 8.9

- the penetrated objects won’t have see-through holes in them apparently

- rocks and stones will not be penetrable

- T-44-85 will not come in 8.10

- KV-1S will not be split in 8.10

- player statistic bug will be fixed this year (SS: not sure which one is meant)

- the destructable object penetration mechanism is already developed, the only thing to decide is in which patch will it come

- info about 8.10 and two new Soviet tanks will come soon

- Japanese tanks will come “in the next month”

- it’s too early to tell whether the T7 Combat Car is too weak

- improved graphics (partial, 9.0) will come around New Year

- in 8.10 there will (apart from the Japanese) be also the color filters

- there are no plans for changes of E-100 and other vehicles on its bases apparently

- KV-5 is doing fine statistically

- the shells penetrating destructable object will destroy it too (SS:
so, like now, just that the tank behind it will get hit, the shell won’t
get eaten)

- North-West map has really positive feedback, most players like it

- gold shells for credits won’t be removed

- for now the HEAT damage reduction is not planned

- there is no plan to implement XP gained by crewmembers into the post-battle statistics

- optional hulls will come in 2014

- no plans for material gun barrels (SS: as in, gun barrels that don’t clip thru objects)

- no plans for other Maus gun changes

- there will be more varied gun sounds (no more 150m and 120mm sounding the same)

- M48 gun model will be fixed

- T2 LT won’t get better MM than it has now Ftr.wot-news.com

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