Home > Site news > The history of the French tank production. French experimental tanks 1945 – 1958 years. (Aces)

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Tank ARL-44 was not asked by the French from the outset. But … in order to justify it must be said that this tank – Design 1944, that is, the development made in the area of ​​occupation. But as soon as France was completely liberated, to varnish Tank cake immediately rushed many companies, hoping that they too, would certainly create a masterpiece, and “Motherland” they bestow his mercy

Thus in December 1945 for the development of the new tank received firm FCM, competitor of other equally well-known manufacturer – AMX. The new tank was designated FCM 50t … and it was almost more strange than the failed ARL-44. However, on his commander’s cupola tower still planned to be installed, but to the rest … Let’s start with the fact that apparently resembled a tank in the German “Tiger II», but in its worst form. Having a classic layout, this tank because of poor arrangement of the engine and the transmission tower was heavily shifted forwards, which the Germans in his car is still not allowed. Chassis and do one to one was borrowed from the Germans: single and twin roller diameter of 80 cm in the amount of 12 pieces on the board, and the ice rink, located inside the twin rinks, for some reason, was fatter than they are, that is the unification of the wheel undercarriage was not absolute, that can hardly be considered rational. Hydropneumatic suspension, that is difficult, but all the tracks with the same “lodkoobraznymi” Truckee that were on V1bis. As a German tank, the new French vehicle was equipped as transport tracks (width 37 cm) and combat (width 65 cm), which, apparently, and put a cross on it.

История французского танкостроения. Французские опытные танки 1945 – 1958 гг.
FCM 50t: side slit [1,999,003]

The weight of the tank was planned at the level of 54 tons, was the crew must consist of 5 persons, the maximum thickness of armor – 120 mm. Cannon – the same caliber 90 mm, which was and ARL-44. Reserve shells – 91 pcs. Power of the engine of the German «Maybach» was planned at 1,000 hp, which gives hope for the speed of 45 km / h on the highway. However, all these figures and indicators were as a tank on the drawings did not go anywhere. Not tempted army or snorkel for underwater course, no trailer-tank 2,000 liters to increase range. Very much it is, so to speak – obviously looked ridiculous.

Of course, their competitors from AMX not asleep and during the 1945-1958 biennium. We worked on the tank AMX-50 “Saint-Chamond.” The draft of the new tank was introduced in March 1945 under number 141, after which it was ordered two prototypes that have received index “M4”. Initially, the tank belongs to the middle, and was created under the obvious influence of the German tank “Panther” and “Tiger II». In particular, the tank was the chassis characteristic to the road wheels of large diameter, staggered, nine rollers on board. Initially, the maximum thickness of armor it was only 30 mm. But in the final version at the request of the military body armor has been considerably strengthened. At the same time the tower was replaced with a conventional type recently designated by FAHM «swinging tower.”

История французского танкостроения. Французские опытные танки 1945 – 1958 гг.
AMX-M4. Side view

In 1949 he was made the first prototype chassis, which is now designated as an AMX 50. In winter, this car has a new 100-mm gun developed in the Arsenal de Tarbes. Soon it was completed and the second prototype also get the same 100-mm gun, but in a modified form of the tower. The mass of these prototypes was already 53.7 tons. The problem turned out to be the selection of the desired engine as it was planned that the tank will have to surpass all existing at the time the average rate on the tanks. We tested the German carburettor «Maybach HL 295″ and the diesel engine company «Saurer». However, neither of them were able to overclock the tank more than 51 km / h (which for such a machine, in general, is also a good result, but not “super”!).

История французского танкостроения. Французские опытные танки 1945 – 1958 гг.
AMX-M4. Side section

In 1951, after the completion of preliminary tests of both prototypes, it was decided to enhance the weapons installation in the tank has a 120-mm guns. Again, the thickness of armor was increased. To accommodate tools was designed huge tower first conventional type, but it has been established yet, and a “swing tower.” As a result of changes the total mass of the tank, now considered “heavy”, increased to 59 tons. The first ten ordered prototype was presented in 1953.

История французского танкостроения. Французские опытные танки 1945 – 1958 гг.
AMX-M4. “Tilting Tower”

Someone from the French military experts had already had, apparently, the opportunity to meet with the Soviet tanks IS-H. They are something, and received another proposal to strengthen the book, in the bow to shape our tank. The mass of the car increased to 64 tons. Sea trials have revealed numerous problems, primarily related to the suspension, which also required strengthening. As a result, it was decided to radically revise the project to create a lightweight version of the tank. We sat and worked his head, and in 1958 received a tank weighing “only” 57.8 tons. However, the problem with the engine finally have not solved and the estimated speed of 65 km / h and has not been achieved. There were produced 6 prototypes, but none of them to the stage of mass production has not reached!

История французского танкостроения. Французские опытные танки 1945 – 1958 гг.
AMX-50-100 in the yard [1,999,003]

История французского танкостроения. Французские опытные танки 1945 – 1958 гг.
AMX-50-100 during the sea trials. As you can see, the tank had slanted cheekbones body, gave him a very aesthetic appearance. But even then it was proved that a substantial gain armor protection that does not work, but reduces the manufacturability of the design. And why, I ask, then, these “beautiful”?

In 1951 there was a tank SOMUA SM. However, he was ordered much earlier, in 1946, but the prototype was ready in October 1951. Tests were carried out from January to July 1953, but did not give positive results. The outlines of the body, he was very similar to the German “Panther” and had a swinging turret with a 100 mm gun.

That is, as you can see, all the time, went on and on, the tanks were built and tested, but “the WHO was still out there somewhere.” But there must have been at least someone get lucky and now in 1952, the firm received LORRAINE, which offers a tank weighing 40 tons. The car received a “pike nose”, but not quite the same as at the IS-3, five rollers on board, like the T-34, a swinging tower, again very much shifted forward, armed with 100-mm gun and 47 SA 50 ammunition rounds and two machine guns. Caterpillars wide – 60 cm. Engine: «Maybach» 12-cylinder 850 hp Length: 10.80 m; Width: 3.30 m; Height: 2.85 m. Maximum speed: 60 km / h; weight – 39.7 tons. Power reserve: 300 km. The tank had protivosnaryadnym book and a crew of 4 members: commander, gunner, loader and driver.

The most powerful of all is five was, of course, the AMX-50-120, which had a “swing tower” with a 120 mm gun. Besides guns, it was also supporting automatic gun caliber 20 mm MG 151, and one machine gun. Ammunition gun was 46 shells. However, the size of the tank were great: length 9.50 m; width 3.10 m; height of 3.58 m. Moreover, this data is the second, more “reduced” model of the tank, and the first “high”, had a height of 3.58 m. And this despite the fact that the maximum thickness of armor it did not exceed 80 mm that is, less than the frontal armor of the tower of the Soviet T-34!

История французского танкостроения. Французские опытные танки 1945 – 1958 гг.
AMX-50-120. Slash

История французского танкостроения. Французские опытные танки 1945 – 1958 гг.
“Batignolles-Chatillon” 25-ton [1,999,003]

In 1954 there was a tank company “Batignolles-Chatillon” 25-ton from the city of Nantes, and also with the “swinging tower”, which became a kind of extended AMX-13. It was built two prototypes of the tank, but it is not commercially produced. Armament consisted of machine 90 mm gun with a muzzle velocity of 930 m / s (at 100-mm – 1000 m / sec) and one machine gun.

The length of 5.67 m; width 3.16 m; height of 2.37 m. Speed: 65 km / h. Crew: 4 persons.

And finally, the construction of the “swinging tower” … Yes, then it is a series of still gone, and we can say that these machines it worked out for its subsequent installation on the AMX-13. All this is true. … But its main drawback was that it is at the time was not suitable for tanks participating nuclear missile conflict. The fact that the upper part of the tower at a point where the lower base has a gap. And sealed it can not do. High precision coupling the upper and lower parts of the tower will not provide any. In case it starts to rain, this “gap” is sealed with a rubberized sheet and that’s enough. But … the first explosion on or near the armored tank, not to mention the nuclear explosion immediately frustrate these seals. No HLF can not cope with it the creation of excess pressure, since the tower will “Siphon” from all cracks around its perimeter. That is a tank with a tower in a nuclear war can not participate, but somewhere in Africa or in Latin America, and why not to fight ?! By the way, boosting water obstacles along the bottom of this tank is also difficult, and it turns out that the deficiencies in the tower much more than virtues!

История французского танкостроения. Французские опытные танки 1945 – 1958 гг.
AMH- 50-120 during the tests [1,999,003]

Well, the last French tank, which should be mentioned here, too, and only exist in the project was proposed in 1951 by civil engineer MG Henry. It was called “Hunter” had a height of just 1.5 meters and was a paratrooper amphibious tank! Armament: recoilless gun of unknown caliber, which is located on the axis of the machine and the right of her gun. Crew – 2 people, the driver and the shooter, so in fact it was not even a tank, and a platform sole. To facilitate the movement on snow and swamps author proposed to use “ski” with hydraulic drive located on the bottom, and to give it the properties of amphibian – inflatable ballonets around the perimeter of the housing. Seriously, this project has never been considered, but as an example of “living creativity of the masses on the other side,” he is quite lucid!

История французского танкостроения. Французские опытные танки 1945 – 1958 гг.
AMX-50-120. Museum in Saumur

Author Vyacheslav Shpakovsky
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