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The genesis of the French “cars” 20 years of the twentieth century.

not yet had time to first production tanks SA.1 and “Saint-Chamond” to show themselves in battle as there were literally and projects for improvement and development of new tanks. So, in July 1916 it received an offer from the company to create FCM tank weighing 38 tons, equipped with armored turret with 30 mm thick armor and weapon caliber 105 mm. The engine power of 200 hp It was to provide the company Renault. The project was quite revolutionary. In any case, the idea of ​​the possibility of placing such a large-caliber guns, even shooting a lightweight shell, in a double tower is noteworthy. The tank is planned to install the radio stations – for the time downright breach of military thought! Reservations calculated such that it opposed the German field gun projectiles caliber 77 mm – shrapnel, set to blow, and all the other anti-tank guns of smaller caliber of their time. Provided a good cross and contours selected for the tank tracks.

История французского танкостроения. Генезис плохих «вагонов»
Draft tank FCM

At its meeting on 01.17.1917, the government committee in charge tank development project FCM considered very carefully, but rejected it. For some reason, it was decided that the tank weighs about 40 tons manual gearbox do not succeed. That is, once again we are talking about how to put on a new tank electric transmission, like a tank “Saint-Chamond.” Then he felt it necessary to construct at least two tanks, one with elekrodvizheniem, the other with a manual transmission, and see what happens. It was proposed to replace the short-105mm cannon more usual 75 mm, but neither of these two tanks was never built.

История французского танкостроения. Генезис плохих «вагонов»
Tank “Schneider” CA2 [1,999,003]

История французского танкостроения. Генезис плохих «вагонов»
Tank “Schneider” CA2 on tests [1,999,003]

On the basis of the tank CA1 “Schneider” in the same in 1917 as it was proposed to create two new and improved model. First – CA2 was below the base model, but it established Tower. Save pictures, which clearly shows what this machine and how it is tested. And for him, it becomes clear why she “did not go”. The fact that the tower, which was planned to equip a gun or 37 or 47 mm was mounted on this tank with a large offset ago. Therefore there neprostrelivaemaya area in front just before the tank and asked who wanted a tank?

developed on the basis of the CA1, CA3 tank was presented to General Etienne, but “the pope of French tanks” all his projects rejected. And all of them one way or another involves the installation of a new 75-mm tank gun mod. 1897 It would seem that much better? Having the same “Saint-Chamond”, but smaller in size, which will be easier to produce, and is also used. … But none of these projects did not work! And one of the reasons – it’s too big pullback from this gun!

История французского танкостроения. Генезис плохих «вагонов»
Tank “Schneider” CA3 [1,999,003]

It is ironic, but one of the reasons for this decision was the fact that this gun as a weapon on the battlefield was excessive. In particular, the threat posed by enemy tanks did not exist. Potential targets of tank guns could only be loopholes forts, machine gun nests and artillery installation DOT. Therefore it is quite understandable that the 75-mm gun on the machine then considered overkill.

However, in May 1919, General Etienne defined the role of the tank, as machines break the enemy defense lines, the destruction of its fortifications and tanks … the opposite side. In January 1921, a commission headed by General Edmond Bois started work on the project is just such a tank dubbed “battle tank”. Machine guns it had already used in self-defense, but a tool to be his main weapon. In principle, the new track was to be constructed by Philip Johnson in 1918. It was a metal cable with attached to it by trucks and thereby turned out that the new tanks – and they planned to develop on a competitive basis by the several French companies – acquired new traits characteristic of British tanks Mark. D and US tank M1922.

The new tank should have a weight of 13 tons, maximum armor thickness of 25 mm, a tower armed with two machine guns to provide the maximum rate of fire of rapidly emerging targets, but an instrument on the contrary, should be installed in the body as low as possible.

The housing assembly 75 mm howitzer fixed as low as possible in the front of the case. The reasoning why the gun was positioned low down is this: as so convenient! Do not “go far” for missiles, a weapon can be charged while sitting – in other words, some pluses. About maneuver fire was said not a word! But with the right caliber to solve so the commission could not. And adopted a Solomonic decision: let it be two tanks! One with a 47-mm naval guns will the enemy tanks and the second – with the 75-mm howitzer will strengthen destroy!

All French manufacturers of tanks, Renault, Schneider, FAMH (Saint-Chamond), SCI and Delaunay-Belleville were invited to participate in the project and had to submit prototypes for testing in 1924, Renault and Schneider made an alliance and presented two prototypes : CDS and SRB. Proposal Delaunay-Belleville was the increase in the size of FT-17, so he was immediately rejected as not meeting the requirements of the job. To avoid conflicts and fight the French army announced that it reserves the right to combine any or all of the projects in the same tank. In exchange, all producers were to receive orders for this single new tank. That is all the sisters decided to give on earrings!

The French manufacturers used this opportunity to include in their projects the most advanced design ideas for the prototype tank, including, as noted, and “forward-looking” caterpillar Johnson.

Four experimental tanks were delivered to the arsenal of Rueil (ARL) in May 1924. The first trial was to travel 20 km without a break, but prototypes were broken, the entire drive that distance could not none! Nevertheless, the military bowed to to use Schneider-Renault SRB as an entry model. It was he who became the ancestor of the tank Char B1, but this topic is beyond the scope of this article. But on each of these structures at least a little consideration is still worth it.

История французского танкостроения. Генезис плохих «вагонов»
Tank “Schneider-Renault» SRA

История французского танкостроения. Генезис плохих «вагонов»
clearly visible undercarriage of the tank under the “Rope caterpillar Johnson”

Thus, the selected SRA was the most difficult of the prototypes and weighed 19.5 tons. The gun was moved to the left, to serve it was convenient, and most importantly, as noted, a shell in her right hand to push! The tank was mounted planetary gearbox with hydraulic disc brakes. But she was unable to “make precise movements” required for accurate aiming gun. The turret with machine guns had been cast with a maximum thickness of 30 mm armor. The crew, as required by the job, consisted of three people, of which the driver was truly a jack of all trades: was and “steer” and shoot a gun from the loader required to charge her with naivozmozhnoy speed and machine gunner in the top turret was fire poured the whole space around the tank!
Moreover, the tank went quite narrow – 2.49 meters wide and a height of only 2.26 m at a height of 5.95 m. The engine Renault 6-cylinder 180 hp It allows the tank to develop the 17.5 km / h. Cruising was small and was only 140 km.

История французского танкостроения. Генезис плохих «вагонов»
Tank “Schneider-Renault» SRB

История французского танкостроения. Генезис плохих «вагонов»
Additional fuel tank had to significantly increase the range of stroke

Option SRB was armed with 47 mm cannon as anti-tank weapons. This tank was easier – 18.5 tons. But its main difference was a caterpillar – increase in the scale tracks with Tracians from FT-17. The disadvantages of the design should include the location of the exhaust pipe on the roof of the body just behind the tower, which did not allow her to shoot back. The length of the tank was 6.0 m, width – 2.50 m and height of 2.38.

История французского танкостроения. Генезис плохих «вагонов»
Tank FAMH

FAMH-prototype was armed with 75-mm howitzer mounted in the center of the body. Such an arrangement in principle, allowed to make it movable in the horizontal plane, and this reduced its dependence on the target when you move from running the tank capacity. But this was not done, and the instrument could only be raised and lowered. The turret with machine guns had 25 mm armor. Despite the lower engine power (120 hp), it had a top speed of 18.2 km / h, that is, transmission and chassis he had worked out better. But inside … inside it was worse than the previous sample. The driver has been moved to the right, but the left and maintain the charging instrument, he was not too comfortable!

История французского танкостроения. Генезис плохих «вагонов»
Tank FCM 21 [1,999,003]

Tank submitted by FCM, was like a smaller copy of the tank FCM Char 2C and inherited from the last, and the chassis and turret equipped with a strobe. It was better than all the other samples – 15.6 m, and, nevertheless, high speed is not developed: she had remained at 17.4 km / h. Caterpillar – Johnson design, which ultimately did not pay! The length of the tank was 6.5 m, width 2.05 m, height 2.52 m. That is, the tank was high, but the narrow and could therefore tip on a slope.

In the end, having the world’s best light tank “Renault”, the French military chose to still tank “wagon-type.” The tower was only reasonable for them to contain guns, not gun. They even went to the complexity of the transmission, if only to save space gun “nose” of the tank. This is truly a “fatal force of tradition” chilling any manifestation of the living mind.

Author Vyacheslav Shpakovsky
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