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Renault R35

// The most numerous French tank of WWII, the R35 (and it’s later R40 variant) served the French Army mainly during the invasion of France by Germany.

Crew 2
Weight 10.000kg
Width 4,20m
Length 1,85m
Height 2,37m
Engine 1 motor Renault
de 4 cilinders developing 82hp
Speed 20km/h (maximum)
Range 140km
Armament 37mm cannon
7,5mm machine gun
The Renault R35 tank, originally known as Renault ZM, was produced in 1934 in response to the need for a new tank to support infantry of the French Army. This tank should replace the older Renault 17 dating back to the First World War. The tests began in 1935 and before further tests were carried out, R35 was put into production since Germany was willing for war. Before the start of production a small change was made: the shield tank was moved from 30mm to 40mm.
The R35 never fully replaced the R17 but by 1940 about 1,600 had already been produced. Was the most numerous tank in the French Army. The R35 was a small tank for two crew. The shield used lot of foundry. The driver was positioned at the front while the commander had to work as a loader of the main weapon, and target it and shoot it. The tank tower lacked effective observation devices but until then the tank was enough.

A new version introduced in 1940, which had a new suspension system, was called AMX R40. Few of this version had been produced when the invasion of France began. The R35 was not opposition for the Panzers. His cannon was not able to pierce the armor of even smaller German tanks and how it was used in combat, used in a few numbers to support the infantry, caused it to be easy prey for the large number of Panzers used by the Germans. The R35 40mm shield was able to withstand most German antitank weapons but little tank could do to change the course of the campaign. Most R35 was destroyed or abandoned by their crews against the disaster that swept the French Army.
Many R35 fell intact in German hands. These were used on missions in France or German training schools. With the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, many R35 were deprived of their towers and were used as artillery tractors or used to transport ammunition. Later, the rest of the R35 that were still in France had their turrets removed to serve as self-propelled artillery or anti-tank weapons. The towers were put aside as a defense in the Atlantic Wall.
The R35 has proved to be most useful to the Germans than the French. It was a tank with fighting tradition of the First War built on the thought that the war with tanks had changed little since 1918.

Blog of Bruno Ribeiro Oliveira.

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