Wednesday, 24 August 2016

French Char B1 Heavy Tank

French Char B-1 heavy tank with crew, date unknown, found at:
In 1940 the French actually outnumbered the Germans with it's tanks (over 3,000 compared to Germans over 2,000), but the Germans were more adept at using them than other armies. The Blitzkrieg tactics were very successful, Germany occupying most of Europe by June 1940.
The French Char B1 served with armored divisions of the French infantry, during the Battle Of France most Char B1's were put out of action by aerial bombing or anti-tank guns. Against the German panzers the Char B1 was superior, having a 75mm cannon and thick armour. At Sonne, a Captain Pierre Billotte attacked and destroyed 13 Panzer MK III & MK IV's. His Char B1 was hit 140 times, but not knocked out. This is an incredible story, how I haven't heard about it before now must only be because war historians dismiss the French army in the early part of the war due to their swift capitulation? After the fall of France, Pierre Billotte was imprisoned by the Germans, then escaped to join the French Resistance.  For more information on this event please go here:

Pierre Billotte

Char B1 bis specifications

Dimensions (l-w-h)6.37 x 2.46 x 2.79 m (20.8 x 8.07 x 9.15 ft)
Total weight, battle ready28 tons (56,000 lbs)
Crew4 (driver, main gunner, sec. gunner, commander)
PropulsionRenault 6-cyl inline, 16.5 l, 272 bhp
Speed (road/off road)28/21 km/h (17/13 mph)
Range (road/off road)-fuel200 km (120 mi)-400 l
ArmamentMain: 75 mm (2.95 in) ABS SA35 Howitzer (hull)
Secondary: 47 mm (1.85 in) SA 35 AT gun (turret)
Secondary: Reibel 7.5 mm (0.295 in) howitzer
Maximum armour60 mm (2.36 in)
Total production781