AMC 35 S
|Primary Role||Cruiser Tank|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseAfter issuing a requirement for a tank design for use with the cavalry, on 17 May 1934, the French Army provided the firm Société d'Outillage Mécanique et d'Usinage d'Artillerie (SOMUA) a contract to produce a prototype. SOMUA accepted the proposal on 16 Jul, and construction for the prototype began on 12 Oct. The prototype vehicle was ready on 14 Apr 1935 and was tested between 4 Jul and 2 Aug. On 25 Mar 1936, an improved version of the prototype was made the standard medium tanks of the French Army cavalry and was given the designation of AMC 35 S, or S35 for short. They were designed for offensive, with the speed and firepower to be able to penetrate into enemy territory. Although not without its flaws, such as the mechanical unreliability, the design was generally considered to be outclassing many of her contemporaries.
ww2dbaseS35 medium tanks first entered service in Jan 1936 with the French Army 4e Cuirassiers. By Sep 1939 about 270 were produced, and by time of the German invasion in 1940 the French Army possessed 430 S35 tanks (288 deployed), including the single prototype, 4 pre-series, original S35 variants, and the S40 upgraded variants. During the battle against the invading German forces, many S35 tanks participated in the large tank battle at Hannut of 13 to 15 May, and performed adequately. However, poor strategic maneuvering of mobile units left them in poor positions, and many of the French tanks were defeated by flanking German armor within the following week. After the French surrender in Jun 1940, many S35 tanks were sent to French Morocco under the Vichy France banner; those tanks later sided with the Allies and fought against German and Italian forces in North Africa.
ww2dbaseA number of S35 tanks were pressed into German service under the designation Panzerkampfwagen 35-S 739(f). The German-operated S35 tanks were modified by adding hatches to the top of the turrets (the original French design did not have an opening on the top of the turret). Several German regiments operated S35 tanks in either combat roles or training roles. By 30 Dec 1944, German records reflected that 12 S35 tanks remained in service. Germany also provided some S35 tanks to her allies: 32 to Italy in 1941, 2 to Hungary in 1942, and 6 to Bulgaria in 1943. After the war, the Bulgarians kept these tanks in service as heavy police vehicles.
Last Major Revision: Oct 2009
|Machinery||One SOMUA V-8 gasoline engine rated at 190hp|
|Armament||1x47mm SA 35 gun, 1x7.5mm Mitrailleuse mle 1931 machine gun|
|Armor||47mm hull front, 40mm turret front|
|Speed||32 km/h off-road; 41 km/h on-road|
|Range||130 km off-road; 230 km on-road|
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943