R35 file photo [12380]


Primary RoleLight Tank


ww2dbaseThe Char léger Modèle 1935 R light tanks, also known by the designation of R35, were designed by French engineer Louis Renault between 1933 and 1934. They were designed as small tanks that were maneuverable enough to accompany infantry on the fast-moving front lines of battle. On 20 Dec 1934, the first prototype was submitted to the French Army for review. By the spring of 1935, the design was still being tested with heavier armor and new turret, but tension with Germany resulted in an early order from the French government on 29 Apr 1945 for 300 to be built. The first production vehicle was delivered on 4 Jun 1936. The gun used by the design, with its primary function being infantry support, had poor armor penetration; it could only penetrate 12-millimeter of armor at the range of 500 meters. A variant design, R40, was developed in 1937 (placed into production in 1940, thus the designation) which featured a more powerful gun.

ww2dbaseWhen the European War began in Sep 1939, the French Army had 975 operational R35 tanks, while 50 were in service with the Polish Army. Of the 50 in Polish service, which were assigned to the Polish-Romanian border region, 34 survived and were withdrawn into Romania and became captured there (which added to the 41 R35 tanks Romania had already purchased from France in the summer of 1939). By May 1940, when Germany invaded France, the French fielded about 1,600 R35 tanks, 945 of which were deployed to front line units; at the same time, 95 of them were deployed to the French Mandate of Syria and 30 to French Morocco. After the French surrender, the German forces captured 843 of them; 131 of which were pressed into front line service under the designation Panzerkampfwagen 35R 731 (f), 124 were given to Italy, 40 were given to Bulgaria, while the rest were rebuilt as artillery tractors, ammunition carriers, and 4.7 cm PaK(t) auf Panzerkampfwagen 35R(f) ohne Turm tank destroyers. They were used in combat by the Germans in the invasion of Greece. After the end of the Balkans Campaign, most R35 tanks were in use in occupation duties only.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Apr 2011


MachineryOne Renault V-4 engine rated at 82hp
SuspensionHorizontal rubber cylinder springs
Armament1x37mm L/21 SA18 gun (100 rounds), 1x7.5mm MAC31 Reibel machine gun
Length4.02 m
Width1.87 m
Height2.13 m
Weight10.6 t
Speed20 km/h
Range130 km


French-built R35 light tanks in Romanian service on parade, circa 1940sGerman anti-tank guns (rebuilt French R35 light tanks), motorcycles, and horse carts moving through a forest in northern Russia, summer of 1941German Panzerkampfwagen 35R 731 (f) fighting in Yugoslavia, 1941-1942Knocked-out German 4.7 cm PaK(t) auf Panzerkampfwagen 35R(f) self-propelled gun, Le Molay-Littry, France, 20 Jun 1944
See all 5 photographs of R35 Light Tank

Did you enjoy this article or find this article helpful? If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:


Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds

Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments


1. We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

2. For inquiries about military records for members of the World War II armed forces, please see our FAQ.

Search WW2DB
R35 Light Tank Photo Gallery
French-built R35 light tanks in Romanian service on parade, circa 1940s
See all 5 photographs of R35 Light Tank

Famous WW2 Quote
"We no longer demand anything, we want war."

Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939

Support Us

Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 a month will go a long way. Thank you!

Or, please support us by purchasing some WW2DB merchandise at TeeSpring, Thank you!