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Weapons of World War Two

S-35 medium tank

S-35 medium tank

In the early 1930s, the French Cavalry formulated the request of a tank that should be known as AMC (Automitrailleuse de Combat). The factory SOMUA (Societé d'Utillage Mecanique et d'Usinage d'Artillerie) of Saint Ouen built a vehicle for this specification. After being acepted by the Cavalry it was adopted as the normalized medium tank of the French Army, with the denomination "Char S-35", with the "S" for SOMUA and the number 35 for the year in which the instructions were given. In the time in which the fall of France happened about 500 exemplars had been built.

Individually and in an engagement of tank versus tank, the S-35 was somewhat more than a challenge for any of the German tanks of that time, but the unfortunate tactics left this tank little chance to demonstrate its worth, except in a few isolated actions. The S-35 had a good mobility and adequate firepower. However it suffered from the same weakness in the armor that was habitual in all the French armored vehicles. Besides, the commander of the tank was also the loader and gunner, which exceedingly increased his work, reducing his effectiveness.

The hull had three sections screwed one to another: the floor, the front superstructure and the rear superstructure. The union between sections was made just above the tracks, with the vertical joint located between the fore and rear parts near the rear part of the turret. The driver sat in the fore part of the hull to the left. He was provided with a hatch that usually remained opened when the tank was in movement. The radio operator sat to the right of the driver. The normal procedure for these two men to enter or leave the vehicle was by means of a small door in the left side. The vehicle had as well a escape hatch in the floor for emergency cases.

The captured S-35 were used by the German forces in multitude of functions, including training of crews.

Year: 1935

Weight: 20.048 tonnes

Length: 5.46 meters

Width: 2.108 meters

Height: 2.592 meters

Ground clearance: 42 centimeters

Maximum armor: 56 millimeters

Engine: Somua of eight cylinders and 190 horsepower at 2000 revolutions per minute

Maximum speed: 37 kilometers/hour

Operational range: 257 kilometers

Crew: 3

Armament: One 47-millimeter cannon; one 7.5-millimeter machine gun

Ammunitions: 118 of 47 millimeters; 1250 of 7.5 millimeters

Maximum surmountable trench: 2.15 meters

Maximum surmountable step: About 50 centimeters

Maximum surmountable slope: 65 percent

Fording: 1.00 meters

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