AMR 35


AMR 35

Infobox Weapon
name=Renault AMR 35


caption=
type=Light tank
origin=FRA
is_vehicle=yes
service=
used_by=flagicon|France France,
flagicon|Germany|Nazi Nazi Germany,
flagicon|Republic of China China
wars= World War II
designer=
design_date=
manufacturer= Renault
unit_cost=
production_date= 1936 to 1939
number= 167 plus variants
variants= Numerous, see below
weight=6.5 t
length=3.84 m
width=1.76 m
height=1.88 m
crew=2
armour=13 mm
primary_armament=7.5 mm Reibel machine gun or 13.2 mm Hotchkiss machine gun
secondary_armament=
engine=4-cylinder petrol
engine_power=84 hp
transmission=
fuel_capacity=
pw_ratio=
suspension=rubber reinforced horizontal springs
clearance=
vehicle_range= about 200 km
speed=60 km/h

The Automitrailleuse de Reconnaissance 35 (AMR 35) was a French light tank used in World War II. It was not intended to reconnoitre and report as the name suggests but was a light armoured combat vehicle without a radio.

Development

With his AMR 33 not yet being delivered to the French army, Louis Renault used two production vehicles to improve the type. In the middle of February 1934 he sent the first to the testing commission, refitted with a much more powerful engine. To his dismay the commission did not allow the whole production run to be converted to the new type; but a subsequent order of 92 for the second vehicle with its more reliable four-cylinder engine was made on 3 July 1934 . This was to have the name AMR 35. Also eight command tanks were to be produced, with a much larger superstructure but without a turret, which would be called AMR 35 ADF. Renault called these the "Renault YS".

At this time however it became clear that the AMR 33 was a very unreliable tank: the suspension units were simply too weak to withstand the forces caused by driving cross-country. A complete redesign of the suspension was ordered, also to be used for the new Renault R35. Two types were considered; the first had two bogies, like the R 35. This Renault ZB was rejected, but in March 1936 twelve were ordered by China and four a few months later by the Yunan province administration. These were only delivered in 1940. The other had only one bogie per side and was accepted. The Renault factory designation was Renault ZT. Due to these delays, the first AMR 35 was only delivered on 22 April 1936. Meanwhile the Citroën factory had tried to take over the order by developing the "AMR Citroën P 103" which had a very novel hydraulic suspension, but this project was rejected.

The AMR 35 was somewhat larger than the AMR 33, being 3.84 m long, 1.76 m wide and 1.88 m tall. It weighed 6.5 metric tons and could reach a speed of 60 km/h, making it the fastest French tank of its day. The side armour was increased from 8 to 10 mm. Its only weapon was a 7.5 mm Reibel machine gun.

Variants: AMR 35 à mitrailleuse 13,2 - ZT2 - ZT3 - ZT4

In 1936 two more orders followed. The first entailed 20 AMR 35's and five each of two new types: the Renault ZT2 and the Renault ZT3; the second 55 AMR 35's, again five each of the ZT2 and ZT3, and five Renault YS's. So there was to be a total of 167 AMR 35's, 10 ZT2's, 10 ZT3's and 13 YS's: together 200 vehicles.

The "Renault ZT2" was a tank with a larger rounded cast steel APX 5 turret equipped with a 25 mm gun. Only at the end of 1939 enough funds were made available to produce the turrets and finish the tanks.

The "Renault ZT3" was a tank destroyer with the same 25 mm gun in a superstructure on the hull.

Both the ZT2 and ZT3 were intended to give the AMR units some antitank capacity. Another, less effective attempt to this end was the production of a turret fitted with a 13.2 mm Hotchkiss machine gun, which could penetrate 20 mm steel at 500 m. It is not yet known how many vehicles were of this improved type.

Also in 1936, 21 "Renault ZT4"'s were ordered for the colonial troops to replace their obsolete Renault FT-17's. As these troops still used the Hotchkiss 8 mm machine gun as their standard weapon, they wanted a tank with the same; it was decided in the motherland however that it would be cheaper to install the old colonial FT-17 machine gun turrets on new hulls of the AMR 35, so the latter were to be produced only. As the colonies refused this solution, no vehicles were built until February 1940 (despite the order being enlarged to 56), when it proved to be too late to resolve the deadlock: even at the time of the capitulation not a single turret had been fitted on the 40 vehicles produced.

On 1 January 1939 129 chassis had been built of all subtypes.

World War II

In the Battle of France 120 AMR 33's and 187 ZT's were available. These were used to equip three squadrons in the 1st and 2nd DLM, 60 tanks in each division; one squadron in four Cavalry Light Divisions, for a total of 80 and two squadrons in the GRDI of five DIM, for a total of 100: so 300 vehicles in all. The organic strength however was 240, as each platoon of four had one tank as a reserve vehicle. It is an indication of the poor reliability of the AMR's that in some units organic strength was lowered to three for each platoon. The ZT3's were used in 6 and 7 GRDI.

Six Renault YS's were used as artillery observation vehicles fitted with advanced telemetric optics.

During the battle the 13.2 mm gun proved to be incapable of defeating even the German armored cars, its bullets being deflected by their sloped armour. However most AMR's were lost due to mechanical trouble.

The Germans used some AMR 35's as the "Panzerspaehwagen ZT 702 (f)". The Renault YS's were also taken into service. The ZT4's, being brand new, were fitted with the "schwerer Granatwerfer 84" in an open superstructure to produce a self-propelled 81 mm mortar.

External links

* [http://www.wwiivehicles.com/france/armored_reconnaissance/amr_35.html WWII vehicles]
* [http://www.chars-francais.net/archives/renault_amr35.htm Chars-francais.net]


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