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AMR-35
Renault AMR-35

The Renault AMR-35 (French Automitrailleuse de Reconnaissance Renault Modèle 35) was a French light tank developed during the Interbellum and used in the Second World War.

History

Development

The AMR-35 originated from a project in 1933 to improve the earlier AMR 33 by moving the engine from the front to the back. In 1934 also a stronger suspension was fitted and the type was chosen to replace the AMR 33 on the production lines that year. Three orders were made by the French Cavalry of in total two hundred vehicles in five versions, including two machine-gun tanks, two tank destroyer types and a command tank. The production would be much delayed by financial and technical problems, deliveries only starting in 1936.

The AMR 35 proved to be an unreliable vehicle, it was one of the fastest tanks of its day, but its very speed overstressed its mechanical parts. In 1937 it was decided not to make any further orders but organisational difficulties slowed final deliveries of some versions until well into 1940.

The AMR-35 is somewhat larger than the AMR 33, being 3.84 metres long, 1.76 metres wide and 1.88 metres tall. It weighs, fully loaded, 6.5 tonnes. The vertical armour plates have a thickness of thirteen millimetres, the sloped plates are nine millimetres thick and the top and bottom plates six millimetres. Its general configuration has been changed in that the engine was moved to the back. Originally it had been intended to give the driver a more central position to improve his view to the right but eventually he remained at the left side of the hull, the right side being occupied by a large ventilation grill. The turret, where the second crew member, the commander/gunner, is located, is also placed left of centre. Two types of turret are being used: the Modèle réglementaire AVIS-1 fitted with the 7,5 mm M1931 machine-gun and the AVIS-2 with a 13,2 mm machine-gun.

The suspension uses four much more robust road wheels. The two in the middle are paired into a central bogie, sprung by a horizontal rubber cylinder block, that again consists of five smaller rubber cylinders separated by steel discs. These cylinders also serve as shock dampers, avoiding the problems caused by the oil dampers used with the AMR 33. The wheels in the front and back are independently sprung, again by a rubber cylinder block, but now consisting of four smaller cylinders. The sprocket is in the front. The track is 22 centimetres wide and is supported by four top rollers. The wading capacity is sixty centimetres, the trench crossing-capacity 1,7 metres and a vertical obstacle of fifty centimetres or slope of 50% can be climbed.

The AMR 35 vehicles remained very unreliable: on 1 January 1939 only 129 chassis of all subtypes were present in the combat units, the others being centrally repaired or having been sent back to the factory. Due to the structural delays and technical problems it had been decided in 1937 to eventually discontinue AMR 35 production

For Renault, the entire AMR project had been a financial disaster. On 16 November 1938 he begged the government to be exonerated from the contractual fines, pointing out that he had already, on his expense, twice completely replaced the gear wheels on all vehicles and additionally all transmissions and front axles.

Several of variants of the AMR-35 were made due to its near-nonexistence anti-armour abilities. The first variant was the ZT-1 fitted with a 13.2mm Hotchkiss HMG, to accommodate the larger machine-gun, the AVIS-2 turret was developed, it was made higher, more so at the left where the commander/gunner was seated and from which side the gun was fed — normally this was done vertically, but to reduce height the gun had been rotated to the left — giving it an asymmetrical and skewed appearance. Then the ZT-2 variant with a shortened 25mm SARF Cannon, to fit the new gun the tank was fitted with the larger octagonal welded steel APX 5 turret that was equipped with a 7.5 mm machine gun. Developed at the same time as the ZT-2, the ZT-3 was a turretless tank destroyer with the same 25 SARF cannon as the ZT-2 placed at the right of the driver with a 7.5mm MG, the hull was raised to fit the new gun and the commander was given a cupola and a third crewmember gunner/loader was added. The last variant the ZT-4 intended for colonial troops was equipped with an improved ventilation and were to be armed with 7.92mm MGs, the few that were made were turretless.

Operational History

During the Battle of France the AMR 35s were part of armoured and motorised divisions, the vast majority being lost during the first weeks of the fighting. AMR-35 ZT-1 13.2mm were unable to defeating even armored vehicles at normal combat due to their bullets being deflect by their sloping armor. The majority were lost due to mechanical failures.

During the remainder of the Second World War Germany made use of some captured vehicles under the designation Panzerspähwagen ZT 702(f). Some of the turretless ZT-4 versions were equipped with heavy 80mm mortars designated 8cm schwere Granatwerfer 34 auf Panzerspähwagen AMR35(f).

In Girls Und Panzer

Ribbon Warrior

BC Freedom High School fielded at least five AMR-35, three ZT-2 and two ZT-1 (at least one with 13.2mm MG, unclear for the other see trivia) during a tankathlon match against an unidentified school. It is unknown if they scored any hits.

BC Freedom fielded five AMR-35, two ZT-2, two ZT-1 with 13.2mm MG and one ZT-1 with 7.5mm MG during a tankathlon match against Centipede Team. The only known hit scored by an AMR-35 during the match is a friendly one, after Shizuka shot down a R35, she mocked up her Te-Ke as one only to raise the already existent tension between the two factions until it explode when when two of Freedom faction AMR-35 ZT-2 fires at a BC R35 mistaking it with the mocked-up Te-Ke, at this point BC thought that Freedom want to get rid of them and Freedom thought that BC is in cohort with the enemy starting an all-out battle between the faction. It is unknown if the AMR-35 score another hit during the firefight.

BC Freedom (teamed with Centipede Team) fielded one AMR-35 ZT-1 with 13.2mm MG commanded by Asparagus during the Tankathlon match against Schwarzwald Kampfgruppe (Kuromorimine's tankathlon team). During the battle Asparagus score one hit on a Panzer II and was then destroyed by Erika acting as a bait to permit other tanks to retreat.

Trivia

  • In Ribbon Warrior Chapter 6 there is an error. On page 11 Asparagus uses a ZT-1 with 13.2mm HMG (the asymmetrical turret on the left and the long cannon indicates that's the AVIS-2 turret and the Hotchkiss MG), while on page 12 she uses a ZT-1 with 7.5mm MG (the symmetrical turret and the shorter cannon indicates that's the AVIS-1 turret and clearly not the Hotchkiss MG so it's a Reibel MG). The only logical explanation would be that Asparagus changed tanks during the fight, which is highly improbable.

Gallery

Main article: AMR-35/Gallery
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