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"The Pride of our Maginot Girls' Academy, The Cavalry Tank! Somua S35"
―Eclair

The Somua S35 (French Char de Cavalerie, Cavalry Tank) was a French medium tank developed before World War II, considered to be one of the best French tank of the war.

History

In December 1931 the French Army, alarmed by the rapid build-up of the Red Army conceived a preliminary plan, called Plan 1931, for the mechanization of the Cavalry. Three classes of vehicles were foreseen: the AMD (French Automitrailleuse de Découverte, Discovery Armored Car) specialised in long-range reconnaissance, the AMR (French for Automitrailleuse de Reconnaissance, Reconnaissance Armored Car) which wasn't conceived for reconnaissance as it name said but was likely a light armoured vehicle and finally the AMC (French Automitrailleuse de Combat, Combat Armored Car) which had to be a well-armed, mobile and armored combat vehicle.

However the specification needed changed in June 1934 with the Plan 1934, that called to a heavier design, the Army contacted SOMUA (Societe d'Outillage Mecanique et d'Usinage d'Artillerie) on October 1934 and the first prototype, called AC3 was delivered in April 1935 and tested from July to August 1935. The first fifty batch were fitted with the APX-1 turret and the short 47mm SA38 gun, then on March 1936 another improved protoype the AC4 was taken as the standard medium cavalry tank as AMC 1935 S, but was more commonly called the SOMUA S35 with the wider APX-1 CE turret with the long 47mm SA38 gun.

An improved version called the SOMUA S40, with an improved suspension, lowered hull cast and welded turret armor sould have replaced the S35 in the production lines on July 1940 but the defeat of France put an end to this program.

During the Battle of France the S35 was proven to be a tactically effective tank, it has good speed, its armor was thick enough to be practically immune to any German tanks attacks at normal range, its 47mm was powerful enough to destroy any tank Germany could field (Panzer III, Panzer 38(t)... and even the Panzer IV), but these advantages were negated by French Command preferring to use Cavalry Armored Divisions in defensive doctrines instead of offensive.

After the armistice, twenty-three S35 continue to serve Vichy France in West Africa to consolidate their hold on that region. After French forces in Africa sided with the Allies these tanks were used against German and Italian during the Tunisian Campaign and after the Liberation of France in 1944 seventeen S35s were used by the 13ème Régiment de Dragons.

Approximately 297 SOMUAs were captured and used by Germany under the name Panzerkampfwagen 35-S 739(f), they were modified with Panzer III or IV cupolas and were equipped with a radio. Many of Germans S35 were sent to the Eastern Front, those which haven't been destroyed were relegated to reserve or police duty on occupied countries such as France, Yugoslavia, Norway...

Germany delivered thirty-two SOMUAs to Italy that were used as either training tank or as reserve. Two were delivered to Hungary and six to Bulgaria. Tito's partisans captured one and refitted it with a British 6-pounder gun.

In Girls und Panzer

Anime

The SOMUA S35 is mentioned only briefly in the Anzio OVA. During Ooarai's briefing for the upcoming match against Anzio, on the board it's stated that in Anzio's previous match Maginot fielded two SOMUA S35.

Fierce Fight! It's the Maginot Battle!

Maginot Girls' Academy fielded two SOMUA S35 (the two are labelled Spade Bleu for Eclair's and Heart Bleu for Fondue's) during the mock-up match against Ooarai Girls Academy. At the beginning of the match Maginot entrenched their tanks to deceive Ooarai about their tactics. After their plan was foiled they launched into a fiece pursuit during which Spade Bleu was close to be destroyed by the StuG if a R39 didn't act as a shield. After Maginot retake the initiative by destroying Duck Team (by Heart Bleu) and Hippo Team (by B1 Bis Diamond Bleu) they spread, Heart Bleu paired with the B1 Bis to pursuit Turtle Team and Rabbit Team while Spade Bleu took care of Anglerfish Team. Spade Bleu was finally destroyed when the Panzer IV climbed a slope, created a dust screen by firing on the ground to flank the SOMUA and deliver a well-placed side shot. On its side Heart Bleu was delayed long enough for permitting the M3 Lee to destroy the B1 Bis and when Fondue get the occasion of shot down the M3 Lee she missed shocked after learning Eclair demise, but Rabbit Team didn't miss the SOMUA.

Gekkan Senshado Magazine

Viking Fisheries High School fielded two SOMUA S35 during the tournament first round match against Koala Forest High School. After Viking lured Koala's main force, the two SOMUAs, two Hotchkiss H35 and two Panzer III Ausf.N rushed to the forest to flank their enemy. After causing a total panic among Koala ranks, the two SOMUAs and the two Hotchkiss separated from the group and rushed north to intercept Koala' flag tank and destroyed it with a fierce fire barrage.

Maginot Girls' Academy fielded two SOMUAS S35 during the tournament first round match against Anzio. Their role in at beginning of the battle is unknown except that they seems to fall in Anzio trap by following the CV.33 leaving the flag tank behind. When learning the flag tank was in danger, the two SOMUA were sent to backup but were stalled by Carpaccio's Semovente.

Viking again fielded their two SOMUA S35 during the tournament quarter-finals match against Pravda Girls High School. Their role in the battle is unknown but they were likely destroyed by the Red Wave after the KV-2 destroyed the city where they took shelter, it is unknown if they had the chance to fight back.

Das Finale

BC Freedom High School fielded four SOMUA S35 (one with a Green Spade commanded by Andou) during the Winter Continuous Track Cup first round match against Ooarai Girls Academy. Their role, as the ARL 44s, was to leave the flag tank "defenseless" and appearing harmless to Ooarai. They let Duck Team follow them until other Ooarai tanks were trapped on a bridge, they then regroup with the rest of the team to bombard Ooarai's helpless tanks. After they failed to destroyed Ooarai on the bridge and being back assaulted by the Tiger(P) and the Type 89B, the SOMUAs retreat and form up with the rest of the group.

Dream Tank Match

BC Freedom High School used some SOMUA S35 during several training before the Winter Continuous Track Cup:

  • During an annihilation battle, Marie fielded one SOMUA commanded by Andou against two others SOMUAs and three ARL 44. All opposing SOMUAs were destroyed alongside ARLs, the SOMUA's role depend on the gameplay.
  • During a flag battle, Marie fielded one SOMUA commanded by Andou against other schools overall commanders commanded by Alice and her Centurion. The match was won by BC Freedom, the SOMUA's role depend on the gameplay.
  • During two trainings to see who is the worthiest to protect the Marie's flag tank:
    • First Andou and her SOMUA face Oshida and her ARL 44. The SOMUA destroyed the ARL 44.
    • Then Oshida and her ARL 44 face Andou and her SOMUA. This time the ARL took care of the SOMUA.
  • During one last training Marie forced Oshida and Andou to cooperate against her, the SOMUA and the ARL were fielded against Marie's FT-17. Both tanks were destroyed by Marie.

Trivia

Gallery

Main article: SOMUA S35/Gallery
Tanks ☰ 
Light Tanks and Tankettes Poland7TPFranceAMR-35FinlandBT-42UKCrusaderItalyCV.33FranceFT-17UKHarry HopkinsUnited StatesM22 LocustUnited StatesM24 ChaffeeUKMark VIGermanyPanzer IICzechoslovakiaPanzer 38(t)FranceR35SovietT-60SovietT-70UKTetrarchPolandTK TanketteJapan2Type 94 TanketteJapan2Type 95 Ha-GoJapan2Type 97 Te-Ke
Medium Tanks UKCenturionUnited StatesM3 LeeUnited StatesM4 ShermanItalyM13/40UKMatilda IIItalyP26/40GermanyPanzer IIIGermanyPanzer IVGermanyPanzer V "Panther"FranceSOMUA S35SovietT-34SovietT-44Japan2Type 89BJapan2Type 3 Chi-NuJapan2Type 97 Chi-Ha
Heavy Tanks FranceARL 44FranceB1 BisUKBlack PrinceUKChurchillSovietIS-2SovietKV-2United StatesM26 PershingUKMark IVGermanyPanzer VI "Tiger"GermanyPanzer VI Ausf. B "Tiger II"GermanyPanzer VIII "Maus"GermanyVK45.01 Porsche Tiger
Tank Destroyers GermanyElefantGermanyHetzerSovietISU-152GermanyJagdpanzer IVGermanyJagdpantherGermanyJagdtigerItalySemovente da 75/18GermanyStuG IIIUnited StatesT28 Super-Heavy Tank
Self-Propelled Artillery GermanyKarl-Gerät 040
Main Battle Tank Japan2Type 10