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Char B1 bis
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"Better than Type 89 I guess..."
―Anzu

The Renault Char B1 Bis (French Char de Bataille, Battle Tank) was a French heavy tank developed before WWII, primarily designated to attack enemy fortifications and breakthrough operations. It first appeared in the anime in Episode 7.

Background

After the WWI, the experiences of trench warfare still loomed in the French Army's research, and in its development of future tanks, too; the result of design work that began as early as 1919, the Char B1 Bis was a further development of an earlier tank designed to punch gaps in a heavily fortified line, in accordance to the 'methodical battle' doctrine. With a 75 mm howitzer in the hull to attack enemy bunkers, the Char B1 was also fitted with a 47 mm gun in a turret to fight other tanks, and had thick frontal armor to withstand enemy guns; its slow top speed was deemed enough for its purposes. Some 370 were built between 1937 and 1940.

Between May 15 and 17 of 1940, a town in France called Stonne was the focus of hard fighting between the French and Germans. The town changed hands 17 times in the three days of battling. Involved in the fighting were Renault B1 Bis tanks from the third division of a Bataillon de Chars de Combat. One B1 Bis was numbered 350, named Fleurie. Another tank from the same division, number 337, named Eure, destroyed a column of two Panzer IV and eleven Panzer III tanks lined up on the street on May 16. Some people say the French tanks could have defended France if they had been deployed differently, and had enough gas and ammunition handy, and had radios, and anti-aircraft protection, and better luck, etc.
Char-B1-bis 3-600x404

Renault Char B1 Bis

While the B1 Bis had good firepower and thick armor (which made it difficult to defeat even from modern German tanks like the Panzer III and Panzer IV), its technical flaws (such as the small one-and-a-half man turret, large silhouette and unusual crew stations) were compounded by the mismanagement at the strategic level; moreover, the slow and methodical concept that had spawned it was literally swept away by the fast and slashing Blitzkrieg. Some were reused by the Wehrmacht after the fall of France.

The B1 Bis, while held in high esteem for its virtues in the 1940 campaign, was nonetheless the product of an archaic concept that would not survive the trials of World War II. But would have be very useful if the French Army used them wisely enough.

In Girls Und Panzer

Ooarai Girls High School has a Char B1 Bis, found by Hippo Team and Yukari in a pond during the next search of the Ooarai's long lost tank. It is mostly used to provide cover for the team, including direct protection and smoke screen support.

Maginot Girls' Academy has at least two Char B1 Bis.

Anime

The B1 Bis was assigned to Mallard Team and immediately fielded during the semifinals against Pravda Girls High School. It was supporting the attack on Pravda's frontline defense and pushed through into the city, but the Ooarai Force was ambushed by numerous tanks coming out from nearby buildings. Fortunately, Miho found a large building and ordered everyone to go inside the building. After the surrender negotiation inside the building failed, they started to escape quickly from the city, while the B1 Bis covered the Ooarai's Type 89B flag tank from behind. It was knocked out by IS-2.

During the finals against Kuromorimine Girls High School, the B1 Bis and Type 89B were covering the formation by screening the path with the tanks' smoke exhaust to safely move the formation to the hill. After they reached the hill, they were preparing to defend themselves from Kuromorimine's overwhelming attack. After the Turtle Team's Hetzer broke their formation, they quickly withdrawn from the hill to relocate the team again into the city, while the B1 Bis created another smoke screen to lose their trace from them. It was seen in the city pursuing the Kuromorimine's Panzer III, and got ambushed again by Panzer VIII Maus. The B1 Bis fired its guns on it with no successful penetration, and the Maus finally knocked it out with ease, even flipping the B1 Bis by its 12.8 cm gun.

The B1 Bis is mentionned twice in the Anzio OVA. During the Ooarai's briefing for the upcoming match against Anzio, on the board it's stated that in Anzio's previous match Maginot field two B1 Bis and when the Student Council announce to Public Morals Committee that they'll become the B1 Bis new crew.

Manga

The B1 Bis was deployed for the match against Anzio Girls High School, with a provisional crew consisting of Yukari, Erwin, and Aya. It proved impervious to most of Anzio's tanks, but was virtually taken out by Anchovy's P40, having its turret jammed and its tracks disabled.

It later went on to participate on all the future matches with a new crew from the Morals Committee, similar with the Anime's storyline.

Fierce Fight! It's the Maginot Battle!

One B1 Bis is also used by Maginot in a mock battle against Ooarai. The tank labelled Diamond Bleu was commanded by Galette. During the match Diamond Bleu shot down Hippo Team and Turtle Team who took a shot destined for Rabbit Team which permitted them to circle the B1 Bis to shoot the air duct, the B1 Bis's "legendary weakness" (see Trivia).

Gekkan Senshado Magazine

BC Freedom High School owns at least one B1 Bis and fielded it during the match against St. Gloriana Girls High School.

Trivia

  • The Char B1 Bis is featured in World of Tanks as a French Tier IV heavy tank; it's also present (as a premium tank of the same Tier) the German-captured variant as the Pz.Kpfw. B2 740 (f).
  • The Char B1 Bis is the only tank known so far to be used by three different schools, Ooarai, Maginot and BC Freedom.
  • The myth of its weak point is based on a single incident when during the Battle of Sedan near Stonne (16 May 1940) gunners of two 37mm PaK-36 claimed to have take down 3 B1 Bis by firing in the air duct at close range. The air intake was a 150 mm thick assembly of horizontal slits alternately angled upwards and downwards between 28 mm thick armour plates, and as such intended to be no more vulnerable than the normal 55 mm side plates.

Gallery

Main article: Char B1 bis/Gallery

References

Tanks ☰ 
Light Tanks and Tankettes Panzerkampfwagen IIPanzer 38(t)CrusaderM24 ChaffeeM22 LocustT-70Type 95 Ha-GoType 97 Te-KeBT-42AMR-35R35FT-17CV L3/337TPTK Tankette
Medium Tanks Panzerkampfwagen IIIPanzerkampfwagen IVPanzerkampfwagen V "Panther"Matilda II Centurion Mark IM3 LeeM4 ShermanT-34T-44Type 89 I-Go/Chi-RoType 3 Chi-NuType 97 Chi-HaSomua S35Carro Armato P40M13/40

Heavy Tanks Panzerkampfwagen VI "Tiger"Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. B "Tiger II"VK45.01 Porsche TigerPanzerkampfwagen VIII "Maus"Churchill Mark VIIBlack PrinceIS-2KV-2M26 PershingRenault B1 BisCarro Armato P40
Tank Destroyers Sturmgeschütz IIIJagdpanzer 38(t) "Hetzer"Jagdpanzer IVJagdpantherElefantJagdtigerT28 Super Heavy TankSemovente da 75/18
Self-Propelled Artillery Karl-Gerät Mortar
Main Battle Tank Type 10

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