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Renault R35

"Renault R35... Our school's main force of light tanks. 2 persons ride it, and it was planned with a concept of "Armoured Cavalry"..."
―Fondue
"Does this look like one of the former BC side's R35s ? Oh. The silouette looks like one."
―Rin Matsukaze while she mocked-up the Te-Ke into a R35

The Renault R35 (French Char d'infanterie, Infantry tank) was a French light tank .

Background

Renault R35

Designed from 1933 and produced from 1936, the Char léger Modèle 1935 R was intended as a light infantry support tank, equipping autonomous tank battalions, that would be allocated to individual infantry divisions to assist them in executing offensive operations. To this end it was relatively well-armoured but slow and lacking a good antitank-capacity, fitted with a short 37 mm gun.

The hull, with a length of 4.02 m, consisted of three cast modules, with a maximum thickness of 43 millimetres, that were bolted together. Total weight was 10.6 metric tonnes (9.8 tonnes without fuel and ammunition). The bottom module carried on each side an independently sprung front wheel, two bogies and the driving sprocket at the extreme front. The final drive and differentials were housed at the right in the nose module. It was steered through a Cletrac differential with five gears and by engaging the brakes. The driver was seated somewhat to the left and had two hatches. The Renault V-4 85 hp engine was to the right in the short rear with the self sealing 166 litre fuel tank at its left.

The cast APX hexagonal turret had a 30 mm thick domed rotatable cupola with vertical vision slits (the highest point of 2.13 m) and had to be either hand cranked or moved about by the weight of the commander, the only other crew member. There was sometimes unofficially a seat installed for him but he most often stood. The rear of the turret had a hatch that hinged down that could be used as a seat to improve observation. The earliest vehicles were fitted with the APX-R turret (with the L713 sight) mounting the short Puteaux 37 mm L/21 SA18 gun and the 7.5 mm Châtellerault fortress machine gun. The cannon had a very poor armour penetration: only 12 mm at 500 metres. Afterwards the APX turret with the same cannon but the improved L739 sight and the standard Châtellerault 7.5 mm MAC31 Reibel machine gun was used because of delivery delays of the original weapon. There were also so many delays in the production of the turrets that after the first 380 hulls had been produced in 1936 and only 37 could be fitted with a turret, production was slowed down to 200 annually.

The R35 at first had no radio, except for the second battalion of the 507e Régiment de Chars de Combat (commanded by Col. Charles de Gaulle).

During the Battle of France in 1940, 810 were used as infantry support and 135 were folded into the 4th Division Cuirassée de Réserve (french Armoured Division of Reserve). While the R35 was superior to Panzer I & Panzer II in term of firepower and shielding (the frontal armor could withstand a direct hit from a 37mm PaK 36), it was not perceived as an anti-tank threat by Panzerdivision as its shielding did not resist Panzer III's 50mm gun and Panzer IV's 75mm gun.

Renault R39

Due to delays in the manufacture of the new suspension, an alternative was envisaged. APX-R1 turrets (with the new SA38 L/33 37mm) were mounted on R35 chassis giving birth to the Renault R39. However only a few were converted because shortly after started the production of the R40.

Renault R35 modifié 1939

As the original suspension (Renault based the suspension and running gear from the AMR 35 that was designed for the cavalry. It had five wheels at each side, fitted with horizontal leaf springs, like the AMC 35) was unreliable and ineffective even in 1937, it was replaced in the 1940 production run by an AMX system using twelve wheels fitted with six vertical springs. A ER 54 radio (this added to the already heavy task load of the commander, who also acted as gunner and loader), the more powerful SA38 L/33 37mm long barrel gun (giving it an effective anti-capacity: 40mm at 500m) casted in APX-R1 turret and the AMX tails to help in trench crossing were also installed. The new combination was named the Char léger modèle 1935 R modifié 1939 but is more commonly known as the Renault R40.

No battle records of R40 were due to the few numbers that were manufactured.

After the Fall of France 845 R35 falls into Germans hands that used some of them under the designation Panzerkampfwagen 35R-731(f), sold to German allies (such as Italy, Romania and Hungary) and some were kept by Vichy France to fight their former allies in Morocco and Syria.

In Girls Und Panzer

Anime

The R35 is mentioned only briefly in the Anzio OVA. During the Ooarai briefing for the upcoming match against Anzio, on the whiteboard it's noted that in Anzio's previous match Maginot fielded 3 R35.

Fierce Fight! It's the Maginot Battle!

The Renault R35 makes no less than three seperate appereances in the manga. First when Eclair introduces Maginot's tanks, during a training that proves the incompability of the R35 for mobile warfare (due to its one man turret) for the classic R35, and one last time during the fight as R39 labelled Clubs Blanc & Clubs Bleu neither of which would score any hits in the match . Clubs Bleu took a shot meant for SOMUA S35 Spade Bleu by Hippo Team and Clubs Blanc got its tracks damaged by Duck Team and was shot at point blank range by Turtle Team.

Ribbon Warrior

The Renault R35 makes two appearances in the manga. First in a Tankathlon match against an unidentified school where they field at least five (three of the BC faction and two of the freedom faction) R35. And four were fielded for the match against Tatenashi, one BC R35 was shot down by Shizuka who had camouflaged her Te-Ke as a R35 and another BC R35 is shot down by two of Freedom AMR-35 ZT-2 who mistook it for the disguised Te-Ke.

Gekkan Senshado Magazine

It's said that Bonple High School owns a single R35 that is non-operational.

Gallery

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