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The SOMUA S-35 was a cavalry tank used by France during World War II.

Description[]

The SOMUA[N 1] was armed with a 47 mm SA 35 main gun and a secondary coaxial MAC31 Reibel machine gun. A crew of three was required to operate one, and it used a V8 engine to propel it at speeds up to 40.7 km/h.[2] Aside from France, the S-35 was also used by Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria after the fall of France. The S-35 had up to 55 mm of armor plating. 

The SOMUA also had a total weight of 19,500 kg and a total length of 5.3 meters. Its total range was around 257 kilometers when traveling on roads.

Variants[]

The S-35s did not have any major variants, and therefore most of them were simply called S-35. An improved version with a 220 hp engine and modified suspension called the S-40 was developed in 1940, but precious few were made before France's capitulation. A self-propelled gun version called the SAu-40 was also developed that year. It had a 3-inch cannon and an improved drivetrain, but just one example was completed before the country's surrender.

History[]

Somua-s-35-captured

S-35s in German service.

The first tank with all cast construction for both hull and turret,[1] the S-35 was designed in response to a request made by the French armored cavalry for a new medium tank. SOMUA's prototype was chosen in 1935, and it entered service in 1936.[3]

At the time of Germany's invasion, the S-35 was considered the best tank in France's arsenal, and around 250 were available for frontline service. However, the tank's effectiveness was reduced since it was usually used in small numbers to support infantry, which lead to them being overwhelmed by the German's numbers. After France was defeated, some S-35s went into German service as the PzKpfw 35-S 739(f), and were used in Finland and Normandy. Others were given to Italy, Bulgaria, and Hungary.

Approximately 500 examples were built.[1]

Notes[]

  1. The name was an acronym of it's producers: Societe d'Outillage Mecanique d'Usinage d'Artillerie.[1]

Sources[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Forty, George. WW1 and WW2 Tanks. Southwater Books (Anness Publishing Ltd). 2012. ISBN 1 78019 190 1 Page 114
  2. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/france/tanks-cavalry/s-35.asp
  3. Lüdeke, Alexander. Weapons of World War II. Parragon Books Ltd. 2007.


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