Military Surplus

Renault R35, The Most Common French Tank of WW2

Are you in there Mr French man?

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With 35mm of frontal armor and a low velocity 37mm cannon the R35 wasn’t destined to be remembered for long.


Hey Gunter do you think this will look good in my living room?

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The Renault R35 was developed as a light infantry tank in 1926 to replace the FT.17 of World War 1. It was armed with a low velocity 37mm cannon and a single machine gun for this purpose.  Against the German Panzers of the day it didn’t stand a chance. Additionally the tank required it’s commander to act as it’s loader and gunner as well. This would cause the Commander to be constantly busy with the general running of the turret and he would have no time to actually command.


HiHo HiHo it's off to war we go!

With 1500 Renault R35’s produced the French had a lot of incentive to improve upon it and continue to use it. Right until the fall of France the R.35 was under development with larger guns and a larger engine. Although none of them would make it in time to face off against the Germans. Most of the surviving R.35’s would lose their turrets were they would find a second life as part of the Atlantic Wall.

The light tank of the future would never be as small as the lowly little Renault R35. It was the last gasp of World War 1 technology placed onto a wholly different level of battle. Oddly you can see a full restored  R35 at the Army Ordnance Museum in Aberdeen Maryland where it sits as the only fully restored tank on display.


Poorly armed, badly armored and slow the little Renault’s place in history would be only as a footnote.


  • You could probably do a whole series of obsolete and WTF weapons of France. They went from having the highest tech European military, pre-WWI to fighting with an odd collection of obsolete designs for the next 70 years or so.

    • fodder650

      Actually there are two other Battle of France tanks I thought about doing. One that was likely the top tank in the world at the time and the other that was a relic of World War 1. The relic was built so strong the Germans couldnt hurt it with anything less then an 88 though. Then there's the FT-17 as well… maybe your right and I should do some writeups on these

      • If you do anything on the FT-17 you might want to look into the ones found in Afghanistan 5 years or so ago.

        • fodder650

          I vaguely remember it but I will look into it

  • Is the pilot protected by a screen door?

    • fodder650

      Oddly here's the truth in your joke. The Commander usually hung out the back looking over the tank. Protected by nothing by the air around him. They would have been safer behind a screen door

      • At least that would keep the mosquitos at bay… Who thought this was a good idea?

        • fodder650

          In the interwar years there really wasn't any bad ideas. No one was going to fight you so why worry?

      • FЯeeMan

        That's quite similar to how the Israelis use the M1A1 – the commander just sticks his head out the top and uses field glasses to call out firing coordinates to the gunner below. When the Abrams first came out, they found that they got quicker and more accurate results that way than by using the computers. I'd imagine it's changed a bit in the last 30 years or so.

        They did tend to go through a few extra tank commanders that way, but actually went through fewer tanks. In a land war/tank battle, he who fires first usually wins.

        • Xander

          I don't think the Israelis use the Abrams, They use the Merkava. They did use American M4 Shermans, M51 Super Shermans, which was a homemade upgrade, Hotchkiss H35s, Cromwells, Centurions, M48 Pattons, M60 Pattons, and anything they captured from the enemy, which was mainly soviet T-55s and other designs. The Egyptians, Saudi Arabians, and Kuwait have all taken orders for the M1A1 Abrams though.

  • texlenin

    Keep in mind that it was infantry support, not
    an MBT. Back then, it was meant to pop
    bunkers, static defenses, and MG nests,
    ripping wire out the way as it did so.
    Movement was the key, at least according
    to them two English fellers that Guderian
    and Rommel stole all their ideas from.
    But jeez, 82hp?! My ol' Datsun has more than
    twice that! It was supposed to be small,light,
    and fast. Not Foche.

    • fodder650

      Right but a Nissan engine from 1935 didn't have 80hp either

      • texlenin

        NMC didn't start car production until 1935,
        but I know what you mean. Most heavy
        trucks of the era had about 80hp, so
        it's middle of the range.

  • aastrovan

    FOR SALE: WWII French Army Rifle,never been fired,Only been dropped once.

  • Maybe ,In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified.