Military Review

French experimental tank Char G1

Char G1 - French experimental infantry tank, designed and built in the pre-war period and in the early years of World War II. This tank was supposed to replace the medium tank Char D2. By 1936, several companies developed prototypes, however, only one of them was fully completed by the beginning of the French campaign of 1940. The Char G1 tank project combined the most advanced developments in the field of tank building. In mobility and armament, the G1 tank was comparable to the American M4 Sherman and the Soviet T-34, but it had several innovative solutions. Such solutions include gun stabilization systems and semi-automatic loading, an optical range finder.

French experimental tank Char G1

In 1937, research was carried out that led the Infantry Directorate to the effect that the 20-ton tank program should be canceled. This decision was due to the fact that it was impossible to create a tank with a 75 mm caliber cannon in a turret lighter than 30 tons, and even more so with armor 60 mm thick.

The 01.02.1938 of the Infantry Directorate was asked by the Arms Production Directorate to transform a program of a tank of 20 tons into a program of a tank with a weight of up to 35 tons. The new machine has been assigned the index G1. By offering this mass, the Directorate wanted to leave itself the opportunity to maneuver so that there would be no problem with a deficit of weights.

By order of the military, seven companies started to develop this tank on a competitive basis: Baudet-Donon-Roussel, FCM, Fouga, Lorraine de Dietrich, Renault, SEAM and SOMUA.

The companies that started development received orders to build prototypes, but by 1 June 1938 only two of them were awarded contracts. The first concerns the tank SEAM (the amount of the contract 1,2 million francs without the cost of weapons). Delivery of the prototype of the Testing Commission (CEMAV) was envisaged for 31.10.1938. The second contract concerned the Lorraine tank (the amount of the contract was 2,6 million francs without weapons). The prototype was scheduled for the end of 1938. At the time of the conclusion of the contracts, the prototype SEAM was built and was on the move, and the Lorrain project was designed as a wooden layout.

It should be noted that all development work carried out by various design bureaus since 1935 has been carried out without external financing, that is, at the expense of internal funds of manufacturers. Those with whom contracts were subsequently concluded could receive advance payments only after the approval of the project. Given the constant demands for modifications, the industry did not hope to receive funding, except after a while. In this regard, it is not surprising that the firms sluggishly joined the development program of the tank and attracted the personnel of design bureaus to work on the residual principle, and the G1 program itself was not among the priorities. In fact, all the work on the program was frozen until the intervention of the group created by Captain Deig (tech. Infantry Management Division) and military engineer Lavirotte (Ruell workshops). The group was established by order of the Minister of Defense of 08.06.1938.

The main purpose of the creation of the group was to coordinate from a technological point of view with contractors under contracts for the G1 tank, to consult and issue useful instructions in order to create these products.

In this order, it was especially emphasized that with regard to manufacturers “it is necessary to transfer all responsibility for prototyping”. Taking into account the fact that apart from Reno, no other design bureau had any experience in tank building, the creation of the Deig-Lavirotte group was motivated by the need for constant cooperation between the design bureau and those. services of the Ministry of Defense to ensure a quick start of work with minimal costs reasonable and relevant technical. conditions of funds.

Indeed, the lack of experience of companies, with the exception of Reno, led to “lapses”. For example, in the Lorraine Design Bureau, the fuel tank was mounted under the engine. In addition, the BDR design bureau arranged the layout assembly at a remote location (for security reasons) and could not deliver its prototype to the inspection site when at the beginning of 1939, the commission wanted to inspect three existing wooden layouts.

In the same order, it was said that to speed up the construction of prototypes of the G1 tank, the hull should not be made of bronestali, but of a different material (chosen by the developer), which would reduce the development time of the tank. The G1 program in terms of supply had a lower status in comparison with the current production (fleet and tanks), which “absorbed” the produced bronestal.

As of 1 June 1938, the projects of the companies were in the following stages.

SEX's G1P (this model is also known as Poniatoski G1P)

The design weight of the tank 26 tons. The car was equipped with electric transmission.

The prototype, presented in 1937 in Vincennes, corresponded to the program of a tank with a mass of 20 tons, except for speed: which instead of 40 km / h was only 14 km / h. Moreover, the concept of the undercarriage was unsuccessful: the caterpillars lacked the lugs, the permeability was low.

In this regard, Ponyatovsky decided to install a higher power Hispano-Suiza engine (280 hp) and modify the chassis. After this, the prototype was ready for testing.

24 May The 12 Division issues an order No. 5 174-1 / 12 with instructions for transporting the vehicle to Vincennes after equipping the tank with a tower in Ruelle and wireless voice equipment at Fort Issy.

In fact, the chassis Ponyatovskogo its weapons have not received. The tank was not installed tower ARX4 or 75-mm gun in a similar installation B1ter. Only the weight and size model of the tower was mounted (2,5 tons weight). During the development of the project in 1936-1939, the height of the case was reduced from 1720 mm to 1640 mm, however, installing a tower with a 75 mm caliber gun was recognized impossible without complete processing of the underboard box, and it was necessary to completely abandon the slope of the armor.

Lorraine's G1L

The design weight of the tank is 36 tons. The company Lorraine to 1938 year was made a full-size mock-up of wood. Lorraine was ready to begin assembling a prototype, but for this it was necessary to urgently decide which tower to equip the tank. The machine is designed under the tower of circular rotation, equipped with 75-millimeter cannon 1897 model of the year. The Lorraine 20-ton preliminary design of the company originally carried the Hispano-Suiza engine with a power of 230 HP. To fend off weight gain, G1L was remade to the Panhard XHUMX-strong engine from the railcar. This project had the best power-on-energy ratio — the power to mass ratio was about 450 hp / t. However, changes in the project led to an increase in the height of the engine compartment, and this led to the limitation of the tool declination angles in this sector. In addition, Lorraine was experiencing problems with the 15-ton hull, which was developed by the Corpe Luve for a tank weighing 16 tons, not 20 / 30 tons. In particular, the undercarriage, which is a direct development of the running gear of the supply conveyor, is not designed for the existing loads. This circumstance led to an unsuccessful distribution of weights with increased pressure on the ground.

To eliminate this problem, it was proposed to rework the undercarriage - the distance between two rollers to three links of the track.


Tank design weight - tons of 37,5. The car had to be equipped with hydromechanical or electric transmission. As the power plant was supposed to use a diesel engine power 350 hp

As of 01.06.1938, negotiations continued, during which the need for an add. informing before issuing a contract. In addition, there was a need to redesign the advance project, including: improvement of individual nodes; weight reduction, which may exceed 35 tons.

Fouga's G1F

The design weight of this machine was about 35 tons. There is no confirmed data for this project. Comments are the same as for the G1B project.

Renault G1R

The design weight of this tank was 32 tons. The Commission back in April 1938 of the year expressed its opinion regarding the overall dimensions of the G1R (the width of the machine was 2940 mm). The weight of the G1R tank should be 26 tons, but this gain is provided by certain design features, such as torsion bar suspension. Ammunition was limited to the minimum program requirements. The fighting compartment was designed for 4-x people. However, if you mount a 75 caliber mm gun instead of a 47 mm gun, the gain in 1200 kg is lost. In this regard, for the tank G1R recommended weight 30 thousand kg. According to Deig, the thickness of the bottom armor in 10 mm is too small. The concept of G1R - the development of R35, except for the propulsion system. The tank is missing the previously provided side hatch 600х700 mm. Onboard booking is a two-layer: external sheet - 50 mm; internal - 10 mm. This decision has been criticized.

1 June discussed the layout of the tower, and there was not without criticism. The proposed project involves the installation of the tower on a central support. This technical solution was first proposed by Lieutenant Colonel Ballan. The designer encountered a lot of problems when implementing this solution. The standing committee on tank technical equipment together with Renault studied improvements that should be made before the start of production of the prototype.

Lieutenant Colonel Ballan proposed a project with a tower that served to house only weapons. In this case, the crew of the tank is located in the hull. The charging of the 75 millimeter gun was carried out automatically, observation and aiming are carried out using articulated viewing instruments. This concept, which allows to reduce the mass of the turret and install more powerful weapons on the tank, which is lighter than in other proposals, was studied as a first approximation during the development for tank B of the ARCH tower.

For Renault, this was a failure, all the more bitter given the fact that this company was at the forefront of the program in 1937. In a letter, engineer-general Jacques Moline, a junior weapons development engineer who worked at the time, said that “Mr. Restany, who was responsible for the prototype development in Reno, hoped to find a solution that allowed him to stay in the limit of 25 tons by using a scheme with a limited-rotation casemate tower and aviation engine created on the basis of the engines of the tank B1bis (power 250 hp) and AMC ACG1 (power 180 hp). This project became the main one, as it offered the smallest possible mass.

Against this, there were two objections:
- there was no circular rotation of the tower;
- low total propulsion power.

In fact, at the Renault design office, the G1 project (ACK) took over AMC35 R (ACG1) baton, the development of which was also not ideal and extremely time-consuming.

Tower designs

At the 01.06.1938 meeting, the Arms Advisory Council for the towers, noted that in addition to the Renault pseudo tower, there were two other projects:
- ARL 3. This tower had a large diameter shoulder strap - 1880 mm (equipped with a polycom), which required a longer and wideer turret box. Accordingly, the tank's mass should be about 35 tons (Fugue, BDR, Lorrain);
- FCM / F1. This option is already offered for the 45-ton tank. The tower was spacious, and its shoulder strap had a slightly smaller diameter (1850 mm), compared to the ARL 3 tower. Moreover, this tower was the development of that of the tank 2С, known and satisfactory in operation.

The fate of the project

In the course of development by the customer in those. The assignment is constantly being changed. This led to the fact that design offices began to withdraw from the competition. The longest was SEAM, which proposed the G1P project (also known as Poniatowski G1P), for the implementation of the project. The prototype of the medium tank, developed by the design team under the guidance of engineer Ponyatovsky, was presented to Commissionde Vincennes a year after the publication of the first specification. The prototype was delivered to the landfill on December 3 1936, though it was incomplete.

As a temporary power plant used 120-strong engine. Instead of a tower, a dome-shaped superstructure was mounted, equipped with an observation tower in the form of a truncated cone. The turret had glass windows around the sides of the 6. The chassis of the prototype, which on one side included 6 dual rollers, rear driving and front guide wheels, was almost completely closed with a bulwark that protected the open suspension elements and rollers. The total length of the tank 5570 mm. The body, which was originally designed for the installation of the 75 mm caliber gun to the right of the driver's seat, is welded. SEAM engineers actively used the inclined arrangement of armor plates, so even when booking in 40 mm this tank would be a difficult target for 37-45-mm guns. The composition of the crew: the driver, commander, radio operator and loader.

Although the company SEAM stated that the mass of the prototype is about 23 tons, according to experts AtelierdeRueil after installing the Hispano 6 engine with 280 horsepower X. You can talk about the mass in 28 tons. The use of electric transmission of particularly large effect also did not give. During running trials that passed 3-10 December 1936, it turned out that while driving on the highway the maximum speed of the tank did not exceed 14 km / h, and the average technical was equal to 10 km / h. The reasons for this were that the mass of the electric transmission was 2,4 tons (this is 1,5 tons greater than the mass of the mechanical transmission), which together with the low-power engine adversely affected the speed characteristics of the machine. From the military commission received a proposal to finalize the prototype. SEAM had to lengthen the hull, increase the crew compartment and equip it with a fire wall with a thickness of 95 mm, improve the suspension system and also implement a number of other improvements.

In the 1937-1938, the G1P prototype was seriously upgraded. In cooperation with the ARL company, the new G1P tank was equipped with new support rollers and an 280 hp engine, in parallel, the suspension was modified. In accordance with the requirements put forward by 24 on May 1938, the tank had to be equipped with a radio station, a SA35 cannon of 47 mm caliber in the ARX4 turret and a 75 mm cannon in the hull. The width of the tank after modifications has decreased by 20 mm (to 2920 mm), height - by 30 mm (to 2730 mm), while the height of the hull was 1740 mm.

The order for 250 machines in the winter of the year 1939 was still valid, since other companies did not submit a single prototype for testing. But SEAM, which was experiencing strong financial difficulties, slowed down the work of bringing the G1P tank. In fact, this happened after the introduction of the requirement to install an 75 mm caliber cannon in a tower of circular rotation. After ARL was contacted for help from Conseil Consultatifde l'Armement, it was finally possible to secure an order for the supply of a tower for the G1P, on which it was supposed to install an extended under-turret box. 19 January 1939 was signed an order to make available to the company SEAM ARL3, but it still remained unfulfilled. 10 September 1939. The process of refinement finally got up, although 22 December was resumed work, in view of the urgent need for modern tanks. Finally, the G1B project was stopped after surrender - in June, 1940. The prototype then available was ready for testing, but was idle at the SEAM plant, awaiting delivery of the tower.

Combat weight - 26 t (CharG1P), 28 t (CharG1R), 30 t (CharG1B)
The layout is classic.
Crew - 4 people.
Number of issued - 1 pcs.
Body length - 5570 mm.
Case width - 2940 mm.
Height - 2760 mm.
The forehead of the body is 60 mm.
Chassis side - 60 mm.
Body Feed - 60 mm.
Bottom - 20 mm.
Housing roof - 20 mm.
The forehead of the tower - 40 mm.
Armament - SA32 howitzer of 75 caliber mm, SA35 gun of 47 caliber mm.
Ammunition - 100 47-mm caliber and 70 75-mm shots.
Additional weapons - MAC machine gun 1931 caliber 7,5 mm.
Sights - periscopic binocular, telescopic sight, episcopes.
Engine type - petrol 12-cylinder Meadows.
Engine power - HP 280-320 (depending on the modification).
Speed ​​on the highway - 30 km / h.
Cruising on the highway - 200-400 km (design data).
Overcoming obstacles (design data):
overcome wall - 0,8 m;
overcome moat - 2 m;
overcome ford - 1,2 m.

Prepared by materials
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. agent
    agent 17 March 2014 09: 01 New
    Phantomas tanks ...
    1. Civil
      Civil 17 March 2014 13: 27 New
      Ancient howitzer, weak engine ... tall forces ...
      1. family tree
        family tree 17 March 2014 21: 36 New
        Quote: Civil
        Ancient howitzer, weak engine ... tall forces ...

        Barrel stabilization i.e. shooting on the move, 60-mm armor, and the silhouette, so the emchi 2743mm. And with the tower a flaw, the forehead is only 40mm. And the fact that the engine is weak, so it is an infantry in concept, it was believed that high speed was useless request
  2. avt
    avt 17 March 2014 09: 02 New
    It looks like a Grotto tank, which the German did for us.
    1. 17085
      17085 17 March 2014 15: 27 New
      It looks like only a tower, but very ... The TG had a completely different chassis, and the body was welded, probably there was a fashion for such towers, Independance had a similar tower, by the way, only without a machine-gun turret.
  3. revnagan
    revnagan 17 March 2014 11: 33 New
    Quote: avt
    It looks like a Grotto tank, which the German did for us.

    Yes, it looks like a Grotte tank.
  4. P12P
    P12P 17 March 2014 11: 34 New
    French tank designers in those years probably fueled by energy from space from aliens laughing
  5. Gagarin
    Gagarin 17 March 2014 14: 19 New
    For me, the tank that in the first photo is very interesting for the 30s, terribly spoils the view of the superstructure with the barrels above the tower, and the performance characteristics are rather weak.
    1. family tree
      family tree 17 March 2014 21: 22 New
      Quote: Gagarin
      terribly spoils the view of the superstructure with trunks above the tower

      These are not trunks, like
      optical range finder.
  6. Peacemaker
    Peacemaker 18 March 2014 05: 43 New
    UFO! So I want to attach wings to it ... And the transparent cabin above the turret is SOMETHING!
  7. GRusl
    GRusl 18 March 2014 08: 37 New
    Why was it worth spoiling the tower’s ideal form at that time with an incomprehensible tumor ...
    About AMX 40 still to read.
  8. Alex
    Alex 6 July 2014 18: 59 New
    Excellent article, but the tank somehow was not impressed. It seems that the French did not fully understand that the tank is not a caterpillar fortress.
  9. Patricklymn
    Patricklymn 8 October 2014 23: 23 New
    Closed Joint-Stock Company Mig provides microcredit services to Russian citizens with a bad history