Military Review

Batignolles-Chatillon Char 25T: tank with a rocking tower

37
War can give a huge boost to technology and technological development. Both world wars of the 20th century clearly demonstrated this. For example, during the Second World War, the evolutionary processes in tank building, which in the interwar period went on for decades, shrank in time in years, and sometimes even months. After the completion of the active phase of hostilities, this process did not slow down, as the “cold” war came to replace the “hot” world conflict, which divided the planet into two opposing camps.


In those years, Soviet and American design schools rightfully turned out to be trendsetters in tank construction, which European designers could try to keep up with. Quite tangible success was achieved by the British, who designed and put into production a successful 105 mm tank gun Royal Ordnance L7. The famous L7 gun, which was designed in 1959, has found application not only in the UK, but around the world - in the USA, Germany, Sweden, Japan and even Israel. But France stood out against this background, and she continued to go her own way. The projects of French designers were distinguished by their originality and in the interwar period, the exclusivity and unusual solutions were preserved in France after the Second World War.

Widespread in the Second World War sub-caliber shells, as well as cumulative ammunition led to a rapid increase in the armor-piercing characteristics of anti-tank weapons. Under these conditions, armor and its thickness ceased to play a key role in the battle. The scales in opposition to armor and projectile swung to the side of the latter. Taking this into account, the French military and the designers at the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s relied on the development of a fast and mobile tank that would have been well armed. The speed of the combat vehicle on the battlefield, its maneuvering characteristics and reduction of the striking silhouette were brought to the fore by them. Over time, the development of this concept led to the degeneration of heavy tanks throughout the world, which were replaced by the main battle tanks.

AMX-13


The French military were able to catch the new global trends in time and decided to stay in the wake, ordering the industry to create a prototype of the main battle tank. The choice fell on Batignolles-Châtillon (Batignolles-Chatillon), whose production facilities were located in Nantes. The company specialized in the production of railway locomotives and equipment for the gas and oil industry, of course, the company also had experience in building tanks. In 1950, the company's engineers were tasked with designing a medium tank equipped with an F90 3-mm cannon. The tank was supposed to be a further development of the AMX-13 light tank, designed in the second half of the 1940-s. It was planned that the new tank, called Batignolles-Chatillon Char 25T (25-ton tank developed by Batignol-Chatillon), would become the basis of French tank forces.

In fact, the new tank was an upgrade of the AMX-13, but with an enlarged hull. At the same time, the tank not only grew in size, but also acquired another crew member (four people against three on AMX-13). It should be noted that the progenitor in the face of the light tank AMX-13 was itself a very successful combat vehicle. His relatively high fighting qualities ensured this French tank popularity in the world. The tank was quite actively sold for export: from 7700 of such tanks and vehicles based on it, produced by the French industry, 3400 was sold for export. The tank was in service with at least 10 countries, including India, Argentina, Egypt, Israel.

The highlight of the AMX-13 light tank was its layout, which had a number of features. The most prominent element in the construction of this tank was its swinging tower. Unlike ordinary towers, the swinging consists of two parts: the bottom, which was connected to the tower support and the top, which was mounted on the lower pivots so that it could rotate relative to the bottom in the vertical plane at a certain angle. In this case, the gun was rigidly connected with the upper swinging part of the tank tower. The horizontal aiming of the gun at the target was made by rotating the lower part of the tower, and the vertical aiming by turning the upper part of the tower. The use of this design facilitated the solution of the problem of automating the process of loading the gun and contributed to the reduction of the size of the turret.

AMX-13


The second interesting feature of the tank in question was the automatic loader. In the upper swinging part of the tower, French designers placed two turret-type stores. The use of an autoloader on a light tank made it possible to reduce its crew to an 3 man due to the rejection of the loader. In this case, the commander of the combat vehicle was in the left part of the tower, the gunner in the right part, and the driver was located in the control compartment in the tank hull. Immediately behind the breech of the gun on either side of the turret niche there were two drum shops on 6 shells each. The recoil force of the gun rotated the magazine and released another projectile, which rolled onto the tray, the axis of which coincided with the axis of the canal barrel. After that, the projectile was automatically sent to the barrel, the shutter was closed and a gun shot was fired. The implementation of this mechanism allowed to ensure the rate of fire at the level of 10-12 rounds per minute. However, there was a serious disadvantage. Having shot ammunition from the drums, in essence, the unarmed tank had to leave the battlefield or go out from under the fire, in order to re-charge the stores. They were refilled through hatches on the roof of the tower.

The main armament of the first AMX-13 light tanks was the 75-mm cannon (with just over 2 of thousands of vehicles), installed in the FL-10 turret. Then a more numerous version appeared with an 90-mm rifled gun mounted in the same turret. The 90-mm gun had a muzzle brake and a heat-insulating casing. Already in the 1970s, another version of the tank saw the light. This time it was equipped with a modified turret with an 105-mm gun and a laser rangefinder.

Since the Batignolles-Chatillon 25T was a further development of the AMX-13 tank, it received the features of its layout. First of all, it is about using a swinging tower. In addition, the transmission compartment of the tank was located in front of its hull. It also housed the office of control, offset to the left side. The chassis of the tank consisted of 6-and rubberized road wheels, equipped with a hydraulic suspension, and 3-x supporting rollers (on each side). The front location of the transmission predetermined the fact that the front wheels were driving the tank, and the rear played the role of sloths. Unlike the AMX-13 light tank, the new combat vehicle was distinguished not only by its size, but also by better booking. The upper frontal part of the body, located at a good angle of inclination, had a thickness of 60 mm. At the AMX-13, the front hull armor did not exceed 30 mm.

Batignolles-Chatillon Char 25T: tank with a rocking tower
Batignolles-Chatillon 25T


The design of the tank tower repeated the one that was used on the AMX-13 tank and has already been described above. The tower of this type was developed as early as 1946 by engineers of the French company AMX for the pilot project AMX-12t, later it was installed on the AMX-13 serial light tank, which ultimately served as a prototype for the Batignolles-Chatillon Char 25T. The new French prototype tank inherited all the pros and cons of this technical solution.

There were several advantages to this design of the tower. Firstly, it allowed the use of the existing automatic loader. The designers took out the drums of the loader in the aft niche of the tower, this solution allowed to reduce its reserved volume. Secondly, due to the fact that the vertical guidance of the gun was carried out by the entire upper part of the tower, and not just by a single weapon, there was no need to increase the height of the tower. When using the swinging turret, the breech of the gun could not rest on the roof of the turret if the gun barrel fell to shoot down at negative angles of guidance. There were designs and its shortcomings - a small ammunition (30 shells), as well as the impossibility of manual reloading from inside the tank, if the automatic loader failed.

The main armament of an experienced French medium tank was the F90 3-mm gun with a muzzle brake. The initial speed of the armor-piercing projectile of this gun was 930 m / s. Along with the gun in the upper part of the swinging turret, an 7,5-mm MAC 1934T machine gun paired with it was located. In addition, two smoke grenade launchers were placed at the sides of the tower. In the tower there were only two crew members - the gunner and the tank commander. The radio operator was located below in the tank body, and the driver’s position, as well as on the AMX-13 tank, was located in front on the left side of the engine.

Batignolles-Chatillon 25T

Due to the low weight of the combat vehicle, which was less than 25 tons, the tank was quite mobile and differed in small dimensions. The maximum speed on the highway declared in the project documents was 65 km / h. The length of the tank was 5,67 meters (for comparison, T-54 - 6 meters), width - 3,16 meters (T-54 - 3,27 meters), height - 2,37 meters (T-54 - 2,22 meters).

Two prototypes of the new tank were manufactured at the Nantes plant in 1954. Their running tests and firing went on throughout the year, after which in 1955, the project was decided to close in favor of another promising combat vehicle, which will later receive the AMX-30 index. The reasons for this decision were: the unreliability of the hydraulic suspension of the Batignolles-Chatillon 25T tank, which turned out to be very capricious; the need for constant maintenance of the tank undercarriage after each use, which was unacceptable for the French military; and the waning interest in swing type towers. It is worth noting that at that time the military of the whole world seriously considered the possibility of nuclear war and military operations in its conditions. Given this, new versions of tanks and other armored vehicles with anti-nuclear protection were developed. At the same time, it was simply not possible to make a completely sealed tank with a swinging turret.

To the present day only one instance of this tank has been preserved. The only Batignolles-Chatillon Char 25T is stored in the famous Museum of armored vehicles in Saumur (France). And although this tank was never launched into mass production, it managed to preserve its name and French charm. Thanks to the popular game World of Tanks, he was not forgotten. The machine, which never became a participant in real battles, actively participates today in virtual battles. In the game, it is presented as a medium tank 10 in the development branch of France, as well as two self-propelled guns based on it: Batignolles-Châtillon 155 55 and Batignolles-Châtillon 155 58 (with automatic loader).

Batignolles-Chatillon 25T


Information sources:
http://warspot.ru/3158-mashina-s-kachayuscheysya-bashney
http://armor.kiev.ua/Tanks/Modern/Amx13/amx13.php
http://armor.kiev.ua/Tanks/Modern/Amx13/amx13_1.php
http://vilingstore.net/Oruzhie-i-voennaya-tehnika-c17/BatignollesChatillon-25t-i72876
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37 comments
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  1. qwert
    qwert April 13 2016 07: 06
    +6
    Well, about the fact that at that time, the Americans were the trendsetters - this is said too much. The USSR was, and France became the second legislator.
  2. Max repp
    Max repp April 13 2016 08: 36
    +13
    For whom who was the legislator - we went our own way - to produce 60 tadpoles of tadpoles, the naglits - also, albeit with caution, nevertheless soybeans, original rhinos, the French, as always, will not be confused with the whole length of their car, the Germans such a tank building school Well, ours are tanks of the great war, possibly the smallest sizes with the highest possible firepower, armor and mobility with the sacrificed crew working conditions
  3. Verdun
    Verdun April 13 2016 09: 01
    +4
    Competent and interesting article. And the swinging tower, as a technical solution, is an extremely curious thing. It really has a number of advantages. It is possible that with modern technology and materials it could be made airtight. In this case, the use of towers of this design would be very beneficial for armored vehicles with an uninhabited fighting compartment.
    1. pimen
      pimen April 13 2016 09: 36
      0
      it is sumptuously said: "the swinging tower" is a lightly armored birdhouse with somewhat large declination angles. This larger angle is the whole thing.
      1. Verdun
        Verdun April 13 2016 10: 14
        +2
        Not only. This design allows the installation of large-caliber guns with widely spaced gun trunnions in a small-sized tower.
        1. Lopatov
          Lopatov April 13 2016 10: 34
          0
          Quote: Verdun
          with widely spaced gun trunnions.

          What is it like?
          1. Verdun
            Verdun April 13 2016 11: 33
            +2
            This refers to the support pins on which the barrel rests when mounted on a carriage or in a tower. Their width can be different for various reasons. The role played by the design of the recoil truck, and the breech, and guidance systems ... This is one of the reasons why you can’t install any tools on the tank at will. In the swinging tower of the French tanks, the width of the pins reaches the extreme dimensions of the tower. Just because of the protective covers in the photographs presented, this is not visible.
            1. Lopatov
              Lopatov April 13 2016 14: 09
              0
              Quote: Verdun
              Their width can be different for various reasons.

              Maybe you mean something wrong by this term?
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              4. Verdun
                Verdun April 13 2016 14: 42
                0
                "One of the cylindrical protrusions on the gun barrel or on the cradle of a part of the elastic carriage, inserted into a special slot of the rigid carriage." New explanatory and derivational dictionary of the Russian language, T. F. Efremova.
          2. 73bor
            73bor April 13 2016 12: 36
            +3
            Last year, fotkal in the tank museum!
        2. pimen
          pimen April 13 2016 11: 33
          0
          the swinging top cap with the gun generally does not promise any preferences in comparison with the traditional design, except for the mentioned angle of declination; both in a deserted and inhabited tower. In the case of an increase in caliber, the problems will also be the same (+ clearances of shifting armor, placement of observation devices, vertical stabilization of guns)
          1. Verdun
            Verdun April 13 2016 12: 09
            0
            In an uninhabited tower, structurally, you can do without the upper hood.
            1. pimen
              pimen April 13 2016 12: 25
              0
              and with it the "swinging tower" ends. However, for a self-propelled gun this is tolerable, but the tank's loading mechanism becomes extremely vulnerable (this is at least)
              1. Verdun
                Verdun April 13 2016 12: 27
                -1
                This is only if you use the breech of the traditional scheme.
                1. pimen
                  pimen April 13 2016 13: 14
                  0
                  I wonder which one?
                  The most radical thing that was proposed here was a revolving scheme, but even there, if memory serves, the drum had to be replenished with an ordinary AZ at the lower point
                  1. Verdun
                    Verdun April 13 2016 13: 15
                    -1
                    The first thing that comes to mind without a serious preliminary analysis is the tape feed.
                    1. pimen
                      pimen April 13 2016 13: 35
                      0
                      Do you think that all this stuff will be less vulnerable and without an armored roof?
                      1. Verdun
                        Verdun April 13 2016 13: 47
                        -1
                        If you remove the breech, electronics and guidance system into a tightly compressed armored capsule - why not? Judging by the photo of the crippled AMX-13, which I have seen, the main combat damage to this tank is the flight of the entire gun due to the explosion of the ammunition. Most likely as a result of undermining the tank in a mine.
    2. Altona
      Altona April 13 2016 14: 28
      0
      Quote: Verdun
      Competent and interesting article. And the swinging tower, as a technical solution, is an extremely curious thing. It really has a number of advantages. It is possible that with modern technology and materials it could be made airtight. In this case, the use of towers of this design would be very beneficial for armored vehicles with an uninhabited fighting compartment.

      --------------------
      I learned about the AMX-13 tank from I. Shmelev's book "Tanks in Battle", bought it in 1986 like. I studied at school.
      1. Verdun
        Verdun April 13 2016 14: 55
        0
        The distribution of light tanks is limited not by their small capabilities, but as a result of mistakes made by many military commanders when using this rather specific technique.
  4. tchoni
    tchoni April 13 2016 09: 02
    +2
    The French have always been distinguished by non-trivial engineering thinking. Perhaps it was precisely because of this that Renault FT appeared ... and in general, the good AMX-13 successfully combined high firepower with a small mass. But, sometimes, excessive imagination can lead into such a jungle that mother does not grieve!
    1. Profan
      Profan April 14 2016 17: 12
      0
      If I'm not mistaken, placing engines in the rear of passenger aircraft is also an idea for the French.
  5. yehat
    yehat April 13 2016 09: 19
    0
    for all the revolutionary Renault FT, his front wheels were wooden fellow
  6. Lopatov
    Lopatov April 13 2016 09: 34
    +1
    Automatic loader? 8))) It seems that even then the French had a presentiment of the coming energy crisis, and the "automatic loader" was working from the muscular strength of the gunner ... A very controversial decision.
  7. Mhpv
    Mhpv April 13 2016 10: 36
    0
    The speed of the combat vehicle on the battlefield, its maneuverable characteristics and the reduction of the affected silhouette were brought to the fore by them. Over time, the development of this concept led to the degeneration of heavy tanks all over the world, which were replaced by MBT - the main battle tanks.

    Is it not firepower, with maneuverability and security is a concept:
    Medium and heavy tanks as types of combat vehicles by mass continue to exist after the Second World War, but according to the types of weapons, operational and tactical application, the classification faces began to disappear. A striking example of the most successful post-war heavy tanks is the post-war IS tanks. However, by 1960, progress in engine building, tank artillery armament, as well as in armor manufacturing technology made it possible to create a main tank combining high mobility, maneuverability and comparatively cheap production and operation of a medium tank and the heavy tank’s security and firepower in terms of weight and tasks. That is, as a result, the line between the medium and heavy tank of that time and the tasks of their application actually erased. To this were added: new smooth-bore tank guns capable of firing both artillery and rocket-propelled shells (the latter made specialized missile tanks unnecessary), and the progress of avionics and, in particular, equipping tanks with laser sighting and rangefinder equipment. Actually from this time on, the annals of the reduction in the USSR of models for the purpose of OT (MBT) begin.

    The post-war French military industry is characterized by an uneven level of development of its industries. The creation of a number of successful and truly outstanding designs (FAMAS assault rifle, Mirage series fighters, Panhard EBR, VBL, VAB, AMX-10RC, VBCI armored vehicles, etc.) is compensated by the lag in other types of weapons. Until recently, this included tanks.
    In the 50s. tank building in France was in an active search. The defeat of the French army at the beginning of the Second World War and the effectiveness of the German tank forces throughout its time determined the main "source of inspiration" for military designers of that time: in the early developments of the GIAT and Lorraine firms (such as Lorraine-40T, AMX -50, self-propelled gun "Foch") German influence is easily seen. The listed vehicles remained in single samples, in contrast to the AMX-13 light tank - the first post-war (with the exception of ARL-44, actually a pre-war project) tracked combat vehicle, mass-produced.
    At the turn of the 50s - 60s. appeared the first MBT of France of the 2nd generation - AMX-30. Initially, its development was carried out jointly with Germany, within the framework of the concept of "NATO's main tank", but in the end each of the states adopted its own MBT. The AMX-30 was in many respects similar to the German "Leopard" - high mobility was achieved due to rather weak (up to 80 mm normal) armor. Good armament - 105mm CN-105-F1 and 20mm automatic cannon - was counterbalanced by the lack of a stabilizer, which did not have the best effect on combat effectiveness. Despite major shortcomings, the armies of 9 states acquired the tank.
    http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enc_tech/4427/Основной
  8. Mhpv
    Mhpv April 13 2016 10: 40
    0
    Thanks to the popular World of Tanks game, he was not forgotten. The machine, which has never become a participant in real battles, is actively involved in virtual battles today. In the game, it is presented as a medium tank of the 10 level in the development branch of France, as well as two self-propelled guns based on it Batignolles-Châtillon 155 55 and Batignolles-Châtillon 155 58 (with automatic loader).

    Let the developers take into account one important point:
    Having shot the ammunition from the drums, in essence, the tank that had become unarmed had to leave the battlefield or get out of the fire in order to reload the stores. They were again filled through hatches located on the roof of the tower.
    Let him leave, get up and charge, and not dangle, earning on highlighting.
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA April 13 2016 11: 07
      0
      Quote: mhpv
      Let him leave, get up and charge, and not dangle, earning on highlighting.

      Playability at the expense of historicity... (tm)

      Maybe you also have time to repair a downed track in accordance with historical values?
      Or maybe you are ... an artist? For who else does so like motionless STs there? smile
  9. SergeySh
    SergeySh April 13 2016 10: 47
    0
    So this is Bat Chat in simple tank people :)
  10. iouris
    iouris April 13 2016 12: 00
    0
    The tank did not fight and that’s it. Some technical solutions of the French were used in the design in other countries. For the world tank industry, a negative result is also a result.
  11. EvilLion
    EvilLion April 13 2016 16: 29
    +5
    When I hear this moronic tracing paper MBT, I want to kick in the face. In Russian, a tank is a combat vehicle. There is no other meaning, and battle tank = oil oil. There is a main tank, which, by definition, is a combat tank, but if it is some kind of special vehicle, then they say so "training tank", "light tank", etc.

    At the same time, words about the "death" of heavy tanks can cause nothing but hysterical laughter. The second-tier vehicles, which were widespread during the WWII, were practically extinct, built without the use of rotating turrets, but this was largely due to a long period of peacetime, which made it possible to adjust more expensive normal tanks with their expensive turret turning mechanisms. At the end of WWII, the Germans generally hit the self-propelled guns on the terrible because of their manufacturability. As for the heavy vehicles, according to the American classification, a tank weighing 40+ tons was considered heavy. On the M26, they surpassed the 40-ton mark, and all further vehicles of the Patton family grew steadily to 50. The T-54 also did not pull off armor, and the T-72 exceeded the 40-ton mark in weight. Fast and relatively light by Western standards, without the use of the Soviet superdense layout, the AMX-30B and Leo-1, of course, took place, but in real combat it turned out that speed does not matter a damn, but the millimeters of armor and DZ are very even. Well, the Leo-2 with the latest modifications for 70+ tons simply laughs at those who are going to dodge shells and ATGMs.

    Not heavy tanks died out, but medium ones, only heavy tanks remained (the last T-55, by the way, also confidently stepped behind 40 t), which those. progress has allowed to give more powerful engines. Well, when your mass tank weighs tons of 45, how heavy will it be? 70-80? It is not surprising that the upper class has lost its meaning.
    1. pimen
      pimen April 13 2016 16: 36
      0
      hard to mind outside the third world
    2. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA April 13 2016 17: 39
      +2
      Quote: EvilLion
      In Russian, a tank is a combat vehicle. There is no other meaning, and a battle tank = oil oil.

      In Russian, the word tank has exactly the same meanings as in English. In addition to battle tanks, there are also fuel, oil and other tanks. Even tank vessel yes - the tanker is called. smile

      It is for intimidation of ambiguity that the phrase "battle tank" is used.
    3. the47th
      the47th April 14 2016 12: 22
      0
      Quote: EvilLion
      When I hear this moronic tracing paper MBT, I want to kick in the face. In Russian, a tank is a combat vehicle. There is no other meaning, and battle tank = oil oil. There is a main tank, which, by definition, is a combat tank, but if it is some kind of special vehicle, then they say so "training tank", "light tank", etc.

      But if you use the abbreviation "OT", then the main tank can be confused with a flamethrower tank. And the Soviet flamethrower tanks were called "OT-XX".
  12. chebman
    chebman April 13 2016 19: 01
    0
    French, such French! What is the door handle on the first Logan!
  13. ibirus
    ibirus April 13 2016 20: 24
    -1
    Something vague doubts torment me - but not a custom-made article, but also an advertisement for the game in addition. Hm.
  14. Svarog51
    Svarog51 April 14 2016 05: 08
    +10
    In the French film Adventurers, the AMX-13 plays a German. Belmondo carries gold on it:
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. the47th
      the47th April 14 2016 12: 27
      0
      Not the AMX-13, but the Steyr Sk 105.
      AMX-13AMX-13

      Steyr sk 105Steyr sk 105