AMC Shneider P 16, First french cavalry "tank"

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caid’s suggestion #86

I would like to suggest an interesting vehicle. the AMC Schneider P 16

The AMC Schneider P 16, also known as the AMC Citroën-Kégresse Modèle 1929 or the Panhard-Schneider P16, was a half-track that was designed for the French Army before World War II. designed to not be a tank, but an “auto-mitrailleuse de Combat” or machine-gun combat car, it was the closest thing to a tank the cavalry could have at this time for political reasons. due to the need for high-speed vehicles for the cavalry, the choice fell on a half-track design that incorporated the Kegress suspension which at the time was revolutionary. allowing a great speed, it featured a rubber track snapped around his wheels. this allows for a much higher speed than the tracked tank at the time but comes with serial flaws, notably on the durability of the rubber track and the difficulty of mounting it on the tank.

the P 16s saw service in the French cavalry from 1932 in 8 different squadrons. those were allocated to 4 out of the 5 cavalry divisions and later to the 1st Division Légère Mécanique. they served until they were replaced by the S.35 in 1937. after 1937 they were reallocated to different secondary units, notably to the 2nd Régiment de Chasseurs d’affrique in Tunisia where it remained until 1940ish. during WW2 they were used notably in the reconnaissance units of the Cavalry and saw combat in serial occasions in France. They saw substantial losses in 1939 when their number quickly shrank. there was still a decent number in service in 1940 when France signed the armistice with the Germans. that vehicle was not interesting for the Germans and wasn’t fit for the occupation duty. they seem to have simply been scrapped. as of today no P 16 has survived.

Firepower

the firepower of this tank is a bit weak for the game standard. but not completely useless. The 37mm SA18 is known to be a terrible gun for the game. but at the same time, it is still present in the game on different tanks. while the decent rounds for this gun were starting to be available. the rate of fire reaching 20 rounds minutes is pretty fast for the game’s standard. the loss of the commander shouldn’t affect the reload either as the gunner was the only one to reload the gun. the elevation is hard to confirm but an elevation of -16°/+20° was found online. which is pretty possible. the vehicles carry 194 rounds for the 37mm which is about 5 times what anyone might want to carry. the main armament is shoulder stabilized which allows a quick aiming upon stop and the vehicle was in service until the armistice wich may be possible to have access to the APDS round introduced early in 1940. the elevation is probably -18 to + 20 although I forget where I saw this data which makes me unable to provide the source (I got too many notes here and there) and this could be a mistake on my side. at the same time, this would not be surprising for the time and era. i propose to keep it as a placeholder until we find the real elevation.

Mobility
The vehicle mobility will not be so bad. it will actually be pretty mobile for his kind. The track configuration gives a nice high speed but the Citroën-Kégresse suspension makes for most of his speed. the engine providing 60 hp is a bit weak for this vehicle. at 6.8 tonnes the vehicle remains pretty light. it will give it a power-weight ratio of 8.82 hp/ton which is not so great but not that uncommon. the speed reaching 48 km/h is a good contrast with the French tank of his time.
the vehicle has 6 forward and 6 reverse gears which allows It to be quite fast to backing up

Protection
to make it lighter and consequently more mobile, this tank has rather minimal protection. the armor is only 11.4 mm thick is just enough to block LMG fire. it will suffer almost any other hit of any weapons of a caliber larger than 10mm. this is a weakly protected vehicle. but it remains a decent tank for the 1930 standard. the crew consists of 3 men which is not as painful as the French tank is used to be.

Source

Primary










Secondary

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Funky looking thing.
What’s the thing on the front? A roller for steep terrain?

yes
it’s a trench roller. it allows it to not get stuck in the ditch when crossing the crater or trench
it’s simply a piece of metal that will roll and act like a wheel
it’s purpose is a bit like a trench tail

this is made of steel but will not add much armour to the shield. it’s like 3mm thick

The APDS might be a bit wonky, but still better than the APCR rounds (they tend to shatter too easily). If it gets added, this round is a must.

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maybe this tank has enough mobility to make up for the APCR weakness.

the top speed been 48 km/h is already pretty good (often rounded up to 50 km/h online) but this tank also has a gear inverter which gives the backward speed just as fast. this makes the mobility interesting in combat.

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Did they just find what ever they can and throw it together and call it a tank?

nope. in 1928 when this vehicle was designed. there was almost no tank capable of going faster than 20 km/h. the Kegress suspension was a major innovation for the tank’s speed.
the Cavalry needed a fast tank. they wanted it to be faster than the current tanks in service. but wasn’t allowed to have a tank as the tanks were exclusive to the infantry in the French army.
the cavalry was only allowed to have wheeled armored vehicles back them. but needed track for their off-road capacity. Until the tracked vehicles were fast enough, it was not tempting for the cavalry to go with tracked vehicles, but with the Kegress suspension, it was suddenly appealing.
as they were only allowed wheeled vehicles back them, they went with a half-track design. so they technically meet the requirement.
it was not before the 30s the cavalry was allowed to have tracked vehicles, which was still not allowed to be called a tank even if it was a tank in all aspects but the name. and only in 1935 they were finally allowed to call it a tank.

while it looks weird, the Half-track do have a good side, such as the higher speed and lighter weight over the tracked vehicles. it was a natural alternative to the wheeled vehicles. but it was mostly because the cavalry was finding loopholes in the rules that made them end up with this vehicle.

APDS would be very useful. +1

Le Halftrack. 0.7 BR. lol.

Nice try. It was not introduced. It was still an experiment.
When France fell, the prototype rounds, data and secret documents(!) were smuggled out of France to England.

Sorry but the only thing available for the SA18 would ever be APCR. And even then it was in short supply.

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it was introduced. 200,000 rounds were ordered, and an unknown quantity was produced. it was confirmed by primary sources and not online forums about ammunition’s amateur

even if it was in short supply, it is still fit for the game. it wouldn’t be the first experimental round in the game. it is more of a balance tool for Gaijin. they add it when they want to tweak the balance a bit.

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And order doesn’t mean anything. France ordered lots of thing after war was declared, from small arms to battleships. Most of it was never made. There is no documentation that Brandt 37/25 was ever produced and distributed.

Okay you got me there. Da Snail will do what the snail will do…

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it’s mostly because those kinds of reports were amounts of the thing to destroy first when the armistice was signed. there are serial documents that were simply lost.
but the testimony by itself it a primary source. the chief engineer of the armament was speaking at the court and said clearly that the Infantry was using the round without complaining despite the parts falling on their head in the trench. this indicates it was used in battle.
this is considered a primary source in all accounts.
the fact that at least 3 rounds survived to make this display

is also proof that there was plenty built. we do not usually put the experimental rounds in such display for a private collector.

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+1 for Reserve, very curious vehicle and a fascinating insight into interwar thinking.

The inclusion of the APDS round is up to developers at the end of the day. Many vehicles have anachronistic elements and the reasons for deliberate inclusion are varied.

Their cannon is pretty much useless even at 1.0…

The does NOT prove anything. In fact, those are the very prototype articles that were smuggled out and were the possession of the inventor, who’s widow sold them back to the French gov. after the war.

Ah no. Logistics records are not SeCrUt DoKuMuNts. It is a primary source, but your interpretation is incorrect/biased to the conjecture you want to believe. If it had been in the French army supply system, there would have been requisition orders, there would have been action reports, and the surviving rounds would have wound up in the Vichy army and German hands. None of that is documented.

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this is well known that plenty of documents are lost after 1940

but at the same time, we haven’t yet searched 10% of the French archive. the different book did find a record of it. the documents may still exist. we just didn’t come across it. i am working with many large teams of researchers who like Elan Vital and @Colasix actively do research in the French archive and retrieve serial thousands of documents each. at the same time, I am currently working with other teams who have people doing the same kind of research. sometimes it can take years before we find the missing pieces. but it eventually ends up happening. it took me 2 years to find the PCOT-40 and 3 years to find the 75/54/40 APDS. and both were found by mistake while reading documents of the archive who was not initially meant for this. we just need time to find it. but for now, we already have all the info needed for the implementation, including primary sources. even if you criticize the validity of those sources, the round can be added to the game tomorrow if Graijin sees it fit.

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