Char B1 model 1940, almost as good as the B1 bis

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i would like to (re) suggest an interesting French tank. the Char B1 mod 1940

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The char B1 was a char de Bataille (battle tank), intended to be the backbone of the French infantry. the tank was well protected and well armed for the standard of the time. well known from the French player, the B1 bis was an improved version of the Char B1. The Char B1 was a tank whose origin came as far back as 1926. following the proposition of General Estienne made in 1920, 3 tanks were built with different designs from different built was put in competition. been unable to reach the perfect tank, the 3 builders were forced to work together to create the ultimate tank in 1931. the offspring of the was the Char B1 which was, as a matter of fact, an exceptional tank at his time. ordered in 1934, the tank was heavy and capable of breaking the enemy line. formidably armed with a 75mm in the hull to blow the fortification and a 47mm in the turret to provide protection all around, the tank featured the new Naeder hydraulic precision transmission which allows the driver to rotate the tank on himself to aim the 75mm gun.

the Char B1 was ordered in a small production of 35 tanks after France had questioned the need for the Char B1. The B1 was already obsolete in front of the new progress of the armament. the B1 was designed to be immune to the anti-tank gun which was the main reason the French army wanted them. the tank was also very costly, the engine and transmission was often breaking down to the point that one of the crew needed to be a mechanic to maintain the tank in working condition. France had considered putting the D2 into production as an alternative to the B1 since the D2 was a lot cheaper and faster to produce while showing performance still acceptable. but the lobbying for the B1 had his influence and the B1 was put back into production in 1935 after being upgraded with a new engine, new turret, and thicker armor. this new version was called B1 bis.

the 34 B1 was put into service in training school. but due to the heavy loss of the French army during the battle of France, the Char B1 was pressed into front-line service in replacement of the B1 bis. this reinforcement was welcome as the Char B1 turned out to be protected enough to take a direct hit from various anti-tank guns at combat distance and the Germans feared the Char B1 bis. even if the performance of the Char B1 was lower than the B1 bis, the tank was still very effective and in most cases, not as powerful as the B1 bis. it was why in 1940 a small modernization program started. the Char B1 lacked anti-tank capacity in the turret, so the turret was upgraded to the APX-1a standard. this upgrade includes a new gun mount for the 47mm SA35 and a new periscope. this rather small upgrade was done when possible on the tanks that could get it. it gives the char B1 the capacity to destroy the enemy tank at a far distance. much farther than the Germans could effectively destroy the French tank.

here are photos that prove that this upgrade was done. it shows the same tank before and after the upgrade.

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Firepower

The main armament was in fact the 75mm SA35 which is the hull gun, but for the gamer, the 47mm SA35 would be the primary gun because it was easier to use since it is in a turret. the SA35 is a much better tank gun than the SA34. capable of a much better penetration, it retains the same fire rate. with an elevation reduced to -15/+18, the gun offers a pretty great fire arc that would seldom give any impression of being limited. the tank carries 50 rounds for the 47mm. the turret also features a coaxial 7.5mm MAC 31 with 30 mag of 150 rounds. the secondary gun for the game would be the 75mm ABS SA35 in the hull, this gun is rather destructive is lacks velocity but retains the same fire rate of 15 rounds minutes that the 47mm has. the 75mm has an elevation of -15/+25 which gives great flexibility in the elevation but has a very limited transverse.

Mobility

the tank is a bit heavy, with 28 tonnes. it is considered as a heavy tank in the french standard of the time. the engine provides 272 hp which gives it a power/weight ratio of 8.93 hp/ton, which allow a top speed of 28 km/h and an average off-road speed of 20 km/h. the tank features a gearbox of 5 forward speed and 1 backward. going backward, the tank can reach 3.78 km/h

Protection

the tank’s protection is rather good. 1/3 less than the Char B1 bis, it still features 40mm all around which can be enough in most cases. the turret is an APX-1 and only has 45mm of armour instead of the 54mm of the APX-4. the crew of 4 men is rather good. but mainly in the hull in the front part making it possible to get them all killed at once.

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the ideal would be b1 early 1.0, b1 1.3, b1 1940 1.7 and b1 bis 2.3. Is there any b1 bis without the 75mm to be put at 2.0 or 1.7? Gaijin could really give france a very good low tier lineup if they wanted, but they seem to not care at all…

there is the B1 Bis prototype which had a 180 hp engine (very weak)
there was 5x B1 bis who was initially refitted with the APX 1 turret (and 47mm SA34) in 1935-1936
there was also 10x more B1 bis who got the APX 4 turret with SA34 gun
there was a B1 bis without a turret rushed to service in 1940
there is also the 4x prototype of B1



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thank you, where did you even get those documents (i read them since i’m french). One question i have for a long time is about the prototype (is it renault?) with the long gun, do we know it’s characteristics?

this one?

it’s the SRB from 1924 made by Renault.
30mm of armour
180 hp engine
19 tonnes
25 km/h
capacity to turn on the spot (like the B1)
it had a 47mm mle 1902 who’s velocity reached 690 m/sec with 2 kg projectile. the penetration should be in the whereabouts of 70mm at combat distance

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ok thank you! i really hope we’ll see more interwar designs in the future.

+1 truly the missing B1 for Tier 1, same firepower as the B1 bis, less but still decent armor, could be nice at 1.7 after a regular B1 with the 47 sa 34 and just before the B1 bis