In this suggestion we’ll be having a look at a French WW2 era armored car: the Gendron-SOMUA AMR 39
The AMR 39 was the result of a project undertaken by Mr. Gendron, a independent French inventor/engineer. It answered to a 1932 request by the French government for a new armored car, Automitrailleuse de Cavalerie type Reconnaissance or AMR in French. Mr. Gendron noted that the French army at that time did not have a lot of resource and the vehicle should therefore be cheap to produce. After 2 years (a relatively long development for the time), the first prototype was presented. This vehicle was quite different from the final prototype that is shown in the image above as it only had 3 main wheels. The front had the normal set of 2 wheels, while the back only had a single wheel. An additional 2 metal wheels were attached to the side to allow better mobility on difficult terrain. The armed forces tested the vehicle but, unsurprisingly, rejected it over a lack of stability. This sent Gendron back to the drawing board.
The resulting vehicle had a more conventional 4 wheeled layout, the metal wheels on the side were also replaced by pneumatic wheels. The army once again started testing the vehicle in 1935 and this time the vehicle was liked. A large order could have followed at this point, but the independent Mr. Gendron was unable to arrange mass-production of the vehicle. Thankfully, SOMUA came in and expressed interest in the vehicle, stating that they were willing to produce the vehicle. Satisfied with the outcome, an order for a second prototype followed. This was finished in 1938 and featured another set of changes. The project had in the mean time become part of a new program that merged the requirements of the AMR and AMD programs. As a result of this, the vehicle was to be fitted with an APX-5 turret that carried a 25mm main gun. A significant upgrade over the original turret that only held a 7.62mm machine gun. The turret was ordered but not delivered, leading to the vehicle undergoing trials in Vincennes and Reims from 1938 to 1939 without a turret. The turret was finally delivered on September 2nd 1939, one day after Germany had invaded Poland.
A large order of 150 vehicles followed, but large delays in the deliveries of the APX-5 turret continued to plague the project and eventually by the fall of France in 1940, only 4 vehicles had been produced.
The AMR 39 was a small reconnaissance vehicle, featuring a crew of only 2. A driver and a commander/gunner/loader, the latter obviously being positioned in the one-man APX-5 turret. It was very lightly armoured with a all-round protection of 15mm, just enough to stop light machine gun fire.
Its mobility was very comparable to that of the AMD 35. The vehicle was powered by a 75 hp engine, but to make up for the weaker engine, at 6.15 tons it also weighed 2 tons less than the AMD 35. This resulted in a power-to-weight ratio of about 15 hp/t. Unlike the AMD, the AMR 39 also had the 2 extra pneumatic wheels to provide extra traction on difficult terrain, which might give it a slight mobility advantage.
The main armament consisted of the 25mm SA35 gun, the gun that can be found on the AMD 35. This a low caliber, high penetrating weapon that makes up for its low damage with a good reload. Its definitely one of the better guns currently found at the lowest ranks of the French ground tree. The APX-5 turret also came with a coaxial 7.5 mm machine gun.
- Crew: 2 (driver, commander/loader/gunner)
- Length: 3.74 m
- Width: 2.05 m
- Height: 2.00 m
- Weight: 6.15 t
- Power: 75 hp
- Power-to-weight: 12.2 hp/t
- Main armament: 1x 25mm SA35 cannon
- Coaxial armament: 1x 7.5 mm machine gun
The AMR 39 could be another fun armoured car for the French rank 1. While it might not add much extra value due to its similarity to the AMD 35, it is still a unique and interesting vehicle that deserves a place in the game. Ideally it could come to the game as a low-rank event reward or a premium of some sort. The AMD 35 for me is already one of my favorite vehicles in the French rank 1, and another similar vehicle would only add more fun. Just like the AMD, the AMR would excel as a fast flanking vehicle, using the speed and agility to reach unexpected place to hit the enemies from. Your absent armor and low crew do mean that you’ll have to be extra careful not to take any return fire as pretty much any hit will instantly send you back to the menu screen.
1934 GENDRON SOMUA AMR
AMR 39 Gendron-Somua, Automitrailleuse de Reconnaissance, Armoured Car, with APX 5 Turret – Mick Bell Plans
On the Drawing Board (1) : Tanks and Armoured Cars
AMR Somua 39 Armoured Car - Axis History Forum
reference to the archives for further documentation: