Hotchkiss H39 - Norwegian Spoils of War


TYPE: Medium tank
MODEL: modifié 39

1x 37mm L/35 SA38
1x 7.5 mm MAC31 Coaxial machinegun

Mass: 11 metric tons
Length: 4.22 Meters
Width: 1.95 Meters
Height: 2.15 meters
Crew: 2x driver & gunner
Fuel capacity: 180 litres

Eigne 1x Hotchkiss six-cylinder 3,480 cc gasoline engine
Eigne power: 120 Horsepower

Power/weight: 7.1 hp/tonne
Operational range: 129 Kilometers
Maximum speed: 28 km/h
Suspension: horizontal helical springs
Ground clearance: 0.37 m

Turret: 40 mm
Hull: 34 mm

In 1938 came the Hotchkiss H38 which was then an improved version of the older Hotchkiss H35. The biggest change was that it got a new engine and a couple of versions with a new cannon, those with a new cannon have also been called the H39 but this is not an official designation for them. In total, approx. 1,080 carriages were produced between 1936 and 1940, 625 of which were of the Hotchkiss H35 type. After the fall of France, many of the wagons came into German service. A number of them were rebuilt for different purposes. Today there are a few carriages of this type left, most of which are in various museums, including here in Norway.

The first of this type of vehicle arrived here already in April 1940, French forces used 15 of these in the battles in Narvik and some of these were left behind in June when the French, Polish and British forces withdrew from the area. Eventually, more wagons were sent up from France, and used by the German armored forces that were stationed and trained in Norway. Most were then near airports in the southern part of Norway. After the war, a few were for a short period associated with the Norwegian Armed Forces, where they were used by the Norwegian Home Guard during many trainings and exercises, they are also said to have been used for training

The Norwegian Home Guard was established on 6 December 1940, and as a result they found a camp in poor condition which they then renovated and chose this as a school and education for the Home Guard Command, this was then Torpmoen camp.

I have now managed to find recordings of this wagon with a couple of cases. I begin by saying that the main photo above is taken of this tank that I propose here, it was taken at Torpmoen camp. This was one of the first, if not the first wagon that the Norwegian Home Guard used for its exercises and training

This is supposed to be of the version they unofficially called the H 39 and also has the German modified cupola

Here is a clip that has been brought up by the Norwegian “Geir Høiland” who has all the rights btw. This shows the tank in use during an exercise at torpmoen camp, this is a really rare recording!


In 1952, this wagon was used in a dramatization which was filmed and made by the Norwegian Defense Film Service. Here we see that they have stuck on the German Balkenkreuz insignia. This is a combined dramatization/exercise performed with Norwegian Home Guard soldiers. This was done to show how the war would have gone if you had a Home Guard in 1940 when the Germans invaded Norway I highly recommend watching this video clip


Here is a video, which shows the wagon nowadays at the Norwegian Defense Museum! You can also hear the great sound of the eigne, it might actually be a possibility, to be able to record the sound as has been done with many vehicles in the past, don’t know how many of these are still operational




Main source
Book: Motoriserte Militærkjøretøy i Norge
Copyright 2005 by Forsvarsmuseet/HMK All rights reserved
Billedbehandling/Grafisk produksjon: Mikro Marketing, Asker
Press: Gan Grafisk, Oslo
Motoriserte Militærkjøretøy i Norge Bind 1
ISBN 82-91218-43-9
The book is printed in 3,000 copies, 100 of which are leatherbound
front cover/back cover: The wheel rider squadron at Trandum 1953
Defense publications No. 3 Oslo 2005

Other sources
Hotchkiss H35 - Wikipedia
Torpomoen - Torpomoen sin historie


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Germany will get it in their tree first anyway, as this is an ex-German wagon from the occupation, just so it’s clear haha