SEAM G1 P. heavy armour, heavy firepower with good mobility.

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caid’s suggestion #112

I would like to suggest an interesting WW2 tank for France, the Somua G1 P

The Char G1 was a project to build a replacement for the Char D2. The main purpose was to have a tank that could offer tactical versatility in offensive and defensive use. the infantry refusing to use the Somua S.35 (either by pride to be superior to the cavalry or because they wanted better) requested that a new tank be designed and offer the same top speed as the Somua S.35 but with more armour and firepower. the Char Moyen d’Infanterie de 20 tonnes Project was launched in the middle of December 1935 with a contract to produce 250 tanks to fill the medium tank role in the army.

following the requirement of the project, a dozen French companies answered the call. offering their solution for the 20 tanks. famous companies such as SOMUA, Renault or FMC were amounts of them. offering their one design on paper. all but Renault was meeting the basic Requirement which included a 47mm gun, 20 tons tank, 60mm of armour and a speed of 40km/h. SOMUA proposing a sort of hybrid of the SAu.40 and S.35, with FMC offering a larger version of the FMC.36 with a 75mm in the hull. but thanks to their contact with the government, there was a society that was ahead of its competitors in development. it was the Société d’Études et d’Applications Mécaniques wich was ready to present their prototype in december 1936

all companies had received a letter following the Char G1 designation. example: Char G1 R for Renault, Char G1 S for SOMUA, Char G1 L for Lorraine. the Société d’Études et d’Applications Mécaniques often called SEAM in short had Received for his project the designation of Char G1 P for the name of their led engineer who’s named Poniatowski. this is the only one who has reached the prototype step. most of the other company was discarded as they either had their handful with their production or had incomplete designs to offer. but Renault had not yet left the competition and still had to offer their design of paper.

Given that the competition was serious, SEAM tried to do better than the other competitor by Lobbying for the requirement of 75mm in the hull as their design offer. it was a bad surprise for the competition, especially Renault whose project was unable to adapt a so large hull gun. however, the Renault project could be adapted to fit the 75mm in the turret. so Renault answered the lobbying by Lobbying and made the change for the 75mm to be fitter in the turret instant. such cunning tactic had taken root in the government and the new requirement asked for a 75mm in the turret and no more guns in the hull. this had for putting back SEAM to the drawing board.

in 1937, SEAM company went through a lot of financial problems and the Char G1 P development suffered a lot from it. to a point, it was almost competently thrown away. but the association with the ARL company in 1937 allowed the project to get revived and the development to progress. the 280 hp engine was mounted in 1938 and the APX-4 turret was ordered. ARL took over the prototype in 1939 when the new requirement came out and asked the 75mm to be mounted in the turret. it led to the new tank fitting the ARL-3 turret was very promising, giving expectation of being as good as the M4 medium tank from the USA or the T-34-76 on the mobility and firepower level. but it was also much more advanced, incorporating a lot of new features that only the French could design. Optical Range finder, gun stabilization, 3 men turret. but no real prototype was ever built with the 75mm in the turret.

in September 1939, the French army decided to focus their production on 3 types of tank*; Char d’Accompagnement, Char de Bataille and Char de Fortification.* those fit the class of the AMX 38, B1ter and FMC F1. The Char G1 between two classes, was just unwanted by the Army. been as well armed as the B1bis and even more mobile than the S.35, it would require the French army to create a full armoured division to use the char G1 well, making this division similar to the organization of the Cavalry DLM or the Panzerdivision. thing that the infantry didn’t want but much needed and recommended by some pioneer officers of the army such as DeGaule. yet the project even without hope, continued to progress and the promised order of 250 tanks was still actual. As the war went on, it was clear that the G1 P could have been a good asset which encouraged the development but it never reached the end.

Firepower
the G1 P was planed to get the APX4 turret with the 47mm Sa35. this is the exact same turret as found on the Char B1 bis. the reason the tank never got the turret is simple. they just didn’t had enough turret available for the production of the Char B1 which means they couldn’t have one for the prototype. but the turret wasn’t a part of this tank which was expected to have any technical issues. the turret can turn on 360° at a speed of 10° /sec and the gun have an elevation of -15° to +18° and is shoulder stabilized. while the 47mm is already pretty decent, the tank does not only have this armament. the tank was also going to have a 75mm SA35 in the hull next to the driver. the mount for this gun was the same of the B1 ter which means it would have a -7°/+5° horizontal arc and an elevation of -4° to +9°.



Mobility
the engine was a Hispano-suiza petrol engine providing 280 hp. the tank was initially designed to weigh 25 tonnes but the weight was raised to 28 tonnes if all the equipment was installed. this means the tank was going to have a power/weight of 10 hp per ton. it was designed to have the same mobility as the S.35 which means 40 km/h on the road and 20 km/h off the road. it is unclear if the tank ever achieved this speed but it was reported to have an issue with the overloaded transmission which was designed for lighter tanks. in the game, this tank will accelerate slowly but will have a decent mobility

Protection
the tank is designed to be more protected than the S.35. offering 57mm of armour at the front with a 40° slope, and 35mm on every other side with a good slope, the tank will be rather well-protected. the upper part of the chassis has a 60° slope and the lower part has an additional side skirt to improve protection. the crew included 4 men just like the usual B1 tanks.


Sources

French Requirement of the Chat G







New requirement for the G1




































Report on the development





Stéphane Ferrard, 2007, “Le Futur Char G1, 1re partie 1935-1938: Le Char de 20 Tonnes”, Histoire de Guerre, Blindés & Matériel No.78

3 Likes

It would likely be a premium but i feel like it would be a good gap filler between the b1 bis and arl-44. Due to the low penetration of the guns I would think 2.7.