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St-Chamond-WWI-Tank - $7.50

It was almost twice as heavy as the Schneider, had a crew of nine, five of whom served the cannon and machine guns. Four hundred tanks of this model were built. Some were sent to the Western Front in May 1917, others were shipped to Russia. Part of the Fiddlersgreen WWI Tank Collection

St-Chamond-WWI-French-Heavy tank

St-Chamond-WWI-Tank

Title-St-Charmond-WWI-Tank

Another WWI French Heavy Tank was the St-Chamond (aka: The FCM Char 2C)

It was almost twice as heavy as the Schneider, had a crew of nine, five of whom served the cannon and machine guns. Four hundred tanks of this model were built. Some were sent to the Western Front in May 1917, others were shipped to Russia.

While superior in some ways to Schneider e.g. armament disposition and longer tracks, it was top-heavy, unstable and had poor cross-country performance with tendency for nose or tail to catch on parapets or banks. The Germans increased width of their trenches and anti-tank ditches to strand a Schneider or St Chamond attempting to cross.

There is no doubt that the early tanks presented an enormous psychological factor, especially when they were over running troops in dug-in positions. The larger tanks of WW I, despite their tactical drawbacks, were impressive from the size, weight, and noise aspects. More importantly, they set the stage for rapid development of what would soon become one of the most important weapons in the world's arsenal.


Keyword (sic): St-Charmond
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St-Charmond WWI tanks lined up
A blast of St-Chamond WWI tanks dug in for battle. They were also known as the FCM Char 2C

And ..THIS one had a little trouble getting there. By July 1916, a team headed by Messrs Jammy and Savatier undertook studies for a heavy "break-through" tank, or Char Lourd. The FCM establishment of La Seyne, near Toulon, was selected to undertake building the tank. A pilot model was ordered on 20 December 1916.

St-Charmond WWI tank and cannon
St-Chamond WWI tank, cannon and soldiers waiting for a bus.

Two alternative types of transmission were planned, mechanical, and electric. The pilot model was not ready until December 1917. On trials the tank performed well, but turning was difficult. Because of this, development was not continued and interest switched to the Char 2C. The Char A and 1B were prototype tanks that were followed by the Char 1A then finally, by the Char 2C
Crew members showing off their 'splatter masks'
Disguised crew members (?) cleverly using their 'splatter masks' to rob the cameraman of his camera.. Their St Chamond tank is named 'Dream Waltz'
Gunner positions -St-Charmond WWI tank
Gunner positions in the St-Chamond WWI tank. You can see just how poorly the side machine gun positions were thought out. The gunner has to crouch down in an awkward position. His shin is inches from a sharp corner of the arch over the tracks. The heat and noise from the engine, located a foot or two away, must have been unbearable.
Another St-Charmond tank leaving the factory
Another St-Chamond tank leaving the St-Chamond tank factory
Heres the same St-Charmond tank shop
Here's the same St-Chamond tank shop-Note the doors.. There were probably in and out doors
Looking at the interior and St-Charmond WWI tank cannon
Looking at the interior and the St-Chamond WWI tank cannon. In addition to the handling faults, the Saint-Chamond was found to have further defects when in action for the first time on 5 May 1917. Facilities for crew exit in emergency were poor, vision arrangements were inadequate and the recoil cylinder of the 75-mm. gun was found to be vulnerable to enemy fire.
Busy bilding the St-Charmond tank
St Chamond tanks being built in the factory. It was recommended that additional 8.5 mm plates should be added to the side plates (which were a basic 8.5 mm.) to give full protection against the German "K" bullet, although this modification was not carried out in full.
St-Chamond WWI Tank on the move looking for trouble
St-Chamond WWI Tank on the move looking for trouble. It is interesting to note that the original designs included a third single wide track at the front, which should have considerably improved the climbing ability of the machine, although it would also have added to its nose-heaviness. Probably for the latter reason and also, to simplify production, this feature was not included in the tanks built.

St-Chamond WWI Tank Grafitti Crew (of women)
The official Women's St-Chamond WWI Tank Graffiti Crew !!


Look at the camo netting across the top of this St-Chamond tank. And judging by his body language, the chap on the left hasn't been getting along very well with his pals.
St-Charmond WWI Tank group proudly walkling through a wonerfully devestated French Village
St-Chamond WWI Tank group proudly walking through a wonderfully devastated Idyllic French Village
St-Charmond WWI Tank on exhibit
St-Chamond WWI Tank on exhibit.

St-Chamond tank sitting static
St-Chamond tank sitting static:The FCM Char 2C was developed as a heavy breakthrough vehicle in WW1. The order called for a vehicle that would span all German trenches. Two prototypes were built in 1917 and a series of ten vehicles was begun in 1918. By 1921, all ten were built.


A St-Chamond WWI Tank image taken from a plastic model kit. The early prototype had a flat roof and armor down over the tracks, but this limited access for maintenance and became clogged with mud, so the side armor was cutaway to expose the tracks.

A St-Chamond tank taking a chance in the mud.. Stuck tanks were sitting targets for the enemy especially if your tank didn't have a movable turret
This design would prove faulty in combat. The tank would often get stuck and the driver would often burn out the electric motors attempting to dislodge it. The prototype had a flat roof and armor down over the tracks, but this limited access for maintenance and became clogged with mud, so the side armor was cutaway to expose the tracks.
Specifications
Weight: 41 tons
Crew: 7
Armor: 11.5mm (early) 17mm (late)
Performance: max road speed 5.3mph
Armament: 105mm:*, 2 x 8mm MG
Engine:** Renault: V12, 240hp
Length: 27.34'
Height: 9.33'
Width: 6.5'
*75 mm gun for first 165 was Saint Chamond TR commercial gun, for last 235 was Model 1897(L/36) up to four Hotchkiss 8mm MGs.

**one 90hp Panhard four cylinder petrol engine powering a Crochat-Collardeau electric transmission. This combination would prove faulty in combat. The tank would often get stuck and the driver would often burn out the electric motors attempting to dislodge it.


A wrecked St-Chamond tank
In WWI, tank duty was tantamount to a death sentence. If the heat and carbon monoxide didn't kill you, German artillery probably would. Note how intensely the roof has been blown away

The St Chamond was first used in action on May 5 1917, in support of an infantry attack at Mole de Afflux. The major flaw in the construction - the small drive train and the big front overhang - at once revealed itself.. of the 16 St Chamond tanks that participated in the assault, and unbelievable 15 got firmly stuck when they attempted to cross the German trenches. In the next big tank attack, both Schneider CA 1s and St Chamond's participated, but the result was again a flop !! Only the CA 1s managed to pass the German trenches!


 

Deutsches Panzermuseum - German Tank Museum
Musée des Blindés - French Tank Museum
Bovington Tank Museum - United Kingdom Tank Museum
Yad La-Shiryon- Israeli Tank Museum
Parola Tank Museum - Finnish Tank Museum
General George C Marshall Museum- Dutch Tank Museum
Tank Museum-Kubinka, Russia
Australian War Memorial- Canberra, Australia

WWI Tanks in the Collection
(December 2011)

Renault FT-17
Mark IV
German A7V
Schneider
Whippet
Ford Light Tank
LK-II German Tank
St Chamond
Lanchester Armored Car