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Remembered Today:

A deceased and defunct French Schneider tank...


trajan
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Or perhaps it is only sleeping or pining? :)

Anyway, I wasn't able to find a reference to this photograph - if I am re-posting, apologies... It was posted (with others) on this modelling web-site: http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/models/Vehicles/Schneider-Tank.html

post-69449-0-93058400-1405446041_thumb.j

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Hello, Trajan -

This is one of a number of photographs taken by Germans after the unsuccessful French tank attack near Juvincourt during the 1917 Chemin des Dames Offensive. It was the debut of the Char Schneider tank, and so many were knocked out (and set on fire) by German field guns that French tank crews afterwards called the Schneider tanks "mobile crematoriums." [The fact that gasoline drums were carried outside the tank in the rear did not help.]

After the attack many such photographs were taken by the Germans as proof of their prowess against French tanks.

Regards, Torrey

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Hello, Trajan -

This is one of a number of photographs taken by Germans after the unsuccessful French tank attack near Juvincourt during the 1917 Chemin des Dames Offensive. It was the debut of the Char Schneider tank, and so many were knocked out (and set on fire) by German field guns that French tank crews afterwards called the Schneider tanks "mobile crematoriums." [The fact that gasoline drums were carried outside the tank in the rear did not help.]

After the attack many such photographs were taken by the Germans as proof of their prowess against French tanks.

Regards, Torrey

The real problem was the petrol tanks inside the tank, high up and protected by armour that K rounds could penetrate, plus the fact that security at the Schneider factory was so p**s awful that the Germans knew about them months before hand* and issued K rounds in advance

* so far in advance that they initially thought that the British attack at Flers was the anticipated French attack!

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Or perhaps it is only sleeping or pining? :)

Anyway, I wasn't able to find a reference to this photograph - if I am re-posting, apologies... It was posted (with others) on this modelling web-site: http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/models/Vehicles/Schneider-Tank.html

attachicon.gifWWI-French-Tank-Schneider-with-tagging-and-brave-soldier.jpg

That particular photo appears in many places, Here is one taken before the attack started

post-9885-0-70528300-1405624178_thumb.jp

And another after the event

post-9885-0-55595500-1405624250_thumb.jp

And one illustrating it's other weakness - the Holt systems inadequate trench crossing capability

post-9885-0-51557400-1405624375_thumb.jp

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I have just watched a German (anti-) war film made in 1930, "WESTFRONT 1918".

They showed a French tank attack on the German lines; the tanks were relatively tall for their width, had a forward pointing gun on the front face, and unlike the pictures here, the caterpillar tracks were mounted quite well outside the body like you see on modern polar expedition vehicles. Does this beast sound authentic ?

A trench raid, also carried out by the French, looked authentic/consistent with what I have read of these.

Rgards,

JMB

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I have just watched a German (anti-) war film made in 1930, "WESTFRONT 1918".

They showed a French tank attack on the German lines; the tanks were relatively tall for their width, had a forward pointing gun on the front face, and unlike the pictures here, the caterpillar tracks were mounted quite well outside the body like you see on modern polar expedition vehicles. Does this beast sound authentic ?

A trench raid, also carried out by the French, looked authentic/consistent with what I have read of these.

Rgards,

JMB

Sounds lik a French St Chamond tank

post-9885-0-41851300-1405673882_thumb.jp

Also prone to ditching due to its Holt track units but it proved effective as an assault gun in the last months of the war as on relatiely unshelled open ground it was faster than British heavy tanks

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That big overhang and short track units could easily get you stuck

post-9885-0-97381400-1405676152_thumb.jp

post-9885-0-33314900-1405676213_thumb.jp

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Thanks you so much centurion! Delightful photographs - but what a monstrosity! Looks like something out of a Clive Cussler fantasy book! As for those cats, hmmm... Is one allowed to mention tar and feathering on GWF?

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The French designed but didn't build some real monsters - including

post-9885-0-35732700-1405682527_thumb.jp

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They also designed an articulated tank comprising three converted Schneider hulls equipped as follows

1st tank:
- Main fighting compartment
- flame thrower and flame tank
- machine-guns
- electric motors for tracks
2nd tank:
- additional fighting compartment
- turret and gun
- radio
- electric motors for tracks
3rd tank:
- additional fighting compartment

- electric motors for tracks

- internal combustion engine and accessories

- generator for track motors

A prototype was built using the 1st and 3rd tank components but unfortunately no photo seems to have survived

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Centurion,

Those photos are stunning, and the three-vehicle articulated effort described in your last post I think truly qualifies as a "Beast".

The tanks in the film were distinctly different from those shown above, so I suspect that they were mocked-up by the studio.

Regards,

JMB

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The original problem was how to deal with wider and wider anti tank ditches. The British solution was to carry something to drop in them (fascines or cribs) from Rhomboidal tanks (which had better trench crossing capabilities anyway) or to produce bridging tanks (tested with the Mk V**) that carried (or pushed on rollers) a bridge. Other options included building longer tanks but there was a limit on this. The longest tank ever actually built at any period to the current time was a MkV* Tadpole experimentally assembled by Tank Corps Central Workshops in 1918. Despite strenuous efforts by its crew it could only be made to travel in straight lines, steering was impossible - too much ground contact and this approach was abandoned. Articulated tanks were one possible answer, they would be flexible in normal conditions but when needed levers could be pulled and they would lock in a rigid form to provide ditch crossing capability.

In the 1930s a number of military 'experts' thought that the oncoming World War would be just like the first only more so and various studies and designs were produced for articulated tanks. Britain designed a two section tank that looked rather like the bendy bus equivalent of the cruiser tank, Germany mused over a "Serpent Tank" and France blew the dust off the WW1 drawings by M Boirault and started to update he design

In reality the answer proved to either to be to get your tactical air force to blast access routes through the ditches (The Ju 87 was rather good at this) or to use semi rhomboidal tanks (ie the Churchill) to drop things in them (fascines or cribs) or to carry or push bridges into or over them.

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Centurion,

Those photos are stunning, and the three-vehicle articulated effort described in your last post I think truly qualifies as a "Beast".

The tanks in the film were distinctly different from those shown above, so I suspect that they were mocked-up by the studio.

Regards,

JMB

Did they look anything like this beast?

In service with the French army 1919 -1940 the FMC -2c (also known as the Char -2) was a Char de Rupture (Break-through Tank)
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Centurion,

Thanks for posting that photo and the drawings; the movie tanks are much closer in spirit to these than the St. Chamond tank.

You'll see from the movie stills here that there are some similarities [slab-sided, gun with recoil slide(?), flat-topped observation hatch(?)] but that that the low tracks are very different. It does look like the studio used these as a basis for their mock-ups. For the whole album. http://imgur.com/oRTxd38,S47Uh9M,VTOZXix,isHIMsv,PMzwrqn,QbO19TJ,EFzVSgE,ttQSM8r

oRTxd38.jpg

Regards,

JMB

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Appears to be a mish mash of some post war St Chamond Chenilette track units (developed from Holt units) and a post WW1 French turret (from a Renault NC) plus a who knows where from hull. St Chamond did produce some outré designs in the 1920s which they tried without success to export (the French army wouldn't touch them with un pole de barge)

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Stumbled upon this on http://stahlgewitter.wordpress.com/category/fotos/ - but is this the same Juvincourt engagement? Same 'Clubs' marking as in Centurion's post no.4, with the happy crew before battle, and this one somewhat later, the other two in that post of Centurion's being marked 'Diamond' and 'Hearts'

post-69449-0-34327000-1406217290_thumb.j

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Possibly (even likely) but not conclusively Card suits were a much used unit recognition symbol on both British and French tanks and across unitsand time (and wars)

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The French used playing card suits to identify sections of light tanks or batteries of heavy tanks in the order Spade, Heart, Diamond and Club. On light tanks the card suits were painted on white geometric shapes which identified the company in the order Circle, Square, Triangle.

Edit: The rules governing the markings were contained in the document reference AS GQG 275/PC.

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Stumbled upon this on http://stahlgewitter.wordpress.com/category/fotos/ - but is this the same Juvincourt engagement? Same 'Clubs' marking as in Centurion's post no.4, with the happy crew before battle, and this one somewhat later, the other two in that post of Centurion's being marked 'Diamond' and 'Hearts'

attachicon.gifpanzersoldat1.jpg

I am pretty sure that this Schneider was destroyed by German artillery on 16 Apr as described by Torrey in post #2. The indirect effect of this artillery fire was, as Cent says in post #3, to ignite the forward internal petrol tank however the penetrating k rounds mentioned were not the real danger on 16 Apr (see below). The Schneiders were not immediately ignited when hit but the artillery fire caused the petrol tank to become punctured which sprayed fuel around the very hot interior which then more often than not ignited. The French discovered this during tests conducted at Champlieu.

Some of the German artillery that proved so effective on 16 Apr was fired by 111 Field Artillery Regt commanded by Colonel Moeller. Seven (or possibly 6) of his batteries, with weapons ranging from 77mm guns to 210mm mortars, engaged Groupemont Chaubes at a range of between 3 and 6 km. His observers, on the la Californie plateau, had excellent visibility. The 150mm howitzer was the most effective tank destroyer, each battery scoring on average 4 direct hits for every 50 rounds fired. The 77mm and 210mm batteries were less effective (the latter would have been very hard to use against a moving target). Moeller's batteries accounted for 17 tanks.

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Thanks for the input centurion and gareth


I am pretty sure that this Schneider was destroyed by German artillery on 16 Apr as described by Torrey in post #2. The indirect effect of this artillery fire was, as Cent says in post #3, to ignite the forward internal petrol tank. The Schneiders were not immediately ignited when hit but the artillery fire caused the petrol tank to become punctured which sprayed fuel around the very hot interior which then more often than not ignited. The French discovered this during tests conducted at Champlieu.

Came in as I was posting - fire would certainly explain the poor chap in the photograph...

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Whilst fire was a serious problem (as it was in the British MK 1 and II which also had internal fuel tanks) ultimately the issue was the permeability of the armour to both shell splinters and K rounds (this was also the main issue with the British Mk II,) combined with the very poor trench crossing capability which often left the tank stranded and a target. Whilst many died or were hors de combat the majority of crew of knocked out tanks got out, taking their Hotchkiss machine guns with them and fought on quite successfully as LMG crews. Indeed Ludendorff concluded from this battle that the main purpose of tanks was to get machine gun crews as far forward as possible (but then he never did quite catch on to tanks).

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This is a very nice view of one of these with the 'Ace of Clubs' sign (and what seems to be a barbed wire cutter on the front!) at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaiopai/8165032524/in/photostream/

where it is labelled as "Destroyed french Schneider CA1 Tank, 2nd company, 4th platoon. WW1-Postcard was send in 1918 from Flandern"

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  • 2 months later...

Offer this image just to reinforce the particular type of horrific death tank crews faced.

tankdead_zps8156709e.jpg[/url]

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