Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tankspot 2: Lorraine G1R

This french tier 5 was leaked long ago before the addition of the french TD and artillery lines. This tank would be a tier 5 from the AMX 40 and continues on the tech tree to the AMX 13 FL-11. This tank is essentially an upgraded AMX 40 with what seems to be the same gun and same turret style. This tank most likely shares in the AMX 40s slowness also.

Historical Information: 

Late 1937 the project had been renamed Char G1 and all prototypes then authorised had received an official designation: Lorraine: G1L; Renault: G1R; Baudet Donon Rousel: G1B, Fouga: G1Fand SEAM: G1P. The SOMUA and FCM projects were discontinued for being too vague or lacking innovation; also the production capacity of these two companies had already been directed to the manufacture of other types.

On 1 February 1938 the Direction de l'Infanterie issued new specifications, the third major change in the project concept: a maximum weight increased to 35 tonnes, necessitated by the fitting of a Long 32 75 mm gun in a turret

These new demands caused most companies to slow the design process: they were unwilling to invest much money in an ever more complex system, with uncertain prospects. Therefore the French government ordered on 8 June 1938 that ARL military engineer Lavirotte be detached to guide their efforts, in order to speed the proceedings; if the companies could not obtain armour plate, they should be allowed to use boiler plate to construct prototypes. At that moment Renault was unable to give any indication about a possible production date; the Fouga and BDR projects seemed to become prohibitively heavy; SEAM thought to be able to commence manufacture in the middle of 1940 and Lorraine in 1941.

On 12 July 1938 a much more detailed list of specifications was given. In general they called for a tank that is powerfully armed, immune to standard anti-tank guns and possessing an excellent tactical and strategic mobility. In detail they demanded a long high velocity semi-automatic 75 mm main armament; a 7.5mm machine-gun in the turret that can also serve as an AA-weapon; a machine-gun in the front of the hull or the turret; a minimal ammunition load of a hundred rounds for the gun and thirty magazines for the machine-gun; an empty weight of thirty and a combat weight of thirty-two tonnes. The engine should be able to be both electrically and manually started; the tracks should be fully accessible. A maximum speed is demanded of 40 km/h (average 30 km/h) on the road and 20 km/h off-road; two fuel tanks should allow a range of two hundred kilometres or eight hours off-road. The climbing capacity is determined at ninety centimetres and 85% on a solid or 65% on a wet slope; the trench-crossing capacity at 250 centimetres and the wading capacity at 120 centimetres. For the first time also dimensional limits are given: the width should not exceed 294 centimetres to facilitate rail transport, the absolute height of the fighting compartment should not exceed 120 cm, but yet be sufficient to hold a side-door.

As regards the gas-tight armour, the demanded thickness remains at sixty millimetres but it is forbidden to use an appliqué armour. The armour could be cast — with the sections connected by bolts or electrically welded. Automatic fire-extinguishers should be present.

The crew should have advanced vision and fire-control equipment. The cupola, armed with the secondary 7.5 mm machine gun, should have a large episcope to which the main turret is slaved, allowing the commander to lay the 75 mm gun on the target himself — which is very desirable as he doubles as gunner. The cupola should also be fitted with an optical telemetric rangefinder. The gun is a Long 32 75 mm gun, providing, despite its limited elongation compared to foreign weapons, a good muzzle velocity through the use of Brandt tungsten armour-piercing subcalibre ammunition.

None of the projects in the summer of 1938 could meet these specifications without a fundamental redesign.

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