Hotchkiss H35/39

Light Infantry Tank (1935-40)
France - 1,200 built

The H35 in brief

The Hotchkiss H35 was a French light tank used during World War II. It was named after the French industrialist Adolphe Kégresse, who designed a type of continuous track and was involved in the development of early armored vehicles. The Hotchkiss H35 was part of a series of French tanks developed in the 1930s.

Design and Development:
The Hotchkiss H35 was developed in the 1930s as part of French efforts to modernize their armored forces. It was designed by the Hotchkiss et Cie company and first entered service in 1936.

Armor and Armament:
The tank featured riveted and cast armor, providing protection against small arms fire and shell splinters. Its main armament consisted of a 37mm Puteaux SA 18 gun, which was mounted in a fully rotating turret. Additionally, it had a coaxial 7.5mm Hotchkiss M1909 machine gun.

Crew and Mobility:
The crew of the Hotchkiss H35 typically consisted of two members: a commander/gunner and a driver. The tank had a top speed of around 25 km/h (15.5 mph) and was powered by a 78 hp Hotchkiss 6-cylinder engine.

Service in World War II:
The Hotchkiss H35 saw service during the early stages of World War II. It was part of the French Army's armored divisions and was used in the Battle of France in 1940.

While the Hotchkiss H35 had decent armor and armament for its time, it was not as well-armed or armored as some of its contemporaries, such as the German Panzer III or IV. The tank's relatively small size and limited speed also made it vulnerable to more advanced enemy tanks.

Later Use:
Some captured Hotchkiss H35 tanks were used by the German Army after the fall of France. These captured tanks were often referred to as Panzerkampfwagen 35H 734(f). The Hotchkiss H35 was a part of the transitional period in tank design between the two World Wars and faced challenges when confronted with the more advanced and heavily armored tanks of its time.

Hotchkiss H35, 4th Cuirassiers of the 1st DLM, “Joan of Arc” regiment, Belgium, May 1940.
H35 18th dragoons, 1st DLM
Hotchkiss H35, 18th Dragoons, 1st DLM (Division Légère Motorisée), Montcornet, May 1940.
Hotchkiss H35 mod 38
Hotchkiss H35 modifié 38, upgunned with the SA 38 long 37 mm (1.46 in).
Mod 38 command
Hotchkiss H35 mod 38 command tank version, with a steering tail, 29th Dragoons, 2nd DLM, France, May 1940.
H39 early type
Hotchkiss H39, early type (SA-18 gun version), 4th DLC, 4th RAM, third squadron, third platoon.
H39 infantry type SA38
Hotchkiss H39, mid-production, (SA-38 gun version), 1st DCR, 26th BCC, Northern France, May 1940. Infantry versions were generally camouflaged in a simpler two-tone pattern of brown patches on factory olive green. This example was fitted with a turret radio.
H39 late production, 25th BCC
Hotchkiss H39, 1st DCR (Division Cuirassée), 25th BCC. This unit was attached to the 26th BCC and photos show mixed types with both SA 18 and 38 guns. Some, from the late production batches (April-May 1940) were not camouflaged, like this one.

Panzerkampfwagen 35H 734(f) in France, 1942.

Panzerkampfwagen 38H 734(f), France, 1944. These tanks were mostly used for anti-partisan warfare.
Bulgarian H38
Bulgarian Panzerkampfwagen-38H 734(f), 1943.
Panzerkampfwagen 35H(f) mit28/32cm Wurfrahmen
Panzerkampfwagen 35H(f) mitb28/32cm Wurfrahmen, Normandy, summer 1944.
Panzerbeobachtungswagen 38H(f)
Panzerbeobachtungswagen 38H(f).

Panzerjager auf GW39H(f) Marder I tank hunter, Normandy, summer 1944.
10,5cm le FH18(Sf) auf Geschuetzwagen 39H(f)
10,5cm leFH18(Sf) auf Geschützwagen 39H(f), 155th Panzerartillerie-Regiment, 21st Panzerdivision, Normandy, summer 1944.
Sources and influences : Trackstory n°6, GBM.

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