What is this French trailer?

Discussions on all aspects of France during the Inter-War era and Second World War.
daveh
Member
Posts: 1439
Joined: 11 Feb 2003 18:14
Location: uk

What is this French trailer?

Post by daveh » 27 Sep 2003 15:38

Is the trailer carrying the S35 here part of the standard equipment of a French 1940 armoured unit?.
The pic is of a 4e Régiment de Cuirassiers vehicle.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
David Lehmann
Member
Posts: 2863
Joined: 01 Apr 2002 10:50
Location: France

Post by David Lehmann » 27 Sep 2003 22:38

Hi Daveh,

I really don't know which model is this particular trailer. But for example in each Char B (B1 and B1bis) battalions you could find 3 Somua MCL5 tow trucks and 3 so-called 30t trailer. Later the Somuas have been replaced by more powerful Laffly S35T and S45T.

If you want I can e-mail you photos of the Somua MCL5 and better photos of the trailer.

Characteristics of the 30t trailer :
weight : 10.5t
carry : 30t
length : 9.15m
width : 2.68m
height : 0.83m

I asked a friend about your particular trailer, if I have info I will tell you.

Regards,

David
Last edited by David Lehmann on 29 Sep 2003 00:29, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Phil D.
Member
Posts: 247
Joined: 09 Jul 2002 01:04
Location: Bronx, NY

Post by Phil D. » 28 Sep 2003 02:11

That pic you posted dave reminded me of the trailer that the Germans would attach to their 18t halftracks to transport tanks. I go and look for some pictures to compare.

Phil

User avatar
Phil D.
Member
Posts: 247
Joined: 09 Jul 2002 01:04
Location: Bronx, NY

Post by Phil D. » 28 Sep 2003 02:16

I found a hobby website with a link here that shows what I was tyalking about:http://www.tamiya.nl/specials/tam_35246.html

Here are some pictures to show the FAMO and its trailer:

http://www.tamiya.nl/pics/tamiya/35246_g.jpg
Image

http://www.tamiya.nl/pics/tamiya/35246_m.jpg
Image

http://www.tamiya.nl/pics/tamiya/35246_0.jpg
Image

I hope what I've put up is what you may have been looking for!

Phil

User avatar
David Lehmann
Member
Posts: 2863
Joined: 01 Apr 2002 10:50
Location: France

Post by David Lehmann » 28 Sep 2003 02:30

Yes Phil ! You found it :) That could then be a captured Somua S-35, still with its French markings, on a German Sd.Ah.116 tank transporter.

Here is the same n°29 tank :

from http://www.chars-francais.net/

Image

Image

And here is the trailer with its towing SdKfz.9 :

Image

David
Last edited by David Lehmann on 17 Feb 2004 23:38, edited 1 time in total.

daveh
Member
Posts: 1439
Joined: 11 Feb 2003 18:14
Location: uk

Post by daveh » 28 Sep 2003 18:30

David I would very much like to see any pics you may have. This was the first time I'd seen any such equipment and am very interested to see/ know more.

It of course now leads on to the question of what worskshop and repair facilities were provided to support French armoured units.

Was the French policy to return damaged vehicles to factories for repair?
What level of repair was posible at unit level?

Thanks in advance

User avatar
David Lehmann
Member
Posts: 2863
Joined: 01 Apr 2002 10:50
Location: France

Post by David Lehmann » 29 Sep 2003 00:34

COMPOSITION OF A B1bis TANK BATTALION IN 1940 :

A French BCC (= Bataillon de Chars de Combat) equipped with B1bis heavy tanks in 1940 is grossly composed of :

o One HQ company :
1x Renault YS armored command car
3x VL = voiture de liaison = liaison car (Peugeot 402, Simca 5, Citroën 11BL, Renault Primaquatre)
1x VLTT Radio (Citroën-Kégresse P19 radio halftrack)
2x Radio light trucks
2x Light/medium trucks
3x Motorcycles (French reglementary 350 cm3 or Belgian Sarolée 650 cm3 motorcycles)
1x Motorcycle with side-car (René-Gillet G1 750 cm3)
1x Kitchen/food truck

o Three combat companies each with :

· HQ platoon :
1x VL = voiture de liaison = liaison car (Peugeot 402, Simca 5, Citroën 11BL, Renault Primaquatre)
1x VLTT = voiture de liaison tout terrain = liaison halftrack = Citroën-Kégresse P19 halftrack
1x Radio light truck
1x Light/medium truck
2x Motorcycles

· Three tank platoons :

1x company leader B1bis (with a radio)

- 1st platoon :
3x B1bis (with a radio for the platoon leader)
1x Motorcycle with side-car
1x Light/medium truck

- 2nd platoon :
3x B1bis (with a radio for the platoon leader)
1x Motorcycle with side-car
1x Light/medium truck

- 3rd platoon :
3x B1bis (with a radio for the platoon leader)
1x Motorcycle with side-car
1x Light/medium truck

· One "section d'échelon" (= supply platoon) :
6x Lorraine 37L TRC (= tracteur de ravitaillement en carburant = fuel supply tractor) carrying ammo in the skip and 565l fuel + oil reserves in the trailer tank
1x Fuel tank truck
1x Ammo truck
1x Radio light truck
1x Light/medium truck
1x Kitchen/food truck
2x Motorcycles
6x Motorcycles with side-car
(possibly 1x VL more)


o One "compagnie d'échelon" (= supply/repair company) :

- 1st platoon : services
3x Light/medium trucks
1x Ambulance truck
1x Kitchen/food truck
1x Fuel tank truck
3x Motorcycles with side-car

- 2nd platoon : repair/engineer
2x VLTT = voiture de liaison tout terrain = liaison halftrack = Citroën-Kégresse P19 halftrack
3x Light/medium truck
2x Motorcycles
3x Somua MCL5 tow trucks
3x 30t trailer (tank transporter)
9x Heavy trucks (Panhard, Renault, Rochet-Schneider)

- 3rd platoon : replacements
3x Replacement B1bis
2x Radio light truck

- 4th platoon : supplying/refuelling
1x VL
2x Motorcycles
5x Light/medium trucks
9x Heavy trucks (Panhard, Renault, Rochet-Schneider)
3x Heavy trucks carrying 50l fuel barrels


TOTAL :

1x Renault YS armored command car
7-10x VL = voiture de liaison = liaison car (Peugeot 402, Simca 5, Citroën 11BL, Renault Primaquatre)
5x VLTT = voiture de liaison tout terrain = liaison halftrack = Citroën-Kégresse P19 halftrack
1x VLTT Radio (Citroën-Kégresse P19 radio halftrack)
1x Ambulance truck
10x Radio light trucks
28x Light/medium trucks
18x Heavy trucks (Panhard, Renault, Rochet-Schneider)
4x Fuel tank trucks
3x Heavy trucks carrying 50l fuel barrels
3x Ammo trucks
5x Kitchen/food/supply trucks
18x Lorraine 37L TRC (= tracteur de ravitaillement en carburant = fuel supply tractor)
3x Somua MCL5 tow trucks
3x 30t trailer (tank transporter)
22x Motorcycles for liaison tasks (French reglementary 350 cm3 or Belgian Sarolée 650 cm3 motorcycles)
22x Motorcycles with side-car (René-Gillet G1 750 cm3)
33x B1bis tanks (3 companies of 10 tanks + 1 replacement tank)


As you can see, I have probably not as many details as you hoped about the the field repair/supply elements but they were organized at the battalion level in the French army in 1939-1940.

Until 1935/1937 most of the tank carriers were simply trucks with an embarcation ramp allowing the truck to carry the tank. This solution had been adopted in the 20's for strategical movements.
For the new light tanks (R35, FCM36, H35, H38, H39 ...) special lifting-transporter trucks (camions "leveurs-porteurs") were developped : the Berliet GPE 4 truck (only 32 produced) and the Willeme DW12A truck (only 5 produced). The theoretical strength was at first 3 lifting-transporter trucks for a battalion of 45 light tanks and later only 1 lifting-transporter truck complemented by 2 simple tank carrier trucks with no special device except a winch and an embarcation/disembarcation ramp (430 Bernard trucks had been ordered for that task but only 73 delivered).
Medium (D2, Somua S-35 ...) or heavy (B1 and B1bis) tanks needed a dedicated trailer towed by a tractor (Somua MCL5, Somua MCL6, Laffly S35T, Laffly S45T or Latil M4T). There were two types of trailers : 20t and 30t. These trailers are produced by Titan, Coder, Lagache & Glazmann ... Theoretically there should be one trailer for a company of 10 Renault B1bis and two trailers for a squadron of 20 Somua S-35 cavalry tanks. Only sixty 20t trailers and forty 30t trailers had been delivered to the French army. 300 White-Ruxtall 922 US tank carriers had also been ordered but only one vehicle could be delivered.

30t trailer characteristics :
- Weight : 10.5t
- Carry capacity : 30t
- Length : 9.15m
- Width : 2.68m
- Height : 0.83m.

From 1935 the typical tow truck was the Laffly MCL5, but this vehicle reached its limits with the B serie heavy tanks because of its only 90 hp engine. Therefore the Laffly S45T had been developped but only 12 vehicles were delivered, explaining that the Somua MCL5 was sometimes replaced by the Laffly S35T.

Laffly S45T characteristics :
- Weight : 8.2 t
- Length : 5.7 m
- Width : 2.25m
- Engine : 6232cc - 110 hp
- Maximum speed : 36 km/h

Laffly S35T characteristics :
- Weight : 8.05 t
- Length : 5.5 m
- Width : 2.35m
- Engine : 6232cc - 100 hp
- Maximum speed : 40 km/h

The Laffly S35 had been originally developped to tow the 155mm GPF, 155mm GPFT and 220mm C Mle1916 heavy mortar. Only 225 Laffly S35 had been delivered, 170 of them in the towing version with a winch. That means that the Somua MCL5 was still widely in use and that in the artillery units the heavy pieces were still mostly towed by vehicles like the Latil TARH2. All these wreckers should have been replaced by the huge Latil M4TX (8x8, 140 hp) but this one only rechaed the prototype level in 1940. The Latil M4TX could easily tow 100t, that is to say it could easily tow a B1bis tank with blocked or destroyed tracks.

Image

Somua MCL5

Image

Somua MCL5 + 30t trailer + Renauklt B1bis (1.5t Citroën Type 23 truck behind)
Image

30t trailer + Renault B1bis

Image

Renault R40 on trailer

Image

FCM36 transported on a truck

Image

Laffly S35T with winch

Image

Laffly S35 towing a 220C Mle1916

Image

Laffly S45T + 30t trailer + B1 tank

About the fuel issue, each heavy tank company had the fuel required for "4 days" of operations without being supplied by units higher than the battalion level.
- "1 day" in the tanks of the company themselves (10x 400l for the 10 B1bis tanks)
- "1 day" thanks to the Lorraine 37L TRC of the company (6x565l = 3390l)
- "1 day" thanks to the fuel tank truck of the company (3600l)
- "1 day" for each combat company thanks to the fuel barrels provided by the battalion's supply company

Image

Lorraine 37L TRC

Various fuel trucks where used by the French army for the strategic transport of fuel :
• Unic SU55 (5000 l) : 23
• Panhard K125 (5000 l) : 4
• Berliet VDCN (5000 l) : 80
• Renault AGR (5000 l) : 16
• Renault AGK (5000 l) : 340
• Berliet GDR7 (5000 l) : 400
• Matford F917-WS (5000 l) : 150
• Willeme (18000 l) : 0-50
• Renault AIB1 (9500 l) : ?
• Also a few White 920 (8000 l and 18000 l), Mack EXBX (18000l) and several Chevrolet conversions.
+ civilian requisitioned trucks. The French Air force used also other trucks.

For the cross-country/tactical supply on the battlefield other vehicles were used :
• Lorraine 37L TRC as mentioned (565 l fuel + ammunitions + oil + water) : 482
The Lorraine 37L TRC was very liked because of its armor + good cross country capacity, he could supply the first line troops.
• Renault 36R tractor with a 450 l trailer : 260
• Laffly/Hotchkiss S20 TL (1450 - 1900 l) : 39
• Lorraine 28 (2000 l) : a dozen
• Citroën-Kégresse P17 (2000 l) : 50
• + special dedicated trailers (450 l, 600 l and 800 l models) that could be towed by the tanks themselves, by tractors or tankettes.


Sources :

- F. Vauvilier et J.M. Touraine (Massin)
"1939-40 : L'Automobile sous l'uniforme"

- Stéphane Bonnaud et François Vauvillier (Histoire et Collections)
"Chars B au combat, hommes et matériels du 15e BCC"


Regards,

David
Last edited by David Lehmann on 02 Jun 2004 00:39, edited 2 times in total.

daveh
Member
Posts: 1439
Joined: 11 Feb 2003 18:14
Location: uk

Post by daveh » 29 Sep 2003 15:38

Many thanks David for the fascinating info and great pics.. when is your book coming out? :D

If you are not writing one please do, there is not really much good information available in English on what was the main Allied army of the first months of the war. The information you have seems comprehensive and much of it is hard to find.

in anticipation...

User avatar
David Lehmann
Member
Posts: 2863
Joined: 01 Apr 2002 10:50
Location: France

Post by David Lehmann » 29 Sep 2003 17:36

There are already very good books in French I am just helping English speaking people here to have interesting info on French stuff if I can.
Glad if it helped you ... I am looking for other pics about the lifting-carrier trucks for example but it is hard to find ...
An other good book is Stéphane Ferrard's "France 1940 : l'armement terrestre" (ETAI) but it covers small arms, artillery etc. not only vehicles, it is THE complement to the other books already indicated.

David
Last edited by David Lehmann on 17 Feb 2004 23:42, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
David Lehmann
Member
Posts: 2863
Joined: 01 Apr 2002 10:50
Location: France

Post by David Lehmann » 29 Sep 2003 23:12

Hi,

I just remember I already spoke with an English who seems to do great job by writing books about French OB and TOE ... he is currently publishing its third volume of of seven :

http://stonebooks.com/archives/021215.shtml

Sharp, Lee. The French Army, 1939-1940, volume 1. Milton Keynes, UK: The Military Press, 2002.
ISBN 0-85420-316-8


Sharp, Lee. The French Army, 1939-1940, volume 2. Milton Keynes, UK: Military Press, 2002.
ISBN 0-85420-141-6


The first volume covered the top-level organizations of the French Army: the military districts, the High Command, army groups, armies, and corps. The second volume moves to the next level, with the entire book devoted to French divisions.


Motorised infantry
Infantry
Mountain infantry
Light mountain
North African infantry
Colonial infantry
Light infantry
Light infantry, type Overseas
Foreign infantry
Cavalry
Light cavalry
Light mechanised
Reserve armoured
Unlike many books of this nature, however, Sharp does not simply limit himself to describing the various types of divisions with a single representative example of each. Instead, he devotes an entire page of data to each individual division. That means, for example, that each of three cavalry divisions gets its own page, each of seven motorized infantry divisions gets its own page, each of forty-six "ordinary" infantry divisions gets its own page, and so on.
For each type of division, introductory pages explain the purpose and general organization, provide tables with dates of mobilization, numbers of men (officers, NCOs, and non-coms), horses, wagons, motor vehicles, bicycles, etc, and offer any pertinent notes. Following the introductory material, each unit of that type is presented on its own page.
The layout for each divisional page is the same. The top of a page is occupied by an organigram showing the unit's structure down to regiment, battalion, company, and sometimes platoon level. For each division, the component formations reflect their actual numeric designations, so that 2nd Infantry's organigram shows the 33rd, 73rd, and 127th Infantry Regiments, the 11th Cavalry battalion, 10/34th Antitank battery, etc. In addition, all the components are reiterated in a text listing with the complete name in French, such as 33rd Regiment d'Infantrie, 11th Groupe de Reconnaissance, and 10/34th Batterie Divisionnaire Antichars. The next item, "Changes in Composition," details all the comings, goings, reorganizations, and redesignations of subordinate units. The fourth part of each divisional page is a listing of the names and ranks of "Principal Officers" for the divisions with dates served. Finally, Sharp gives a complete listing of higher headquarters to which the division was assigned from September 1939 through the end of hostilities.
As with the first volume, most of this material seems to come from the Les Grandes Unites Francaises series published by the French Army. (A complete bibliographic essay is promised for the final volume.) In volume two of LGUF, for example, the entry for 2nd Division D'Infanterie amounts to about twelve pages and includes everything shown above plus the kind of day-by-day history that Sharp seems to be saving for later volumes in his series: "A description of military operations from May 10th 1940 to June 25th 1940 will...be down to regimental/battalion level with in some cases a day-by-day commentary."
The author rounds out this book with a short introduction to French divisions, a key to the organigram symbols, notes on unit numbering and nomenclature, a combination glossary and list of abbreviations, a one-page Introduction, and a list of errata for volume one. That's it. Nothing too fancy, nothing too sexy. Just a hundred and fifty pages of pure OB/TOE material for the French Army (and its Polish and Czech units) for 1939 and 1940.
For those with no interest in these matters, this might not be an incredibly fascinating book. For anyone looking for detailed information about French unit organizations up to the armistice, this is far and away the best source ever produced in the English language. Like the first volume, the second volume of The French Army should be in the hands of every serious World War II historian and enthusiast.

David

User avatar
David Lehmann
Member
Posts: 2863
Joined: 01 Apr 2002 10:50
Location: France

Post by David Lehmann » 09 Oct 2003 01:54

Hi,

I have found a photo of the famous "lifting-transporter" trucks a talked earlier (here with a D1 tank) :

Image

David

Return to “France 1919-1945”