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[Client Values; Actual values in
|390460 HP Hit Points|
|32/3334.74/36 t Weight Limit|
- Commander (Gunner)
- Radio Operator
|350450 hp Engine Power|
|40/12 km/h Speed Limit|
|2830 deg/s Traverse|
|10.9412.95 hp/t Power/Wt Ratio|
|60/60/60 mm Hull Armor|
|60/60/6060/60/60 mm Turret Armor|
|110/110/175410/350/175 HP Damage|
|74/91.4/3853/104/38 mm Penetration|
|r/m 14.63 r/m 6 Rate of Fire|
See here, here, or here for more information.
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▲2460 Damage Per Minute
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With 50% Crew: 0.547 m
With 50% Crew: 0.687 m
|s 2.1 s 2.6 Aim time|
|3028 deg/s Turret Traverse|
|360° Gun Arc|
|-12°/+12°-8°/+15° Elevation Arc|
|10035 rounds Ammo Capacity|
|2015 % Chance of Fire|
|m 330 m 350 View Range|
|m 360 m 710 Signal Range|
Developed from 1935 through 1940. The vehicle was comparable to the T-34 in terms of its characteristics. Among several presented prototypes, the Renault G1R project was eventually selected. The vehicle had individual torsion-bar suspension and an innovative gun-mounting scheme. A prototype was built by 1940. However, the development was stopped when France was defeated later that year.
The Renault G1 leads to the ARL 44.
Modules / Available Equipment and Consumables
|Turret||Turret Armor (front/sides/rear)
|Turret Traverse Speed
|V||FCM F1 R||60/60/60||28||350||5700||10100|
|Chance of Fire on Impact
|IV||Renault G1 Premier Project||33||28||B/2||7000||4000|
|V||Renault G1 Project Modifié||36||30||B/2||7000||9600|
Pros and Cons
- Thick hull armour all around with sloping and side skirts
- Good aim time with the 75mm gun
- The 105mm has relatively good shell velocity compared to other howitzers
- Relatively heavy - Good for ramming other similar tiered medium and light tanks
- Top engine has reduced chance of fire
- Big, boxy yet poorly armored top turret with tumor-style cupola sticking out
- Stock turret cannot fit the top 75mm or 105mm
- Low top speed and traverse speed compared to other medium at the same tier
- Top 75mm has awful penetration and mediocre accuracy; 105mm gun has lower alpha, penetration, and rate for tier 5.
- Leading to the ARL 44, different crew setups and no guns carrying over make the grind more difficult.
Your armor will likely hold against low tiered enemies quite well, though is quite unreliable against similar or higher tiered tanks. It also comes at the price of having much worse speed and maneuverability than almost all other mediums of the same tier. Thus, this tanks works better as second-line heavy supporter, constantly chipping away hitpoints from enemy heavies as they brawl with your heavies, as well as picking out sneaky light flankers. Messing with other mediums don't work out well generally: it's plainly too slow to arrive at advantageous positions in time. To make matters worse, the sluggishness and inferior weaponry won't allow you to outgun most opponents unless running 105mm HEAT rounds with considerable gunnery skill. Also be ware of being a rather rare sight on the battlefield, some opponents might priorize you for completing Expert: France achievement.
If you have the 75mm equipped, be prepared for frequent non-penetrations as the gun has exactly 100mm of penetration at 100m. The APCR has poor penetration as well, with only 129mm of penetration. Heavily armored vehicles like the AT 2 will cause you problems, so it is advised to equip the 105mm howitzer so you can guarantee damage with High Explosive against any target you come across. For a last resort, your vehicle weighs about 35 tons - be a battering ram against light tanks and other lighter vehicles in dire situation, though you might not frequently catch up with them. In comparison, the M4 Sherman weighs 30 tons. If you are to ram a Sherman, you are more often to be better off than the Sherman will be.
In 1935, the French Infanterie still lacked a satisfactory medium tank. While a reasonably effective heavy breakthrough tank in the form of the Char B1 was available, as well as several light infantry tanks about to enter production (namely, the Renault R35, Hotchkiss H35 and FCM 36), the only medium tanks available were the disappointing Renault Char D1 and only slightly improved Renault Char D2. At least 250 medium tanks would be needed to equip the planned organic tank battalions of the five mechanized infantry divisions, which would be the main Infanterie force for executing strategic offensive and defensive operations. The Cavalerie already had a good medium tank in the form of the SOMUA S 35, but the Infanterie rejected it for use on account of the S 35's limited climbing capabilities. Inter-service rivalry also played a role in this rejection, as the Infanterie wished to assert its dominance over the Cavalerie in the field of tank design.
The Twenty-Tonne Tank
Thus, on 18 December, the Infanterie issued its first specifications for a Char Moyen d'Infanterie de 20 tonnes ("20 tonne medium infantry tank"). The specifications called for a road speed of 50 km/h, an off-road speed of 20 km/h, a range of 400 km, trench crossing capability of 2 m, a wading depth of 120 cm, climbing capability of 80 cm and 45° slope. Armament was to consist of a 47 mm gun and a 7.5 mm machine gun, with an armor thickness of 40 mm. The hull was to be completely sealed against chemical weapons, and a radio was required. The weight limit of 20 metric tonnes was stipulated because of railroad, bridge-carrying, and pontoon capacity constraints.
In May 1936, the Conseil Consultatif de l'Armement invited French industry to initiate design studies for the new 20 tonne tank. However, at the same time it was increasingly realized that the Char B1 was overly complex and expensive, and was 2 tonnes heavier than necessary due to the use of riveted armor plate instead of more modern welding and casting techniques. The 20 tonne tank promised to be lighter, more mobile, cheaper and easier to produce, and also easier to train crews on. It was thus decided that the 20 tonne tank would also serve as the future char bataille ("battle tank") of the Infanterie, replacing the Char B1. The specifications were subsequently changed in October, calling for protection equivalent to that of the Char B1 (60 mm all around), increased trench crossing capability (250 cm), and armament of a high velocity gun capable of eliminating all expected enemy medium tanks as well as two machine guns. The other requirements remained the same. These specifications were highly ambitious, and the vehicle promised to be the most potent and modern French tank yet developed. This also meant that development would take some time, as the tank was too advanced for French industry at the time.
At the same time, debate was raging about the future use of the tank in the Infanterie. On one side were officers like Charles de Gaulle, who proposed that the Infanterie raise its own armored divisions similar to the DLMs (Divisions Légères Mécaniques - "Mechanized Light Divisions") of the Cavalerie or the German Panzerdivisionen - balanced forces with organic mechanised infantry and artillery, flexible enough to fulfill all possible tactical roles. More conservative officers opposed imitating the Cavalerie and insisted that the Infanterie should stick to its traditional role, that of the breakthrough. Some wanted the limited funds to be spent on producing a sufficient number of light infantry tanks to give each division its own organic tank battalion. Others contended that only heavy tanks should be built. The 20 tonne tank, now known as the Char G, was intended to be both mobile and heavily armored enough to spearhead breakthroughs, and only made sense if used in German-style armored divisions. Until the debate was settled, the future of the Char G remained uncertain.
Despite this, French industry was very interested in the Char G project, as it promised to become France's major tank-building program. With it would come lucrative state investments at a time when French industry was still reeling from the effects of the Great Depression. Seven companies submitted designs between late 1936 and early 1937: Établissements Baudet-Donon-Roussel (BDR), Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée (FCM), Renault, Fouga, Lorraine de Dietrich, Société d'Études et d'Applications Mécaniques (SEAM), and Société d'Outillage Mécanique et d'Usinage d'Artillerie (SOMUA). Reports were issued on each of the proposals, only SEAM and Renault's projects were sufficiently advanced for construction of prototypes to be approved, their good connections with the French military having allowed them to begin design work even before the specifications had been officially issued. The proposals of BDR, Lorraine de Dietrich, and Fouga were kept under consideration until further studies on their feasibility had been completed. On the instigation of Prince André Poniatowski, head of a design bureau subcontracted by SEAM, the Char G specifications were changed in November 1937 to require a hull-mounted 75 mm gun as the Char G's primary armament, which was unsurprisingly a feature of SEAM's proposal. This caused many problems for the other competitors, as their designs had no room for such a large weapon in the hull. This change in requirement, along with the increase in armor demanded added about 4 tonnes to the designs, and as of 20 February 1937, none of the designs met the weight limit of 20 tonnes, and were projected at 23-35 tonnes. Louis Renault's design featured a 75 mm gun mounted in a turret, and back in 1936 he had proposed this arrangement as an alternative, which was well-received. Capitalizing on this, he bribed a high-ranking officer of the Direction de l'Infanterie to change the design requirements yet again, this time making a 75 mm gun in the turret mandatory. This forced Renault's competitors to completely redesign their proposals, giving Renault a huge advantage and inevitably causing large and, as Renault hoped, fatal delays to the competition's proposals.
By late 1937, the project had been renamed Char G1, and all prototypes then authorized received official designations: G1 L (Lorraine), G1 R (Renault), G1 B (BDR), G1 F (Fouga), G1 P (SEAM). The SOMUA and FCM projects had been discontinued for being too vague or lacking innovation, along with the fact that these two companies had their hands full manufacturing other types. On 1 February 1938, the Direction de l'Infanterie issued a third major change to the specifications. The maximum weight was increased to 35 tonnes in order to fit the 75 mm APX 32-calibre gun in a turret (known as the 75 mm SA32 in-game). The ever-changing design requirements caused most companies to slow the design process, as they were unwilling to invest much money in an ever more complex project with uncertain prospects. In order to speed up the process, on 8 June 1938 Maurice Lavirotte of the Atelier de Construction de Rueil (ARL), the French Army's workshop, was dispatched to assist the companies with construction. If armor plate was not available for the companies, boiler plate was permitted in the construction of the prototypes.
On 12 July 1938 a much more detailed list of specifications was given. In general they called for a tank that was powerfully armed, immune to standard anti-tank guns and possessed excellent tactical and strategic mobility. In detail, the specifications demanded a long, high velocity, semi-automatic 75 mm 32-calibre gun as the main armament; a 7.5mm machine gun in the turret that can also serve as an anti-aircraft weapon, a machine gun in the front of the hull or the turret, a minimum ammunition load of 100 rounds for the main gun and 30 magazines for the machine guns, an empty weight of 30 and a combat weight of 32 tonnes. The engine was to be able to be both electrically and manually started, while the tracks were to be fully accessible. A maximum speed of 40 km/h (average 30 km/h) on roads and 20 km/h offroad was required. Two fuel tanks were to give a range of 200 km or 8 hours endurance off-road. Climbing capability was demanded to be 90 cm and 85% on a solid or 65% on a wet slope, while trench-crossing capability was to be 250 cm and the wading depth would be 120 cm. For the first time, dimensional limits were also set: the width was to not exceed 294 cm to facilitate rail transport, the absolute height of the fighting compartment was to not exceed 120 cm, but yet be sufficient to hold a side door. With regards to the gas-proof armor, the demanded thickness remained at 60 mm, but the use an appliqué armor was forbidden. The armor could be cast — with the sections connected by bolts or, preferably, gudgeons, or electrically welded. Automatic fire extinguishers were also required. The crew were to have advanced vision and fire-control equipment. The cupola, armed with the secondary 7.5 mm machine gun, was to have have a large episcope to which the main turret was slaved, allowing the commander to lay the 75 mm gun on the target himself. The cupola would also be fitted with an optical telemetric rangefinder. The gun was to be a 32-calibre 75 mm gun. Despite its short length, the gun would have good armor penetration using Brandt tungsten armor piercing sub-caliber ammunition. None of the projects in the summer of 1938 could meet these specifications without a fundamental redesign.
In France during the 1930s, tank turrets were usually designed separately from tank hulls, in order to serve as standard types usable on many different vehicles. On 1 June 1938 the commission determined that three teams, those of ARL, FCM, and Renault, were to develop new turrets capable of being fitted to the Char G1 under the new specifications. They were invited to make the necessary changes and consider existing or new high velocity 75 mm guns. In July 1939, ARL produced a prototype of both a turret, the 5.7 tonne ARL 3 fitted with a turret-basket and having a turret ring diameter of 188 cm, and a 75 mm gun, which had been developed for the FCM F1 super heavy tank project. Similarly, FCM developed a modified 7.5 tonne version of the welded octagonal auxiliary turret on the FCM F1, equipped with an advanced semiautomatic loader and a turret ring diameter of 185 cm. As a low-risk project, FCM also developed the welded, octagonal F4 turret that had been developed from that of the Char 2C super heavy tank, and was equipped with the ubiquitous 75 mm mle. 1897 field gun.
Development of Renault's proposal
The Renault G1 represents the proposal sent by Louis Renault, who was very interested in the development of the Char G1 due to it competing with his company's Char D2 and B1 tanks. He was also interested in restoring the company's reputation after the failure of the AMC 34 and 35 along with other complaints of the reliability of his other tanks.
Renault's intial proposal was submitted on December 10, 1936, and it complied with the initial requirements for a 20-ton tank. This proposal was based on the Renault R35, and had a similar smooth curved cast hull to that of the light infantry tank but was much wider and had six road wheels and double tracks per side — to avoid having to design a new broad track. It had a modern torsion bar suspension and, similarly to the competing Char G1 proposal sent by Lorraine de Dietrich, had a (rather outdated) Cleveland transmission. The suspension protection plates formed an integral part with the hull's main armour.
The hull was crowned by a flat-domed cast superstructure that superficially resembled a circular conventional turret. In reality however it was at first planned to be fixed; the 47 mm gun was supposed to traverse through a horizontal slit like in a pill-box, rotating on a pivot fixed to the hull floor, a proposal made by Colonel Balland. In a second version of this design by engineer Jean Restany, the "pseudo-turret" was traversable, but simply carried along by the electrically driven gun-mount; the turret therefore would not have to be equipped with a heavy gun-mantlet and, not bearing the weight of the armament, could be much lighter. On the right side of the superstructure a vertical cylinder protruded, on top of which a small rotating commander's cupola was fitted, that was armed with dual co-axial machine guns. The superstructure, with the commander/gunner on the right and the loader on the left, had sufficient room to hold a Schneider 47 mm antitank gun that was much more powerful than the shorter 47 mm SA 35 gun equipping the standard APX1 and APX4 turrets. Expecting that this superior firepower would give his design a clear advantage leading to a quick production contract, as had so often happened in the past, Renault was unpleasantly surprised when lobbying by Poniatowski contributed to a change in specifications to the effect that a 75 mm gun had to be carried in the hull. The ACK1 hull was simply too flat for this. To save his project Renault started a strong counter-lobby. Part of this was proposing, already on 10 December 1936, that as an alternative option the turret should hold a longer (at least L/29) main 75 mm armament. It was also claimed that the weight of the projects, 24 tonnes, could be reduced to 19.6 tonnes by limiting the armament to a single gun.
The commission in 1937 was hesitant about the torsion-bar suspension, and rejected the Cleveland transmission and double-track feature. It also concluded that weight would be at least 25 tonnes. Nevertheless, an order for a prototype was made, in view of the innovative armament mounting.
The specification change of 1 February 1938 was much in favour of Renault, as the other companies needed a very fundamental redesign of their projects to meet the new demands, whereas the ACK1 with its broad fighting compartment could easily accommodate a wide turret as it was. Renault also promised that his tank could be taken into production in 1940, a year earlier than the Char G1L, so the latter project could be replaced by his Char G1R as the main development type.
At this moment however it was recognized by the commission that the weight estimate earlier made by the bribed Infantry officer had been a deliberate falsehood and that the best that could be expected was 28 tonnes. Also the claimed first production date, that had already led to a limiting of Char B1 bis orders, later was proven to be wildly optimistic. In April 1938 Renault claimed that weight could yet be saved by perpetuating the feature of the torsion-bar suspension, limiting the crew to four and keeping the ammunition load to its bare minimum. The commission decided however to bring the weight limit of the project to thirty tonnes, as this was in line with the other projects and the planned inner hull side armour (located below fifty millimetres external suspension protection plates) of ten millimetres was deemed too thin. The weight advantage in relation to the rival designs thus largely disappeared.
In the summer of 1938 a further problem for the Renault design materialised in that the new demand was made that the turret should hold a stabilised gun and a telemetric rangefinder, features to which the cast turret could not be easily adapted. As the 2.5 tonne pseudo-turret was moved about by the gun barrel, its momentum tended to disturb the sight-laying. This problem was solved in 1939 with the help of APX, which designed a system in which the vertical axis of the gun mount was directly connected to the turret roof. At the same time the troublesome Cleveland transmission was abandoned. Overall the Renault design process in the years 1938 and 1939 was very slow.
On 10 September 1939 the Char G1R was the only one of the projects that was to be further developed, probably because the Renault company was exceptional in having reserve production capacity left.
Alternate Turret development
In France during the thirties, generally tank turrets were designed separately from tank hulls, to serve as standard types applicable to many different vehicles. On 1 June 1938 the commission determined that three teams, those of ARL, FCM and Renault, were in the process of developing new turrets capable of being fitted on the Char G1 under the new specifications. These were invited to make the necessary changes and research existing or new suitably-high-velocity 75 mm guns.In July 1939 ARL was developing prototypes of both a turret, the 5.7 tonne ARL 3 fitted with a turret-basket and having a turret ring diameter of 188 cm, and a gun, also in the context of the FCM F1 project. FCM was considering use of a revised 7.5 tonne version of the welded octagonal auxiliary turret of the heavy FCM F1, to be equipped with an advanced semi-automatic loader and having a turret ring diameter of 185 cm. As a fallback plan, FCM also was considering the use of the similarly octagonal and welded F4 turret, developed from that of the Char 2C and equipped with the standard 75 mm field gun.
Historical Accuracy Errata
* The Renault G1 is unable to equip the Schneider 47 mm gun that was initially planned for it, as seen in the wooden mock-up.
- The 75 mm SA 44 cannon was developed only after the G1 project was cancelled.
- There are no records indicating that the any versions of the G1 project were to be fitted with the 105 mm court mle. 1934.
Sources and External Links
- Pierre Touzin, Les véhicules blindés français, 1900-1944. EPA, 1979
- Jean-Gabriel Jeudy, Chars de France, E.T.A.I., 1997
- Stéphane Ferrard, 2007, "Le Futur Char G1, 1re partie 1935-1938: Le Char de 20 Tonnes", Histoire de Guerre, Blindés & Matériel, N° 78, pp. 38–47
- Stéphane Ferrard, 2007, "Le Futur Char G1, 1re partie 1935-1938 (2): La <<Bombe>> Renault et les autres 20 T", Histoire de Guerre, Blindés & Matériel, N° 79, pp. 62–71
- Stéphane Ferrard, 2008, "Le Futur Char G1, 2e partie 1938-1940 (1): 35 tonnes maximum pour un 75 en tourelle", Histoire de Guerre, Blindés & Matériel, N° 81, pp. 48–55
- Stéphane Ferrard, 2008, "Le Futur Char G1, 2e partie 1938-1940 (2): Vers le Char de 35 tonnes de Série", Histoire de Guerre, Blindés & Matériel, N° 83, pp. 72–80