Wednesday, March 23, 2016

French Heavy Tank Char B1 'Madagascar'

French heavy tank Char B1 bis №206 'Madagascar', crewed by Lieutenant Dumontier (Chef de char/tank commander), Sergeant Vergez (pilote/driver), Corporal Faucet (aide pilote/co driver), and Corporal Narbonne (radio operator). This tank was lost on 19 May 1940 after the fighting at Ham while part of 2e DCR outside Guiscard, abandoned by its crew after being immobilised due to damage to the drive train. In order to deal with the increasingly tense situation leading up to the outbreak of World War II, a decision was made to modify and improve the existing B1 tank, giving rise to the B1 bis. Distinctive features included the large 75mm gun turret and strengthened front armor. The engine was also upgraded to bring the tank up to contemporary standards. The French government tasked individual suppliers with producing key parts, which caused problems and greatly reduced the number of tanks that were built. Although these and other strategic failures inhibited the B1 bis tank ability on the battlefield, it was greatly feared by German soldiers who encountered it. Featuring strong firepower and defense, the B1 bis could more that hold its own against the tanks of the Wehrmacht during individual combat.

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