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WARNING: picture heavy!
The AMX “Tracteur B” is a 1939 tank project (the preliminary draft dates from September 1939) which can be described as a modern “mix” between a B1 and a D2. It isn’t excluded that this project is either part of, or resulting from the G1 tank program.
The crew is probably made of 4: tank commander, driver, 75 mm gun operator and radio operator. The weight is estimated to be about 35 tonnes. The dimensions are (approximately) as follows: track length: 6,73 m; width: 3,00 m; height: 2,83 m.
It’s long and fairly wide (unlike other French tanks from the 1930s), with 80 mm frontal armor (and an equivalent of 70 mm for the other sides). It was probably joint welded. The armor plates appear to be flat. Only the front hull’s nose and the turret are molded. The whole hull has a pretty simple and straight shape. Only the glacis is strongly sloped. The body has side sills like the B1, although dumped. The track is closed by some armor quite like by the D2.
It is armed with a 75mm SA 35 gun in the hull, while the turret is equipped with a 47 mm SA gun of a type longer than the SA 35 and actually without a muzzle brake (therefore, it’s either the SA 37, or the SA 39).
The turret is shifted to the right (right above the 75 mm gun in the hull, weirdly enough). It has a relatively simple prismatic shape and is fitted with a truncated cone-shaped cupola. The driving sprocket is located at the back and the idler wheel to the front. The suspension is made of small road wheels, each side having 16 of them.
Based on this weaponry, it seems that this tank is, relatively, a duplicate of the « AMX Char lourd » (AMX Heavy tank) due to the fact that both share quite some characteristics together. On the one hand, the 75 mm gun is less efficient on the Tracteur B. On the other hand, the anti-tank gun is more efficient instead. Also, the Tracteur B does not seem to feature the « collection » of machine guns from the AMX Char lourd.
This project certainly aimed to be a lighter tank than the « Char lourd », with the different armor values of their turrets being a hint. These 2 rival projects also show that, in 1938-39, despite the G1 R and ARL turret tank projects from the “20 tonnes tank” program which became the G1 tank project, the dual school did not give up and remained present.
Still, in order to appreciate the doctrine of the time, we can only regret that, to the current knowledge, no medium tank project has been established, using the drawn turret and the excellent 47 mm gun.
Below: various blueprints of the AMX Tracteur B found in the DGA Châtellerault archives
Translated from: http://www.chars-francais.net/2015/index.php/liste-chronologique/de-1930-a-1940?task=view&id=18
Original source: Laurent Lecocq for the first picture; DGA Châtellerault