In the early 1930s, it became clear to the French military that the FCM 2C tank was hopelessly outdated. At the same time, the French military still believed that the new war would also be of a positional nature, like the Great War, which meant that the need for super heavy breakthrough tanks still existed. The competition for the creation of a new vehicle was announced in November 1936. Initially, the task envisaged the creation of a tank weighing "only" 45 tons, but with armor capable of withstanding shelling from a 75-mm gun from a distance of 200 meters. Already by February 1938, when the first sketches of future tanks appeared (3 companies offered their projects), it became obvious that it was impossible to squeeze the characteristics required into 45 tons, therefore the mass of the combat vehicle was not specified in the new technical specification.
The main task for the projected vehicle was to be the fight against the German fortifications of the West Wall (Siegfried Line), located on the French-German border. In some ways, the new tank, designated FCM F1, was similar to the Soviet heavy tanks T-100 and QMS, but French engineers were able to add some zest to the project. They planned to install two turrets on the F1, with guns which were to have different specialization and fight with different targets, but the French chose an unusual layout for their combat vehicle. In front of the hull of the tank housed the control compartment, behind which was installed a small turret with a 47-mm cannon. The engine-transmission compartment was located in the middle part of the hull, the main turret with a 90-mm gun and the fighting compartment was located in the stern.
The chassis of the FCM F1 tank was normal for the French school of tank design. As on the B1 heavy tank, a large number of track rollers were kept in it, and the design of the tracks remained almost unchanged although the tracks became wider to withstand the heavily grown weight of the tank. Already at an early stage of the design work, it was decided to abandon the originally planned 75 mm gun in favor of a more powerful 90 mm gun, and the variant using the 105 mm gun was also considered. Additional machine-gun armament of the tank was located as follows: in the small turret on the left side of the gun, on both sides of the main turret and in the rear of the main turret with a shift to the left side, only 4 machine guns.
Already at the design stage, the weight of the combat vehicle grew to 140 tons. In order to move such a mass of steel onto the tank, they decided to put two engines, the choice being 550-horsepower Renault diesel engines, which worked in tandem with an electric transmission. But even the power plant in 1100 hp for such a mass was clearly not enough, and the estimated speed on the highway would hardly exceed 24 km / h.
At the design stage of this super-heavy tank, there were many opponents in the General Staff. Part of the French officers rightly believed that the construction of such two-turreted tanks, albeit with an unprecedented 120-mm armor, took up resources and time that could be spent on the production of more useful B1bis tanks. Yes, and the combat value of FCM F1 was seen by many as highly dubious. Taking into account the ratio of the length of the tank to its width, which was equal to about 3.5:1, its driving performance would be at the level of the Soviet T-35. And because of the huge mass, the movement of this mastodon through marshy or soft soil was not possible, and not every bridge could withstand a 140-ton tank.
Despite all these reasonable doubts, the FCM F1 tank was approved by the technical commission and a preliminary order was issued to FCM for the construction of 12 such vehicles. The first tank was to be assembled in May 1941, after which it was planned to launch the production of super-heavy tanks at a rate of 3-4 per month. In addition, the French military put forward a requirement to increase the on-board armor to 120 mm, which would increase the mass of the combat vehicle by another 5 tons, and the speed of movement on the highway would drop to 20 km / h.
But the rapid defeat of the French army left this project unrealized. Work on the design of this combat vehicle was discontinued in mid-June 1940, and all the material available for the project were apparently destroyed.
|length||10 530 mm,|
|Combat weight||140-145 tons.|
|front of the hull||120 mm,|
|one 90 mm cannon,|
|one 47 mm cannon|
|4 x 7.5 mm machine guns.|
|power plant||two engines Renault V12 KGM 2x550 hp|
|maximum speed is 20-24 km / h.|
|range||up to 100 km (on the highway).|
|Crew||up to 12 people.|