Land Weapons

Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée

FCM 36

Along with the H-35 and the R-35, the FCM-36 was one of a trio of light tanks designed for the French Army's infantry arm. Compared to its three contemporaries, the FCM-36 was the fastest, and this was the main reason why it was selected for production despite being more expensive than the others. Visually, the FCM-36 stood out as a result of its more prominently sloped welded armor, on both the hull and the turret. The latter was a unique FCM design that was larger than the AMX-R turrets used in the R-35 and H-35, but remained operated by a single crew member. The relatively thick armor and heavy slope made it highly resistant to most German rounds and gave it a rather futuristic appearance. However, armament was weak; it was armed with a short-barreled 37-mm SA18 gun since the longer-barreled SA38 (more effective in the anti-tank role) was given as a priority to other designs. The tank also had a provision for a radio but few were fitted in practice. These limitations hampered its battlefield effectiveness and the fact that it was built in only small numbers meant that it had little impact on the campaign against the Germans, who ended up using and readapting surviving examples.

A requirement for a new light tank for the infantry resulted in three competing designs, one of which was the FCM-36. An initial prototype was delivered in April 1935 but teething troubles plus delays in getting the tank into production due to preference for the R-35 and H-35 resulted in all 100 examples being built shortly before the war began.

FCM 36
FCM 36

Preceded by:

None

Succeeded by:

None

Datafile

DesignFCM 36
TypeLight Tank
Year1936
Crew2
Dimensions
Length (w/Gun)4.22 m
Width1.95 m
Height2.15 m
Weight
Loaded12,350 kg
Ground Pressure0.75 kg/cm²
SuspensionHelical Springs
Performance
Speed (Off-Road)24 km/h (12 km/h)
Range (Off-Road)225 km (140 km)
AmphibiousNo
Fording0.80 m
Powerplant
Engine1 x 91-hp
Ricardo-Berliet
FuelDiesel
Power/Weight7.37 hp/t
Armament
Main1 x 37-mm L/21
37mm SA 18
Rifled Gun (102)
↑ ° / ↓ ° / ↔ 360°

Secondary1 x 7.5mm
MAC 31 (3,000)
Coaxial

Armor
TypeSteel
Thickness13 - 40 mm
Max Effective45 - 46 mm RHAe
Hull Upper Front40 mm / 27°
Hull Lower Front25 mm / Round
Hull Upper Sides30 mm / 44°
Hull Lower Sides20 mm / 15°
Hull Lower Rear20 mm
Hull Top15 mm
Hull Bottom13 mm
Turret Mantlet25 mm / Round
Turret Front40 mm / 29°
Turret Sides40 mm / 30°
Turret Rear40 mm / 45°
Turret Top15 mm
Production
Built100
Total100

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