Book Review
Renault R35/R40
Trackstory #4: Renault R35/R40
  • 001287

by: Gary Kato [ GARYKATO ]

The Renault R35 was one of three light tanks intended to replace the FT-17. The R35 was designed for supporting the infantry. Like other nations, the Infantry was afraid that the tanks would run too far ahead of their men so they were deliberately made slow. For its time, the R35 had heavy armor, although the quality turned out to be low. Like the FT-17, it had a 2 man crew. It was armed with the short barreled 37mm SA18 gun, though the last few were armed with the longer-barreled SA38. The R40 used a totally new suspension to improve the mobility of the R35.
The Book
The book was written by Pascal Danjou with color profiles by Eric Schwartz and English translation by Claude Gillono. It was published in 2005 by Editions du Barbotin (ISBN 978-2-9520988-3-2). The book has 62 6.75"x9.5" pages with text in both French and English. There are no scale drawings. All photos are black and white with 19 color profiles at the back of the book.
The Chapters
Origins of the R35 describes the search of a successor to the FT-17. Although the process was started by Hotchkiss, Renault was the winner (at least for the Infantry). This same competition also resulted in the Hotchkiss H35 and FCM 36 (subjects of Trackstory #6 and 7 respectively). There are 10 photos with 3 of the interior and 4 of the prototype.

Tests and Trials shows how the R35 was used as a basis for experimental mine clearing devices and for fascine carriers. There are 5 photos of mine clearing devices and 3 photos of fascine carriers.

Campaign of France - Organization & Combat tells what units were equipped with R35 and gives a glimpse of how it did in combat against the Germans and the later fitting of the long-barreled SA38 gun. There are 6 photos of the R35, 1 photo of 37mm SA38, and a cut-away drawing showing how the SA38 was mounted in the turret.

Renault R40 covers development as well as combat use of the R40. Although Renault made some attempts to improve the suspension, it was APX which came up with the suspension that was used. There are 2 photos of Renault's attempt at improving the suspension and 13 photos of the R40.

1940-1944, The Transition Army is a small chapter on Vichy use. There are 5 photos.

Exporting the R35 discusses R35 exports to Romania, Yugoslavia, Turkey, and Poland is discussed. This includes Romania's attempt to upgrade the offensive power of the R35 by installing Soviet 45mm tank guns salvaged from T26s and BTs. A few of these Vanatorul saw service. There are 6 photos of Romanian tanks (3 of the Vanatorul), 3 of Yugoslavian, and 2 of Polish tanks.

Panzerkampfwagen 35 R (f) kenn nummer 731(f) is where information on German and Italian use of R35 as tank is presented. The Germans also used it as basis a tank destroyer by mounting Czech 47mm guns. There are 4 photos of German R35, 4 photos of the 47mm SP, 2 as a transport, 3 as a crane, and 1 of Italian use in Sicily

.From War to Peace covers post-war use by the Free French Insurgents, the French Army during post-war occupation of Germany, proposed tank destroyers, and by Syria who fielded a 2pdr armed version.

Communication Means is a page with color drawings of the signal flags for various tanks as well as drawings of the R16 receiver and ER51 transmitter used in the tank.

BCC Organization shows what a French Battle Tank Battalion consisted of and markings used.

Camouflages covers the colors and pattern in 1940 specification (I assume for Europe only). As seen by the color profiles, there were other patterns and colors used. This page has an example of this camouflage applied to a late production R35 with the SA38 and tail for crossing trenches.
Color Profiles
There are 18 color profiles:
• French R35 of 23 BCC, June 1940
• French R35 of 12 BCC, June 1940
• French R35 of unknown unit, June 1940
• French R35 of 21 BCC, June 1940
• French R40 of 48 BCC, June 1940
• R40 of 2nd Battalion of the 10th Polish Brigade, June 1940
• R39 (SA38-armed R35) of the 10th Polish Brigade, June 1940
• German 731 R(f) with the original French cupola, 1940
• German 731 R(f) with the German cupola, August 1944
• German Selbstfahrlafette 4.7 cm PAK (t) auf Pzkpfw 35 R (f) ohne turm
• Mφrserzugmittel 35 R (f), Russia 1941
• Italian R35 of Mobile Group E, Sicily 1943
• Romanian R35 of the 2nd Tank Battalion of the Royal Romanian Army, 1940
• Romanian R35/45 Vanatorul, 1945
• R35 of 1st RCA, Morocco 1941
• R35 captured by Australians, Syria 1941
• R35 captured by FFI group Dargelas, August 23 1944
• French R35 of the German occupation force, 1945

Of course there are mostly French books and articles mentioned with a smattering of English, German, and one Bulgarian source.

Highs: Overall coverage of the history of the tank. Lots of color profiles!
Lows: The Trackstory format is too short to do this tank and its combat history justice.
Verdict: This book is a great overview of the R35 and R40 with plenty of color schemes for a modeler to choose from.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 978-2-9520988-3-2
  Suggested Retail: $22.95 USD
  PUBLISHED: Jan 18, 2009

About Gary Kato (GaryKato)

Copyright ©2021 text by Gary Kato [ GARYKATO ]. All rights reserved.


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