The Hotchkiss H35 was originally designed in 1933 to operate alongside the SOMUA S35, but the contract for this vehicle went to the Renault R35. Instead, it was adopted by the French cavalry in 1936, where it replaced the AMR 35.
To increase its speed, the 75 hp engine was upgraded to a 120 hp engine, which made the tank considerably faster. This upgrade is often referred to as the Hotchkiss H38 or Hotchkiss H39, however all the vehicles were officially names Hotchkiss H35.
In 1940, a program to replace the short 37 mm tank gun with a longer 37 mm tank gun was started, to increase its anti-armour capability. By the time the Germans invaded, however, only platoon commanders had the long gun.
The Hotchkiss H35 was no match for the German Pz Kpfw III or Pz Kpfw IV, being both slower and fielding a relatively weak gun. Its thick armour protected it against the Pz Kpfw I and Pz Kpfw II, though. About 550 Hotchkiss H35s were captured by the Germans, and used for guard and anti-partisan duties in occupied countries. The vehicle was also used as a basis for numerous conversions, including the Marder I and the 10,5 cm le F H 18 (sf) auf Geschützwagen 39H(f) - a 105 mm self-propelled howitzer which fought in Normandy against the Allied invasion.
|Hotchkiss H35||Hotchkiss H35 model 39|
|Weight||11 t||12.1 t|
|Armour (max)||40 mm|
|Speed (max)||28 km/h||36.5 km/h|
|Primary weapon||37 mm SA18 (1)||37 mm SA38 (1)|
|Secondary weapon||7,5 mm Reibel (1)|