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"The Winding Road to Nowhere " Topic

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758 hits since 16 Apr 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2018 11:18 a.m. PST

"The French were the first to master the production of SPGs. These vehicles missed WWI by only a few months. Enthusiasm for SPGs died down after the war ended, and France only returned to this topic in the 1930s. This article tells the story of French SPGs built on medium tank chassis, specifically the SOMUA SAu 40, which nearly made it into production.

From a support vehicle to a tank destroyer

Émile Rimailho, the head designer of Compagnie des Forges et Acieries de la Marine et d'Homecourt (FAMH), was one of the forefathers of French self propelled artillery. He was the creator of the "mobile gun mount" concept that was used in a number of vehicles that made it into mass production. They are known as Saint-Chamond, in honour of the city where the company was located.

Tanks designed and produced by the FAMH company also had this name. Their distinguishing feature was an electric transmission. Rimailho's SPGs were even more interesting. The SPG's electric motors was powered by a prime mover ahead of it, which also acted as a munitions carrier. Porsche's famous tanks with an electric transmission would not be built until more than two decades later…."
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Supercilius Maximus17 Apr 2018 2:57 a.m. PST

How were the French "the first"? The British "Gun Carrier MkI" was designed in 1916, produced in 1917, and first used at Pilckem Ridge (July-August 1917). A "Gun Carrier MkII" was designed in 1917. For some reason, they were promptly converted into supply tanks (possibly because it was found they could carry as much material as almost 300 men) and a few were fitted with cranes as recovery tanks.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2018 11:07 a.m. PST



monk2002uk19 Apr 2018 3:42 a.m. PST

The British gun carrier was not the equivalent of a 'self' propelled gun. It was a method for ensuring that non-self propelled guns, such as the 60 pounder, could be propelled in a different way than towing behind a Holt for example ;-)


deephorse19 Apr 2018 5:50 a.m. PST

Wikipedia, that bastion of truth and accuracy, would disagree with you.


What is the definition of a SPG anyway, and how does it differ from that of a tank in the 1914-18 period? Pile in now!

monk2002uk19 Apr 2018 7:28 a.m. PST

There is a theoretical possibility that guns could have been fired from the gun carrier but I know of no instance where that happened, most likely for good reason ;-). As to the Wikipedia definition of a self-propelled gun, a horse-drawn artillery team was perfectly "capable of independent action and [of] having operational mobility on the battlefield". So that takes us back to…

I suspect a gunner from the Royal Garrison Artillery or Royal Siege Artillery or French equivalent would have frowned at the suggestion that a Mark anything tank carried a 'gun' as befits a SPG – hehe. Just a guess.


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