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一篇關於AMX-40的工程師的訪談

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发表于 2015-12-4 14:18:19 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
是鴨子
Firstly I apologize for probably not being on the good part of the forum, being from the EU server I can't create a thread on most sections of the forum.
I saw that some people were interested, or at least intrigued, by the AMX 40 I decided to translate an exchange (letters, documents, notes) between historian Stéphane Ferrard and the IGA (Ingénieur Général de l'Armement - General Engineer of Armament) Joseph Molinié about the AMX 40 before the death of Molinié the 13th February 1983.
Joseph Molinié, after finishing Polytechnique in 1925, devoted his life toward tank development, he joined AMX in December 1936 and became director in 1945, participating (when not commanding) every tank related projects (AMX 13, AMX 50, AMX 30, ...) of the company until its retirement in 1961.
This exchange, presented as an interview, was published in GBM n°95 (January/February/March 2011) in an article of Stéphane Ferrard (Pages 78 to 86).
I tried to keep the translation as "pure" as possible but I apologize for all the mistakes that probably litter it.

- Stéphane Ferrard :
My General, in your book Les engins blindés du monde 1917-1967, that you published in 1981 with Argout Editions, you refer, pages 14 and 15, to the Franco-English cooperation on the matter of tanks during the 1938-1940 period.
You quote in particular the joint study of a French « Cavalry tank » based on the Cruiser A13.
Can you give us more details about this project ?

- Joseph Molinié :
Before talking about this project whose study was launched in 1940, let me quickly retrace the background of the Franco-English cooperation on tanks you just evoked.
Even before Munich Agreement in September 1938 which appeared, for both side of the Channel, as a reprieve, we were all convinced that war was ineluctable.
From that moment, political, military but also technical contacts intensified between France and the United Kingdom.
Exchanges more and more numerous and close happened between the two allies.
In April 1939, a French military mission directed by the general Martin visited the British technical services, more particulary in the tanks domain.
It appeared to the eyes of the French officers that the British had no battle tank as our Char B available. Followed an exchange of technical comissions : the British came in France to examine the Char B from which they developped a version, future Churchill tank, with a French 75mm in casemate and a two-men turret equipped with a 2-Pounder. I gave more details about this in my book.
But if the British, in 1939, had no battle tank, they had a fast tank called Cruiser A13 then in industrialization process in the Lord Nuffield factories of Birmingham.
This fast tank caught our attention by its innovatives technical solutions which seemed to us superior to those used on our combat armored cars – cavalry tanks if you prefer – such as the Renault ACG 1, or even the Somua S35.

- Stéphane Ferrard :
What were those technical innovations ?

- Joseph Molinié :
They mainly relied on the suspension which was of Christie design from the American inventor of the same name and of which the British but also, before them, the Russians had acquired the license.
This suspension was considered obsolete by the US Ordnance and as such, Washington had authorized its exportation.
Which made the success of the famous T-34, here isn’t the least of the paradoxes.
But if we appreciated its mobility, we also noted with interest the modifications brought by our British homologues who were anxious about firing on the move.
On that score, as i wrote it, ther perfectionned the shock absorbers of the suspension but also the gradualness of the hydraulical control of the gun, more supple than the electrical command of our APX turrets which equipped our B1 bis, D2 and S35.

- Stéphane Ferrard :
Why haven’t simply bought or built under license the A13 ?

- Joseph Molinié :
I know the question of the purchase of the A13 was asked in early 1940. However, it clashed with the weakness of the Franc to the Pound. The A13 would have costed too much for the taxpayers.
At this era, the French government prefered to engage importation expenses for aeronautical material principally.
Moreover, a production under license would have clashed with the well-known problem which I talked about in my book, the incompatibility between English and French measurement units.
Tools would been send from England and our staff should have followed a probably lengthy formation because, at this era, in this domain, few knew English ; and I’m not speaking of the working-class.
The contrary was as true for our British friends which explain they built their own « version » of the Char B, future Churchill.
But, beyond to this important problem which was, by the way, quickly resolved when American equipement, which was not in the metric system, arrived in our harbors of North Africa from 1943 – proof of the ability to adapt of the workforce – existed a technical restraint.
The superstructures of the A13 offered plate at 0° of incidence, that is to say true « shots traps » as most of the British tanks of the time.
For us, it was out of question to take back this design all the more the HQ was asking for an augmentation of the armor up to 60mm for light infantry and cavalry tanks, or its sloped equivalent.
An uparmored A13 to 60mm – it was only armored at 30mm – would have transformed it, by weight augmentation, in an infantry tank, that is to say it would have lost its mobility, essential for a cavalry tank.
The English protection was unacceptable and as such, we had to rethink a Cruiser a la french.
This is what we’ve done from 1939 to establish this cavalry tank project.

- Stéphane Ferrard :
From which parts the study of the new tank was conducted ?

- Joseph Molinié :
From a mix between elements of the Christie suspension which would have been supplied by Nuffield, the British system of hydraulical turret control and French mechanical organs.
These organs consisted essentially in the diesel engine from Aster, a 4-cylinder two-stroke giving 130hp at 1900rpm.
The study of this engine was made by the demand of the AMX to Mr. Jean Aury, technical director tasked of studies of the Aster society of Saint-Denis, as I precised in my book.
This engine was to equip the AMX 38 light infantry tank but also the cavalry tank.
An extension in a 400hp 12-cylinder was planned in 1940 for heavy tanks.
As you know, I was a supporter of the diesel engines in combat tanks as they considerably improved the autonomy.
Moreover, diesel fuel, less volatile than gasoline greatly lowered lowered the risk of fire and as such participated to the protection of the vehicle.
It’s for this reason that, during the rearmament of the French army, I advocated in late 1942 for the diesel engine version of the Sherman which was made for the Russians.
During this era I was part of general Béthouart’s military mission at the Pentagone et I was entrusted with the liaison bureau.
But let’s get back to the era you’re interested in.
During the development of this engine, Aster encountered some difficulties which, in 1940, were about to be solved.
The typical example of this kind of difficulties is writed down in the letter, of which you have a copy, Jean Aury sent me the 13th November 1939, following the order for six 400hp diesel engines destined to the future AMX heavy tanks prototypes.
With the mobilization, Aster lacked cruelly of workers who were in huge majority mobilised in the armies.
Thus, its study bureau tasked with the realisation of diesel tank engines counted only an engineer and a draughtsman. A new engineer was expected for the 20th December as well as the return from the armies of one specialist but – and despite the support of the AMX – at an unknow date.
During the elaboration of the future tanks program by the general Keller, inspector of the tanks, he considered « meager » the 130hp engine of our AMX 38 prototype.
This engine, let’s admit it, was often subject of failures, due to a lack of development.
In my report to the general Keller, you can read that, for me, the 130hp 4-cylinder was just the first step and it should be followed, on the prototype n°2 of the AMX 38, by a 4-cylinder giving 160hp at 2000rpm. To this I added :
« Thereunto, it is necessary to add that the Aster engine is build as a fixed engine and its power correspond to a sustained output and not to a burst output as on car engines. »
It’s this version that was planned for the cavalry tank then in study.
Early 1940, we were thinking to be able to up its power to 220hp but by going from 4 to 6 cylinders.

- Stéphane Ferrard :
Sir, was this cavalry tank an official program or an initiative from your company like the AMX 38 light infantry tank ?

- Joseph Molinié :
It effectively was an initiative from our studies bureau, for a powerful tracked armored car when at this era, the leadership of the cavalry was thinking of a similar engine but wheeled, which launched the study and realization of of the famous AM 201 by Panhard, future EBR.
Through our cavalry tank, we were offering a tracked/wheeled alternative to the fully wheeled Panhard project.

- Stéphane Ferrard :
The tank developped by AMX was then a two-seater, as the AM Panhard 201 ?

- Joseph Molinié :
No, it was a three-seater following the formula of the Renault ACG 1 that I considered to be the best adapted for anti-tank combat with a two-man turret and a single man, the driver, in the hull.
The British used this layout for their Matilda infantry tank with a two-men turret and on the Cruiser A13 but with a three-man turret.
I reused the same formula after 1945 through the AMX 13, then the AMX 50 and to finish with the AMX 30.
The future successor of the AMX 30 should follow it too.
Indeed, we should have chosen the formula of the three-man turret for every vehicles destined to anti-tank fighting.
It’s what was applied as soon as 1916 for the prototype of the 1A heavy tank then the 2C of FCM.
A Char B with a three-man turret armed with a 75mm would have done wonder in 1940. I talked about it in my book.
By the way, following the first battles of May, ARL worked in emergency and under the energetic direction of the IGA Lavirotte on a version of the Char B with a 75mm equipped turret ; time lacked for its realization.
However we met it again in 1944 with the first prototypes of the ARL 44.
Let’s notice that every modern tanks actually use the formula of the ACG 1 with a two-man (autoloading) or a three-man (manual loading) turret and only the driver is in the hull.

- Stéphane Ferrard :
So, your cavalry tank was revisited ACG 1 ?

- Joseph Molinié :
In a way, but of the ACG 1, as I just said, we kept only the layout and the armament, that is to say the excellent 47mm SA35 which armed the turret of our S35, D2 and B1 Bis.
Contrary to the ACG 1, the hull of our tank was entirely made of sloped casted steel while the turret was shaped by deep drawing.

- Stéphane Ferrard :
Wasn’t this project a direct rival to the Somua by ~1942 ?

- Joseph Molinié :
At long-term, the true contender would have rather been the G1 project with a 75mm gun in the turret.
However, i t was an infantry program and not a cavalry one.
Technically, we knew the Somua was condemned on the long-term, principally because of its heavy and costly suspension, too sensitive to mines.
With the Christie suspension, we brought a design which was lighter, cheaper, less sensitive to mines and with a superior road and cross-country mobility as the T-34 showed it afterwards.
Rather than as an adversary, we placed ourselves as an alternative to the Somua, even in its last version S40.
A variant of the Somua with a Christie suspension would have put us in a totally different situation.
But let’s not forget that early 1940, this cavalry tank was only a study that could only evolve.
We could hardly hope for a prototype before, at best, late 1940 but rather early 1941 before beginning the tests and as such this is not before late 1941 that the first production models would have been ready.
Meanwhile, the cavalry tank would have evolved by the evolution of warfare toward a more powerful armament such as the 47mm SA37, or even a 75mm and as so would have increased in size and mainly in mass to wind up toward a « French T-34 ».
But we don’t remake history.
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发表于 2018-6-7 18:26:20 | 显示全部楼层
是鸭子是什么鬼···········
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发表于 2018-6-17 21:59:45 | 显示全部楼层
自行翻译系列.....
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发表于 2018-8-22 21:30:58 | 显示全部楼层
原来是小黄鸭
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