German Panzerkampfwagen 740 B2 (F)

The Panzerkampfwagen 740 B2 (F) was the German designation of the French Char B tanks pressed into German service after the fall of France in 1940.

Following the design principles of First World War Tanks with tracks surrounding the superstructure, the Char B series of tanks were designed with trench warfare very much in mind.  In the forward hull a 75mm howitzer was located allowing only elevation whilst in the turret a 47mm was installed.  With armour protection of 40mm the Char B series was a formidable weapon design in 1940.  However, the Blitzkrieg tactics of the German forces exposed the Char Bs slow speed (13 MPH across country) and unsuitability for fast flowing warfare.

The one man turret was a major flaw with the commander having to command the tank as well as communicate with other tanks and load, aim and fire the 47mm gun.  He was separated from the rest of the crew located in the hull.

Despite its relatively thick armour the radiator grills mounted on the side of the hull proved a weak point that was exploited by the Germans, despite the gallantry of the French crews.

Upon the fall of France over 150 Char Bs were pressed into German service receiving some uparmouring and other detail changes.  A number were also converted with the 75mm howitzer being replaced by a flamethrower.

A number of these vehicles were encountered by Airborne Forces during Operation Market Garden, with 6 being knocked out during the battle by 6 pounder and 17 pounder anti tank guns and PIATs.

Weight: 28 tonnes
Length: 6.37 m
Width: 2.46 m
Heigh:t 2.79 m
Crew: 4
Armour: 40 mm
Main armament: 47 mm SA 34
Secondary armament: 75 mm ABS SA 35 howitzer and 2 × 7.5 mm Reibel machine guns



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