Char 2C or FCM 2C
During World War I a specification had been issued for a heavy breakthrough tank (Char de Rupture) weighing about 40 tons. Two prototypes Char 1A and Char 1B had been built between 1917 and 1918. Later development then produced an even heavier model: Char 2C (weight: 69 tons). Tank had mounted 75 mm gun in the front turret and 4 machine guns. Char 2C was powered by two 250 hp Mercedes engines.
In 1926, “Champagne” was converted to the Char 2C bis, which instead of the four MGs received a 155 mm howitzer. This conversion was only test-proof, already in the same year the tank was transferred to the original state.
In 1939, “Lorraine” was armed in order to withstand the German anti-tank guns. For this, the front armor was increased to 90 mm and the side armor to 65 mm. This was the strongest armor at this time probably making “Lorraine”, weighing 75 tons, the heaviest tank ever to be operated.
At the beginning of the Second World War, all 10 tanks built by Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée were operational. They were grouped together in their own tank battalion, the 51e Bataillon de Chars Lourds. The tanks were then already obsolete, slow and too easily vulnerable, but were still used for propaganda purposes. For this purpose they have been named after historical provinces of France.
The tanks were deliberately not used in battle. After the Third Reich had broken through the French lines during the Western Campaign, the decision to move the Char 2C southward on June 10th, 1940, fell. The transport train was stopped by a burning train on June 15, 1940, and the tanks had to be demolished to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Germans. German propaganda spoke of a Stuka attack. A tank “Champagne”, more or less functionally, was captured and taken to Berlin.
Weight: 69 t, length: 10.27 m, height: 4.09 m, width: 3 m. Tank crossed trenches of 4,25m, climbed obstacles 1,7m high, and forded 1,4m streams. Ground clearance: 0,6m. Range: 150 km, max speed: 12–15 km/h.
Armour: 45mm front, 35mm forward turret, 22mm sides, 13mm top, 10mm bottom, 22mm rear turret.
Crew: 12 tankers.
Total production: 10 tanks.
Plastic model kits
1/35: Meng TS-009 CHAR 2C FRENCH SUPER HEAVY TANK; 544 parts
Captured French Tanks Under the German Flag – Werner Regenberg, Horst Scheibert – Schiffer Military History 1997
FRENCH TANKS OF WORLD WAR II (1), Infantry and Battle Tanks – STEVEN J. ZALOGA – Osprey NEW VANGUARD 209
Le Char 2C – Musee des Blindes MiliDoc 02 (french)
French Infantry Tanks: Part I (Chars 2C, D and B) – AFV Weapons 58
World War II Album Volume 10: French Tanks Char B1 – Char D1 – Char D2 – Char 2C – Ray Merriam 2015