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|This page is about the light tank H.39. For the premium version, see H.39 «Cambronne».|
The Char léger modèle 1935 H modifié 39 (Hotchkiss light tank model 1935 modified 1939) is a reserve rank I French light tank with a battle rating of 1.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.75 "La Résistance" and replaced the H.35 as one of France's two reserve vehicles in Update 1.85 "Supersonic".
Compared to its predecessor, the H.39 features a serviceable gun, thicker armour, and a significantly more powerful engine, which makes it, when fully upgraded, surprisingly speedy on flat ground for low level French tanks. Nevertheless, this vehicle's gun and mobility are below average compared its peers from other nations. While it is mobile in a straight line, it maneuvers slowly and its narrow tracks slow it down substantially cross-country. The H.39 should be played as a close support tank, best utilized in urban maps and following its teammates while waiting for a good shot opportunity.
Survivability and armour
With a rather constant 45-50 mm effective thickness from all sides, this tank can be a hard nut to crack if spotted at a good distance (500+ m), and can take a good beating up close if care is taken to properly angle and avoid tanks with especially potent guns. However, its armour should not be relied upon; most reserve tank guns are capable of penetrating its raw armour thickness and have faster reloads, so hard cover should be utilized generously. With only 2 crewmen, any penetrating shot could be your last.
- Cast homogeneous armour
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 40 mm (8-87°) Front plate
22 mm (75-85°), 40 mm (31°) Front glacis
40 mm (30°) Lower glacis
| 40 mm (1-33°)
40 mm (1-2°)
| 40 mm (24-30°) Top
40 mm (9-32°) Bottom
|Turret|| 45 + 25 mm (5°) Turret front
45 mm (28-30°) Left side
25 mm (10-19°) Gun mantlet
|40 mm (1-27°)||40 mm (8-63°)||25 mm|
|Cupola||40 mm||40 mm|
- Suspension wheels, bogies, and tracks are all 15 mm thick.
- Turret ring is 35 mm thick with a 5 mm protective collar.
- Trench-crossing tail at the hull rear is 5 mm thick.
|Weight (tons)|| Add-on Armor
|Max speed (km/h)|
|Engine power (horsepower)|
|Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The 37 mm SA38 has significantly better penetration and post-penetration damage than its predecessor, but has a longer reload rate than its peers. Know your enemies' insides well, target their gunners first or immobilize them by shooting at the engine, and take care to make every shot count. Avoid exchanging shots at long distances as your gun's penetration values decrease heavily.
|37 mm SA38 L/33|
|Turret rotation speed (°/s)|
|Mode||Stock||Upgraded||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Stock||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration in mm @ 0° Angle of Attack|
|Ammunition|| Type of
Mass in kg
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass in g
| Normalization At 30°
|76||75 (+1)||10 (+66)||1 (+75)||Yes|
|7.5 mm MAC 31|
|Capacity (Belt capacity)|| Fire rate
| Horizontal |
Usage in battles
Use the same tactics as with other French rank 1 vehicles; follow the pack and take shots whenever the opportunity shows. Use your decent mobility to assist in flanking manoeuvres (i.e. in urban maps) and put shots into your enemies' weak sides. Find hard cover that can't be shot through, angle strongly, and poke in and out between your shots, as your reload can't match that of your opponents.
On maps with hilly terrain, stick with your teammates near the capture point, go hull-down, and wait for anything to fall in your sights. Try to immobilize your target on your first shot. Get back into cover between reloads and pop out a few meters away from your last spot.
Pros and cons
- Tiny tank with tiny profile
- -13° of gun depression
- Has a gun stabilizer mechanic, which makes stop-and-shoot tactics easier and faster
- MAC 31 is an excellent coaxial MG
- Thick all-around armour that can be very strongly angled
- Moderately powerful engine that can keep it at its 41 km/h top speed on flat ground
- Decent reverse speed of -7 km/h
- Arguably the best French rank 1 tank
- Only 2 crew members
- Only one choice of ammunition, which has no explosive filler
- Sub-par penetration
- Long reload for the caliber
- Driver's hatch is almost completely vertical
- Narrow tracks means poor ground flotation
The H.39 was an improved version of the H.35, with a modified suspension and more powerful engine. 700 were built before France fell. Originally armed with the same SA 18 short gun as the H.35 and R.35, it saw service with the 342nd Independent Tank Company in Norway (which went over to the Free French with their tanks and fought with them in 1941 in Syria), and equipped six of the tank battalions (14th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 42nd and 45th) in the three pre-war armored divisions, and 12 cavalry squadrons. The SA 18-armed version is sometimes referred to (erroneously) as the H.38.
The poor anti-tank performance of the First World War-era 37 mm infantry gun (on which the SA 18 tank gun was based) during the Spanish Civil War led to the redesigned SA 38. In total 358 SA 18-armed tanks, mostly H.39 and H.35, would be rearmed with the new gun before the invasion of France, with several hundred more being produced as France fell. Upgunned H.35s and H.39s were employed by the French as section- and platoon-leader vehicles.
After the fall of France, the Germans retrofitted some of their captured vehicles with the newer gun, and replaced the commander's cupola with their more customary split hatch for the tank commander. These vehicles, which the Germans called the 38H 735, fought in Finland in 1941, in the Balkans, and against the Allies in France. In December of 1944, 29 were still in German service. Another 24 were cut down to just the hull pan and nose armour and used as Geschutzwagen (assault guns), and armed with the PaK 40/L46 75mm gun, making them similar in appearance to the Marder I conversion from captured Lorraine Schlepper vehicles. These were actively employed against Allied forces in Normandy. Some recaptured H.39s served with Free French forces to the end of the war.
Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the vehicles;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:
- topic on the official game forum;
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|France light tanks|
|AMC||AMC.34 YR · AMC.35 (ACG.1)|
|AMX||AMX-13 (FL11) · AMX-13 · AMX-13-90 · AMX-13 (HOT) · AMX-13 (SS.11)|
|Hotchkiss||H.35 · H.39 · H.39 "Cambronne"|
|FCM.36 · R.35 (SA38) · Char 25t|