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The Char de cavalerie SOMUA 1935 S (SOMUA's 1935 S cavalry tank) is a Rank II French medium tank with a battle rating of 1.3 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.75 "La Résistance". As it was considered to be the best tank at its time, being very mobile, easy to maintain while having good combat characteristics. As WW2 struck, these were on the frontlines, hence the surname "Shield of The Republic". As one of the first rank II vehicle French tank commanders will unlock, it feels like a breath of fresh air over its underpowered predecessors.
The S.35 has the same turret design as on the Char B1 bis, meaning that the penetration, reload and turret rotation speed is the same (But there is no "mail slot" turret ring). The S.35 contains a 3 man crew (Gunner/Commander, Driver and Radio operator) so a well placed frontal shot from HEAT or from a high caliber gun will in majority of cases destroy you on the spot. The S.35 is best used when showing only its strong turret, exposing only one crew member at a time brings extra survivability. The S.35 is a tall and cumbersome tank at 2.0, though it is relatively mobile with a 40 km/h top speed.
Survivability and armour
Armour is this tank's main attribute as it is thick and provides good protection for its 3-man crew. Still, do not completely rely on it as there are many foes that can easily penetrate it at any range. Take every bounced shot as a "lucky roll" and get back into cover as quick as possible as the next shot could be your last. Armour this thick makes this tank very resilient to SPAA shots from all sides. An effective way to angle this tank is by facing your enemy at 45°, showing them your right-hand track: this sides minimises shot traps (on the other side, a flat 40 mm plate is conveniently placed at the right angle to make this tactic as ineffective as possible). As for top armour, this tank is pretty much immune to strafing from anything ranging from rifle caliber to HMG rounds, which are common aircraft armaments at this BR.
Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull)
Cast homogeneous armour (Turret)'
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 35 mm (10-79°) Front plate
35 mm (7-62°) Front glacis
35 mm (0-71°) Lower glacis
| 40 mm (0-25°), 38 mm (20-21°) Top
40 + 20 mm (0-89°) Bottom
| 35 mm (29-31°) Top
25 mm (2-49°) Bottom
| 25 mm |
8 mm Engine grille
|Turret|| 56 mm (0-50°) Turret front
45 mm (1-85°) Gun mantlet
45 mm (0-49°) Machine gun cover
|45 mm (2-19°)|| 45 mm (18-19°)
45 mm (18°) Turret hatch
|Cupola||40 mm||30 mm|
- Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick while tracks are 20 mm thick.
- Belly armour is 20 mm thick.
- Hull underside above the tracks are 40 mm thick.
If you see a S.35, aim at the connection of the lower/middle plate with the upper plate which meets at 90 degrees, despite being curved, creating a weak spot that often knocks them out if penetrated. If not then aim at the driver's optics to knock out both driver and gunner. Flank if possible and make sure to be quite close to this tank's side as its armour is thick in this general area. The S.35 cannot fight more than one tank at a time, so if you can surround the S.35, it will fall quickly due to poor reload rate and turret turning speed.
Forward motion is great, turning and reverse are awful. Has average soft terrain crossing capability (snow, mud, etc.). Align your hull in a straight line towards your objective and hit the gas without correcting trajectory is the best way to maximise this tank's speed as any turning motion slows it down quite significantly.
|Weight (tons)|| Add-on Armor
|Max speed (km/h)|
|Engine power (horsepower)|
|Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
While being supbar to later pre-war tanks, this vehicle's main armament provides decent anti-tank capability. Its main flaw being slow reload and low spalling: make every shot count. Early commanders of French tanks should be used to command one-man turrets, with all their benefits and flaws. It is worth mentioning this tank's LOCK system, which makes stop-and-shoot tactics effective.
|47 mm SA35 L/32|
|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°
|84||67 (+17)||49 (+35)||25 (+59)||1 (+83)||no|
|Capacity (Belt capacity)|| Fire rate
| Horizontal |
Usage in battles
Your best option is to play in a supportive role, stay behind a well armoured vehicle and land shots on the enemy from a medium distance. Do not try to rush in ahead of the team or go solo, as 7/10 times you will be destroyed by a counter-flanking player. The S.35 is able to hold its ground if you create a corridor for people to come at you. If you are able to flank without being seen, just remember to check behind you every now and then.
All light tanks are to be feared as they can out-maneuver this cumbersome tank quite easily and most enemies with a bit of luck will eventually hit one of this tank's weak spots, the only thing to fear is facing a good bit of armour. With its low post-penetration damage and slow reload, tank with many crew members are also hard to take down.
Pros and cons
- Armour is overall good
- ~35-40 mm thick on all sides + a bit sloped gives it a change to survive a hit or two.
- Capable of very noticeable angling due to thick sides
- Turret is quite thick on all sides for the BR
- Gun is decent for the BR
- One of the first French tanks to be able to fight on its own
- Has MAC 31 coaxial MG
- LOCK system makes stop-and-shoot tactics very effective.
- Goes nicely forward in AB, with an acceptable turn speed when going on max speed
- Can be mistaken for a B1 bis when hulled-down (~same turret)
- Has 3 crew members, can afford to loose one.
- Small target
- Armour is quite complicated
- Sides are thicker than frontal armour
- Big cupola is an obvious shot trap
- Angling can be defeated by knowing its shot traps: even a well-angled S.35 shows flat armour.
- Gun feels subpar
- It has low penetration while firing non-HE shots
- Only two ammo choices
- Mobility is an issue
- Long and narrow chassis makes for difficult turning
- Reverse speed feels slow
The SOMUA S.35 was developed in 1934 in response to demand for a cavalry tank that could withstand direct hits from contemporary anti-tank weapons. SOMUA was the company assigned to the challenge, and by spring 1935 they completed construction of the first prototype, designated the AC3.
Unfortunately, early testing revealed some flaws with the first prototype, which SOMUA subsequently fixed and released in a pre-production batch of four vehicles (called the AC4). This first batch demonstrated satisfactory performance. In 1936, the AC4 modification of the vehicle was adopted as the standard medium tank for the cavalry units of the French army. Shortly thereafter, it received the official designation of SOMUA S.35.
Production of the SOMUA S.35 began in 1936, with a goal of producing 600 vehicles. During production, however, financial restraints limited the number that could be produced. Of the initial 600 planned, only 450 were actually ordered and built for the French army.
Following the outbreak of WW2, the S.35 was soon deployed to defend French soil against a German invasion. Because the tank was designed to fight contemporary armoured vehicles of other nations, it fared well against the onslaught of Panzer III’s and early modifications of the Panzer IV.
In fact, in most battles where the S.35 clashed with German Panzers in engagement ranges of around 1000 meters, the S.35 was able to destroy the Panzers without taking any critical damage in return.
Unfortunately, while the S.35 did reasonably well in combat, the mechanics servicing the vehicle had few kind words for it. Due to its cast hull and complex suspension design, the S.35 was notoriously difficult to service and maintain—so difficult that if the tank was damaged in combat, the crew was unlikely to be able to repair it on the battlefield.
While the S.35 saw some success in battle, its victories were short-lived. In June 1940, France surrendered and German forces occupied the northern part of the country, while the Vichy government was established in the south. Dozens of S.35s were captured, modified, and then deployed by the German and Italian forces. A handful of S.35s were also given to axis allies such as Hungary and Bulgaria.
The S.35 was eventually decommissioned from active service at the end of hostilities in 1945.
- From Devblog
An excellent addition to the article will be video guides, as well as 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.
|France medium tanks|
|S.35 · Lorraine 40t|
|AMX||AMX-30 · AMX-30 (1972) · AMX-30B2 · AMX-30B2 BRENUS · AMX-40 · AMX-50 · AMX M4 · AMX-10RC|
|Based on M4||▄M4A1 Sherman · Sherman M4A1 tourelle FL10 · M4A4 (SA50)|