France's flag
Toggle Menu

France's Hotchkiss Modèle 1935, H-39; Char de Cavalerie 38H light tank

Photos

Design

The H-39 was an improved H-35, with a more powerful engine along with other modifications.3 The H-39 had a raised squared rear deck which differentiated it from the H-35.3

The turret was produced by AMX and was identical to the R-35s and R-40s.

The engine was on the left in the rear and the gas tank on the right. An external fuel tank could be used as well as a skid tail to increase cross country performance.

Construction

Hull was cast sections bolted together.

Crew

The driver was in front a little to the right of center. He had a split hatch cover which one side opened upwards and the other opened forwards. There was an escape hatch in the floor.

The commander had a rear door on the turret that could be folded down horizontal to form a seat. He also had a cupola that could be traversed.

Armament

The 37 mm SA-38 L/35 was installed starting in April 1940.4 Some H-39s were updated when the SA-38 was available.4

The SA 18 had velocity of 1,273 fps. Some had a 37 mm Sa 38 L/33 longer barrel gun installed (velocity 2,300 fps). The H-39 carried 100 rounds of 37 mm ammunition.

Production

  • H-39: 1,000+3, ~1,0006
    • Production: February 1939 - ?3

Usage

First used in Norway.

Used by Free French forces in the Mediterranean.6

German Use

The H-39 became the PzKpfw 39-H 735(f).3 They were used in the Soviet Union and in the Mediterranean.7

The Germans added radios to the H-39s that they captured.7 Some were converted to self-propelled artillery with 75 mm antitank guns or 105 mm howitzers.7

7.5cm PaK40(Sf) auf Geshützwagen 39H(f), 10.5cm leFH18(SF) auf Geshützwagen 39H(f)

Post World War II

There were a few H-39s still being used by Israeli forces in 1956.7

Specifications

  Hotchkiss H-39
Crew Commander, driver
21,2,3,4,5,6,7
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 26,620 lb6
11.9 tons1,4,5,7, 12 tons2, 12.1 tons3
12,100 kg1,5,6,7
Length 13' 10"1,3,4,5,6,7
4.22 m1,2,3,6, 4.23 m4,5,7
Height 7' 0.6"1,3,6, 7' 1"4,5,7
2.14 m2, 2.15 m1,3,6, 2.16 m4,5,7
Width 6' 4.75"1, 6.48 m3, 6' 4.8"6, 6' 5"4,7
1.85 m2, 1.95 m1,3,6, 1.96 m4,5,7
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 2"
0.37 m2
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure 12.8 psi
0.9 (kg/cm2)2
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 37 mm Sa38 L/33
1: 37 mm1,3,5,6,7
1: 37 mm L/212 or L/332
1: 37 mm SA-38 L/354
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.5 mm MG1,5,7
1: 7.5 mm MG 31
1: MG2
MG - coaxial 1: 7.5 mm MG4,6
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 58, 1002
Secondary  
MG 2,4002
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 401,5,6,7
Hull Front, Upper 22-34@7° & round
22-342
Hull Front, Lower 29-34@30°
Hull Sides, Upper 34@20°
342
Hull Sides, Lower 34@0°
Hull Rear 34@25° and 22@30°
222
Hull Top 22@88° & 90°
222
Hull Bottom 12@90°
122
Turret Front 45@0° & 25°
mantlet: 25@round
452
Turret Sides 40@30°
402
Turret Rear 40@30°
402
Turret Top 302, 12@90°
Engine (Make / Model) Hotchkiss 19381,4,5,7, Hotchkiss2,3,6
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water2
Cylinders 62,4,5,6,7
Capacity  
Net HP 1203,4,5,6,7, 120@ 2,800 rpm2
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 4 forward, 1 reverse,
5 forward2, 1 reverse2
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline2,4,5,6,7
Octane  
Quantity 55 gallons
210 liters2
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand
Speed - Road 22.3 mph3,6, 22.7 mph1,4,5,7
36 kph3,6, 36.5 kph1,2,4,5,7
Speed - Cross Country 10.6 mph
Range - Road 74.5 miles3,6, 93 miles4, 93.2 miles1,5,7
120 km3,6, 150 km1,2,4,5,7
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius 27'
8.25 m2
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 2' 10"3,6
0.85 m2,3,6
Trench crossing 5' 11"3,6
1.8 m3,6
Vertical obstacle 1' 8"3,6
0.5 m3,6
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) bell cranks
Coil Springs2
Wheels each side 6 wheels mounted in pairs on bogies
62
Return rollers each side 2
Tracks (Type)  
Length 6
Width 11"
270 mm2
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. Panzer Truppen The Complete Guide to the Creation and Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1933-1942, Thomas L. Jentz, 1996
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Western Allied Tanks 1939-45, David Porter, 2009
  5. The Illustrated Guide to Tanks of the World, George Forty, 2006
  6. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
  7. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site