Talk:Char 2C

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This is fascinating information. I have read a great deal about Estienne and the French Tanks of the First World War, but some of these details are new to me. I should like to hear from the author if he can tell me some of his sources for this article. Please contact me if you can.

James Reeve.

Manchester, England.

Most of the information is simply from Jeudy's Chars de France and Mili doc numéro 2: le Char 2 C. Of course these data are here presented under a rational interpretation, that is, without following the standard creation myth - so Estienne is neither some superhuman hero (he was in fact not closely involved in the technical development of any French tank, not even the FT-17) nor a fool (so it is assumed he was consistent and rational in his attitude towards the Char 2C). That the name Lorraine is the later one (pace Jeudy) can easily be proven by the photographic evidence in even his own book.

However, some of the details (and probably the more fascinating ones) are at best hinted at in the publications mentioned. Why this is so I will disclose in private to mr Reeve.

MWAK-- 11:26, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Estienne, etc.[edit]

Thanks for replying. I have read Col. Ramspacher's biog of Estienne, and it is, to say the least, uncritical. There is no suggestion that the General might have been the slightest bit Machiavellian.

I have now read Jeudy's account, and, unless my French is even worse than I suspect, he seems to suggest that it was Louis Renault who gave Gen. Mouret a "consideration" in return for a contract to build the engines for the 2C. I should be very interested to hear more about this.

James Reeve.

I'm sorry I haven't been able to answer you yet - and I'm even more sorry to tell you it will take more time still :o). But I hope to inform you in a week or so.

MWAK-- 08:54, 11 Aug 2004 (UTC)

2.9.2004 Message received. Most intriguing. Thanks very much. JR

I`m interested about the B-1 bis Char de Bataille, but I havent found it even in the list of French tanks. Am I wrong with the designation, or it will be put there after the whole page is finished?

It's understandable you're interested in this vehicle; it's after all one of the most remarkable AFV's ever built! :o) Sadly, there are no articles about it on Wikipedia yet, apart from a very small German one. The lists are not supposed to reflect already written articles only (as can be seen by all those red links :o) but they are, at least in this case, not defective either: the vehicle is listed under the more including designation "Char B1", as there are three subtypes (B1 proper, B1 bis, B1 ter) that are so closely related they probably (but we'll see) won't get separate articles. When this will happen is hard to say. I myself am Dutch and I'm in the slow process of creating on the Dutch Wikipedia a full range of exhaustive articles on all French tanks (the first time ever for that language any easily accessible information has been made public about this subject). After some time I then create a smaller English version of each article. At current speed within 30 months I will cover the Char B1 also. I kept it for last because it will be the most extensive one: some 50 KB monster in Dutch, I fear (and hope). Should you not have the patience to wait that long ;o), there's plenty information to be found if you speak French, among which the most beautiful book ever written about any tank: Stéphan Bonnaud's Chars B au Combat and several websites, the best of which is The few English books about French tanks contain many factual errors and tend to give a completely distorted view of pre-war French tank tactics and organisation. There are many common myths about the Char B1 in particular: that few had radio sets (all in principle); that the ventilation grille was a weak spot (nope); that the 75 mm gun for the horizontal plane was mounted completely rigidly in the hull (slight traverse was possible); that no AP-rounds were available for that gun (many a German tank crew learned the fatal truth of this matter); that it had inferior sights compared to German tanks (if anything, better) and even that it was the expression of some defensive attitude (in its day it was the only effective breakthrough tank and thus the offensive weapon par excellence). So if you're not versant in French you have the choice between remaining uninformed or being misinformed :>(.

--MWAK 07:23, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

As it happened my hand was forced: there now exists an article on the Char B1 :o).--MWAK 13:23, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Thnx for the article and Thnx for the info. (applause, cheers, girls` bra-s flying your way, spectators waving, lighters are lit, we want more we want moreis heard. 8o)

Veljko Stevanovich 13. Nov. 2005 22:55 (UTC+1)

Within 27 months there will, deo volente, be more ;o). Meanwhile you might find interesting or other contributions of David Lehmann on this forum. Keep in mind he can be dead wrong at times, as all of us. And then there are only so many French tanks on a given timeline...--MWAK 10:24, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Keeping a Neutral Point of View[edit]

I tried to put a more neutral tone (WP:NPOV) to this article a while back in keeping with Wikipedia policy, but someone has overwritten much of that work. It seems that there is a lot of unsupported speculation and critical point-of-view in some of the text especially about the Phases of development. Clearly this tone seems to come from the author of a source publication, but hopefully the text is not just lifted verbatim, as that would be plagiarizing. This material should be referenced preferably with footnotes and should stick a bit more to the facts, as Wikipedia is not the proper forum for expressing opinions. I've nominated this for a NPOV review to make sure that I'm not misperceiving the situation. Kevin Murray 04:16, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, have you read Mili doc numéro 2: le Char 2 C? Or could you give any modern sources contradicting the text? I haven't overwritten much of your work, mostly changes that were clearly factually incorrect, such as the claim "Petain supported the FCM 1A" or that "Joffre wanted pontoons" (I assume the latter was an inadvertent error on your part :o), and many reductions in factual information given, such as the fact that Pétain was High Commander. And now again you delete the fact that the FT-17 was a (revolutionary) light tank. I understand that someone without proper knowledge of the subject might believe "revolutionary" was an unsupported value judgment instead of simply reflecting informed consensus, but why omit that it was light? I agree that the tone of the article was rather flippant, but then a slight ironic detachment from the subject might be quite appropriate, given the circumstances. It would be highly deceptive to give the reader the utterly false impression the course of events had been straightforward, proper and rational, wheras the real history of the Char 2C was one of personal gain, political strife and stark dissimulation. One could say the tone is simply that of present French writers on the subject of French tank development: one naturally becomes ironic when faced with events ;o). Nevertheless, I'd better rewrite and expand the whole... And give those references.--MWAK 07:33, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your understanding. I agree that I'm not an expert in this field, but we seem to share the concern of the "tone" problem. The information is overall good, but I think you see my point as I see yours. These are some tough paragraphs to write with concise clarity. Kevin Murray 08:46, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
I'll make an effort. :o) This article is merely a shortened translation of one I did for the Dutch wiki and there's plenty of background information available to improve the narrative.--MWAK 10:34, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
MWAK expanded on my edits and has produced a much more neutral tone while restoring the historical accuracy, and much better readability. I think that my critisism of the NPOV is no longer warranted, so I removed the tag. This is really a facinating saga. Kevin Murray 19:37, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
And there's more to come after Christmas! I was a bit lazy when I first created the article...--MWAK 08:35, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

Biggest tank?[edit]

In what sense? Dimensions? The Tiger was still heavier though.


Obviously in regard of its dimensions. That is what "big" means, after all. The Tiger II was about the same weight. It's difficult to make comparisons. E.g. over the years the accumulated paint layers alone probably brought the Char 2Cs above the 70 metric ton limit. Certainly the uparmoured Lorraine was heavier than any Tiger II.--MWAK 09:15, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

I think this needs a clearer mention of the fact that the Panzer VIII Maus was over 2.5x the mass, although it was only prototyped. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 02:39, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

OK. When I come to it :o).--MWAK 10:47, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Don't worry about it--I'll just change "largest" to "largest (in physical dimensions)" --The Centipede (talk) 19:57, 17 October 2008 (UTC)


The article says this was the first tank to have stroboscopic cupolas. So, what is a stroboscopic cupola? Does our writer merely mean crew were able to use periscopes? Geo Swan (talk) 00:09, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

No, it was a construction consisting of an outer and an inner cylinder, both pierced by vertical vision slits. Rotating them created the stroboscopic illusion that the copula disappeared, leading to a better perception of the surroundings, while the head was still more or less protected.--MWAK (talk) 12:45, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

We've been trying to unpick the stroboscopic cupolas recently on the Landships forum. The FCM 2C wasn't the first tank to have a stroboscopic cupola - it was the FCM 1A retrofitted with a cupola in 1919. The FCM Char de Bataille prototype of 1923 certainly had a stroboscopic cupola (Char Francais website) and in the US an experimental cupola fit was done on a Mark VIII (Hunnicutt's book on heavy tanks). It seems as if the stroboscopic cupola on the FCM 2C was an inner frame with triplex glass vision blocks surmounted by an electric motor that drove the outer cupola at about 300 rpm. The outer part of the cupola seems to have been a 30mm thick nickel-chrome steel housing with 45 2mm slots. Charlie Landships (talk) 05:11, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

Well, it at least was the first operational tank with such a device. Interesting that research is ongoing. But the openings were surely two centimetres wide, not millimetres?--MWAK (talk) 07:50, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
Since the idea is to create the same effect as when seeing through a plank-fence when going past it, it isn't necessarily a typo with millimeters.BP OMowe (talk) 09:05, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
Well, those blue-prints and pictures that I have seen, gave me the impression the slits were much wider. Also forty-five slits of two millimetres each would have equalled only nine centimetres for the total circumference. A person would have got a very dusky view of the surroundings in such a system.--MWAK (talk) 16:12, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

Much delayed but there is an article on stroboscopic cupolas at: In this article there is an image of the FCM Char 2C stroboscopic cupolas dismantled - the slots are quite narrow.Charlie Landships (talk) 04:07, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Thanks! You are quite right of course. Mayet has a little chapter on the subject and he clearly states that they were two millimetres thick, as test had shown that above 2.5 millimetres spall would get through.--MWAK (talk) 05:45, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

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Reason for revert:

1) Four identified tanks show off 10-25 penetration holes; no explanation was provied since Aug. 2016 on how they were performed or how they appeared on these tanks. 2) If the Germans performed penetrations tests, how it was possible to perform it under a brigde and with another tank in front of it without unloading? 3) Can a aircraft be 100% excluded from a possible attack? Certain is, the event was exploited by German propaganda. 4) The Char 2C played also a big part in French propaganda; were the tanks really destroyed to prevent capture, or were their self-destruction only a intented excuse to obfuscate their previous battle-damage and possible loss? Performing a penetration test by a time of a major attack, even without unload the tanks - seems highly unrealistic, too many obstacles occlude with these tanks to have a clear shooting range for weapon tests.

Since so many questions rises about the event, only a brief NPOV description should be made. Theowslao (talk) 00:30, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

I trust you have read Mayet by now ;o), so you must be aware that there are detailed and much more modern sources contradicting the German propaganda, and explicitly exposing it as a lie. There are no sources claiming "there are detailed and much more modern sources contradicting the German propaganda, but the propaganda was right anyway". So under WP:Undue Weight, in principle the only course of action open to us is to follow the French sources. Now, if the French sources claimed something that was utterly unbelievable like "it was never the Germans that did us in, no, it were little leprechauns with dainty pick-axes that disabled our glorious tanks" then we would be rightly justified to disregard their claims. However, far from being implausible, the French narrative is about as down-to-earth as you can get. A large percentage of French tanks were scuttled by their own crews during retreats (the French army retreating a lot in 1940). To the contrary, it is very hard to find evidence for any French tank being directly hit by a German dive-bomber. So, if no data on this case were available apart from some pictures showing wrecked tanks, the null-hypothesis would be that they had been scuttled. The inescapable conclusion is that the French sources represent the latest research on this subject and are plausible and that therefore it is mandatory for us to at least mention their content.
You are right that there are as yet unexplained aspects to this case, not mentioned by the sources, in that some pictures show clear penetration holes in the tanks' frontal armour. However, there are no unequivocal indications linking these holes to any airforce action. There are, however, indications that they were not caused by aircraft. The holes are indiscernible from known penetrations by AP tank rounds. They clearly differ in diameter. We know that a German armour unit, the 8. Panzerdivision, was at the time in the neighbourhood. No operational German aircraft at the time carried guns of a calibre sufficient to cause such large holes. AP-bombs would have inflicted even larger holes, did not have the required precision and were probably not used against trains in any case. So, the aircraft hypothesis, although it cannot be for 100% ruled out, does not offer a good explanation for the known data. It is true that the tank round hypothesis has its difficulties too. It's an interesting subject that clearly merits further historical investigation. However, it is not our task to carry it out. All these considerations do not make the French sources utterly unbelievable. And even if new published research would refute them, they would still have to be mentioned!--MWAK (talk) 08:43, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
Again, you are to fixated with the idea that only an Aircraft could make the damage. The only aircrafts operating in that area was the Regia Aeronautica Italiana, its therfore impossible that a Ju 87 could be involved in that event, even if German propaganda claimed it otherwise. Its also impossible for another tank to shoot at these when they are loaded on the train!
For me, the only plaussible explanation for these penetrations are that these tanks were not operational when loaded at station of Landres on 13 June. These penetrations probably originated from a previous battle. Its simply impossible to perform a weapon test on a tank loaded on a train like this! However, four tanks show off penetrations marks, there have be a reason for it! I don't think Mayets account on this event is definite, and neither based on a generally accepted state of knowledge. If a source is too vague about an event, it should not be taken to make any final conclusions. Mayet does at no time address this issues and its therefore logical, not to mention the cause of the loss. The French wiki article follows that NPOV direction. Theowslao (talk) 10:05, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia goes by what reliable sources say rather that what editors make of what those RS sources say. If Mayes is reliable, then his words can be used. If what is being included goes beyond what Mayer says, then cut it back to what he does say. You could possibly say that there do exist photos of Char 2C with holes in them, because that is verifiable but you should be wary to claim that these were taken at any particular time in the tanks 'life' if you don't know. And you shouldn't claim they invalidate what Mayer does say, that requires an RS. GraemeLeggett (talk) 13:41, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
I fully agree that no aircraft were involved. Indeed, it is most likely that the penetrations were made by AP tank rounds. This also means that Mayet's account of the scuttling of the tanks, and of the German propaganda being propaganda can be largely followed in any case. In principle it's possible that there had been a previous battle but this hypothesis faces some daunting problems. French nor German sources mention such a battle and it is highly improbable that the deployment of such conspicuous materiel could have escaped notice. Furthermore, such a large number of penetrations would almost certainly have immobilised the vehicles and it would have been exceedingly difficult for the French to salvage them. What might have been possible is that the train convoy was at some earlier time intercepted by an advance-guard of 8. Panzerdivision that enjoyed themselves by hitting the Char 2Cs that then nevertheless managed to be transported away. But that's a long shot :o). The picture of the Char 2C with the track thrown is hard to reconcile with it being hit at that particular spot. But it might be a tank that, having been captured by the Germans, had already been transported by them over some distance, after which the track, provisionally repaired by a German crew, failed again and forced the train to halt.
Anyhow, Mayet's text can be summarised here. You might want to write this yourself.--MWAK (talk) 19:40, 24 September 2017 (UTC)