The SOMUA S35 was a French Cavalry tank of the Second World War. It was manufactured from 1936 until 1940 to equip armored divisions of the Cavalry. For its day it was a relatively agile medium-weight tank, superior in armor and armament to both its French and foreign competitors, such as the contemporary versions of the German Panzerkampfwagen III. It was constructed from well-sloped, mainly cast, armor sections, that however made it expensive to produce and time-consuming to maintain.
While not given a chance to show its full effectiveness during the Battle of France in 1940, the SOMUA showed up strongly in a number of battles with German forces and indeed was used by German forces after the French defeat and even by the Allies after the liberation of France in 1944. It was among the first French tanks developed for use as a cavalry tank, as opposed to the previous infantry roles the tank was largely restricted to under French military doctrine. A cast metal body with armor up to 56mm thick gave excellent protection from German guns, and offensively it could rely on a powerful 47mm gun that repeatedly tore through German tanks. All in all, some 430 SOMUA S35s were produced.
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