Char 2C Heavy Tank

Last updated on April 11th, 2019 at 05:37 pm

As tanks developed during World War One the need arose for heavy tanks to break through enemy defenses and the first successful French tank built with these specifications in mind was the Char de Rupture C (eng. Breakthrough Tank C).

This tank had two predecessor prototypes built between 1917 and 1918, the 1A and 1B, and weighed 40 tons. After that an even heavier tank was made, weighing almost 70 tons, and called the Char 2C.

The Char 2C was only finished at the end of the war so did not see any action in this period, but 10 of them were built during the period following the war up to 1922. At the time they were the most powerful tanks in the world.

Char 2C Heavy Tank
The Char 2C was the first tank to have more than one turret; it had one in the front and one in the back. Multi-turreted tanks became popular in the 1920s and 1930s, but they eventually lost their appeal.  The Char 2C was armed with a 2.95in (75mm) gun in the front turret and four machine guns and was protected by some of the thickest armor ever seen at the time.  One of the machine guns was located in the rear turret, and the other three were mounted on the hull.

French Char 2C, a massive 70 ton tank designed in WW1, built during the interwar period

A special Char 2C was also built with a 6.1in (155mm) Howitzer alongside the 2.95in gun and four machine guns. At the time some authorities had fears that France may be developing some kind of super-tank because of this.

The tank had twelve crew with two engines, together producing 250hp and driving two electric generators that motivated each track to a top speed of 7.5mph (12kph).

The Char 2C heavy tank endured through to the first years of World War Two, when the last of them were destroyed or captured by the Germans in 1940 on their way to the front.


Char 2C

Active: 1918
Crew: 12
Weight: 67.9 tons (69,000kg)
Length: 33ft 8in (8.83m)
Height: 13ft 1in (4m)
Width: 9ft 8in (2.95m)
Weapons: Main – 2.95in (75mm) gun, Secondary – 4 x 0.315 inch (8mm) Hotchkiss machineguns
Armor Maximum – 1.77in (45mm)
Engine: 2 x Daimler or Maybach, 6-cylinder gasoline, 520hp
Speed: 7.5mph (12kph)
Range: 62.1 miles (100 km)