The Renault AMC 35 was an improved version of the AMC 34 light tank, with a modified suspension system and a more powerful main gun.
In 1931 the French Army defined three types of armoured vehicles for use with the cavalry. These included the Auto-mitrailleuse de reconnaissance, a lightly armed cross-country reconnaissance vehicle, and the Auto-mitrailleuse de combat, a more heavily armed vehicle expected to be capable of fighting enemy tanks.
The AMC 34 was a development of the Renault AMR 33, a two man light reconnaissance tank, armed with a single 7.5mm machine gun and with a top road speed of 40mph. It was followed in 1934 by the AMC 34, which was meant to be more suitable for combat against other armoured vehicles. This used a strengthened version of the AMR 33 suspension, had a larger superstructure that extended over the top of the tracks, and was armed with a 25mm main gun and 7.5mm machine gun. Only twelve were produced.
Although the AMC 34 remained in service between 1935 and 1940 it wasn't entirely satisfactory, and it was quickly followed by the Renault ACG 1, which entered production as the AMC 35. This was similar in layout to the AMC 34, but with a more powerful 180hp engine, a short barrelled 47mm SA35 gun and a new suspension system.
The new suspension used a bell crank scissors system, with horizontal rubber springs. It was the same system that was used on the Renault R35. It had a front drive sprocket and five road wheels per side (the same as the R35), up from four on the AMC 34. The front road wheel was independently mounted, with suspension provided by a horizontal spring attached to a fixed point. The rear four wheels were mounted in pairs ('scissors'), with horizontal springs fixed between the two wheels.
Fifty AMC 35s were ordered. Only 16 were delivered to the French Army by September 1939 (22 in other sources), and around 47 had been delivered by January 1940. All of these were built at AMX, the nationalised tank production facilities formerly owned by Renault.
The French Cavalry wasn't terribly impressed with the AMC 35, considering it to have too limited range and too thin armour. In June 1934 a new specification was produced, for a faster, better armed and better armoured vehicle. This produced the SOMUA S35, one of the best tanks of the late 1930s.
The French army also used a variant of the AMC 35 that was armed with a long barrelled 25mm Hotchkiss anti-tank gun.
Belgium purchased a number of AMC 35s, which were then rearmed with a 47mm anti-tank gun and a 13.2mm Hotchkiss machine gun.
The AMC 35 was only issued to the cavalry in the desperate days of June 1940, and had very little impact on the course of the fighting.
Hull Length: 14.58ft
Hull Width: 6.92ft
Weight: 14.5 tons
Engine: 180hp liquid cooled Renault 4-cylinder liquid cooled engine
Max Speed: 25mph
Armament: 47mm gun and coaxial 7.5mm machine gun
Armour: 25mm max