The H39 was an upgraded variant of the Hotchkiss H35, introduced in 1938. It featured several modifications requested by the cavalry saddled with the original version, most importantly a more powerful 120 horsepower engine and revamped track and suspension systems, greatly improving mobility and ease of use. However, the most important upgrade was the long-barreled SA 38 37mm gun mounted on H-39s from January 1940, giving it excellent anti-tank capability.
However, while 350 tanks were rebuilt with the new guns (out of 1200 total manufactured), it failed to greatly affect the outcome of the war. Some 550 tanks of both Hotchkiss variants were captured by Germans and pressed into service as Panzerkampfwagen 35H 734(f) or Panzerkampfwagen 38H 735(f), for policing and occupation duties or as basis for a number of conversions. These were accomplished by Major Alfred Becker of Baukommando Bekcer in 1942, and produced self-propelled howitzers, artillery observer vehicles, and multiple-launch rocket launchers (older H-35 models).
The French resistance managed to recapture some of the old Hotchkiss tanks and put them to use.
This page was last edited on 2 March 2020, at 16:59.
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