Bolt Action: French - FCM Char 2c Super-Heavy Tank
The Char 2C is the only super-heavy tank ever to attain operational status – a super-heavy tank is not simply a tank that is very heavy but one that has been deliberately made much heavier than regular tanks of its period. The next operational tank to approach its weight would be the German Tiger II heavy tank of World War II.
The Char 2C had a loaded weight of 69 tonnes, partly because of its armour, which was among the thickest of World War I-era tanks, but mostly because of its huge size. It is still easily the largest tank ever taken into production. With the tail fitted, the hull was over twelve metres long. Without tail, the hull length was 10.372 metres, the width 2.95 metres, the height 3.8 metres. Adding the cupola, normally detached for transport, brought height to 408 centimetres. The armour thickness was 30 mm at the front, 22 mm at the sides, 13 mm at the top and 10 mm at the bottom. In 1930 and 1931, the vehicles were rebuilt with a frontal armour of forty-five millimetres.
Within its ample frame there was room for two fighting compartments. The forward compartment was crowned by a three-man turret – the first such in history – mounting a shortened 75 mm field gun of the Canon de 75 modéle 1897 type, with 124 rounds and a muzzle velocity of 550 m/s, and the second, at the rear of the tank, was topped by a machine-gun turret armed with a Hotchkiss 8 mm. The front turret, made of 35 mm plates, was placed so high that its crew had to climb into it by means of a ladder, sitting on seats suspended from the turret roof and operating on an elevated level compared to the hull machine gunners below. The rear turret was made of 22 millimetre plates. Both turrets had stroboscopic cupolas. The three independent 8 mm machine gun positions, one at each side and one to the right of the driver at the front, all in ballmounts, gave protection against infantry assault. The machineguns had an ammunition load of 9504 rounds.