The Char B1 was a French heavy tank manufactured before the Second World War. It was a specialised heavy break-through vehicle, originally conceived as a self-propelled gun with a 75 mm howitzer in the hull; later a 47 mm gun in a turret was added, to allow it to function also as a Char de Bataille, a “battle tank” fighting enemy armour, equipping the armoured divisions of the Infantry Arm.
This Char B1 was on display at Bovington.
Among the most powerfully armed and armoured tanks of its day, the type was very effective in direct confrontations with German armour in 1940 during the Battle of France, but a slow speed and high fuel consumption made it ill-adapted to the war of movement then fought. After the defeat of France captured Char B1 (bis) would be used by Germany, some rebuilt as flamethrowers or mechanised artillery.
It is a big tank, but only for 1940, by the end of the war heavy tanks were huge in comparison.
It is one of my favourite tanks, probably down to the Matchbox kit I got when I was younger.
Though I did eventually convert mine into a German SPG using the armour from a Matchbox Wespe kit. What I didn’t realise at the time was that there was in fact a similarl real version of this, the 10.5cm leFH 18/3 (Sf) auf Geschützwagen B2(f).
Alas I don’t have a photo of my model.
I do though have a 28mm Char B1 for Bolt Action which recently made its way onto the workbench to be made up as a FFI version used in 1944 and 1945.
There are some 15mm versions for Flames of War too.