B1 bis production from July 1937 to June 1940

B1 bis production from July 1937 to June 1940

The B1 bis is so named because it is the result of the improvement of the B1 tank. Designed in 1935, it is known to be the most powerful of the French tanks and was particularly well known during the battle of Stonne. It is one of the most mythical French tanks along with the FT tank.

B1 bis tank, successor of the FT and B1

This tank of the French army was the most powerful in service in 1940, during the Second World War. Considered as an "old style tank" built by Renault, its main artillery was placed in the fort, which reduced the range of sight.

Its armor is 60 mm on the front and 55 mm on the sides, as recommended by General Velpry, then tank inspector. It was afraid of the new anti-tank weapons, which started to appear in particular during the Spanish war.

The B1 bis is equipped with a 47mm gun, two machine guns, and a heavy 75mm gun, for a crew of 4 men. The main 75mm gun is located on the right under the driver's seat, and was operated by the driver. The weapon being fixed, it was necessary to rotate the whole tank to align it on the enemy. The ammunition reserve was located along the side walls.

After the defeat of 1940, some of the B1 bis tanks were recovered by the German army and used on the Eastern Front, notably during Operation Barbarossa. Nevertheless, the B1 bis was not the most used tank by Germany. The B1 bis was built in 369 copies.

 


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Where does the name B1 bis tank come from?

The project to modernize the B1 tank came from General Estienne who noted that too many B1 tanks arriving in the regiments were experiencing technical problems. Despite his death in 1936, the modernization of the B1 tank did take place. Now named B1 bis, this tank saw its anti-tank capabilities increased as well as its armor shell strongly reinforced.

 

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