Char d’Assaut Schneider
Type: Assault tank.
The idea of the Char d’Assaut Schneider (or Schneider CA) had been developed under the aegis of General Estienne, who imagined an armoured tractor to tow armoured sledges carrying troops across the Western Front battlefields in a shock strike on German ditches.
For the groundwork of the armoured tractor Estienne suggested making use of the track and chassis of the U.s. Holt farming tractor which at this days in 1915 turning into an extensively employed artillery tractor.
By simply speaking straight to General Joffre, the French C-inC, Estienne managed to get assistance for his proposal, and the armament company Schneider became associated as the development bureau.
The initial plans required 200 Schneider CAs by the end of 1916, nevertheless design and manufacturing were so time-consuming that it was not before middle of 1917 that significant tanks were ready for action.
The Schneider CA appeared as what was fundamentally an armoured container placed over a basically unaltered Holt tractor suspension and track. The container equipped a pair of machineguns along with a short 75-mm M1897 (2.95-in) gun to right side forward. The engine produced 55 hp (41 kW) and was supplied from a pair of petrol tanks which were placed close to the machine-gun mountings.
These tanks turned out extremely vulnerable to German fire, to the degree that one armour-piercing round could set the tank burning, a destiny that befell numerous Schneider CAs after they moved into battle.
Top armour thickness was 11.5 mm (0.45 in), improved to 19.5 mm (0.77 in) on later tanks.
The concept of the armoured personnel-carrying sledge had been abandoned, and the Schneiders were used primarily for infantry support in the way of the day. They demonstrated to be below effective in this purpose for their cross-country characteristics were seriously limited.
By May 1917 a number of 300 had been manufactured, but afterwards the gun model was exchanged in manufacturing by the Schneider Char de Ravitaillement stores-carrying model, on which the right-hand gun position was exchanged by a door opening into the stores-carrying section. Extra 8-mm (0.31-in) armour was put onto the sides of most tanks as the response of experience in battle, and possibly the best element expressed by the Schneider CA was that as the consequence of rough experience the French army discovered how to apply and maintain armoured vehicles in the field.
The French established their first armour school at Champlieu in October 1916 and very quickly found out that insufficient maintenance and absence of spare parts could eliminate a tank from the field as effectively as enemy fire.
A number of the first missions were fiascos as the consequence of insufficient schooling and maintenance, popular of these being the assault on the Chemin des Dames in April 1917, when Seventy-six out of a total of 132 Schneider CAs engaging were sacrificed.
The last Schneider CA was produced in August 1918, but at that time attrition and progress towards the Renault FT-17 had minimized the numbers operating to below One hundred.
Many of these were the unarmed transport model however the gun Schneiders had taken their part in several missions during 1918, having an amount of good results in a few. However the Schneider CA was an unsound and indifferent tank on the Western Front and turned out too vulnerable to getting fire when hit.
The most beneficial that may certainly be mentioned of them is that they educated the French army considerably concerning the restrictions and possibilities of armoured warfare.