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French Char d'Assault Schneider CA1 Light Tank - Group AS 4, "Groupement Bossut", Juvincourt-et-Damary, France, April 1917 (1:72 Scale)
French Char d'Assault Schneider CA1 Light Tank - Group AS 4, "Groupement Bossut", Juvincourt-et-Damary, France, April 1917

Wings of the Great War French Char d'Assault Schneider CA1 Light Tank - Group AS 4, "Groupement Bossut", Juvincourt-et-Damary, France, April 1917

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Product Code: WW10202

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Wings of the Great War WW10202 French Char d'Assault Schneider CA1 Light Tank - Group AS 4, "Groupement Bossut", Juvincourt-et-Damary, France, April 1917 (1:72 Scale) "From Mud Through Blood To The Green Fields Beyond"
- Motto of the Royal Tank Regiment in World War I

The Schneider Char d'Assault tank was France's first real attempt at differentiating dedicated tanks from dedicated self-propelled gun systems. Like it's predecessors before it however, the system would never meet its potential due to the design theory of melding a long hull on a short set of tracks. In practice, this combination proved to make the Schneider unable to pass over any type of uneven terrain.

The Schneider was a Char d'Assault idea by Colonel J .E. Estienne with a full design developed by Eugene Brillie under the Schneider Company brand. Both men visited the United States of America in an effort to study and research the Holt series of tractors that utilized a distinct tractor and chassis assemblage - more specifically the "Baby Holt". The resulting design was termed as the Tractuer Blinde et Arme and production for the French Army followed.

The Schneider Char d'Assault was the most fundamental of tank designs, consistent with early tanks in general. It was of a boxy hull design with a sharp angle at fore. The system sat upon shortened tracks, leaving the forward and aft hull sections hovering over the track assembly. Main armament consisted of a 75mm main gun. Two additional Hotchkiss-type 8mm machine guns were fitted in positional ball mountings on either side of the upper hull for self-defense. The Schneider could carry a full compliment of 7 personnel.

Once the Schneiders became available for use, their design shortcomings quickly became apparent. The short tractor assemblies were useless over anything but flat roads as the elongated hull protruding fore and aft caused the system to get stuck. As a result, the system suffered catastrophic losses against enemy artillery barrages, rendering the entire concept nearly useless. In one particular offensive no fewer than 57% of the 132 fielded Schneiders were destroyed in this fashion.

Pictured here is a 1:72 scale resin replica of a French Char d'Assault Schneider CA1 tank attached to Group AS 4, "Groupement Bossut", then deployed to Juvincourt-et-Damary, France, during April 1917. Sold Out!

Length: 2-1/2-inches
Width: 1-1/2-inches

Release Date: January 2017

Historical Account: "Breaking the Hindenburg Line" - French Colonel Jean Baptiste Eugene Estienne had hoped to create a powerful and large striking force before committing his tanks to battle. He had strongly disapproved of the, in his eyes premature, British use of tanks in September 1916, just two months after first deliveries of the Mark I. However, political circumstances would compel him to deploy the Artillerie Speciale before it was at full strength or adequately trained. In December 1916, Robert Nivelle had been appointed supreme French commander on the promise that his tactical innovation of the "rolling barrage" would ensure a quick collapse of the German front. Not favorably inclined towards the independent mass deployment of armor, Nivelle hoped that the tanks produced could be made of some use by letting them assist his planned offensive. Ultimately, the Germans learned of the French intentions so that strategic surprise was lost, allowing them to reinforce the threatened front sectors; nor was there a tactical surprise, as it had become known that French tanks existed and were about to be introduced.

Three AS first assembled at the front line near Beuvraignes in late March 1917, hoping to exploit a possible success in an offensive by the Third Army, that, however, had to be cancelled because of the strategic German retreat to the Hindenburg Line. Eventually, the tank units were to support the attack by the Fifth Army at the Aisne and were concentrated in a nine kilometres wide sector south of Juvincourt-et-Damary, chosen for its firm ground. The Germans had created a strong defensive belt in this area, held by four divisions of the Bavarian Army, with a depth of nine kilometres and divided into four main trench systems. The plan was for the French infantry to take the first and second trench within about four hours, advancing behind the "creeping barrage", after which the tanks would immediately exploit this success and maintain the momentum of the offensive by quickly progressing towards the third trench, directly followed by the infantry; together they would conquer the third and fourth trenches. The "strategic rupture" resulting from this and many adjoining attacks was to be exploited through deep penetrations by large reserve infantry armies, outflanking the Hindenburg Line from the south. Three Groupements were committed to the offensive. Two of these, named after their commanders Louis Bossut and Louis Leonard Chaubes, were attached to the 32nd and 5th Army Corps respectively and would engage on the first day. Groupement Bossut consisted of five groupes: AS 2, 4, 5, 6 and 9, thus fielding eighty tanks, as the AS in this phase of the war operated at full strength with four batteries of four tanks. Groupement Chaubes, created on March 8th, included AS 3, 7 and 8, with about forty-eight tanks.

Each Groupement was reinforced by a supply and recovery unit or Section de Reparations et de Ravitaillement which besides two unarmed Saint-Chamonds and some Baby Holt tractors was equipped with two unarmed Schneider CA tanks, towing Troy trailers with fuel, bringing the total at 132 Schneider vehicles, at that date the largest tank force ever deployed. On April 13th, the tank units concentrated behind the front line. There they were joined by supporting infantry companies: five from the 154e R.I. of the 165e D.I. for Groupement Bossut and three of the 76e R.I. of the 125e D.I. for Groupement Chaubes.

  • Resin construction
  • Static tracks
  • Accurate markings and insignia
  • Comes with terrain base

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