vendredi 13 juin 2014

Belgian Renault ACG1 – Renault ACG1 belge (Introduction)

Hello dear readers,

It’s been a while I have bought this quite unusual kit at a show: Blitz Kit’s Renault ACG1 (Belgian version). It’s a very well moulded resin kit that comes with a half figure of a 1940 Belgian tanker to be placed in the turret (the figure is only included in the Belgian version). Until now I only noticed small air bubbles that can easily be filled with CA glue or putty and the kit seems really manageable for a resin kit thanks to the small numbr of parts. I ‘m gonna use Friul tracks (the ones for the Hotchkiss – ref ATL 68 since these are the same than for the Renault ACG1) to replace the resin tracks of the kit that need to be warmed with a hairdryer to get them correctly in place… this seemed a bit hazardous to me…

OK… this was my first impression of the kit but before starting to work on it here’s a bit of history about this rare subject.

The Belgian army in 1940 only counted about more or less 250 AFV’s that can be considered as “tanks”:
- 200 T13 (3 different types were issued): these were self propelled guns (tankhunters) armed with a Belgian 47 mm and a FN Browning rifle in a semi open turret on a Vickers Carden Loyd chassis.
- 42 T15: these were small tankettes armed with a 13,2 mm Hotchkiss machinegun in a closed turret on a Vickers Carden Loyd chassis.
- 10 Renault ACG1 armed with a Belgian 47 mm and a 7,65 mm Hotchkiss machinegun in a closed turret.

The T15’s were weakly armoured and armed but quite fast and theoretically used for reconnaissance purposes. The T13’s were really efficient against any German AFV of that time thanks to the excellent Belgian 47 mm gun but they were also weakly armoured and the turret was half open which immediately exposed the crew the enemy fire once it had opened fire. This being said, in reality all these Belgian AFV’s were tactically used as tanks but only the 10 Renault ACG1 were “real” tanks that Belgium could oppose to the German Panzerdivisionen.

In 1936 Belgium ordered 25 of these to France for the cavalry corps and for the Ardense Jagers (Chasseurs ardennais). One was delivered in 1937 and tested during manoeuvres of the Ardense Jagers and the order of the seven tanks for the Ardense Jagers was cancelled because these were judged to be too heavy (15t) to move in the tortured natural environment of the Ardennes. The budget of these was immediately devoted to the purchase of T13’s. The delivery of the 17 left got delayed several times because of technical and assembly problems. Therefore, the Belgian government asked to reduce the total order to 10 tanks. The last three tanks were delivered in August 1939!!!! Since the turrets were ordered separately, 15 turrets (out of the 25 originally ordered) were used in fixed positions (bunkers) mostly on the Belgian coast. The main differences between the French Renault AMC 35 and the Belgian Renault ACG1 were features on the turret (the Belgian turrets were called APX2 B):
the Belgian FRC 47 gun got installed in the turret instead of a French SA 35 47 mm gun
-the shortened Belgian 7,65 mm Hotchkiss machinegun (these were taken from the old Renault FT17 that Belgium purchased at the end of WWI) was preferred to the French 7,5 Reibel
the replacement of the machinegun implies that the diascope on the left side had to be moved to the facet behind because the drum magazine made it impossible to look through it in the original position

When war broke out in Poland on 1st September 1939, the Escadron d'Auto Blindés du Corps de Cavelerie, literally the "Armoured Car Squadron of the Cavalry Corps", was created. The squadron had three platoons: one platoon "Staff and Services" and two platoons of four tanks each. The personnel were a mixture of soldiers of the 2nd Lancers Regiment (the Dutch-speaking 2e Lansiers) and the francophone 1st Guides Regiment, both units sharing the same barracks (Caserne de Witte-de Haelen) at Etterbeek.

When Germany invaded Belgium on the 10th of May 1940, the two tanks that were in the worst condition were cannibalised to keep the others running. The eight remaining tanks fought against the German Army until 28 May 1940. Only three survived the eighteen days campaign on 28 May 1940 when the Belgian army put down its weapons.

Stay tuned for the 1st update of the building!

6 commentaires:

  1. Salut Thierry,
    un sacré engin que tu nous prépare là, car il n'est pas courant de le voir et en plus en resine. Je serais curieux de voir les pieces du kit.

    a+ et "i stay tuned"

    1. Hello J-C,

      C'est de la résine mais franchement la maquette est tout à fait réalisable et bien moulée + pas trop de déformations donc... ce n'est certainement pas la plus difficile à construire : )


  2. We zetten er een stoeltje bij vriend word weer super interessant project!!!

    1. Kom maar bij zitten Danny, er is zeker plaats voor je!


  3. Hello Thierry,
    Voilà bien un projet que je vais suivre avec beaucoup d'attention car il fait partie de l'histoire de notre patrie et c'est aussi un petit blindé que j'aimerais ajouter à ma collection. Bon montage et beaucoup de plaisir pour la réalisation ce beau petit blindé.
    Bien amicalement.

    1. Merci pour ton intérêt Alain! Comme tu t'en apercevras, le sujet me tiens particulièrement à coeur, j'aimerais d'ailleurs que plus de blindés belges (et français) soient produits au 1/35... mais bon... c'est moins vendeur que l'allemand ou l'américain...