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Marder I Tank Destroyer

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Introduction: French Tanks

Following the German invasion of France many thousands of French tanks and other armoured vehicles fell into German hands. Some of the tanks were pressed into service for local defence in order to free German vehicles for use elsewhere. Others were used for training, and as tractors and ammunition carriers. These French tanks are beyond the scope of this book.
As the war progressed these vehicles became increasingly obsolescent, but insufficient replacement vehicles could be diverted from other fronts. They were therefore converted by the Germans into self-propelled carriages mounting larger calibre anti-tank guns and artillery pieces. This also produced some standardisation of ammunition since the French vehicles were equipped largely with Czech or German weapons. The main chassis used were from the Renault R-35, Hotchkiss H 35 and FCM tanks and the Lorraine armoured tractor.

The German Army captured large numbers of the French Lorraine tractor, the Tracteur Blindé 38L. It was known in German service as the Lorraine Schlepper. A number of examples survive, including ones at Saumur in France and Arlon in Belgium, but the unarmed type is beyond the scope of this book.
The large, flat load-carrying compartment of the Lorraine Schlepper made it ideal for converting into various types of self-propelled gun. In May 1942 an order was issued to convert 160 vehicles, followed by a further order for 78 later in the year. Four types saw service, mounting either a 7.5cm or 4.7cm anti-tank gun, or a 10.5cm or 15cm howitzer. The first type was known as the Marder I and mounted the German 7.5cm PaK 40/1 in an open-topped superstructure. This was built on the load area at the rear of the Lorraine Schlepper and resulted in a fairly compact vehicle with a low silhouette. The combination was relatively successful and about 170 7.5cm vehicles were converted by the Becker Company. They saw service with Panzerjäger detachments in France during 1943 and 1944.

Model Id:600
Manufacture:Lorraine, Lunéville, Lorraine, North East France, France (Chassis manufacturer)
Renault S.A., Boulogne-Billancourt, Île-de-France, North East France, France (Assembled at Becker's Baukommando works in Paris - possibly Renault factory but location unconfirmed)

1) Museé Des Blindés, Saumur, France

Number of Photos: 1
Sample Photo from Album Number 278

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Unique ID: 278
Serial Number:
Other Identification:

[Preserved Tanks in France: Number 178].